All automakers test for noise, vibration and harshness (or NVH) during the development of new vehicles, but Ford Motor Company uses a portable "environmental chamber" that it can take to a specific plant to pull production vehicles from the assembly line for testing. In the case of this video, the portable machine was at Louisville Assembly Plant to test the 2013 Ford Escape during its early launch, but Ford also sent one to Mexico during the early build of the new Ford Fusion.

These mobile testing facilities are housed inside of semi trailers, and in addition to having four posts that can be positioned under each wheel to simulate driving over various roads, the chambers can also vary in temperature from 20 degrees below zero Fahrenheit to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. All of this can be changed and controlled using computers. During the tests, technicians and engineers sit inside the vehicle and listen for any squeaks or rattles. The benefit of having such a device on hand rather than sending the car to Dearborn is that problems can be detected earlier and resolved sooner.

Check out the video below to see how Ford's mobile quality control system works.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 30 Comments
      John
      • 2 Years Ago
      Guess they forgot to bring along the portable engine fire testing facility....
      Jesus!
      • 2 Years Ago
      This rig must have never made it to the 2012 Focus plant or the current F150 because I had both of those and the rattled and squeaked. Either that or Ford just didnt care. Back panel on supercrews are notorious for rattling. Cheap chinese made sunglass in my holder rattled like crazy when I turned the bass in the car up. Such a good system too :(. Oh well they are both gone. Quality was job 10 on those two and the new Taurus is fairing no better. Time to give Jeep a try.
        Jesus!
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Jesus!
        Edit: that should read "cheap chinese made sunglass holder"
      ford √
      • 2 Years Ago
      What about the nois when you on straight road ? thats nois explain ,, ford not test the cars on the road
      That Guy
      • 2 Years Ago
      Too bad they left out the industry standard "test it to see if it will burst into flames" test. But hey, look at the bright side, when you are looking at your house burn down because Ford is incompetant, at least you can say that it's burning quietly.
        merlot066
        • 2 Years Ago
        @That Guy
        Too bad none of them actually caught fire in customer's hands...
      Ducman69
      • 2 Years Ago
      Looks like they get the vehicle really cold, but then turn off the A/C. Otherwise the air would be so cold and dry in there that you would very noticeably see their breath. Weaksauce! And of course as most know the real problem with squeaks and rattles are time and shock induced. If they want to impress me they would put the vehicle on something that simulates a bumpy road for a week while being blasted with UV lights, and THEN do their testing.
        merlot066
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ducman69
        They have much more involved facilities for the actual engineering of the vehicle. These are mostly to just make sure they are assembling them properly (everything is tight and right).
          Austin Too
          • 2 Years Ago
          @merlot066
          You are the only commenter here who seems to have a clue on how vehicles are developed by auto companies. Prior to production, these vehicle are subjected to a multitude of durability tests. In some cases at the component level (engines, transmissions, suspensions, et. al.), and also at the vehicle level. Tests are conducted by simulation, in the lab, and on the road including in harsh climates like Kingman, Arizona and Bimidji, Minnesota. In the early part of the program, some parts are prototype, but they move to production-intent, and then actual production parts off of production tools later in the program. This portable testing facility is part of the launch effort to ensure that production vehicles meet the intent of the engineers when produced in a high-production facility. Sometimes, s*** can happen. It's pretty inventive if you ask me; a lot more efficient than sending the completed vehices to a lab in Michigan.
        Jason Alan Sipes
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ducman69
        Isn't that what they basically did in the video it showed the simulation of a harsh road and was done for 24 hours straight.
        woozy_one
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ducman69
        It's hard to listen for squeaks and rattles with large fans running right next to you. They keep the chamber running during the 'endurance' period, but they shut it down when they conduct their evaluations. The chambers are well insulated, so they remain at or near the desired temperature for a decent amount of time. Besides, I'm guessing they were being courteous to the cameraman...-20F sucks.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      woozy_one
      • 2 Years Ago
      Cool, I've met these guys (I've been in two of the three chambers mentioned). As others have already hit on, most of the developmental testing is completed at Dearborn and other locations/facilities around the country (and world for that matter). In my opinion it's extremely beneficial having these chambers available at the factory...I know it's allowed me to only have to drive 2 hours instead of the 5 hours it would take to drive to Dearborn :) It's an awesome tool that they have in their backyard where they can investigate many potential issues (not just squeaks and rattles). I wish more auto manufacturers had equipment like this available as it would make my job a lot easier. Also, they have a little test track that every Escape coming off of the line has to be taken through...this helps pick up on NVH and BSR issues as well.
      GFB
      • 2 Years Ago
      ... And then they get surprised at the test track. "Oh, we didn't catch that in the trailer." How are you going to simulate real-world NVH when the wheels are not rotating?
      moredanyou
      • 2 Years Ago
      I hate weekends for cars, there is no news...
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      ALafya
      • 2 Years Ago
      NVH testing for Subaru is done by the customer, then ignored by SOA.
      Linda Simon
      • 2 Years Ago
      This is BSR (buzz, squeak and rattle) testing, not NVH (noise, vibration and harshness).
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