Car wanders on highway

Tiny
DAVID BROSKY
  • MEMBER
  • 1995 LINCOLN TOWN CAR
  • V8
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 161,000 MILES
Have a 95 TC replaced upper and lower ball joints, new schocks, new lower control arm bushings, now car wanders on the road and tech at service statiion says he can't align it because I removed air ride suspension from rear, also pulls to the left both braking and driving on highway! Any suggestions or answers?
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Tuesday, August 9th, 2011 AT 9:51 PM

10 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
All you need is to have the car at proper ride height to align it. Until that is done, given all the parts that were replaced, it would be a miracle if it DIDN'T wander. You're going to notice poor tire wear too. Total toe or caster can cause wander when they're not correct. Camber or caster will cause a pull when they aren't equal.
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Tuesday, August 9th, 2011 AT 11:11 PM
Tiny
CJ MEDEVAC
  • EXPERT
I'VE HEARD PEOPLE DISCUSS INSTALLING THE SPRINGS AND RELATED STUFF ONTO A TOWN CAR, OFF OF OTHER FORD VEHICLES. IN ORDER TO RESTORE HEIGHT.

FROM WHAT I REMEMBER, THE WHOLE SYSTEM IS A PAIN AND EXPENSIVE, ONCE IT'S REPAIR TIME!

YOU MIGHT LOOK ON "YOU TUBE", SUBMIT VARIOUS SEARCHES. YOU MIGHT FIND SOMETHING HELPFUL.

THE MEDIC
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Tuesday, August 9th, 2011 AT 11:39 PM
Tiny
DAVID BROSKY
  • MEMBER
You are right it could be costly to replace the air ride system and that's why I decided to just replace the rear air bags with OEM coil springs, lost about 20% of the smooth ride but a lot cheaper. Bought the coil springs on line and shocks locally (was not worth it with shipping costs). Did the job with help, took about 2 Hrs and less than 150$. As for the wandering I have a appt. Tomorrow for align.I will let u know how it goes. One more?, I was changing my oil and while it was up in the air I have play in the wheel side to side (not up and down) note that I have new upper and lower ball joints any ideas and is it worth getting aligned now or figure out what the cause is? Tanks for your help so far !
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Wednesday, August 10th, 2011 AT 10:37 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Do you mean pushing the steering wheel side-to-side, or turning it? If it's side-to-side, there is likely one of the pins for the tilt wheel sheared off. There's a special tool to pull them out and they are replaceable. If there's play in the steering wheel when you turn it, that's normal when there's no pressurized power steering fluid pushing on the power piston in the steering gear box. That play will go away when the engine is running.

Other causes of excessive play in the wheel when the engine is running include tie rod ends, ball joints, idler arm, and pitman arm. All of their ball and socket joints should be inspected for movement while a helper moves the steering wheel back and forth rapidly about a quarter turn. If the new lower ball joints are moving, suspect the mounting hole is stretched and letting the entire joint move around. In very rare cases there can be sideways movement in the pitman shaft where it comes out of the steering gear box. I can describe how to check that if necessary, but on your car that's not very common.

Installing coil springs in the rear to eliminate the troublesome air ride system is a real common procedure. As long as the ride height is correct, there should be no problem aligning the car.
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Wednesday, August 10th, 2011 AT 10:59 PM
Tiny
CJ MEDEVAC
  • EXPERT
AROUND HERE, THE ALIGNMENT SHOPS ARE GOOD ABOUT INVESTIGATING OTHER PROBLEMS THAT WILL AFFECT THE ALIGNMENT. THEY'LL USUALLY GIVE "YOU" THE OPTION TO REPAIR, OR THEY WILL, HOWEVER YOU "STEER THEM"

USUALLY, AGAIN, AROUND HERE, THEY BACK 'EM OUT. LET YOU FIX, THEN BRING HIM BACK. NO CHARGE FOR THE INSPECTION, THEY JUST WANT YOUR BUSINESS, AND A HAPPY CUSTOMER. SPEAK UP, WHILE YOU ARE THERE, TAKE NOTES ALONG WITH YOU, IF YOU HAVE CRS. LIKE ME. GET IT ALL SPELLED OUT, BEFORE THEY BEGIN. NO NEED IN WASTING MONEY!

THE MEDIC
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Wednesday, August 10th, 2011 AT 11:06 PM
Tiny
DAVID BROSKY
  • MEMBER
Well just got back from alignment shop and they said I need idler arm and pitman arm, they did have a lot of play in them. Not going to replace until next weekend, is it ok to drive for now and what else can I replace or look for when I fix the pitman and idler arms, Thanks Guys! (And no they could not align it becauce of this)
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Thursday, August 11th, 2011 AT 8:57 PM
Tiny
CJ MEDEVAC
  • EXPERT
IF YOU WERE REALLY SMALL

. WOULD YOU BUCKLE INTO MY AIRPLANE AND LET ME FLY YOU AROUND?

BE CAREFUL. BAD DECISIONS ARE EVERYWHERE!

NOT HARD TO FIND ONE

WHAT DID THE ALIGNMENT FELLER TELL YOU ABOUT THE SEVERITY OF YOUR PROBLEMS?

MAYBE A PHONE CALL AND TALK TO "BUDDY RAY". THE FELLER WHOSE EYES, WERE ACTUALLY ON YOUR STUFF!

KEEP US INFORMED!

THE MEDIC
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Thursday, August 11th, 2011 AT 9:31 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
The car can be aligned with play in the pitman arm but they will have a hard time centering the steering wheel. The idler arm is a different story. If you push the end of the center-link up and down, you'll see the right front wheel moving left and right a little. If you can see the movement, that's a lot, ... Perhaps a half inch of toe change. For proper tire wear, total toe is set to specs plus or minus 1/64th of an inch. It is impossible to adjust toe correctly with a sloppy idler arm.

Both of those parts are low-failure items, meaning they don't separate very often. The safety issue is only due to all the other new parts causing the steering wander. Since the alignment mechanic found those worn parts, it's likely he checked everything else. They do that so they know their adjustments will hold in proper alignment. You can drive the car that way but expect excessive tire wear to result. You most likely won't notice that in a few hundred miles.
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Thursday, August 11th, 2011 AT 11:05 PM
Tiny
DAVID BROSKY
  • MEMBER
Hi Guys! Back from vaction, going to install new Pitman Arm and Idler arm tomorrow and then get the car aligned on Sat. I'll let u know how it goes when I am done. New question, now I smell gas inside the car(all the time) while I drive it or when I get in it in the morning, cannot see any visible leaks, any ideas? Thanks guys! (Running or not running)
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Thursday, August 18th, 2011 AT 11:26 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
If there's no wet spots on the ground and you can smell it while driving, suspect injector o-rings are leaking. You'll see that on top of the engine.
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Friday, August 19th, 2011 AT 1:15 AM

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