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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just bought a 2014 Fiesta less than 48 hours ago. Today when driving with my friend on the highway at about 50 mph the car started to make a wind helicopter sound and you could actually feel the air pressure and vibration inside the car for several miles. We had the air conditioning on. The noise/vibration was worse when the front windows were up. It was intense enough that it scared us and we pulled off the highway and inspected the tires, nothing looked amiss. We rolled the windows down for the ride back to the Ford dealer and took the salesman for a drive and of course the car did not do it again. Any ideas on this? I am thinking I should return the car as I have to believe it will happen again. I am not sure if it is the aerodynamics, seals, or the wheels.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The car does not have a sunroof. I may have had the back windows partially down when it started. I noticed immediately that the sound and whirling pressure vibration was affected by windows being opened or closed so I tried different positions to see if I could get it to stop and start again. With all the windows closed it did it, and when I opened one or more windows it stopped. I drive that highway all the time, often with a strong crosswind, and I have never experienced that before in any car. There was no cross wind yesterday, only the wind generated by the forward movement of the Fiesta. The air outside was still with no movement in the trees. The road surface we were on was smooth and in good shape. The steering and handling was unaffected. I have to say that the sound and pressure vibration was intense enough to be very distracting and alarmed my friend who doesn't over react. I am going to take it back to the Ford dealer today and see if the mechanics can find anything. I will ask to exchange the car as I think it is something that could happen again and may have something to do with the way it was put together on the assembly line. The salesman yesterday said he had never heard of such a thing.
 

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I think I may know what is happening.

They don't make cars the way they used to. I remember when you could drive with the driver's window open, and be fine. But lately, on newer cars, at least with my 2008 VW R32, open the window and wind comes blowing in and at you from left behind side. And for some reason, when the A/C is turned on, no matter what, it appears to be in the recycle mode (on cars with auto climate control)- meaning it is using cabin air, not from the outside. So in essence, it is also pulling the outside air in through the window (inside is now a "low pressure area" and the outside is the "high pressure area"). This can cause a buffeting effect, your pressurized helicopter effect.

I have found opening the driver's side rear door glass helps to stop this, or turning off the A/C to stop the recirculation by now having some higher cabin pressure to keep the outside wind, out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the replies. The Ford Service Dept. said they could find nothing wrong with the car. Off the record the man in the Ford service dept. office said similar things as ST Rocky about it being the aerodynamics of the model and that other small cars do it as well. He said keep the windows up and use the a.c. or keep at least two open. It may depend on the car models as to what exactly will work. If I could get my money back I would as I don't like having to worry about my window adjustments and a.c causing it again.
 

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maybe picked something up on the tires that made it out of balance? or tire out of round or not balanced properly.
 

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I actually got the chopper noise with front and back windows open at a certain point the other day.
It is sort of a sign of the times, perhaps? Ages ago, part of the advertising for cars was the "elimination of wind noise" in their design. And rain not coming in when windows were open. No longer true today. I do remember past cars I had, that could drive with at least the driver's window wide open, and not get blasted by wind or rain.

But today, unless you have other windows open, you get blasted, hard. And when it rains? It comes running in, all along the top sill! And due to the curve of the roof and sides, even having the window open a crack, and both you and the car get soaked. Perhaps it is the constant quest for better aerodynamics? But sure is a pita for us.

A partial fault for the wind, could be the automatic climate control systems. When you turn on the A/C, it always seems to stay in the recirculation mode, drawing the air from inside the car, causing a low pressure zone inside the car. Even in manual mode, with the A/C on, still does it. With just regular fan on, it is ok. Perhaps yet another built-in nanny we have no control over, anymore.
 

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Page 73 in the owners manual (first printing) touches very very lightly on Pulsing with just one window down and it suggests you open a opposite window slightly.. not that this was the case but it appears they are aware of wind buffeting effect with one window down. Though they down address the HVAC issues some have seen. I have not had the need to run the AC yet as it is a lil chilly for that up nort here.. lol



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The answer is simple physics mate.

Unequal (unstabilised) pressure = noise

Even if you had the windows up you were still causing air to suck into the cabin and buffet against the stabilsed air inside. Depending on your velocity, temperature of the air inside versus outside and other forces pushing or pulling the car, of course you'd get that noise. Same happens in some boats and motorbikes, and they don't even have an enclosed cabin! Why do you think race car drivers wear earplugs sometimes...
 

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