2004 Mustang has a rumble-strip like vibration

Hi everyone,
I have a 2004 Mustang convertible V6 auto with 140K miles. The car has a rumble-strip like vibration that will come and go at any speed. But seems to be most noticeable at highway speeds when the car hits a ruff spot in the road. It will rumble for a short while the gradually go away. It can be more pronounced sometimes than other times.

The car did hit a curb with the right side front tire, enough so that the tire had to be replaced and did scuff up the wheel pretty good also. Had the one tire replaced, all tires balanced and rotated. Front-end alignment done.

Engine and transmission both seem to operate smoothly. New plugs, wires and throttle body cleaned. New brakes all four.
I have noticed the ball joint on the front right does have a small amount of play?

Anyone solved this problem or have any recommendations?

The ‘any speed’ fact throws a wrench in my theory, but when I have seen vibrations that come and go, they were some looseness in the suspension (e.g. ball joint) that had a resonant frequency that would let it shake the whole car. It typically takes a specific speed plus just the right little bump or turning stress to set off the vibration.

I’d start by having another shop check the front suspension for damage. Maybe the shop that replaced your tire missed something, especially if this was a chain tire shop.

I was going to say its a wheel bearing… but that noise does not come and go… you SURE it comes and goes or just gets less noticeable at lower speeds?


Sounds suspension related to me…

Do you just hear this rumble and where? Or do you feel it, too?

Do you feel it in the steering wheel? If so concentrate on that corner you curbed. You may have bent the spindle or the hub just a tiny bit that is showing up as a vibration when something sets it off.

If you don’t feel it in the steering wheel, do you feel it in the car’s floor? If so, have the driveshaft and its u-joints checked. They may be worn enough so set off an intermittent vibration.

A shuddering lock up torque converter clutch has been characterized as a rumble strip vibration. A diagnostic test is the following: When the rumble exibits hold the gas pedal constant with the right foot and lightly apply the brake pedal with the left. You just want the brake lights to illuminate. If the rumble ceases, you might have lock up clutch shudder because the PCM will unlock the torque converter when it sees the brake apply signal.

If so a transmission service might help. I don’t know if there is a cure in a bottle so check with your parts store. Reply back here and maybe someone can help. If these do not work replacing the torque converter may be in order.

No real noise. Just car vibration. The steering wheel does not shake. You can definitely tell the vibration stops and starts. You will feel it in town and out on the highway. The car body and the rearview mirror will shimmy.

Try an experiment where you accelerate moderately from stop to 60 mph at a constant rate, like driving on a non-busy freeway on-ramp from 0-60 in 15 seconds. Repeat the same thing multiple times, and see if the rumble-strip event seems to always occur at the same speed or not. That might help differentiate between the suspension and the power train.

I have noticed the ball joint on the front right does have a small amount of play?

Basics: Fix what you know is bad (ball joint) and go from there.

Agreed with insightful about fixing that ball joint. There should be no play in it at all.

Maybe that little bit of play is causing a wheel oscillation and that’s being characterized as a rumble.

If there’s play in the ball joint then I have to question how close to correct the alignment is going to be. The best it could be is “in the ballpark” and going down the road it will be changing all of the time.

Check the ujoints(i assume this is RWD)