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Front End Alignment Issues

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Old 03-25-2014, 10:17 AM   #1
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Default Front End Alignment Issues

Hi guys. As many of you may recall, I've had some issues with my front end alignment and tires getting destroyed. I just put two new tires on the back and moved the old tires to the front (they were near the end of their life) and gave the shop one more chance to align the front. Well, they failed so I took the advice here and took it to the local stealership. I started getting the "we'll bring it in for diagnostics" from the second I walked through the door. I didn't mention I do my own work on the car and just let them run with it.

After a few hours, they call me and say, "well, we have bad news". Long story short, they did not do the alignment because the car is leaking oil (I have a clogged breather hose that I know I need to replace) and some other very minor things (cracked taillight that was cracked when I bought the car 5 years ago, brakes that are OK but used and starting to get old that they told me were shot, etc). And they said the tie rods were seized - which was never mentioned at the other alignment shops (who couldn't fix the problem).

So, my plan now is to get on things that I've been putting off and fix a coolant leak (auxiliary pump hose that is leaking), replace the breather hose, replace the O2 sensors, etc.

My question is - on the tie rods, would you recommend going for the entire assembly or just the outer tie rod? I have 265,000 on the car and would like to get it to about 350,000 (it runs pretty well and I don't feel it is unreliable other than the tire/alignment issue). I'm thinking a cheaper set of tie-rods will be fine, if they even are seized, since I only need them to last about 75,000 miles and if I have to replace them in 35,000 miles then I learned my lesson...and since I'm planning on a bunch of work I could be looking at dropping $750-1000 now and another $1,000 in a couple months on brakes, etc. I'd also consider a cheaper suspension kit, as I have the originals on there - but the car drives pretty well, so I'm wondering if going with a cheap kit that fails may actually introduce failure...since these have been reliable.

WHat are your thoughts?
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Old 03-25-2014, 10:22 AM   #2
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on the tie rods, would you recommend going for the entire assembly or just the outer tie rod?
If they are seized, and I don't doubt that they are, it is the inner and outer that are seized together, so you need both.

On the suspension, replace the shocks if you want, but don't change any springs that aren't broken.
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Old 03-25-2014, 10:29 AM   #3
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Thanks 4D4, That was my assumption. I am figuring that they were seized and the lazy guys at the alignment place weren't dealing with it - is there another part to the procedure that could be wrong? Someone said something about having to drop the subframe to make adjustments - but the dealership didn't seem to know anything about that....
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Old 03-25-2014, 10:41 AM   #4
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Tie rods adjust toe. Camber can't really be adjusted, but the subframe can be shifted left or right so that both front wheels have the same camber. So if 1 degree is camber is perfect, and you are at left 0 and right 2, the subframe can be shifted to make it 1 and 1...perfect. But if you are at 2 and 2, that's it; no adjustment.

Usually camber is OK, unless the car has been crashed or lowered.
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Old 03-25-2014, 11:39 AM   #5
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Tie rods adjust toe. Camber can't really be adjusted, but the subframe can be shifted left or right so that both front wheels have the same camber. So if 1 degree is camber is perfect, and you are at left 0 and right 2, the subframe can be shifted to make it 1 and 1...perfect. But if you are at 2 and 2, that's it; no adjustment.

Usually camber is OK, unless the car has been crashed or lowered.
Camber is adjusted by the bolt that atached the lower " wishbone" to the hub assembly . loosen the nut .. the bolt is a special one that has a groove in it keyed to too eccentric washers. as you turn the bolt the camber will be adjusted.
Re tighten the nut.
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Old 03-25-2014, 12:03 PM   #6
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Camber is adjusted by the bolt that atached the lower " wishbone" to the hub assembly . loosen the nut .. the bolt is a special one that has a groove in it keyed to too eccentric washers. as you turn the bolt the camber will be adjusted.
Re tighten the nut.
Ah. Good catch. Forgot about the rear. Your statement is true, but for the rear only. Rear has adjustable toe *and* camber.
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Old 03-25-2014, 01:41 PM   #7
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Thanks guys - I have no clue how the alignment really works. I will take a closer look. If I am correct the "toe" is the angle of the tire to the ground - so if it is perfect, the tire will be flat on the ground perfect. If you to "out" a little, the top of the tire will be pointing out and the bottom pointing in, so the outside edges of the tire will receive too much pressure, and if you toe in, the opposite is true, correct?

If this is accurate, then I believe this describes my issue - because the tire gets a groove on the inside corner, and I thought it was rubbing something for the longest time, but as we discussed in a thread about 2 months ago, this is not possible from my inspection. I think it is has too much toe in.

My assumption is the 3 crappy places I took it to, despite knowing the problem, were not getting the tie rod free and not telling me that was the problem.
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Old 03-25-2014, 02:14 PM   #8
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Hey don't mean to steal your post but i have a simular problem and need some help.
Click the image to open in full size.

[img=http://s30.postimg.org/v4al591cd/photo_2.jpg]

I took it to Mavis and they don't know hoe to adjust this. any ideas?
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Old 03-25-2014, 03:47 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jseklund View Post
Thanks guys - I have no clue how the alignment really works. I will take a closer look. If I am correct the "toe" is the angle of the tire to the ground - so if it is perfect, the tire will be flat on the ground perfect. If you to "out" a little, the top of the tire will be pointing out and the bottom pointing in, so the outside edges of the tire will receive too much pressure, and if you toe in, the opposite is true, correct?

If this is accurate, then I believe this describes my issue - because the tire gets a groove on the inside corner, and I thought it was rubbing something for the longest time, but as we discussed in a thread about 2 months ago, this is not possible from my inspection. I think it is has too much toe in.

My assumption is the 3 crappy places I took it to, despite knowing the problem, were not getting the tie rod free and not telling me that was the problem.
No. You've described camber. Toe is the amount the front of the tire is angled inward.
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Old 03-25-2014, 05:18 PM   #10
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Thanks Sloop! I'm researching the alignment a little and now realize what I thought was "toe" is actually camber, I had it backwards. A negative camber appears that it would definitely cause the exact issue I am looking at, so the sub frame may be the issue...

I may try to turn the tie rod myself and see if I can break it free. If that is the case, then I can see the tire shop probably adjusted the tie-rod, but not the subframe (I can see why) and the issue stayed the same. I think I am finally getting somewhere now...

It may be worth replacing the tie rods anyway, they are cheap enough and I know all those parts seize from the road salt and dirt that they are subjected to....so for less than $80 I can remove one issue....
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