Camber misalignment and rear wheel parts

Tiny
JIMB2020
  • MEMBER
  • 1996 FORD ASPIRE
  • 1.3L
  • 4 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 140,000 MILES
Hi,

Since toe alignment was done and the steering rack was centered, the car has been driving straight down the road without pulling to the left or to the right until recently when I heard the tire skidding on normal pavement. The tires are being cupped or scalloped towards their outer edge, and the rubber is being peeled off in thin wire-like strips. That's less than 2 months of little and normal driving (a total of few hundred miles).

Before me noticing any misalignment or tire wear problems, I had planned to overhaul the front wheel-brake-suspension system. In fact, I just received the parts, but I am hesitant to proceed with this now even though replacing the front suspensions may take care of the problem. So, I am trying to understand and diagnose it before I replaced anything. I think this is most likely Camber misalignment. The wear is all around the outer edge of the tires (the front ones). After rotating the tires, the front ones that were in the rear developed the same exact wear in a matter of one week. I know the camber on this car is 1/2 degree increase or decrease.

1. But how do I know where the original marks were? I don't see them on the strut mount brackets. How do I know what direction to rotate the brackets to correct the camber misalignment (it says "rotate it by 180 degrees")? But when looking at the camber diagram for this car, I feel that the setting if still in the original position then it maybe at its extreme 1/2 degree positive camber and turning the mount bracket by 180 degrees to the left will give the tire an inner edge wear instead. I don't feel confident as to how to proceed here? The problem was compounded when an alignment mechanic looked at the rear beam visually, and told me "that needs replacement." He didn't speak much English, but I think he was pointing towards the rear axle beam. I didn't notice problem with the rear tires. But anyway, I can't find rear wheel axle beam anywhere online or at any of the auto parts stores. But when I searched for Kia or Mazda parts of the same, I got the part I am looking for (visually). I am not certain how (and where) to order the ford aspire part though.

2. Do you have any advice? Interchange guide (maybe?) Because I can't get my hands on an interchange guide for the rear wheel system? I don't think it is wise for me to replace the undercarriage wheels, brakes, axles and suspensions only to find out the chassis is bent or something to that effect.

3. Should the car then be taken to a body shop first to ensure "square" chassis? Would that be un necessary at this stage? Or to be taken to an alignment shop to evaluate bent or problematic wheel and or suspension system?


James
Do you
have the same problem?
Yes
No
Friday, March 12th, 2021 AT 2:54 PM

9 Replies

Tiny
KASEKENNY1
  • EXPERT
All great questions. I think the best course of action is to have an alignment performed by a knowledge shop and not just someone that is going to make the numbers green on their screen and ship the vehicle.

The reason is, you need to have some evaluate what is happening to the tires and then adjust the alignment so this is not continuing to happen.

I doubt you will be able to adjust this type of suspension without having it hooked up to a machine to tell you what the actual measurements are.

I attached the process below if you would like to review it.

Lastly, I don't think you need to have the frame checked unless the alignment is correct and the tires are still cupping.

Take a look at this and let me know what questions you have. Thanks
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
+1
Saturday, March 13th, 2021 AT 3:29 PM
Tiny
JIMB2020
  • MEMBER
Yes, good you're aware of what's happening when an alignment shop does not have the professional expertise they need. So, at the time you were sending me the answer, I was at the shops and in the predicament you were mentioning. I booked three appointments: one was with a body shop down in Lexington 30 miles from where we are (but he is yet to confirm), one at NTB for regular alignment and one at Firestone for visual and computerized check. To make the story short, Firestone wants me to wait 3 and 1/2 hours (I was there at 2pm; they meant after closing! Am like "okay forget it"). I drove up to NTB: Really nice spacious shop with young college age lads and two women getting their cars fixed. The guy takes my car and refuses to charge me because ("you're only getting it checked out, right"). Okay fine (I know when I don't pay; something isn't normal- either a blessing or a curse). Long story short, the guy is really nice but young with very little experience (he forget to check for suspension or anything else besides mounting the car to the rack and getting the readings on a screen). I was happy he got something done for me. But quite honestly, I could not get much answered. He was kind enough to text me the "screen shot" (which I include for you to examine).
Now, I have done front toe alignment the old way many times before, and I seem to get it really good every time (but not without trial and error). This one is something else. Here is my understanding of the results NTB gave me. Please correct me where applicable because I tried to ask and couldn't get answers.

1. I cannot correct Caster on this car, so I am going to leave it alone until I replaced everything undercarriage

2. Camber: the reading shows -0.2 degrees on the right and -0.1 degrees on the left. The manual states 0 degrees 40 minutes +/- 45 minutes (I understand this to be +0.08 degrees to +1.58 degrees interval; this means the camber cannot be negative or leaning towards the center and must be leaning outward away from the center by 0.08 to 1.58 degrees). In this alignment image, I learned the camber is incorrectly leaning towards the center on both sides (contributing to additional outer edge tire wear), and it needs to be adjusted (which I will do when I replace the suspensions). Either I am totally off or these numbers need to be halved if the numbers are for total camber? I doubt I am correct but I tried.

3. Looking at this image, the toe-in numbers are way out of spec: the manual for this car states 0.14 +/- 0.12 inches (again I am assuming these numbers are total toe-in) meaning the toe on each side (as well as the total toe) must be positive. In this case, I learned that the wheels are toed in almost equally but to the extreme (+2.35 degrees on the right and +2.40 degrees on the left). Now, these are in degrees and the specs 0.14 +/- 0.12 are given in inches. So, I went ahead and calculated the angles equivalent to these numbers, and I get the front wheels have to have positive toe-in between 0.26" and 0.02" or +0.57 degrees and +0.044 degrees (again that's total toe-in). Since the right toe is +2.35 degrees, it needs to be reduced to somewhere between +0.57 and +0.04 and divided by 2 or between +0.29 and +0.02 degrees. Likewise, the left front toe is +2.40 degrees and needs to be reduced to the same or between +0.29 and +0.02 degrees. Am I close?

Now, I asked him about the rear wheel and whether the axle beam needs to be replaced; he said: he didn't "feel" it would make any difference "because the problem is a front toe misalignment." Also, I should mention that the tire shops who replaced tires on this car when my sister drove it between 2003 and 2007 decided to replace the original tires on this car (165 70 R13) with 165 80 R13 on all sides except the front driver, they replaced it with 155 80 R13. The tires I have placed on this car recently are all 175 70 R13. With 175 70 R13 the car drove straight and still had the outer edge wear out quickly. Before going to get the alignment reading today, I replaced the front driver tire with the tire she had in the garage (155 80 R13), and at that point the car pulled to the left noticeably messing up the alignment. I was running out of time and decided to keep this tire on while they did the alignment checks. I told the guy about all this (he said "oh, I forgot to check the tires too and that will change all the numbers I got on this screen"). Then he left and asked his friend and came back to tell me "no, it won't make any difference since the computer is reading off the wheel not the tire." I was out of energy to say anything anymore and left. And here I am reporting. I appreciate your patience with this lengthy explanation. But please, let me know what you think and if I should proceed to reduce the toe-in on both front wheels.

James
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Saturday, March 13th, 2021 AT 9:31 PM
Tiny
KASEKENNY1
  • EXPERT
Wow. What an update. I appreciate you posting that for all others benefit but you are on top of it and don't need much help other then confirmation that you are correct.

If your tire wear was cupping/scalloping/feathering on the outer edges that this a toe issue. So you are exactly correct on how much to adjust the toe. This can be done the old school way with a tape measure and patients but I always prefer to use the alignment machine. The last one that I had done, I actually contacted the owner of the shop and asked told them my experienced and asked that I could work with the kid that was doing it. Basically I stood to the side and he adjusted it as we talked about it.

I attached some other documents that will help with this as well.

Please let us know how this turns out.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
+1
Sunday, March 14th, 2021 AT 5:35 PM
Tiny
JIMB2020
  • MEMBER
Thank you so much for your encouragement. I am glad you confirmed the numbers and the diagnostics. So, you're saying NTB did the alignment check correctly and the tire itself being off the recommended size was irrelevant to the computer readings? Thanks again (without your help I couldn't have figured it out).

James
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Monday, March 15th, 2021 AT 11:25 AM
Tiny
KASEKENNY1
  • EXPERT
Maybe I misread that so let me be clear. You have 175/70 on all wheels except the left front where you have a 155/80 now because that is all they had?

After this it started pulling to the left? I would not think this difference would cause that but the easiest way to tell is switch the front tires side to side. If it is the tire it will pull to the other side.

However, the difference in these tires is less then 3 millimeter so I would not think it would cause a pull that noticeable if at all. You figure that out by multiplying the width of the tire (275) by the sidewall height which is 70% of the width. So in that case it is 122.5 mm. The other tire is 124 mm so it is not something that I would think would cause an issue but clearly it was not pulling before but now is so that could be wrong.

I would swap it and see what happens. If it still goes left then it is not the tire.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
+1
Tuesday, March 16th, 2021 AT 5:34 PM
Tiny
JIMB2020
  • MEMBER
When she gave me the car to work on it last year, the car had three tires (165 80 R13) and one driver side front tire (155 80 R13). They were all bold. I replaced all 4 with 175 70 R13 tires. I did alignment and the car was driven few hundred miles (there was no pulling and the alignment appeared fine until I noticed tire wear). I intentionally (after reviewing her tire records) picked up the 155 80 R13 from storage and installed it on the front driver side. At that point, the car clearly lost alignment and pulled to the left and the steering wheel had to be placed at "2 O' clock" to drive straight down the road. But to clear up any doubts now, I got rid of the 155 80 R13 and installed the 175 70 R13 back where it was on the driver front side and drove the car. It re -gained its alignment and drove straight (the wheel being 100 % centered). I came back home and re did the alignment (just last night). I turned the inner tie rod equally 4 full turns ccw on both sides. The car is again driving straight and not pulling at all. I called NTB today, he told me to bring it back in again to put it up on the rack to get new alignment readings. I will take it to NTB tomorrow. In my last reply, I was asking you if the tire size makes a difference in the alignment readings that the computer produces (meaning, does the alignment machine read off the wheel or the wheel and tire?) As far as why it pulled to the left and lost alignment with a thinner and higher tire on the driver side, [lol] I told my sister, "why did they make her wear a high heel on one side- narrow and tall, she couldn't walk right!" She said, "it was long ago and couldn't remember other than they couldn't find the right size!) Of course, I was joking but [maybe] that was it for this car. Because the 155 80 tire is clearly not meant for this car, I decide to forget about it, get rid of it and to focus on whether this car has some problems with its frame before I replaced all wheels, control arms, sway bar or suspensions etc. I did some random measurements on my own because the body shop hasn't called me yet to confirm my appointment. But I could not get a single measurement to equal another (except the height of the struts and shock absorbers when the wheels were off the ground- which did not do me much good since no compression was applied to them). I did all measurements in the driveway, but the driveway isn't straight all the way; it slopes- I couldn't be confident about the numbers I got. The strange part was this: when I lifted the front wheels and let the car rest on car jacks up front, the rear passenger wheel and its tire always hung in the air by about half inch while the left rear tire touched the ground firmly. I have not an idea why (something isn't right).
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Wednesday, March 17th, 2021 AT 12:26 AM
Tiny
KASEKENNY1
  • EXPERT
Okay. I understand now. If you have different tire sizes it can cause an issue as it will cause the vehicle to lean in one direction which will affect the angles. So will tire pressure so the first thing they are supposed to do is check the pressure and make sure they are correct and even.

However, if the tire circumference is the same then it will not effect it. So if the tires are different sizes but the actual circumference remains the same then the suspension will sit in the same position.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
+1
Wednesday, March 17th, 2021 AT 7:09 PM
Tiny
JIMB2020
  • MEMBER
Yes, I am glad we're on the same page now. So, I will go ahead and replace the undercarriage after I get reliable measurements from the body shop (just because I can't figure out why the car isn't sitting even on car jacks). I will let you know what they tell me about the frame and or current suspensions and wheel system. Again as always great advice and replies. Thanks

James
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Wednesday, March 17th, 2021 AT 9:06 PM
Tiny
KASEKENNY1
  • EXPERT
You are welcome. Thanks for using 2CarPros. This post is going to be great info for those in the future. Thanks again.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
+1
Thursday, March 18th, 2021 AT 6:47 PM

Please login or register to post a reply.

Sponsored links