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Midsize Sedans Comparison Thread

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  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    We've been all over the place in the last few days. We need to get back to talking about the cars. Thanks.
  • ron_mron_m Posts: 188
    Yesterday I test drove a Fusion for the first time. Overall, I thought it was a pretty nice car. But the particular vehicle that I drove had some sort of problem with the front brakes. The car behaved like a vehicle does when the rotors are warped. Whenever I applied the brakes the front end shimmied way too much for a new car. I know that the rotors couldn't have been warped since it was a new car. Also, vehicles equipped with ABS systems do not behave like this car did. The sales manager tried to justify this braking behavior to me with two different reasons. Here are his two reasons:

    1.) "Well, it's been sitting on the lot for a while, so the rust on the rotors needs to be wiped away by braking a few more times."

    2.) "All cars equipped with ABS systems behave like that during braking. It's because the pads are coming in and out of contact with the rotors."

    Weak excuses; both of them! I've driven countless numbers of vehicles with ABS systems and they haven't exhibited the same type of behavior that the '07 Fusion did that I test drove. I want to drive another one and compare the two whenever I get another opportunity to do so. It's just hard for me to believe that all Fusions have this same type of behavior during normal and aggressive braking.

    Here are some of my main observations with the 2007 Fusion SEL V6 that I test drove yesterday:

    -Ride was smooth and compliant enough.
    -Cabin was quiet enough regardless of the road type(e.g. asphalt vs. cement) and speed in which I traveled.
    -Acceleration was adequate.
    -Leather seat comfort was average; not the best but certainly not the worst either.
    -Engine noise during acceleration was a bit louder than I expected for a V6--but not intolerable.
    -The audio trim bezel had somewhat of a cheap look and feel to it. I just didn't care for the appearance of the entire audio head unit and surrounding area when compared to offerings from some of Ford's competitors.
    -Less refined feeling overall than my father's 2006 Accord that I drove to the Ford dealership for the test drive.
    -Appealing exterior appearance, with the lone exception for me being the tail light assemblies. They just don't do it for me. (Are there any aftermarket tail light assemblies available yet for the Fusion they don't have so much chrome contained within them?)
    -Overall fit and finish seemed acceptable for the price range of vehicle it was.
    -Comfortable cabin in regards to size.
    -Seemed to be a car that would be comfortable to take an extended vacation trip in.

    All in all, I have to say the Fusion seemed to be a decent mid-size sedan for the money. With the exception of a few things here and there, the car would probably make my list of mid-size sedans to strongly consider. I still want to see how reliable these vehicles prove to be after 3 or more years of ownership when properly maintained. That should really be interesting to see. I wish Ford the best of luck, and hope that they get things turned around in the not too distant future. But it's going to be a major challenge for them due to the stiff competition that is out there today.

    Ron
  • mf15mf15 Posts: 158
    I just thought that I would add that when we bought our 05 Ford Escape, I drove one with the same problem with the rear brakes the rotors were warped and there was no rust on them. I told the salesman to pull out another of the same color, that one was fine we still have it and no problems. All the while the salesman was telling me how far Ford had come with quality, I was not overly impressed with the warped brakes but my wife wanted the car,so far so good.
    I know this is a sedan thread but the same problem from the same company, years apart with different vehicles, I find to be interesting.
    Old Mike
  • Try Mercury Milan. It has nicer interior and tail-lamps.
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    From what I have read, the syptoms of "warped" brakes may actually be due to the build-up of brake material on the rotors. So it might just be caused by the way the car has been driven.
  • bhmr59bhmr59 Posts: 1,598
    Thanks for that eye-opening article. (I admit I didn't read it in entierity but certainly got the drift).

    I've been driving cars with all wheel discs since 1971 and accepted the convention wisdom about warped rotors.

    My interpretation, with or without ABS, it's a good idea to pump your brakes when coming to a stop sign or stop light and kinda slowly coast the last few feet before coming to a full stop.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    "My interpretation, with or without ABS, it's a good idea to pump your brakes when coming to a stop sign or stop light and kinda slowly coast the last few feet before coming to a full stop."

    Actually that goes against conventional wisdom. Coming to a panic stop pumping brakes equipped with ABS will lengthen the stopping distance even more than necessary. Only pump non-ABS equipped vehicles. I've never had brakes pulsate from brake dust, I've had brakes pulsate from warped rotors.

    If you read your owners manual of your ABS equipped car, I'm sure the manual will repeat what I just said.

    Here's what the NHTSA says about ABS brakes:

    http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/problems/Equipment/absbrakes.html
  • bhmr59bhmr59 Posts: 1,598
    I wasn't talking about a panic stop...just normal driving coming up to a stop sign or red light. And this (while maybe wrong on my part) to keep the additional heat of the pad off the rotor so as not to create a brake pad "foot print" on the rotor.

    Read the article about "warped rotors" actually being pad material "burned" onto the rotor.

    My car does not have ABS. But, as I understand them, ABS only kicks in during panic type stops. Is it correct to assume that ABS brakes behave like non-ABS brakes during normal driving conditions?
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    "My car does not have ABS. But, as I understand them, ABS only kicks in during panic type stops. Is it correct to assume that ABS brakes behave like non-ABS brakes during normal driving conditions?"

    Just as general information, ABS only functions when it detects wheel slippage from the road surface. Meaning if a wheel locks up, ABS will kick in. I've had vehicles with warped rotors, it's a PITA. If your car comes with crappy or defective rotors or badly designed brakes nothing you do can prevent warping. It is also said if you don't allow your brakes to "brake in" during the first couple of hundred miles it can cause warped rotors.

    I drive my cars normally and don't expend any extra energy into trying to save them. Most brakes last me 40K to 50K, when they need fixin' I get them fixed.
  • bhmr59bhmr59 Posts: 1,598
    So, pumping ABS brakes in normal conditions is OK?

    My last car, I got 56K out of the original brakes. This is with very little highway driving and I have a curvey, steep hill to go down each day.

    The replacement brakes lasted about 45K after turning the rotors and developed the "warped" rotor problem about 7K later. Maybe it wasn't the rotors but "residue" from making a hard stop on the second set of brakes.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    "So, pumping ABS brakes in normal conditions is OK?"

    Under normal driving circumstances, I don't believe in pumping the brakes at all. Although I can't tell you if and when I've pumped the brakes on ABS equipped cars.

    As far as your second set of brakes, maybe the rotors were crappy rotors or non-OEM. Or maybe you didn't go easy on them the first couple of hundred miles. You never said who installed the rotors, dealer or independent. If it was an independed they probably used generic rotors. I really don't know just guessing, but there seems to be misinformation about ABS brakes, that is all I was trying to address.
  • elroy5elroy5 Posts: 3,741
    If my OEM rotors ever needed changing, I think I would go for an upgrade (Brembo or another brand name company). There are no hills where I live, so the chances of my brakes overheating are much less. I have driven in steep hilly areas before, and I can see where it would be harder on the brakes.
  • mfletou1mfletou1 Posts: 508
    I've been told by numerous GM techs that the Malibu brakes were warped from overheating due to lack of ventaliaton, and that our driving style was part of the problem. Of course, its not our driving style per se, its everybody's driving style---because when you drive the 395 corridor in Washington every day, there's only one driving style--stop and go. Essentially, the problem is simply low quality brakes. Still shouldn't happen, and to most people, DOESN'T happy. 10k on my Camry brakes--no warping, no squeaking, etc. In fairness, my Intrigue did a little better, but it still did have to have rotors replaced at 20k, done under warranty by GM because they felt the rotors had warped excessively over spec. The one instance where they actually stepped up for me! They had been resurfaced prior to that also.

    There's no reason to pump ABS brakes, in an emergency stop, that's the wrong thing to do.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    I've driven in Atlanta as well. I live in Los Angeles and I have to say that Atlanta was the only place where I felt less safe on the roads than here. And that's saying something. L.A. traffic is slowly wearing my nerves away. I must dodge a potential accident every 3-4 days lately.

    And Atlanta is worse.

    Seeing people doing 80+ in the rain when the road is practically flooding during a brief spring downpour and the insanity in the city center... Yeah I can believe it.

    They just don't care about weather or conditions - they just go faster. It's an odd mix of city and country drivers with very little common sense inbetween.
  • 2zmax2zmax Posts: 140
    I'm with you on this one. I hate driving through Atlanta (I-75) Man do they have some crazy drivers or what? I was in a pile up in SE GA on I-95 when it started raining really hard and no one except for me even bother to slow down. God was looking out for me that day, as everyone around me got smashed but my new Maxima didn’t even get scratched.
    But LA is much worse, unless you have a big truck or an SUV with lots of power, don't try the interstate.
    I was there for 3 days and saw many accidents on the same road every day. In addition the bikers are flying between the cars on the freeway - tell me if that is not insanity?
  • guestguest Posts: 774
    " just thought that I would add that when we bought our 05 Ford Escape, I drove one with the same problem with the rear brakes the rotors were warped and there was no rust on them. I told the salesman to pull out another of the same color, that one was fine we still ...

    Know this is off topic, but I used to own an 01 Escape XLT V6 4WD and it was a great vehicle. 75,000 trouble free miles.. Just maintain it and it will be fine...
  • guestguest Posts: 774
    I strongly believe and have been told by some techs its advised to "pump" your brakes when coming to a stop. Now when I mean "pump" your brakes. I mean when you see up ahead you are going to have to stop you just tap your brakes little at a time until you come to the stop. Same way when going down a hill, you don't ride your brakes all the way down, you just tap the brakes to slow the car down little by little. I was told this give even wear along with not letting the rotors heat up. Constant, instant stopping can warp rotors. In all the vehicles I have owned over the years I have easily gone upwards of 50,000 miles or more before a brake/rotor replacement was needed.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    "In all the vehicles I have owned over the years I have easily gone upwards of 50,000 miles or more before a brake/rotor replacement was needed."

    The same, but I don't tap my brakes, I use them as necessary. I don't try to preserve the life of them.
  • Yup - Atlanta is an all out free for all.

    And I grew up driving the mess around metro DC and its aggressive driving requirements.

    I gotta say that Broward County FL (Ft Lauderdale area) has gotta be up there too. Same high speeds but nicer cars!
  • captain2captain2 Posts: 3,971
    I think you will find that the most common cause of rotor warpage is 'riding the brakes' and otherwise, vehicles in heavily congested areas. Front pads will generally wear at about twice the rate of the rears - the rotors themselves should rarely require work unless you are careless. I can only wish as many brake problems as possible on those 2 footed drivers that accelerate away from me with the brake lights ablaze!
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Scape, my grandmother's 1996 Accord (which became mine at 115,000 miles or so) didn't need front pads until 132,000 miles, and still has the orginal rear drums, now wih 168,000 miles on them. Yes, that's with more highway than city driving, but impressive nonetheless for a 2,900 lb car.
  • exshomanexshoman Posts: 109
    Yup, I do the same thing. Going home, I've got a long, fairly steep downhill stretch where I could just lightly step on the brakes the whole way down (like most folks I observe), but instead I brake a bit, then let up and let it roll, and then brake a bit, and let it roll, etc.

    Instead of really heating up my brakes, this gives them a chance to keep relatively cool.
  • And there may be a more subtle, but common, cause of rotor warpage: 'clamping the brakes' while stopped at a light. A trick to avoid the uneven rotor cooling that leads to warping is to stop a few feet earlier, then periodically release the brakes and let the car roll forward a foot or so, so that the rotors turn a bit. Then re-apply the brakes again. Do this every 10-15 seconds, while stopped in traffic, this way the rotors will cool more uniformly.
  • Why not just downshift a gear?

    Can the Fusion even do that? Come out of overdrive? I thought it just had D or L.
  • It can if you get the 5spd manual ;)
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    Heh. Gotta agree. With a manual, you just shift down a gear and presto. Maunals also use their brakes less as you can use the transmission as well and if you drop it out of gear with the clutch in first, you don't have the engine/torque converter pushing against you at a stop.

    My brakes last easily double the length with a manual transmission .
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Can't downshift in the V6 Fusion. I put my Accord in D3 on some long grades, but usually, when I press the brake for a couple of seconds on a downhill stretch where I am gaining speed, the car automatically drops to third gear automatically (unless going over, say, 55 MPH). It's really handy in some of the hilly section of Birmingham; no brake riding! I can just apply, the car will downshift, and usually, hold my speed in check. If it doesn't downshift, I can pull to D3.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    As someone who has been rear-ended at a redlight and pushed into an intersection, I'd leave the brakes applied when stopped, whether or not you have to to keep the car stopped. It may save you from bumping the car in front of you if you get rear ended, or worse, save you from being T-Boned because you were pushed into the middle of a busy road that has a green light.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    My point was that the automatic wears everything out a bit at the light because of this. The manual - you leave the brakes on as well, but without the clutch engaged, it's only held in place by the brakes.(and IF you do get hit, you'll not stall the engine, either, as long as you keep it in neutral)
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Just checking :o)
This discussion has been closed.