ZX road manners

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sooty
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ZX road manners

Postby sooty » Sat Aug 10, 2002 12:06 am

My wifes car is a Ford Escort Mk5 3 door 1.8 Diesel, which is pretty good with road manners such as cornering around a roundabouts or bends in general. My ZX td I have to say is not anywhere near as good with its manners, as I have noticed more so in the wet. It tends to be tail happy without much warning. I know this is the nature of front wheel drive, but the escort is better. I also tried a 306 td which had the same tyre size, and within reason has the same suspension. This was just as bad on the same roundabouts and bends. Anybody got any clues to improve these manners apart from spending a fortune on stiffer Torsion bars and Springs. The tyre pressures are as per the manual, etc. and the ride height is untouched.
Edited by - sooty on 09 Aug 2002 19:21:50
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Dave1
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Postby Dave1 » Sat Aug 10, 2002 1:58 am

I find it strange you are experiencing this problem. The ZX is pretty much renowned for sticking to the road like "glue". I can throw mine into any bend within reason and find it will out corner the majority of other cars, partciulary in the wet. Are you sure that all the bushes are ok on your car. There are four on the back and they need to be ok as the slight "rear steering" effect relies on them. If you are having problems on something as simple as roundabouts I would seriously have to question something, how fast are you trying to go?
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reffro
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Postby reffro » Sat Aug 10, 2002 2:06 am

I'm sorry to say it but I think you might be on the wrong line here. The ZX and 306 both drive and handle far better than any Escort I have driven. By what you are describing I think you prefer your cars to understeer hard at the limit, which is what Escorts will do willingly. The ZX and 306 both display what is known as lift off oversteer, where the back will move out if provoked, though for this to happen you need to be going into a bend or roundabout quickly and backing off the throttle completely or even worse braking. Its all down to individual taste, but I prefer my car to be adjustable in its cornering line which the ZX is, Escorts just plough on off the side of the road with understeer.
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sooty
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Postby sooty » Sat Aug 10, 2002 2:23 am

The tailout occurs when driving around a roundabout/bends and not excessive speeds approx. 25/35mph and not power off or braking. You could call it 'oversteer', but again I might prefer the 'Escort style of understeer', the ZX is a little too much of oversteer especially in the WET. I'd like to make it slightly less than it is.
I will check the rear bushings, but it had it's MOT last Month with no problem.
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alan s
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Postby alan s » Sat Aug 10, 2002 5:25 am

Just out of curiosity, what brand and type of tyres are you running?
As an example; on a CX I have found certain Bridgestones will skip sideways on slightly rough corners on bitumen surface (dry or wet) yet hang on in the dirt.
I "inherited" some Taiwanese tyres that handled so well in the wet it was unbelieveable. I once went through a sweeping 180 degree bend on a wet road at 150 kph and felt safe as a bank yet they weren't all that good on dry roads, were terribly noisy and wore out within about 12,000 klms (yeah I know....150kph corners...waddya expect) <img src=icon_smile_clown.gif border=0 align=middle>
A set of Pirellis made the car so unstable we had to change them to Michelins when the tyre guy couldn't figure why the car felt as though it was going to slip off the road at 60 KPH to such an extent that my wife refused to drive it.
More recently, I changed tyres on my BX 16V from Michelin to Falken directionals. The Falken are quieter that the Michies, handle corners better in wet or dry, don't aquaplane and the car rides as well as it did on the Michelins.
On the down side, I can spin the wheels easier on take off on sealed roads (no I don't wear my cap back to front) <img src=icon_smile_tongue.gif border=0 align=middle>and the car tends to "Torque steer" under heavy acceleration which it didn't do with the Michies on, but I have been told on good authority that this is a price you have to pay for the better features of the directional tyres. It could be most disconcerting for anyone not expecting it but as I did my fair share of competitive driving in my younger day, it is something that I have adapted to.
The point I am making by showing these examples is that different cars will handle in a completely different manner depending on the suitability of the tyres fitted and the driving style used by the operator of that car.
If the bushes check out alright, I'd be inclined to check out its "shoes" but I would be guided by those who own identical cars and drive in a somewhat similar manner as you. There is a strong possibility that the fault may not have anything directly to do with the car but more a case of an unsuitable tyre pattern for that particular vehicle. I must also admit, that I am not a big disciple of Michelin tyres as I find they tend to vary wildly from one type to another, some being made in places more renowned for tropical nights and exotic holidays than high performance tyres.<img src=icon_smile_wink.gif border=0 align=middle>
Hope that helps you to stop "hangin' the tail"
Alan S
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Dave Burns
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Postby Dave Burns » Sat Aug 10, 2002 5:03 pm

The F*^d might ultimately have the edge for cornering but it will be absolutely nowhere when it comes to comparing the quality of the ride.
The ZX is well noted for its ride quality, have you ever seen such writing's about the Escort, you don't get an improvement in one without a sacrifice in the other.
Having said that my ZX (on Bridgestone's) displays no will to stick its ring out and while I don't drive like a maniac, nor do I tootle around like an old granny, I get on with it.
It could all be down to tyre's, I had a new 205 diesel in 88, it came with Uniroyal 280 rally's fitted.
The Fiesta I had before it went round corner's as if on rail's and also had Uniroyal tyre's on it but of a different model.
I couldn't understand how the 205 could feel so unstable in the wet and not brilliant in the dry, having to slow down greatly for bend's where the fiesta just plowed on through.
I soon found the answer when the front's wore out on the 205, they were replaced with Goodyear Grand Prix S, car felt heap's better in the dry but what a bloody great shock when it rained, the front went where you wanted it to go but the back had other ideas, thought sod this too dangerous, and threw the Uni's off the rear and got two more Goodyear's on, never looked back, car went from being almost a nightmare to a dream to drive, parted company with it 25 miles short of 200,000.
Iv'e had Michelin's and Dunlop though wont ever have'em again, I always seem to come back to Goodyear's, got them on the Xantia now and they inspire confidence, especially in the wet, don't last quite as long may be but as with the suspension, you don't get something for nothing.
Dave
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sooty
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Postby sooty » Sun Aug 11, 2002 1:28 am

I'd like to thank you all, for your tips.
You are of the same suspicion's as mine, regarding the Tyres being suspect.
I drive many cars for a living (Logistics)ie; Fiat, Alfa, Peugeot, Fords and many more. Some handle better than others and all are better at present than my ZX, most of which have a neutral balance or slight over steer. I've been told that Firestone is a hard wearing tyre? also GoodYear, but Michelins are soft as are Uniroyals. I've always liked GoodYears on my previous cars F^&D Capri 3ltr and F^&D Sierra 4x4 all along time ago(Yawn).
I only had the ZX a couple of months and the Front tyres are budgets needing renewing (near illegal) and the Rears are remoulds like new and definitely being Replaced. I've enjoyed reading a site I think it was suggested by our Austrailian friend 'Alan S' in another Topic.
http://www.fernblatt.com/longhurst/tyre_bible.html
It has other topics such as an Engine Bible, Oil Additive Bible and others. A bit slow in downloading, but worth a read.
Thanks again, I'll let you all, know the out-come.
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Jon
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Postby Jon » Mon Aug 12, 2002 2:37 pm

I think that this handling problem MUST be caused by the combination of low tread front tyres, and the remoulds on the rear. I am veteran of 3 ZX's and would be alarmed to say the least if the back end became twitchy at 25mph!
When the ZX came out in late 91, it was rightly praised as being one of the best comprimises in the handling & comfort stakes available at that time, close to, say a Golf GTi of that era for handling, but with far better ride comfort.
Much has been written about the "self steering" rear subframe, but in reality it only moves a tiny amount. Like a 205 GTi the ZX will try to pull the back end round if you lift off the throttle during high speed cornering, and the only way to straighten the car up is to have the nerve to nail the throttle home (sometimes producing an anxious moment as boost builds on the TD!!!). However, to induce this characteristic I would have to be cornering at very high speed, then lift off; not doing 25mph round a roundabout! Most of the time I correct the car by rapid on/off throttle/steering correction, but the car is basically such a safe handler this would be in a rare, extreme situation.I'm not a maniac.
For the record my previous ZX Volcane ran 185/60/14 P6000's, which were great, but wore quickly, and the present ZX Aura runs 175/65/14 Michelin XT1, which seem to offer a decent combination of long life and handling.I regard cheap tyres as the ultimate false economy.
JW
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Edited by - Jon on 12 Aug 2002 09:49:55
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RichardW
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Postby RichardW » Mon Aug 12, 2002 3:38 pm

Quote:
"I only had the ZX a couple of months and the Front tyres are budgets needing renewing (near illegal) and the Rears are remoulds like new and definitely being Replaced"
Er, QED?? ZX is designed for neutral handling and should only step out if severly provoked. Get some new tyres on it before you stuff it into someone else's motor. I agree with Jon, in that I like Michelin tyres - I have always found them to be good and give good grip both wet and dry, and Citroens (certainly BX TD's anyway!) seem to ride better on them.
Richard
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humpy
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Postby humpy » Sun Aug 25, 2002 11:27 pm

I had michelins all round when I nought my 2l volcane, ok so they were worn but the handling is fantastic now on goodyear eagle venturas all round, I'm on my second set now. Unfortunately they are a bit soft. The wear figure for them is only 240 compared with 300 on most tyres.
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davethewheel
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Postby davethewheel » Mon Aug 26, 2002 3:58 am

hi all ,i own a zx td volcane which has goodyear nct 5 tyres allround and i can say it is one of the best handling small performance cars i have ever owned(and i have had quite a few )i have embarresed a lot of more powerful cars including petrol and i would not swap it for anything else,what more could i whant 50 mpg and great handling cheers dave :):)
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Postby volcane305 » Tue Aug 27, 2002 12:43 am

I also have a td volcane which can go 'round corners on rails. The first week of ownership provided a few scares as I tried to find the limit and ended up with a few 180 spins. Roundabouts are great the bigger the better. I am now in a bit of a dilema the volcane can't last forever and I can't find a suitable replacement that is comfortable, sporty and won't cost a fortune any ideas anyone? current favourite is a Bora 150 but its a V* a 320d would be ok but can't live with the image.
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Postby russellfowden » Wed Aug 28, 2002 11:23 pm

Errrm - yeah, me too. I went from a Mk IV Escort to a 1.9 TD ZX and found the ZX to be immeasurably better handling. But I do agree with what you are saying in a way, as the Escort would always lose the front end first when provoked whereas the ZX tends to do more of a four wheel slide and the back end can occasionally feel a bit jumpy. However, this is only if you explore the limits of the handling of the car and is certainly not something I've ever encountered at low speeds. Change your rubber. And don't spare too many pennies on them either, cos' you've bought yourself a very nice handling little hatchback there and if you get it sorted and try an Escort again you'll put the thing straight into a wall!
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Chris_L
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Postby Chris_L » Thu Aug 29, 2002 3:27 am

I have to agree with you all on this one, my TD Volcane has given me more smiles per mile than any other car i've driven. The handling is amazing and incredibly rewarding. As Russell says, all 4 wheels seem to break away at the same time, leading to a controllable slide (great fun on those big motorway roundabouts!). Its great fun embarassing racers in newer / faster machines when you come to the twisty sections! <img src=icon_smile_wink.gif border=0 align=middle>
I would personally recommend Continentals. I put a set of Conti Sport Contacts on and got 50,000 miles out of the set (and I don't hang about either). Amazing grip wet or dry - a joy to drive.
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russellfowden
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Postby russellfowden » Thu Aug 29, 2002 7:11 am

Absolutely Chris, I've driven/borrowed a fair few new cars over the years but considering the age of the design the ZX 1.9TD's really show how it should be done. I have friends and workmates with a Mitubishi FTO, a BMW 325i and in one case a seriously crazy 4.5 litre TVR Chimera who have all commented with some incredulity that they were unable to lose me and my silly French hatchback on the more twisty country roads that we toured round. I rest the ZX handling case...... trust me, if you know what you are doing these cars can shift with the best of them, and it's all down to the fantastically neutral four wheel slide manner in which they handle. I'm not a boy racer, but if you explore what the car can do it's really impressive. Furthermore, I've had mine for over a year and nothing has gone wrong with it. Which makes it a top second hand buy. Get one now while they're still cheap.... really. I can't recommend them enough,
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