Mechanics

SWAY BAR LINK CROOKED

1992 Hyundai Excel • 13,000 miles

Hello, on the passenger side the tire keeps getting worn on the outside. I replaced new control arm with new bushings, new inner and outer toe rods, new ball joints. When I went to replace the sway bar link, I used oOEM sway bar bushings that fit perfect, then poly rubber new bushings for the sway bar LINKS. ONE link is crooked at an angle. What would be casuing this? Its on the same side tire is worn. We adjusted tie rod ; both equal. The sway bar link is crooked on the side all the new parts are on. Also, new struts. Any ideas what in the heck is causing this? The driver side link is straight and vertical. The passenger side is the problem. We tried several times and can't get it straight. PLEASE email thanks. It seems like caber and toe was out?
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Hookie
May 29, 2012.




You didn't mention anything about an alignment. With any of the parts you replaced, an alignment is necessary. What do you mean you adjusted both tie rods equal? There is no way to get close to the correct toe setting without an alignment computer. When the mechanic inspects the steering and suspension prior to doing the alignment he will be able to determine if anything is wrong with the anti-sway bar.

When only one tire is wearing on the outside edge, it has too much positive camber. When both tires are wearing on their outer edges, camber could be too high positive on each one or total toe could be too high meaning the front of the tires are closer together than the rear of the tires.


Caradiodoc
May 29, 2012.
Caradoc
Thanks for your fast reply. When I mean we set both tie rods equal, we measure same distance from end of nut to thread to put ends of tie rods back @ original place. I agree the car definitely needs an alignment. We just tried to get it as close as we could and replaced all the other parts. Would an alignment MOVE the sway bar end LINk so that it would become straight again? That is what I am trying to ask. Unless. The only thing I didn't replace were the coil springs. Struts are new, but we still don't know if sway bar end where link goes thru is bent perhaps.
I am going to bring it to a shop for front end alignment. We tried to get it as close as it was so it wouldn't keep cchewing up the outer edge of the tires. Both tires have wear on outer edge, more so on side where sway bar link is crooked.
Thank you


Tiny
Hookie
May 29, 2012.
Yup, start with an inspection at the alignment shop, then the alignment. Measuring the tie rod ends will just get you close to the proper toe setting. To get more accurate, especially if you're starting with a straight steering wheel, just replace parts on one side, then make small fine tuning adjustments during short stops on a test drive until the steering wheel is straight again. You'll find that 1/4 turn doesn't make a big change in the steering wheel position but it makes a huge change on the alignment rack. I replaced the first front end part, the right outer tie rod end, on my '88 Grand Caravan at 213,000 miles, then tweaked the adjustment over several days. The steering wheel is straight again and tire wear is respectable.

Any chance you can post a photo of the anti-sway bar link you're concerned about? Can you see if the bar is centered in the mounting bushings? Do you have any reason to suspect damage to the suspension leading up to the need for new parts?


Caradiodoc
May 29, 2012.
I am going to try and give you some pics here. The tire is totally bald almost, the other pics are of the slightly crooked sway bar link. I stopped at a Master Mechanic. He said just what you said. The toe is toed in too much on this bad tire, and the sway bar was perhaps not centered when we installed all new bushings on it. I don't know how to center it, so I will also go to get an alignment. I really appreciate all your help and hope you get this pics. Don't be surprised. The right tire is toast!Pics on route. Sorry, having trouble sending them. Will try again in the am, thanks


Tiny
Hookie
May 30, 2012.
Here's a pic


Tiny
Hookie
May 30, 2012.
Takes awhile to open pic. Large in pixels; sorry


Tiny
Hookie
May 30, 2012.
A good pic of crooked sway bar link. Sorry, takes awhile to view. Large pic


Tiny
Hookie
May 30, 2012.
That link doesn't look so unusual but unless the directions tell you different, you might want to run the nut down a little more. Normally the nut is tightened enough to just squeeze the bushings until they expand out to exactly the same diameter as the washers. Over-tightening the nut is worse because the bushings can't flex.

As for the tire wear, there are two angles to look at. "Camber" is the tilt of the wheel as viewed from in front or the rear of the car. This wheel could have too much positive camber meaning it's leaning out on top more than specified, but if it is, it isn't by much. Camber that's much too high will cause the wear spots circled in red, (those are down to the last layer of rubber just before the steel belts start poking out), while the left side will look almost like new yet. Here both sides of the tire are worn out fairly evenly so if camber is off, it isn't by much.

Incorrect total toe can cause the same wear pattern that you have but it will look quite different before the wear gets this far along. First it's important to understand the difference between toe and total toe. Suppose you start with a car that has a 100 percent perfect alignment and the steering wheel is straight. Almost all cars call for a very slight amount of toe-in meaning the fronts of the tires are closer together than the rears of the tires, commonly by 1/16". That is so they will be perfectly parallel when road and braking forces tug them back while driving. Now suppose you adjust only the right wheel even more to the left. The left wheel wants to go straight ahead and the right wheel wants to go to the left. The car finds the happy medium and goes a little to the left so you have to counteract that by turning the steering wheel to the right. You will end up turning the steering wheel until both tires are turned toward the center of the car exactly the same amount. That means both tires are scrubbing down the road equally even though you only misadjusted the right wheel. Toe is wrong on the right wheel but total toe is also incorrect, and it's that total toe that affects both tires.

Another condition is where both wheels are misadjusted equally but in the same direction. Suppose each one is adjusted 1/2" to the left. Both tires are steering to the left so you have to turn the steering wheel to the right to make the car go straight. In this case total toe is perfect and there will be no tire wear. The only symptom is the steering wheel is off-center when driving straight ahead. Total toe is good but each individual toe is incorrect.

Here's where the alignment mechanic will "read" the tire wear. Camber affects just that one tire. It causes that tire to want to pull in the direction it's leaning so it's important that it be correct on each wheel for proper wear and it's important it's the same on both sides so the two pulls balance each other out and the car goes straight when you let go of the steering wheel.

Toe is a different story. It's the total toe that is responsible for tire wear. It doesn't matter if one or both tires are set wrong or which way. When total toe is wrong there IS going to be equal wear on both tires. The steering wheel could be straight but only if both wheels are misadjusted an equal amount and in opposite directions.

Toe wear looks totally different than camber wear, (except in your case). First you have to understand what is meant by the "leading edge" of the tire. Lets use your right tire and exaggerate it for clarity. It is toed-in too much meaning it is turned to the left. Now imagine it turned even more, ... And more. It's turned so far it's turned 90 degrees and pointing straight to the left of the car. Obviously you can't really turn it that far, but now it is easy to see that the right edge of the tire tread is in front so we call it the leading edge.

Next, take a pencil, stand it up so the eraser is down and resting on the table. Now put slight downward pressure on it and drag it sideways. You'll see the leading edge makes eraser crumbs but the trailing edge bends and lifts up off the table. No wear takes places on the trailing side. Do that long enough and the eraser will be worn at a slant. THAT is exactly what happens to each block of rubber on the tire's tread. If that wear is bad enough you'll be able to see it easily. If it's not so bad you'll be able to feel it by rubbing your fingers across the tread left and right or around the circumference. You're feeling the raised and lowered sides of each block of rubber. You can also determine whether the total toe is too much toed-in or toed-out by which side of the block is higher. That toe wear is always going to appear on both tires, as long as all other alignment angles are correct and equal.

Your tire is the exception to this explanation because it is worn too far. There are no blocks of rubber on the tread left to flex so while the same increased wear takes place on the leading edge, the entire tire has only the one leading and trailing edge and the result can look like what you have. If the left tire is not worn as far, you'll see and feel the feather edge when you rub your fingers over the tread.

Up to now all wear from misalignment assumes only one angle on one wheel is incorrect. Things get complicated when camber and toe are both off. The easiest to remember is when both tires are worn more on both inner or both outer edges, total toe could be off on either or both wheels, or camber could be off but it would have to be on both wheels. Incorrect and equal camber happens more often that you might think but some vehicles are well-known for it. Look at the very poorly designed Ford Bronco 2 with twin I-beam front suspension. When you raise it on a hoist, the suspension droops down and the wheels tilt out on top, ... A real lot. The opposite happens when the coil springs get weak with age as they all do. Those wheels move through a wild arc as the vehicle goes up and down over bumps in the road and the tires wear excessively on both edges. Making adjustments to camber only affects the readings when the truck is sitting on the hoist. The wheels still go through the wild camber changes during driving so nothing is going to solve their terrible tire wear.

Many front-wheel-drive cars do not have provisions for adjusting camber because it changes very little with changes in ride height as the springs get weak or as the car bounces up and down going down the road. On those cars, if camber is off on one wheel, something is usually bent, and if it's off equally on both wheels but one's positive and one is negative, the cross member is likely shifted to one side. That pulls both lower control arms and ball joint to one side.

Off-center cross members is a common problem on General Motors front-wheel-drive cars because it is often removed to remove the engine or transmission for service. It can be reinstalled in the wrong location very easily. Chrysler fwd cars use special bolts to locate the cross member so this isn't a problem. The cross members on most import cars are a welded part of the structure and can't be mispositioned. When a cross member is mispositioned, either by careless reinstallation or from being bent, simply readjusting camber on both front wheels will make the numbers look good on the alignment computer but other suspension angles will be changed and make for a very miserable car to try to control. That would be "steering axis inclination" and is a topic of discussion for another time.


Caradiodoc
May 30, 2012.
Well thank you for all the info. You sure are well versed and educated in this tpoic.I am not on the other hand. So in simple terms, you are saying the camber isn't off much on that ONE worn tire, but the TOTAL toe is off?Bear with me because its like 100 degrees here in florida, so this heat is brutal.
The other tire only has a slight outer edge feathered, and the sway bar link is much straighter like completely horizontal. No bushings swished. I will try and loosens the sway bar link bolt a bit.
Also, initially, I replaced the RIGHT control arm (only one on right side of this car) because they rusted out badly on all the older Hyundais on that passenger side, thus I replced the control arm, balljoint, and bushings and axle. I am wondering some time ago, a mechanic did remove my crossmember to put a new oil pan gasket on, but its not welded. It comes off by 2 bolts up front, so you can't misalign it ( I don't think). Other than that, no accidents on this vehicle and the rear shocks were also replaced as there was a huge hyundai parts sale on Ebay.
So, fill me in a bit more, and many, many thanks for all your dedication and help. I did buy CAMBER BOLTS for this vehicle. Not sure if I should give them to the mechanic who will do the alignment or not
Thanks!
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Tiny
Hookie
May 30, 2012.
PS change cross member front rubber mount but not REAR ROLL stopper bracket bushing. No Coil springs have ever been replaced. All new struts, though, and rear shocks 3 yrs old.


Tiny
Hookie
May 30, 2012.

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