Violent vibration at high speeds....PLEASE ADVICE!!! (HELP ME!!)

Hello,
I bought a focus 1.6 zetec about 2 months ago from a private seller. When I test drove the car there were no problems although I only drove at city speeds ( <50mph). However after I handed over the money and
got the car on the motorway the entire car started to vibrate very badly. It starts at around 55mph and at around 80mph it gets to a point where you don't feel safe driving the car. When it gets very very bad at 80mph, it gets UNBEARABLE if I try to change lanes at the same speed (i.e. turn the steering wheel). I mean, the wheels shake, the steering wheel shakes, the door panels start to shudder and the entire dashboard also shudders v.badly. Basically it feels as if the wheels are gonna come off and the car will fall apart! I took the car to three garages who all swore that it was a problem with wheel balancing and they all balanced the wheels. Then I decided to take it to Rapid Fit, hoping that ford would know best about their own car. They adviced the same thing (plus that one of the alloys where slightly bent, which they said should go away once the wheels were balanced), so they balanced my wheels again but the problem still didn't go away. Finally I booked the car in for a road test, went with guy on the road test and his advice was that the SLIGHTLY bent/damaged alloy was causing all this violent vibration and shaking and that it should be changed.
I took their advice, paid 110, and got a new alloy (the standard Zetec type - which no one else sells, I THINK! ). And, guess what? The problem didn't go away. This was two days ago. Today I booked the car in AGAIN for a road test and I just collected the car. Apprantly the problem is NOT with alloys, or wheels or balancing, now according to them the gearbox needs to be changed and it's gonna cost me 860 (plus of course the 64 they charged for the road test and check). I tried to get back the money I paid for the new alloy which I bought because of their useless advice, but the guy was very rude and dismissive - they adviced me to change the allow because it was damaged, therefore I can't have my money + old alloy back.
few questions, I would really appreciate some advice!
1) Can anyone tell me if they have had similar problems with their car and if 860 is the right price to pay?
2)Is it possible that a bush or a similar part is causing this problem?
3)Is it a complicated repair that should only be done by ford or can any mechanic carry it out?
4)Assuming that Rapid Fit is correct, and I need a new gear box, is it OK to continue using the car for city driving? Will it lead to more damage to other parts of the drivetrain? (no vibrations at all below 50mph).
5)What usually causes this kind of damage (should it have been picked up on an MOT, bearing in mind the car is only 3 years old)?
I'm at a loss as what next to do. Definitely not going back to Rapid Fit, Saville St., Sheffield!!! Thank you for your help. T
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Hi - do you know the history of the car - has it ever been in an accident?
I only ask because I got mine back from the garage yesterday after a bad rear shunt - it's just not the same car - had to drive 300 mile round trip to Gatwick and back today and the vibration was horrific. Could hardly keep it on the road - has gone from a car that handled beautifully to something I never want to drive again!
My husband has told me that the wheels need balancing properly but it feels a bit more drastic than that. Not only is there bad vibration but the road noise is horrific - can hardly hear the radio when it is almost up to maximum. Don't know what they've done to it at the garage, but I'm not letting them get away with it!!!!
Ann
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Nope, as far as I know, no accidents. I did an HPI check when I bought the car, and it was all clear. I've posted this message on the ford focus owners club. If you're having the same problems you should check out my post there as well....I've had much more responses on that post. Here's the link:
http://forum.ffoc.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t "310
Hope you can sort it out. What ever you do, dont take just one opinion from Rapid Fit, take it to several garages before you commit to a repair!
T
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Check the CV joint by driving a tight circle to the left and to the right in an empty parking lot. Should give a lot of noise on the bad side. /per

accident?
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--------------070306080609000404030800 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii; format=flowed Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
Hello,
My 2002 Focus ZTW began violently vibrating under the same conditions after the dealer did my first tire rotation. The dealer told me that they have been having problems with the Firestone Firehawk tires (205/50R16) as others complained with the same problem. The dealer rotated the tires back to their original position and the problem went away. Ford offered to pay a pro-rated amount to replace my tires. Only thing is that they would only supply the same brand of tire. I'm still thinking about it.
Hope this helps.
Wallie
feersum endjinn wrote:

--------------070306080609000404030800 Content-Type: text/html; charset=us-ascii Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN"> <html> <head> <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html;charset=ISO-8859-1"> <title></title> </head> <body> Hello,<br> <br> My 2002 Focus ZTW began violently vibrating under the same conditions after the dealer did my first tire rotation. &nbsp;The dealer told me that they have been having problems with the Firestone Firehawk tires (205/50R16) as others complained with the same problem. &nbsp;The dealer rotated the tires back to their original position and the problem went away. &nbsp;Ford offered to pay a pro-rated amount to replace my tires. &nbsp;Only thing is that they would only supply the same brand of tire. &nbsp;I'm still thinking about it.<br> <br> Hope this helps.<br> <br> Wallie<br> <br> feersum endjinn wrote:<br> <blockquote type="cite" cite=" snipped-for-privacy@posting.google.com"> <blockquote type="cite"> <pre wrap="">Hi - do you know the history of the car - has it ever been in an accident?
</pre> </blockquote> <pre wrap=""><!----> Nope, as far as I know, no accidents. I did an HPI check when I bought the car, and it was all clear. I've posted this message on the ford focus owners club. If you're having the same problems you should check out my post there as well....I've had much more responses on that post. Here's the link:
<a class="moz-txt-link-freetext" href="http://forum.ffoc.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t "310">http://forum.ffoc.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t "310</a>
Hope you can sort it out. What ever you do, dont take just one opinion from Rapid Fit, take it to several garages before you commit to a repair!
T </pre> </blockquote> <br> </body> </html>
--------------070306080609000404030800--
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In alt.autos.ford.focus, on the "Re: Violent vibration at high speeds....PLEASE ADVICE!!! (HELP ME!!)" thread, Wallie wrote:

That's strange. I have the same type and size of tire. They were rotated about 3,000 miles ago, and I have not had any problems with them. (Knock on wood.)
--
Benjamin Robinson snipped-for-privacy@freenet.tlh.fl.us
This message may or may not contain sarcastic content; your burden to decide
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I'd hazard a guess that you were sold a car that had been badly jolted. If there's no body damage then it probably hit on the underside - possibly a slide and a hard impact against a curb. That would explain a damaged wheel, so I wouldn't dismiss this part of the advice. But there's obviously more than that. Hopefully it's only to the front suspension and not the front subframe.
The only way to know for sure would be a good bodyshop with full capacity to diagnose alignment problems.
The best way may be to get a written damage assessment by a certified shop and take legal action against the seller (if your local laws enable that).
This kind of thing happens once in a while when buying used cars, particularly from private parties. That's why the prices are normally lower than at dealers.
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wheel,
to
lower
Sell it, and let the next owner sort it out. Looks like the beginning of a nightmare. I have a 2000 Focus ZX3 and it is smooth as silk at higher speeds. The bent rim is a clue, I think. Even if there was no outward damage it may have been beached at a high enough speed to cause transmission damage.
Another option, instruct your garage to install a used transmission from a reputable wrecker.
Ron
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