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Old 04-18-2012, 07:51 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Stock Suspension/Alignment Issues

Hey guys, I'm not really a new member, but more or less a suspension noob so here we go:

Took the car to sears after installing new front ecs struts and here are the specs:
LF camber -0.3*
LF caster 3.6*
LF toe 0.01*

RF camber -0.6* (out of spec, max adjusted)
RF caster 2.3* (out of spec, not adjustable - rounded bolt)
RF toe -.03*

Total Front Toe -0.04*
Steer Ahead 0.01*

LR camber -0.3*
LR toe -0.07*

RR camber -0.5*
RR toe 0.12*

Total Rear Toe 0.04*
Rear Thrust angle -0.10


Now, my issues are that the LF tire is wearing rapidly on the outside shoulder, and my RF tire is wearing VERY rapidly on the inside shoulder.

So my main question is, how the hell do I fix this odd wearing problem? And does anybody know the part # for the caster adjustment bolt (is it adjustable on these cars? After searching a little I read that it wasn't...)?

I could maybe search for hours and maybe find my answers, but I'm very short on time these days!
Thanks so much for any and all help, it's much appreciated before I wear through my new tires!
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Old 04-18-2012, 10:06 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Stock Suspension/Alignment Issues

FWD cars ALWAYS wear the inside of the tire. Thats why its important to rotate them on a regular basis. I think you are saying that your wear is much more severe than typical.

I personally do think there is a Sears store that can do ANYTHING correctly on a car. Please find a REAL alignment shop (not one of the chain stores!) and show them what you got. They are much more experienced to show you what may be wrong. It could be the sears alignment or worn parts. Our cars typically have LOTS of worn parts because of their age.

A good shop will probably have an assortment of bolts to replace your bad one.

-SP
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Old 04-19-2012, 07:08 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Stock Suspension/Alignment Issues

When I first bought my car many years ago I suffered edge wear constantly despite having the settings checked many times.

Eventually I tried running slightly higher tyre pressures of 35psi on all 4 tyres (my car is on standard 17 inch wheels and tyre sizes) and all problems went away, I still run those pressures now with no adverse effects to handling.

.
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Old 04-22-2012, 07:14 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Stock Suspension/Alignment Issues

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rom3BreaK View Post
Hey guys, I'm not really a new member, but more or less a suspension noob so here we go:

Took the car to sears after installing new front ecs struts and here are the specs:
LF camber -0.3*
LF caster 3.6*
LF toe 0.01*

RF camber -0.6* (out of spec, max adjusted)
RF caster 2.3* (out of spec, not adjustable - rounded bolt)
RF toe -.03*

Total Front Toe -0.04*
Steer Ahead 0.01*

LR camber -0.3*
LR toe -0.07*

RR camber -0.5*
RR toe 0.12*

Total Rear Toe 0.04*
Rear Thrust angle -0.10


Now, my issues are that the LF tire is wearing rapidly on the outside shoulder, and my RF tire is wearing VERY rapidly on the inside shoulder.

So my main question is, how the hell do I fix this odd wearing problem? And does anybody know the part # for the caster adjustment bolt (is it adjustable on these cars? After searching a little I read that it wasn't...)?

I could maybe search for hours and maybe find my answers, but I'm very short on time these days!
Thanks so much for any and all help, it's much appreciated before I wear through my new tires!
Is the car lowered? There's so much adjustment for positive front camber on a stock height car I have a real hard time believing it's maxed. Even lowered a few inches, front camber can be brought into spec. Maybe that was the angle they couldn't adjust because of the rounded bolt? Which brings the question, did they round it or was it rounded beforehand?

Caster is not adjustable, nor is it a tire wearing angle.

Those specs shouldn't wear out the inside edge of your tires, at least not much, but who knows if the guy aligning it decided to fudge the data. Are you sure you don't have any loose ball joints or control arm bushings? They should have checked before they aligned it, but again, who knows if the guy doing it knew to do so.


Quote:
Originally Posted by speedy25 View Post
FWD cars ALWAYS wear the inside of the tire.
-SP
Negative.
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Old 04-22-2012, 08:31 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Stock Suspension/Alignment Issues

Quote:
Originally Posted by TwIzTeD_3kGt View Post
Is the car lowered? No, stock ride height There's so much adjustment for positive front camber on a stock height car I have a real hard time believing it's maxed. Even lowered a few inches, front camber can be brought into spec. Maybe that was the angle they couldn't adjust because of the rounded bolt? Which brings the question, did they round it or was it rounded beforehand? Camber adjustment is on the lower strut mount, right? I just installed new struts- nuts and bolts were fine. I did check the bolts there and it really is at max adjustment. I don't think they rounded the caster bolt, I think Firestone did it years ago IIRC.

Caster is not adjustable, nor is it a tire wearing angle.

Those specs shouldn't wear out the inside edge of your tires, at least not much, but who knows if the guy aligning it decided to fudge the data. Are you sure you don't have any loose ball joints or control arm bushings? They should have checked before they aligned it, but again, who knows if the guy doing it knew to do so.

I do think I have a front end worn suspension member somewhere at this point, I installed new front struts and upper bearings to eliminate a clunking that sounded an awful lot like clunking struts. Some of the clunking was taken care of but I still have some noise occurring. To me visibly nothing looked worn underneath the car, but again I don't necessarily know everywhere I should be looking. I plan to inspect again Tuesday night (can't do this stuff at my apartment building).
Thank you!
-Caleb
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Old 04-22-2012, 09:41 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Stock Suspension/Alignment Issues

Just to be clear, there is no 'caster bolt'.

The camber adjustment is where you said, the eccentric bolt that holds the strut to the steering knuckle. If it's truly maxed while at the stock ride height, then something is wrong with your car, as in it's been in an accident and something is bent (frame, knuckle, etc.). Again to be clear, maxed out would mean: With both knuckle bolts loose, you cannot pull the top of the steering knuckle outwards any further.

I suppose it could be a case of the struts you used do not have a large enough slot for proper adjustment. What brand did you use?

To check for play in the front steering/suspension components, get the front wheels in the air, grab the wheel at 9:00 and 3:00 and shake back and forth. It should feel tight, if it moves freely/clicks/clunks, pinpoint whether its a bad ball joint, inner tie rod, outer tie rod, or lower control arm bushing that is the culprit. Then grab the wheel at 12:00 and 6:00 and shake to check for bearing play. If anything is loose your alignment will change at will, depending on what postion the loose part is in.

And for the clunking, take a look at your sway bar end links, and sway bar bushings. Common culprit for clunking. Give them a good shake up and down while holding on to the bar, it shouldn't move.
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Old 04-24-2012, 08:35 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Stock Suspension/Alignment Issues

The camber adjustment is indeed maxed out. I think the previous owner may have hit a curb hard or something, the odd thing is it seems to be getting worse, as I've driven it for 60k + miles and tire wear wasn't really this bad before now.

OEM ECS struts were used.

Here's a couple videos from today, I certainly found the source of clunking - bad sway bar bushings. Also discovered the boot right near it quite a bit out of sorts...clamps on solid and boot is sealed everywhere, just not really on properly.
Would you call the 9&3 movement in the video "free play"? It did take some muscle to turn the wheel like that, and the clunking seems to be from the strut when the wheel reaches the rotational limit. I didn't see any unusual movement in any other suspension components.

Sway Bar Bushing Test:

Wheel Play Test:

Is there anything else I can do to solve my wheel wear/misalignment issue?
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Old 04-24-2012, 10:02 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Stock Suspension/Alignment Issues

The twisted boot is caused by a careless alignment person.

Replace your sway bar bushings and take your car to a GOOD shop like I wrote before. They will show you whats wrong and what needs to be done. You should see a BIG difference in knowledge/service from what you are used to at Sears and Firestone!

-SP
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Old 04-25-2012, 03:28 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Stock Suspension/Alignment Issues

Looks like your steering wheel was locked when you shook it, should be unlocked. Just a light shake will let you know, shouldn't use enough force to turn the steering wheel.

Quote:
Originally Posted by speedy25 View Post
The twisted boot is caused by a careless alignment person.

Replace your sway bar bushings and take your car to a GOOD shop like I wrote before. They will show you whats wrong and what needs to be done. You should see a BIG difference in knowledge/service from what you are used to at Sears and Firestone!

-SP
Got something against my shop? A shop is only as good as the tech working there. A good tech can work anywhere, so can a bad one.

But yes, that boot is twisted because whoever aligned it didn't bother removing the clamp to allow the inner tie rod to spin without twisting the boot. Judging by that, I think whoever aligned it is an idiot. You should get a second alignment done and ask to see the specs of where it's at before they adjust anything.
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Old 04-25-2012, 07:09 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Stock Suspension/Alignment Issues

No mailice intended twizted.

Your shop may be one of the good ones than can do a good job, but the reputation and skills of MOST of the chain service shops is not very good, especially for alignments. Personally I know when parts are worn, but I have taken good vehicles just to be aligned and been given an estimate for parts that were almost new or with no wear and been told they needed to be replaced. The real alignment shops would do the work with no problem after inspection, or shown me something I may have missed.

I hope the OP finds a good shop that will find his problems and give him a proper alignment.

-SP
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