2001 Ford Windstar front end alignment needed?

Tiny
AUNTBEEBEE
  • MEMBER
  • 2001 FORD WINDSTAR
  • 144,807 MILES
I bought 4 new tires plus front end alignment 6 months ago. Also had front end struts replaced. Now drivers side strut is leaking oil after hitting a pothole. Got an estimate for new strut replacement and they are trying to include a front end alignment as a separate charge. Is another front end alignment really necessary or am I going to get ripped off?
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Sunday, July 14th, 2013 AT 2:09 PM

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Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Your mechanic had better include an alignment when steering and suspension parts are replaced if he is conscientious and looking out for your best interest, however, since this is a Ford product, it may be possible for him to take a shortcut. Ford is famous for building vehicles that do not have some alignment adjustments and they can't be made adjustable later to correct alignment problems. Basically, if there's a problem you're stuck with what you have and there's no way to fix it. The up-side to that is due to the design of their struts the mechanic will be removing a straight tube that fits into a pocket, and he will install an identical tube that fits into the same pocket. There is a little movement possible in the upper strut mount but not enough to get excited or concerned about.

What this means is since Ford didn't care enough about you to provide a "camber" adjustment on the front, that wheel is going to end up in exactly the same orientation as the old strut. Camber affects "toe" but camber won't change and toe doesn't need to be changed, so those two tire wear angles should remain okay. This generalization doesn't apply to any other car brand. An alignment would be necessary and since there are adjustments the mechanic can set each wheel for the best tire wear.

The clue you can look for, if your mechanic will forgo the alignment, is if there is no pull to either side now when you let go of the steering wheel, and especially if your steering wheel is straight now, as it should be, the alignment didn't change if those two things didn't change. If you end up with a new pull or the steering wheel has changed position, the van will need to be realigned.
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Sunday, July 14th, 2013 AT 5:18 PM
Tiny
CJ MEDEVAC
  • EXPERT
MANY OF THE PARTS I BUY HAVE A WARRANTY, USUALLY ANYTHING FROM 90 DAYS TO LIFETIME

LOOKS LIKE MAYBE YOU MIGHT HAVE A SHOT AT A NEW STRUT AT NO COST. PAY ONLY THE LABOR TO INSTALL IT?

I DON'T KNOW THE CONDITION OF YOUR TIRES, BUT IF THEY ARE IN POOR SHAPE, YOU'LL NEED 'EM, BEFORE YOU GET ALIGNED

. AND YES, MAJOR FRONT END PARTS BEING INSTALLED, SOMETIMES JUST DON'T "CLICK PERFECTLY INTO PLACE" LIKE THE OLD ONES. SOON AS THEY ARE UNBOLTED, THE PREVIOUS ALIGNMENT IS OUT THE WINDOW!

I'D BE LIKE INSTALLING NEW SIGHTS ON YOUR RIFLE, AND HOPING IT'S STILL ON TARGET!

'ROUND HERE, WE HAVE WHAT I CALL "ALIGNMENT SHOPS". AND WHAT I CALL "AN ALIGNMENT SHOP"

THE 1ST DABBLES IN EVERYTHING, ALIGNMENTS ARE SORTA AN "ELECTIVE" THEY MAY GO A WEEK BEFORE THEY DO ONE. MANY TIMES, THE "HELP" IS INEXPERIENCED.

"THE ALIGNMENT SHOP" SPECIALISES IN ALIGNMENTS, FRONT END AND SUSPENSION REPAIR. CARS TO BIG TRUCKS!

. THIS IS WHERE I GO!

FIND YOU A DUMP TRUCK/ CONCRETE TRUCK/ ETC. OPERATION AND ASK THEM WHERE THEY GO!

AGAIN, 'ROUND HERE, THE FELLERS AT "THE ALIGNMENT SHOP" WILL COME OUT AND SORTA GIVE YOU A "QUICK VISUAL AND QUICK HANDS ON" DIAGNOSIS. REMEMBER, THEY CAN'T SEE SOME OF THIS STUFF TILL THEY "GET IN"

NEVER-THE-LESS. FROM "EXPERIENCE" THEY WILL MOST LIKELY BE ABLE TO TELL YOU WHAT KINDA STUFF MIGHT BE FOUND DURING EXPLORATORY SURGERY. EVEN MIGHT BE ABLE TO GIVE YOU A "BALL PARK ESTIMATE"

IF YOU FIND YOURSELF UNABLE TO LOCATE THE PROBLEM.I'D GO THE "THE ALIGNMENT SHOP". THIS MIGHT BE A FREE DIAGNOSES (EXPERIENCE AND REAL TIME). YOU MIGHT THEN DIY OR LET THEM FINISH THE JOB

I DON'T KNOW YOUR MECHANIC. BUT IF YOU HAVE DOUBTS, MAYBE HE'S NOT THE RIGHT FELLER FOR YOU.I CAN OFFER IDEAS ON HOW TO FIND AND SELECT ANOTHER ONE

. AND REMEMBER "FIRST OPINIONS" ARE NOT LIKE "FIRST IMPRESSIONS". IT DON'T HURT TO GET OTHER OPINIONS!

WHATCHU THINK.('BOUT MY IMPRESSION ANYWAY?)

THE MEDIC
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Sunday, July 14th, 2013 AT 5:47 PM

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