Mechanics

96 E250 ALIGNMENT

1996 Ford E-Series Van • 6 cylinder 2WD Automatic • 213 miles

My caster is in need of adjustment, (tires r wearing out rapidly) technician advised replacing the springs. My mechanic said springs were ok. Said the bushings at the end of the stabilizer bar are shot. ( And yes they are) will replacing them effect the wear on my tires. Or just the perfomance' the mechanic cannot change the camber? Any farther without installing new adj. Cams. Any suggestions. Thanks mike
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Mike jehn
December 7, 2010.



Does your van still use the twin I-beam suspension? If it does, the only good thing about it is it is strong. It is REAL bad for tire wear because the tires are constantly tipping in and out on top as the van goes up and down over bumpy roads. Weak springs will raise the tires up and tilt them in on top. There are offset bushings to correct camber and caster but they only fix the numbers shown on the alignment computer when the van is stationary. They don't fix the increased arc the I-beams go through which causes a larger than normal camber change while driving.

The best you can do is to install a heavy duty shock absorber on the right front and a stiff strut rod bushing to reduce the tire wear. (You would typically put new parts on both sides but it is the right front tire that normally wears the worst).

By stabilizer bar, I'm assuming you're referring to the anti-sway bar, then yes, it will affect body roll on corners and not tire wear. If by chance you were referring to the strut rods that go from the I-beam to the frame, those bushings will let the I-beam move backwards if they are worn. That will cause tire wear mostly on the inner edges.

If Ford has switched to the upper and lower control arms, both camber and caster will be adjustable and the big advantage of that system is very little tire wear, but that only applies when the control arms are in the proper geometry. That all changes with weak springs. Here again, if camber is corrected when the ride height is incorrect, the final numbers on the printout might look great, but there will still be horrendous tire wear. The ride height should be checked first before doing an alignment.

Caster does not cause tire wear, at least not directly. Some vehicles, like Jeeps and Mercedes, call for real high caster settings which causes the tires to lean into a corner. Riding on the edges will cause rapid wear if you are accustomed to high-speed cornering in parking lots.

Caster will not change due to changes in ride height. What is most important is it must be the same on both sides to prevent a pull.

Caradiodoc

Caradiodoc
Dec 7, 2010.
Thanks for replying. Yes I have the twin I beam suspension, and the wear is on the inside of the tires. Don't know what strut rods r but I think I call them radius arms. Yes those bushings I replaced a few years ago and r fine. Looks like my alignment man is right my springs r weak as my wear is on the inside of the tire. Is it important to replace the antisway bar pivot busings that go thru the axle or just the springs? Thanks MIke

Tiny
Mike jehn
Dec 7, 2010.
Years ago many vehicles didn't even have anti-sway bars. Missing, broken, worn bushings, ... None of that matters as far as tire wear.

And yes "radius arms" is another name for the strut rods. Your term is actually correct. Strut rods typically refer to small rods on cars, sometimes threaded to make them adjustable, but they perform the same function.

You can actually replace the front springs yourself. There will be a clip on top held on with one bolt. I forgot what is on the bottom. It might be a plate with a nut in the center of the spring. Those are needed because if you jump dirt piles like on the Dukes of Hazzard, the springs will fall out. Once those retainers are removed, just jack the van up by the frame and lift the springs out. Watch for a pocket on top to set the end of the new spring in to be sure the orientation is right. Also keep an eye out for a rubber isolator pad on top if there is one. You can hold that in place. On older GM and Ford cars, the springs sit too deep in the cross member to reach up there to hold that spacer. They could be tied to the spring with wire or string.

Caradiodoc

Caradiodoc
Dec 7, 2010.