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This issue has occurred on my TRANSIT250 van and I really need input from other drivers if they have had this same problem.

At highway speeds my van is flexing when I make turns into other lanes and generally on long right and left curves on freeways. The rear axle seems to be steering me back with the structural flex in the frame. It is unnerving and we cannot find a cause. The van has been in the shop for three days now and even after several attempts to fix and troubleshoot the issue, one of the garage mechanics came back after a drive describing the freeway test jaunt as "scary".

Please help with any constructive suggestions, I absolutely need this van to work!

The best description that I can give about the situation is that it feels like I am pulling a trailer.
The rear end of the van is almost, but not quite, fish-tailing.
The sway bar and all of the suspension has been checked and the tires have been replaced and professionally balanced.

Thanks for your input!
TVNewsGuy
 

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Sounds like low rear tire pressure. They should be around 60-70 psi. Were they recently changed? Are you sure they're e-rated?

Possibly broken weld or bad spring leaf. Less likely, though. Also sway bar bushings should be checked.
 

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How much does your girlfriend weigh and does she sit in the back?

Scratch that, I thought this was a different thread.
 

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Since there isn't any frame on the Transit vans, the only thing I can think of is that the van is heavily loaded and handling like a van that is heavily loaded. Having seen TV station vans, I am guessing your van is heavily loaded. You might have to just drive slower, or get a dually.
 

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Since the obvious things to look at have been addressed, let's go further down the rabbit hole with the less likely but still not looked at ideas.

Swap front and rear wheels to see if issue feels any different.

Is there any slack in the wheel bearings ?

Are the rear wheels tracking straight or is the whole axle off by a few degrees of rotation?

Sub frame assemblies for front end and rear end. Is everything bolted tight? Leaf spring mounts secure? Any broken leafs?

Get the van weighed on a CAT scale at your nearest truck stop, one axle at a time and compare actual weights with max weights listed on sticker in drivers door jamb. Compare these numbers with the calculated max payload of your tires on each axle.

If possible weigh just one wheel at a time on a CAT scale. Based on your load you may have one corner that is way overloaded, but the total weight on that axle could still be under the max.

Pull the fuses out that control the Side Wind Stabilization and Roll Stability Control. These systems have the ability to apply the brakes on just one side of the vehicle at a time. If a sensor is going bad, or if it doesn't like the way the van is loaded, it may be fighting you by applying brakes.

Get under the van and look at every weld where the longitudinal beams are welded to the floor of the van. Ideally drive one front wheel onto a service ramp, large curb, rock, etc. to induce as much body flex as possible so any trouble spots would be more noticeable.

Measure your wheelbase on each side precisely and look for a discrepancy of more than 1/4 inch.

Is this an extended van? Is there too much weight aft of the rear axle?

I see by the username that you do TV. Does this van have any heavy equipment, satellite dish, extendable pole, etc. on the roof making the center of gravity too high? You may need stronger rear springs, rear spring helpers, and custom shocks. Have you got a picture of the van you can share with us?


That's all I can think of for now.

Good luck, and keep us posted !
 

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When I was young and inexperienced, I jacked up (lifted) a unibody front wheel drive car by putting my jack under the rear suspension trailing arms. This did lift the vehicle enough for me to do a rear brake job, but it bent the rear trailing arms slightly and I did not realize it. When taking a test drive, this vehicle handled exactly as you describe, it was very unstable and the rear end wanted to move side to side, I could not go faster than 35 mph, without losing control of the vehicle. Took it to the dealership and they were able to find the error quickly when performing a wheel alignment. They replaced the damaged chassis parts and my car was back to new.

I would take your vehicle to a good (different) alignment/suspension/chassis shop and have them put it on the alignment rack. They should be able to find the error quickly and either re-align or replace damaged components that are probably causing the out of alignment condition.

another possibility is one wheel is dragging, but the alignment shop should be able to diagnose this as well.
 

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Transits are unibody not body-on-frame and are built like tanks. Highly unlikely that 'frame flex" has anything to do with your symptoms.

What you describe sounds like an under inflated rear tire or a badly distributed load, with too much of it too far back and/or to high up.

What are you hauling? Whats the total vehicle weight? How is the load distributed? Do you have heavy stuff hanging off the back or at the rear of a roof rack.
 

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Mine did that when the van was new (Empty) on certain types of road surfaces, After my camper conversion weights started to add up the van drove smoothly on all road surfaces.

Some of the van handling threads on this forum say the same thing, Add more weight.
 
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