Alignment toe way out after stabilizer bushing install

Tiny
O8PANTHER
  • MEMBER
  • 2008 FORD CROWN VICTORIA
  • 4.6L
  • V8
  • RWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 126,000 MILES
I have the police 08 CVPI with severe duty suspension.

Bought car steeeing suspension felt pike new. Noticed stabilizer bar moved excessively after looking for a squeek(hood stops, lol) anyways I noticed the bar was very easily moveable by hand left an right until bar hit metal ring stops. Bushings werewore out so I replaced them and being my first time and in a hurry I just installed to where it was upon removal. After driving it for about 3 weeks I noticed the left tires toe was noticeably toed out on left wheel and on the righ wheel to but not as much I also notices the steering wasnt as tight and was not the same as before stblzr. Bushings were replaced. I was worried because I looked it the wheel geomatry when I bought it in the same spot and nothing jumped out at me and this extreme toe def. Would have im sure. I know tie rods usually cause toe problems but when inspecting component s I noticed. The upper control arm alignment bolts wereset roughlt in the middle but a bit offset on the dr. Side and the pass. Side bolts were all the way or damn close all the way adjusted gointowards engine which had me worried. The lower control arm bushing bolts were both offset towards the pass. Side so much that they squiched the rubber bushings to pass. About a 1/4" or so. My end links are not even close to being in line with each other. Lower and upper ball joinys on both side were in great shape but one or two had zerks on the pass. Side so they are diff. Aftermarket ball joints. The ones that had no zerks looked like motorcraft oem. Upper control arm bushings looked good to me. And the other side of the lower control arms that atatch to alum rack n pinion support looked decent. Front had what looked like newer springs cleaner with a newer shock on pass. Front. And a original oem on dr. Side front. Car bump steers over bumps but handles them smoothly and at 75 80 mph I get a front end rattle. Steering whee speedl sensor connector on dr. Side fell out of clip wire pins were pulled out with wires when I knicked it with stabilzer bar during bushing install but no light lit until it kep falling back out the following next week so I thought the steering wheel responsive ness and awkward feel turning left was from that being off aince it has variable assist ps. I know someone on here is a alignment. Geometry wizard but cant remember his SN. Thats why I described everything in such detail. I am afraid I have a bent frame but it looks fine and I know nothi g about how bad the alignment can get when repairs are done by novices or a huge pothole was hit. I did hit a pretty huge pot hole before and it went thud pretty loud but I didnt noticw any changes in feel after I hit it. Please someome tell me my frames isnt bent. Oh and the camber negative at bottom and positve top a bit on both front wheels the rear wgeels look a tiny bit off align. And both front and rear pass. Tires are worn decently even but are at about 20% trad and dr. Side tires are wore dececently even but both have about 50% tread. I already have a ps whine and trans whine so I wanna know if the frame is bent it is just a lost cause drive it till it dies. Also the lower steering shaft had recall replacement but the upper one looks pretty rusty.

Oh please help me I am so mad at myself for going off of feel and not checking all componants before I bought a beat on police car. Thought I got a good one! Funny thing is even woth all problems stoll drive nice and shifts and steers pretty good while driving normally. It barely even pulls to the right on the highway. Fords can take a beating thats for sure
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Friday, April 14th, 2017 AT 6:43 PM

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Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
They may take a beating, but you never want to ignore a noise from the suspension or steering systems. Ford has more trouble with parts separating, leading to loss of control and crashes, than most other brands combined.

My recommendation is to have the car inspected at a tire and alignment shop first. That must include measuring the suspension ride height. If that is wrong, it will change the geometry of the parts, then even when the alignment numbers look perfect on the computer screen, the wheels will not go through the proper motions as the car goes up and down. You can have terrible tire wear on a car that appears to be in perfect alignment.

Added to that, Ford has a real bad history of specifying alignment settings for best comfort or good handling, at the expense of tire wear. Ask anyone who ever owned an '80s Escort or Tempo. You got up to 15,000 miles from a set of tires, ... If you were lucky.

To aggravate the tire wear problem, your car calls for the exact opposite of what all other cars call for, and this has little to do with having the police package. Most cars call for slightly positive camber on the front wheels, meaning they're leaning out on top, but not nearly enough to see by eye. That forces the vehicle's weight to be placed directly over the larger inner wheel bearing which is what holds the car's weight. The smaller outer bearing only keeps the wheel straight and isn't meant to support the car.

Your car calls for negative front camber, a common Ford trick to create a smoother ride, but you'll pay for it in tire wear on the inner edges. Camber wear always affects only that tire.

Next. All rear-whee-drive cars call for a little total toe-in on the front wheels. Rolling resistance and braking forces tug the wheels back while driving. The goal of starting out with toe-in is to end up with the two wheels perfectly parallel to each other while the car is in motion. Your car calls for negative total-toe, meaning the tires are steering away from the center of the car. When toe for each wheel is equal, the steering wheel will be straight when driving on a straight road. Negative total toe also causes accelerated wear to the inner edges of the tread, to include a feather-edge pattern. You'll feel that by rubbing your hand along the edges of the tread, around the tires. One way your fingers will glide over the blocks of rubber. The other way your fingers will catch on the raised edges of those blocks.

Toe wear always affects both tires on that axle. If toe is only wrong on one wheel, you have to bring both wheels back to equal by turning the steering wheel off-center.

You can't make any generalizations by the orientation of the alignment adjustments. In fact, you're lucky to even have caster and camber adjustments. The engineers at Ford couldn't be bothered to put camber adjustments on their front-wheel-drive cars. Every other car in the world has some means of adjusting camber to compensate for mildly sagged ride height and metal fatigue. Ford, on the other hand, will tell you to replace bent parts, and when there are none, you must just put up with what you got.

Some Ford models that DO have adjustments for caster are real hard to set precisely to prevent a pull. The engineers did us a favor and built them with a two-piece upper control arm, but only for the right side. Once camber was set, it was a simple task to adjust the right caster to match the left side, whatever it was. The problem is that outer half of the control arm had the upper ball joint built into it, and when it came time to replace it, ... Surprise, the two-piece arm was not available. Only the single-piece, like the one on the left side, was available. That made setting the adjustments to where you wanted them exceedingly frustrating and time-consuming.

The point I was leading up to is when the car is in alignment, you might find the adjustments all the way in or all the way out, and it's common for both sides to be different. When you start out with adjustments fairly centered within their range of adjustment, then have to set some all the way to their end during an alignment, that is when the mechanic will look closer at ride height. Caster doesn't change much with changes in ride height, and has very little effect on tire wear, but camber changes a lot while the car is in motion. The range of those changes is reduced when starting out at the right ride height. If you want to measure ride height yourself, visit any tire and alignment shop and ask them how to do it. They will have a small book that shows every model, exactly where to take the front and rear measurements, and what they should be. They can work with a car that is sagged just a little, usually less than an inch, but for more than that, the coil springs must be replaced.

It is much easier too for them to find worn parts than it is for you when crawling around on the ground. Many mechanics don't mind if you replace your own parts at home, but they're going to double-check what they can visually before they do the alignment. A few shop owners will even allow the mechanic to take you into the shop to show you which parts need to be replaced, and why. Don't be put off if you aren't allowed in the shop. I've seen women step into a drain pan full of oil, people hit their heads on the hoist, and customers fiddle with coil springs under high pressure in a spring compressor. Most insurance companies won't cover accidents involving customers in the shop.
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Friday, April 14th, 2017 AT 8:14 PM
Tiny
O8PANTHER
  • MEMBER
Sorry I was revising my post to be more clear and didnt see your response. Here it is a though a little more readable lol

When I bought car the steeering and suspension felt like new. I noticed the stabilizer bar moved excessively after looking for a squeek(it was the hood stops, lol) Anyways, I noticed the S. Bar was easily moveable by hand from left to right until the bar hit metal set screw stops. The inside of the bushings were wore pretty bad so I replaced them, It was my first time and replacing S. Bar bushings and I was in a hurry so I sadly just installed to where it was upon removal without checking its orientation.

After driving the car for about 3 weeks, I noticed the left tires toe out was excessive on left wheel making it stick out like a sore thumb, the right wheel was also toed out, but not quite as much as the left. Then I noticed the rear wheel were following the same direction as the front.
The steering wasnt as tight as before the bushings were replaced. I was worried because I looked at the wheel geomatry when I bought the car and nothing caught my eye at that time.
I know that tie rods usually cause toe in or out problems but I wanted to give it a good look. The (camber/mounting bolts for tje upper control arm were set roughly in the middle of the guide holes on the drivers side. However, the passenger side upper control arm bolts were set all the all the way at the end of the mounting guide holes(not sure of the correct name for them) closer inward on tje frame towards the engine. This didn't seem right to me, they shouldnt be that far off from a previous alignment unless something is out of bent out of whack. Right? Or are these common alignment adjustments?
The lower control arm bolts bolts that go through the the inner sleeve on the bushings were both offset towards the pass. Side so much that they collapsed the rubber inside the bushings about a 1/4" or so, but without seperation frm outer or inner sleeves. The bushings connected to the aluminum rack and pinion cross member looked good to me. Do I need to replace the bushings mounted tp the frame or are they ok?
My end links are not even close to being in line with each other and far off from being inline with each other, is tjat acceptable?
Both lower and upper ball joints on both sides look to be in great shape boots and all tje only thing im not sure of is that they are mis matched with OEM w/no zerks and w/aftermarket with zerks. Will the mismatched ball joints affect anything negatively? Front blue coded springs look newer on both sides. The shock absorbers on botj side are in decent condition and rebound with one bounce.

Oh yea botj front and rear passenger side tires are wore about 30-40% more than the driver side and the outer edge of all four wheels are worn a little more than the in edges all 4 wheels have a slight cupping wear pattern also but not bad in my opinion.

The car does bump steer over bumps slightly on big bumps but only at 40+mph other than that it handles bumps smooth as butter.
At highway speeds drive fine but if I go 75+mph I get a intermittent front end rattle depending on smoothness of highway.

The driver side abs wheel sensor connector fell out of clip wire pins and all. Since then the steering wheel responsiveness feels laggy when turning especially turning left at low speed. Car has variable ps assist and I read a abs speed sensor can wreak havoc on steering if its malfunctioning or not working.

Ok my main concern is with reguarding all of this info does it sound like my frame is bent or is it such a nightmare for alignment shops they wont touch it. Or is it simply a matter of adjustments after my front lower control arm bushings to frame replaced. I forgot to check rear but I figured it just followed the front and ill replace bushings arms accordingly.

Thank you to anyone brave enough to tackle dive into this one. I can send pics if needed in the am. 2carspros experts and admins. Rule all!
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Friday, April 14th, 2017 AT 9:43 PM
Tiny
O8PANTHER
  • MEMBER
You are simply the best! Better than all the rest!
There Is not a better way to exlpain this to somene than you just did! Please tell me you are a teach so your knowledge can be transfered to many minds! I dont even need to ask you anything you explained it perfectly already.
Oh wait, there is one how much do you think an alignment would cost me? My negative camber is very noticeable by eye on all 4 tires. My negative total toe is really out there, explains why car bareley moves on flat surface in reverse and gets poor mpg. I thought my pass. Side front and rear tire tread being almost bald and my drivers side front and rear maintaining 40% tread eas a little odd, I guessI need to rotate them back to normal.
What you said about ford made me lose some respect for them for sure. I always buy fords too! I thought michigan roads tore the tires up. Nope it was big blue trying to make fatten up before winter.

Explains why on the pd maintenance records they had to change the tires so often I thought it was mailny from burnouts and power slides this info leads me to believe that thats definitely not always the case. Thanks a ton. You sir. ROCK!
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Friday, April 14th, 2017 AT 10:22 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
The ABS system won't affect the steering. If the ABS Computer detects a problem, it will set a diagnostic fault code, turn on the yellow warning light, then shut the system down. No safety system will cause handling symptoms to the steering system.

Nothing so far suggests the frame is bent. That would show up on the alignment computer, but you still wouldn't see that in the wheels. All alignment computers today measure all four wheels. If the frame is bent significantly diamond-shaped, meaning one side is pushed rearward relative to the other side, that will show up as excessive wheel offset. That is the amount one front wheel is further ahead than the other front wheel. There will be additional clues that could include uneven spacing of the wheels in the wheel wells, or the rear axle is turned to one side. After the crash, you'd have to turn the steering wheel to turn the front wheels to match the rear ones, to make the car go straight. The observation would be the steering wheel is off-center.

If the frame is bent in the middle, as if it were hit between the doors, the rear thrust angle will be high. That means the rear axle is steering off to one side instead of centered. Even that has to be severe before you'll notice it. The alignment computer indexes off the two rear wheels to calculate where to adjust each front wheel toe to end up with a straight steering wheel. If thrust angle is significant, it will result in one of two conditions. The most common is the entire rear axle is shifted to the side in relation to the rest of the vehicle. All four wheels can still be perfectly parallel and have good tire wear, but they don't form a nice rectangle pattern when viewed from on top.

The second possible condition is best described by imagining the four wheels are in a perfect rectangle, then the body is lifted off the frame and wheels, turned a little, then set back down. The wheels can still be in alignment, but they are spaced differently on each side.

The clue for the alignment specialist is that rear thrust angle. Adjusting the front wheels only matches them to the rear wheels. It doesn't change the thrust angle measurement. If you don't have a good feel for the thrust angle's number of degrees, it is exactly related to the two individual rear toe readings. If you find, for example, 1/4" toe-in on the left rear wheel, and 1/4" toe-out on the right rear wheel, they are both still perfectly parallel to each other, but they're both steering off to the right. The mechanic will lock the steering wheel perfectly straight, then adjust each front wheel's toe to make them parallel to the rear wheels. None of the wheels will be perfectly parallel to the car's body, and that is common, but the driver will see a centered steering wheel.

Once the car is aligned, if you post the "after" measurements for front caster, camber, and toe, and for rear camber and toe, I can interpret them and tell you what to expect for pulling and tire wear. Most alignment computers take a "before" snapshot of the measurements to show what the mechanic started with before any adjustments were made. The "after" readings are what he ended up with after all the adjustments were completed.
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Friday, April 14th, 2017 AT 10:44 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Sorry that we keep crossing in the mail.

Yes, I have a lot of people fooled as to my intelligence. Actually it's just many years as a brake system and steering and alignment specialist, then nine years teaching it in a community college Automotive program. Alignment angles, and my other specialty, Electrical, are very hard to teach to people in this industry because we learn best by looking at parts and manipulating them. We have a hard time learning what we have to visualize. I get real good results with that because I know what it feels like to not get it. Truly intelligent people make less-effective teachers because they get frustrated when the kids are slow to understand the topic.

Don't get too "wrapped around the axle" when making assumptions based on your tires. One could have been bald, or cut, or developed a broken belt, and their shop may have just thrown on an old one that was good enough to be safe when the car was headed to the auction. Your car might also have recently had four new tires installed, and they took them off to keep for their other cars. They could have picked the best of a dozen old tires from multiple cars to put on yours.

I used to work for a very nice family-owned Chrysler dealership, and the county brought a lot of their Dodge and GM cars to us for me to align. One of my former coworkers is now a county deputy, and he says we can't buy the same tires the police departments get. Those are rated for high speed and high traction. High traction means a softer rubber compound, and that means less wear resistance. No tire manufacturer wants you to be able to buy a tire that is going to wear out a lot faster than those of their competitors. Regular "consumer" tires are much better for wear, and they meet all the other driving requirements. All I would be concerned with right now is all four tires wear evenly from side to side, and smoothly around the tread. That will tell you the alignment is acceptable, and will remain that way when it comes time to install new tires. The mechanic at most tire stores will also "read" those wear patterns to insure their new tires will wear properly. They want to be able to give you a mileage warranty but they will only do that if they don't see a problem that is beyond their control. That is why you'd never get a tire warranty from any shop for the older Escorts and Tempos.

If you look to your west, you'll see me waving to you. I'm in the middle of north central Wisconsin.
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Friday, April 14th, 2017 AT 11:15 PM
Tiny
O8PANTHER
  • MEMBER
I knew you were a teacher, lol. Very true highly intelligent people make for horrible teachers unless they are teaching highly imteligent students.
My car has goodyear eagle m+s tire with traction and temp rated at A and the speed rating of 98w. I will send before and after pics once its aligned so you can decypher the readings. I have some pics of front alignment adjustments and tire wear if you can tell anything from just that.

1. Front. Dr. Side tire
2. Front pass. Side tire
3. Dr. Side lower c arm
4. Pass. Side lower c arm
5. Dr. Side lower c arm bushing( both pass. And dr. Sideshave the mounting bolt offset from middle and shifted towards pass. Side. Pic isnt great. Anyways do these need replacing?

Both pass. Side tires have same wear, and the dr. Side both have same wear. This doesnt make sense to me unless the po rotated them that way for to fix the cars pull. But the car pulls a tiny bit to the right that is a** backwards.

Thanks again for bearing with me. I wont bother you again until I get it aligned lol
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Saturday, April 15th, 2017 AT 1:51 PM
Tiny
O8PANTHER
  • MEMBER
I forgot these pics. I know its not sitting even or if the different is visible to you via camera orientation so it might not help. It was windy as heck outside and blowing dirt in my eyes so I didnt get the best pics. Dont know why they are upside down.
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Saturday, April 15th, 2017 AT 2:00 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Photos 3 and 4 should be the upper control arms. The slotted areas under the nuts are the inter-related caster and camber adjustments. This type of adjustment was common on older Fords and Chryslers. It's not abnormal to find one of these adjustments all the way to the end of its travel, but if you find both of them on one side adjusted as far as they can go, and you need more adjustment, that's the time to suspect sagged ride height.

Direction wheels are leaning and steering is hard to tell from photos. The biggest problem has to do with the rounded body panels. Your front fenders can make a front wheel appear to be turned out to that side. We used to sight along the front and rear of the sidewall, then extend that line of sight to the rear tire, but even that can be misleading. A lot of models have front wheels that are further apart than their rear wheels. I've run into that too many times when I thought something was badly out-of-adjustment, but found everything to be fine according to the alignment computer.
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Saturday, April 15th, 2017 AT 10:27 PM
Tiny
O8PANTHER
  • MEMBER
Sorry I don't know how I did that twice, but yes upper control arms. I figured the pics were not accurate enough.

Thanks again!
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Sunday, April 16th, 2017 AT 4:02 AM
Tiny
KEN
  • ADMIN
Yep Caradiodoc is one of our best!

Please use 2CarPros anytime, we are here to help and tell a friend.

Best, Ken
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Tuesday, April 18th, 2017 AT 12:01 PM

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