Washboard Road Feel

JWR

Junior Member
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My 2013 MKZ is a beautiful machine in every regard EXCEPT that anything under 50mph transmits the imperfections in the pavement directly to the driver. A smooth looking pavement that feels really smooth in my other vehicles (new F-150 and 2013 VW Beetle) feels like a washboard surface in this Lincoln ! The tires look great, I had the dealer balance them and rotate them. The car has just over 20,000 miles on it. It does not vibrate per se or seem to have tire imbalance. The tire air pressure is right on spec for all 4 wheels.

The thing literally acts like a feeler for tiny washboard imperfections in pavement. My F-150 rides far better below 50 mph on the same pavement. So does the diesel 6 speed Beetle !

Anyone else have this disease on an MKZ ? It is all-wheel drive and uses the Pirelli P245/40 ZR-19 tires.

My theory is that the idiot who decided to use 40 series tires [best when applied to a sports car track...] on what should be a super smooth riding near-luxury car needs to be lynched or else made to pay for converting my vehicle tires and wheels to a decent ride and feel. In other words I think the problem is very hard and stiff aluminum 19" wheels riding around 4" from the pavement on the hard sidewalls of 40 series tires. Anyone have a better theory ? ESPECIALLY do others have this disease !!??

Post script: I have pondered whether the "S" mode (sporty) might be locked on and not going off in the "D" normal driving mode. I see no difference in the two modes except that the shift points obviously differ and the steering turns burdensome in "S" mode. I see no difference in the shocks/suspension but that may be hard to detect.
 

Lincwitsync

Member
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Hi

I don't think the tires are the problem. MKZ is a sweet car. Cars today are built to be very intelligent and have multiple personas.

From the description of your options, I'd bet you have a high optioned MKZ.... If so, you'd more than likely have adaptive/adjustable suspension. I believe you need to change the parameters of the Comfort, Normal, and Sport modes of the chassis. There is a menu that you use in the instrument cluster. Use the cluster on the tachometer side to enter the menu. Use the <OK > control pads on the left side of the steering wheel to access and toggle through. You'll need to set the handling for each of the modes to your personal preference. Unbeknownst to you, someone may have played with/changed from the factory defaults. It is a cool feature. I have spent some time with the MKZ. I have found that SPORT mode has a very responsive throttle and firms up the chassis to the point where it feels like a sports car. It can be too firm in normal driving but it is fun! Comfort mode has a lagging throttle and sloppy (comfortable) handling this might be what you desire. I found that if I set D (drive) to the Normal mode it works, but when I want to get aggressive, I'd select the S (Sport) mode. I don't like the comfort setting at all. But again, that's my preference. Try experimenting with the settings.
 

C Krohn

Senior Member
388
38
28
Fort Worth, TX
My 2013 MKZ is a beautiful machine in every regard EXCEPT that anything under 50mph transmits the imperfections in the pavement directly to the driver. A smooth looking pavement that feels really smooth in my other vehicles (new F-150 and 2013 VW Beetle) feels like a washboard surface in this Lincoln ! The tires look great, I had the dealer balance them and rotate them. The car has just over 20,000 miles on it. It does not vibrate per se or seem to have tire imbalance. The tire air pressure is right on spec for all 4 wheels.

The thing literally acts like a feeler for tiny washboard imperfections in pavement. My F-150 rides far better below 50 mph on the same pavement. So does the diesel 6 speed Beetle !

Anyone else have this disease on an MKZ ? It is all-wheel drive and uses the Pirelli P245/40 ZR-19 tires.

My theory is that the idiot who decided to use 40 series tires [best when applied to a sports car track...] on what should be a super smooth riding near-luxury car needs to be lynched or else made to pay for converting my vehicle tires and wheels to a decent ride and feel. In other words I think the problem is very hard and stiff aluminum 19" wheels riding around 4" from the pavement on the hard sidewalls of 40 series tires. Anyone have a better theory ? ESPECIALLY do others have this disease !!??

Post script: I have pondered whether the "S" mode (sporty) might be locked on and not going off in the "D" normal driving mode. I see no difference in the two modes except that the shift points obviously differ and the steering turns burdensome in "S" mode. I see no difference in the shocks/suspension but that may be hard to detect.

I think you found the problem. My '08 has 50 series tires, and they have more "road feel" than I want in a luxury sedan.
 

JWR

Junior Member
31
0
6
You're right,it has every option known to man... I'll check the settings but I am skeptical of that being the problem. I'll check. Thanks.
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JWR

Junior Member
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0
6
You're right,it has every option known to man... I'll check the settings but I am skeptical of that being the problem. I'll check. Thanks.

I checked the settings. I had the "D" mode set to provide "Comfort..." not sporty or harsh suspension. So that was NOT the problem, at least not if everything is working correctly which no human can tell. While in there, I switched the "D" mode to be "normal" rather than soft or "comfort." I doubt that I will be able to perceive any difference but if it is exciting I'll report on it.
 

badnews

Junior Member
19
0
1
Agree with JWR - You can tell a big difference between Sport and Comfort. Steering wheel gets tighter in sport and you get more response on the road.
 

MKZ'er

Member
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I know you say you checked but in one car of mine the shocks were done and the tires would "slap" the road surface, maybe that is the problem.
 

JWR

Junior Member
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0
6
I know you say you checked but in one car of mine the shocks were done and the tires would "slap" the road surface, maybe that is the problem.

That is certainly possible (bad shocks) but one would not think it would be the case with just 20,000 miles or a little more on it. The thing is driving me nuts feeling "flutter" on minuscule washboard surfaces. I have one specific section of highway that I consider a test section and there are times when I feel the bumps there & sometimes not (same speed, same lane, all done in "D" range.) Makes one question everything and all the data. It is possible I suppose that the "sporty" setting suspension is faulty and going on and off at various times without operator intervention. By the way, I just measured the rolling circumference point (e.g. the rim distance to the ground at the ground contact point) and it is only 2 3/8 inches , not the 4" I had been quoting. These are standard for this model "new car tires on original wheels." 19" rims and P245/40 series tires.
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JWR

Junior Member
31
0
6
New data: I was able to drive a 2013 MKZ equipped with 18" wheels instead of 19" and 45 series tires instead of 40 series. VERY different. The washboard feel was not there. That still leaves open the possibilities that mine is stuck in "sporty" mode, that my tires are bad, or that 19" rims and 40 series tires simply ride like a buckboard. No way yet to tell which it is. Really does not solve the puzzle but I find it very interesting that this other 2013 MKZ does not have the disease.
 

JWR

Junior Member
31
0
6
Update: This infuriating problem still persists. Dealer has no clue any better than I do. Have driven 2 other MKZs -- one with the same 19 wheels as mine and another with 18" wheels. Neither one rides rough like mine. I tried the Sporty mode in both my own and one of the other cars and I see no road roughness difference at all. Yes, the steering changes and Yes the transmission shift points change but I feel no difference in road feel or bumpiness in any of these cars. Dealer has agreed to "sell me a new set of tires at his cost" whenever I am ready to try and solve this blasted issue. It is the ONLY complaint on what is other wise a great car. Hideous. I have trouble believing that it is tires because I once in a while I find a stretch of road where there is no bumpiness felt at the same speeds. Yet the dealer and almost everyone say it is tires. Once I wear these out (30,000 on them now) we will find out for sure. And if new tires DO NOT fix the problem it will stay in the shop permanently until until Ford Motor Co fixes the blasted thing.
 

mark95man

Senior Member
New data: I was able to drive a 2013 MKZ equipped with 18" wheels instead of 19" and 45 series tires instead of 40 series. VERY different. The washboard feel was not there. That still leaves open the possibilities that mine is stuck in "sporty" mode, that my tires are bad, or that 19" rims and 40 series tires simply ride like a buckboard. No way yet to tell which it is. Really does not solve the puzzle but I find it very interesting that this other 2013 MKZ does not have the disease.

Hi: My wife purchased a new 2014 MKZH in April 2014. She had a wonderful 2008 Mercury Grand Marquis--she claimed a Town Car was too big.

Back to her MKZH, I hated the way it drove as it did not handle like the panther based vehicles. Washboard ride with loud road noise. I avoided driving her MKZH. Then we tried a different suspension setting--unlike the Corvettes we had, the adjustment is not in plain sight. You had to search the menu for the adjustment to suspension. It was set to normal---I went to "sport" and the car handled better, way better. Her car has the full sliding roof + most of the other options except the tires--just the base 18" WHEELS/TIRES. She has over 30,000 miles on it. The tires might be 50% worn, if that. Not one warranty issue on it. Next year, she'll buy a new one. But we feel the hybrid is out of the running--the battery pack is just too big, results in a small trunk + the MPG is not worth it. The hot AZ Summers kill the MPG, around 36. Right now she's in the low to mid 40's.
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JWR

Junior Member
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6
Another update: 3000 miles more since the last comment. I found one tire slightly worse than the others and moved it to the rear which reduced the washboard feel a little bit (just prior to a 2000 miles trip in it.) I am trying to wear out these blasted tires since 99% of mechanics, dealers and owners say it is tires. I do believe, as one post said, that the 19" wheels (and resulting 2 3/8" of rubber between the rims and the road) is the stupid factor coming out of Lincoln. I think that does 2 thigs: 1) It makes for a rougher ride inherently from day one and 2) It makes the vehicle much more sensitive to both tire imperfections as they wear AND road blemishes. That is a bad combo. I would still love to trade these EXPENSIVE wheels for 17" ones that would give me the same rolling radius as what I have. As I said in post #11, when I get new tires either the problem goes away or it stays permanently in the dealer's shop until Ford Motor Company fixes the thing.
 

JWR

Junior Member
31
0
6
Another update: I bought $1000 worth of new Michelins. The disease is better but still not right. My VW Passat and F-150 both ride smoother with less bumpyness. Finally wrote Lincoln and they called about 4 days after I mailed it. Claim they've never heard of such a problem. Arranged a new appointment for different people at the service Dept. to get a "second opinion." This round I will be insisting on the technician driving the thing himself on a stretch of road I selected. I remain convinced that (because it changes so much) that the problem almost has to be with the dynamically adjustable shock absorbers. Either stuck in hard as rocks mode or out of control in settings. First guess is controls (either electronics box or software) is failing in some way. The fact that there have been many stretches of road where it was very, very smooth tells me it can't be tires, wheels etc. because those do not change from one stretch of highway to another.
 

jhnjohnp

Member
53
5
8
Here's my take. Not too crazy about Lincoln's ride control, actually had suspension go from tolerable to harsh while in comfort setting, and then other times OK again. I've been cycling through the 3 settings frequently to clear the cobwebs so to speak. Plan B is to replace tires, when due, with tires that provide more of a cushioned ride, and replace the struts/shocks which I believe lose their edge at around the 50,000 mile mark. I heard Bilstein shocks, when they go, ride harsh before losing their dampening ability. If you can do it yourself, shocks/struts are about $200 a piece from Rockauto. Other than this issue, and the leak in my trunk, I like the car especially the look.
 

jhnjohnp

Member
53
5
8
I'm assuming MKZ Lincoln Ride Control is not continuous damping control, but rather just adjusting the valving in the shock absorber to change the damping in comfort, normal, and sport to their own distinct but constant non variable level. If that's the case, the ride control may be sending incorrect signals to one or more shocks, or the shock it's self is not responding correctly to change. That is, one shock may remain in one setting while the remaining three respond correctly to a setting change. There have been spells where my car rides very stable, and other times the car is abruptly rocking side to side, and some wheels {not all} responding harshly to road imperfections without changing ride modes for a day or two. I hope the dealer can at least determine the problem is electronic or mechanical, but I'm not too hopeful.
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bbf2530

Junior Member
1,235
560
113
I'm assuming MKZ Lincoln Ride Control is not continuous damping control, but rather just adjusting the valving in the shock absorber to change the damping in comfort, normal, and sport to their own distinct but constant non variable level. If that's the case, the ride control may be sending incorrect signals to one or more shocks, or the shock it's self is not responding correctly to change. That is, one shock may remain in one setting while the remaining three respond correctly to a setting change. There have been spells where my car rides very stable, and other times the car is abruptly rocking side to side, and some wheels {not all} responding harshly to road imperfections without changing ride modes for a day or two. I hope the dealer can at least determine the problem is electronic or mechanical, but I'm not too hopeful.

Hi jhnjohnp. The MKZ's Lincoln Ride Control also incorporates a CCD suspension (Continuously Controlled Damping). The CCD suspeniosn continuously adjust the suspension in response to suspension, steering and braking sensors.

Here is a quick overview:
"The Lincoln Continuously Controlled Damping system in facts

CCD offers three modes (sport, normal, comfort) that are accessible using the Driver Information Center and controls on the steering wheel. It uses a suite of sensors that constantly monitor the vehicle’s suspension motion, body movement, steering and braking. The algorithm uses data from these sensors to adjust the suspension damping in milliseconds to help keep the body of the vehicle quiet and on track:
  • CCD system monitors 46 inputs that provide real-time data
  • CCD suspension reads 46 inputs every two milliseconds
  • CCD suspension reacts on average within 20 milliseconds
  • CCD has 12 sensors that speed-read the road to adjust the suspension
  • Each wheel/shock responds independently of the other three, allowing it to tailor its action to the specific condition it’s dealing with
  • The system allows for near-infinite variability of suspension response
  • CCD slows sudden changes in motion
  • CCD helps to reduce roll, pitch and vertical velocities
  • CCD enhances driving comfort and dynamics by adjusting damping force for each individual wheel
  • CCD helps isolate vehicle from undesired road harshness"
Hope this information helps. and good luck.
 

jhnjohnp

Member
53
5
8
Hi jhnjohnp. The MKZ's Lincoln Ride Control also incorporates a CCD suspension (Continuously Controlled Damping). The CCD suspeniosn continuously adjust the suspension in response to suspension, steering and braking sensors.

Here is a quick overview:
"The Lincoln Continuously Controlled Damping system in facts

CCD offers three modes (sport, normal, comfort) that are accessible using the Driver Information Center and controls on the steering wheel. It uses a suite of sensors that constantly monitor the vehicle’s suspension motion, body movement, steering and braking. The algorithm uses data from these sensors to adjust the suspension damping in milliseconds to help keep the body of the vehicle quiet and on track:
  • CCD system monitors 46 inputs that provide real-time dataood
  • CCD suspension reads 46 inputs every two milliseconds
  • CCD suspension reacts on average within 20 milliseconds
  • CCD has 12 sensors that speed-read the road to adjust the suspension
  • Each wheel/shock responds independently of the other three, allowing it to tailor its action to the specific condition it’s dealing with
  • The system allows for near-infinite variability of suspension response
  • CCD slows sudden changes in motion
  • CCD enhances driving comfort and dynamics by adjusting damping force for each individual wheel
  • CCD helps isolate vehicle from undesired road harshness"
Hope this information helps. and good luck.
Thanks for the info BBF. Well, to put it simply, mine must be busted cause it's not performing as above. Every now and then I get a taste of how the car should perform, but for the most part car gently rocks from side to side on all but the most level surface, rather dramatically on uneven surface, and intermittently difficult to feel difference between the three settings. Wish the car rode as good as it looks instead of the subpar ride I'm experiencing now. I've ridden in worse, and my car's ride is somewhat tolerable, but not what you would expect from a Lincoln. Should have mentioned I bought the car used in June with about 43,000 on it, and initially steering, ride were worse, but both conditions have steadily improved, so maybe a little more time for system retrain. If that fails, will see what the dealer can do. Once again, thanks, now that I know what I'm dealing with that would explain the inconsistent ride while remaining in one ride control setting.
 
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jhnjohnp

Member
53
5
8
Lincoln's ride control looks good on paper, and must really perform well when it works, such is not the case with my 2016 MKZ hybrid. As mentioned in other posts, too much rocking side to side, harsh on bumps, and not the best ride in town. It's tolerable, but not what you would expect from a Lincoln product. Think Ford's engineers were a little too ambitious on this set up with so many points of failure. I will be surprised if the dealer can fix it.
 
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jhnjohnp

Member
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5
8
Hope somebody comes up with a fix. It's not the tires. The ride control is inconsistent. When it's working get an amazing stable ride, other times not so hot, and at it's worst intolerable in all modes, that is, comfort, normal, and sport. Discovered GM owners are having similar problems with their "MagneRide" to a point where they are disabling the system, and installing conventional struts/shocks. They sell after market kits for that purpose, but so far found no such option for Lincoln ride control. Haven't brought it to the dealer yet, but get the feeling their response will be, "Operating as designed".
 
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