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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-23-2006, 04:34 PM Thread Starter
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Question Steering alignment

Ok, took my car in for an alignment after replacing lbj's, strut rod bushings, and tie rod ends. Also did uca's & endlinks prior to that. They got the wheel to be straight and it tracks good now but they couldn't get the wheel to return center after a turn still. I figure its a combination of the; tires since they wanna follow the road and take some effort to turn (pretty new), weight of front end, etc. Is this fairly normal for a 4.6?

1997 Ford Thunderbird LX 4.6L (WT): Removed Air Silencer. PBR Brake Upgrade. J-MOD. Silverstar Headlights. Vogtland Springs 1.6". Front Sport Shocks/ Back KYB's. PI Cams. Xcal2 by Lonnie.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-24-2006, 06:08 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, it still seems like the wheel effort is higher than normal and something is not right. When I'm driving straight and turn the wheel very little to the left or right car still stays straight. It feels like nothing is connected until about 1/8 turn either way. Could something be worn or loose in the steering linkage?

1997 Ford Thunderbird LX 4.6L (WT): Removed Air Silencer. PBR Brake Upgrade. J-MOD. Silverstar Headlights. Vogtland Springs 1.6". Front Sport Shocks/ Back KYB's. PI Cams. Xcal2 by Lonnie.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-24-2006, 07:38 PM
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yes, but i would drive it and wait for things to loosen back up a bit, i just did inners and outer on the g20 van and have the same issue. the tbird just got outers and acts the same, its just not broken in yet

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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-24-2006, 08:21 PM Thread Starter
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It was the same before I put all that stuff on just thought it needed an alignment to make it more responsive and have better wheel return around turns. just gonna leave it be for now I guess.

1997 Ford Thunderbird LX 4.6L (WT): Removed Air Silencer. PBR Brake Upgrade. J-MOD. Silverstar Headlights. Vogtland Springs 1.6". Front Sport Shocks/ Back KYB's. PI Cams. Xcal2 by Lonnie.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-25-2006, 11:13 AM
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Rack??

~~Hello

I would look at the Rack first. It should return to center. With hard turning and not centering.

Normally hard turning I would look at the pump. Also Check you rack bushings.

We are assuming the your front wheel bearings are good.

Keep us updated.

Paul

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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-25-2006, 08:40 PM Thread Starter
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thanks... yea they said (shop) that they couldn't align it to return back to center, and that when turning slightly left or right the wheel stays straight more than normal I guess. It returns center but only about halfway or less. I got the lifetime alignment so they said bring it back they would look some more. It seems to drive better than before; straighter, no pulling right, and turns pretty good yet still feels weird. I might disconnect the sensor on the pump to see if it drives better. Can the sensor go bad making steering stiff or only the opposite (full assist). Would something in the steering column (rag joint) or other make this happen? Thanks.

1997 Ford Thunderbird LX 4.6L (WT): Removed Air Silencer. PBR Brake Upgrade. J-MOD. Silverstar Headlights. Vogtland Springs 1.6". Front Sport Shocks/ Back KYB's. PI Cams. Xcal2 by Lonnie.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-26-2006, 01:35 PM
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Test drive

~~Hello

You need a test drive. Find someone who has the same car. Drive there's & have them drive yours. See if they drive different.

Paul

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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-26-2006, 06:34 PM
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What are your caster numbers?

John

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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-26-2006, 08:51 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks... I don't know the numbers for anything, but will bring it back next week and ask they give me them. Also, see if they can find why its not steering correctly. I will keep you updated on what happens and post the numbers. Thanks again.

1997 Ford Thunderbird LX 4.6L (WT): Removed Air Silencer. PBR Brake Upgrade. J-MOD. Silverstar Headlights. Vogtland Springs 1.6". Front Sport Shocks/ Back KYB's. PI Cams. Xcal2 by Lonnie.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-26-2006, 09:12 PM
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Any good alignment shop should give you a before and after printout of your settings.

John

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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-26-2006, 09:48 PM Thread Starter
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Yea... I figured I should have gotten that. It was "Firestone"; they are pretty friendly there so next time they can look it over better. I most definately will ask for the specs of the alignment. thx

1997 Ford Thunderbird LX 4.6L (WT): Removed Air Silencer. PBR Brake Upgrade. J-MOD. Silverstar Headlights. Vogtland Springs 1.6". Front Sport Shocks/ Back KYB's. PI Cams. Xcal2 by Lonnie.
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-27-2006, 09:50 PM
 
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Did anyone check the inner tie rod ends? Because they connect directly to the ends of the steering rack, wear in them is another possible source of play in the steering.

If your Firestone shop is stumped, you may want to consider having someone else diagnose the problem. It shouldn't be that hard to do. I know you've already paid for alignments there, but steering problems like you're describing could be a sign that something's unsafe.
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-27-2006, 10:21 PM Thread Starter
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ty... yea they didn't take much time so they didn't really dig deep enough because it was later on in the day. Hopefully they can find the problem or else I will go somewhere else next time. I might bring it in this Friday so I will see. I really have no idea what is wrong; I didn't really look at the inner tie rods bc they usually aren't mentioned as being replaced as often as other parts.

1997 Ford Thunderbird LX 4.6L (WT): Removed Air Silencer. PBR Brake Upgrade. J-MOD. Silverstar Headlights. Vogtland Springs 1.6". Front Sport Shocks/ Back KYB's. PI Cams. Xcal2 by Lonnie.
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-05-2006, 05:02 PM Thread Starter
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took it in again. here is the alignment specs: Is everything acceptable here?


LEFT FRONT
Camber -0.3
Caster 4.9
Toe 0.14

RIGHT FRONT
Camber -0.3
Caster 6.3
Toe 0.25

FRONT
Cross Camber -0.1
Cross Caster -1.4
Total Toe 0.39

LEFT REAR
Camber -0.9
Toe 0.04

RIGHT REAR
Camber -0.5
Toe 0.10

REAR
Total Toe 0.14
Thrust Angle -0.03

1997 Ford Thunderbird LX 4.6L (WT): Removed Air Silencer. PBR Brake Upgrade. J-MOD. Silverstar Headlights. Vogtland Springs 1.6". Front Sport Shocks/ Back KYB's. PI Cams. Xcal2 by Lonnie.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-08-2006, 08:21 AM
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Here is mine. I replaced the upper and lower control arms, strut rod bushing, and some other stuff, so took it to the local Ford garage to get it are set up on there digital machine. Here is the print out showing the range, before and after.



If you have mostly 2 lane crowned roads there, you should be fine with the caster you have, but for modern flater roads, the left caster would be better close to what the right is. I am modifying my strut rod set up to allow me to go to 7 deg caster for even more stabilty at high speed.

The older crowned 2 lane roads required cars to be set up with about 1 deg more caster on the right to compensate for the crown, and help the car go straight.

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post #16 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-08-2006, 09:45 AM Thread Starter
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My cross caster is -1.4 and right toe is .25 degrees. Both of those are out of spec by some is this bad or is that close enough? I decided to get lowering springs so it wont really matter, but I figure this shop sucks that I went to by looking at the numbers they don't really know what they are doing. I will go somewhere else next time. Thanks again.

1997 Ford Thunderbird LX 4.6L (WT): Removed Air Silencer. PBR Brake Upgrade. J-MOD. Silverstar Headlights. Vogtland Springs 1.6". Front Sport Shocks/ Back KYB's. PI Cams. Xcal2 by Lonnie.
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