Rear control arm bushing and wheel alignement

Tiny
MRIK
  • MEMBER
  • 2001 FORD FOCUS
  • 2.0L
  • 4 CYL
  • FWD
  • MANUAL
  • 270,000 MILES
My Ford Focus has a couple of problems on the rear axle.
1-On the right side the bushing of the control arm are shot and I am able to move slightly the wheel while pulling with my hands on it.
2-the wheels have a negative camber and need an alignment.
My question is, will the fact of doing an alignment on the wheels will make the bushing problem worst?
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Monday, February 15th, 2016 AT 9:09 AM

3 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
An alignment can't be done if a wheel can move around. No matter where you adjust the wheel to, it won't stay there. You have to fix everything first, then do the alignment last.

I don't know what the Focus uses in the rear, but in the past, Ford front-wheel-drive cars were very limited in what they had for adjustments. The engineers designed the cars to ride much nicer than other brands of similar-size cars, so they sold a pile of them. What they don't want you to know is the alignment is severely messed up to get that nice ride, but it tears up the tires, and there's nothing you can do about it. 1980s Ford-built Escorts and Tempos were some of the worst cars ever built in that regard. A typical camber setting for front wheels is around positive half a degree, and sometimes as high as 3/4 degree. The Escort called for 2 7/16 degree! And there was nothing we could do to fix that. Front tires lasted about 15,000 miles if you were lucky. The rear wheels called for almost as severe negative camber but we could fix that with aftermarket wedges and smaller strut mounting bolts.

Ford can't get away with such terrible alignment settings any more because way too many people got wise to the dirty tricks they pulled to sell more cars. Still, the negative rear camber you're seeing may actually be what is called for. If you visit any tire and alignment shop, they will be able to show you on their alignment computer an animation showing how rear camber is adjusted and whether it is possible to adjust the front camber.

They can also show you where to measure ride height on the front and rear, and what those measurements should be. Sagged ride height is less of a problem with strut suspension, but it still will aggravate tire wear if the car sits low, even when the alignment computer says all the numbers are good.
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Monday, February 15th, 2016 AT 9:44 AM
Tiny
MRIK
  • MEMBER
Thank you very much for the complete answer. That will explain why I see a lot of these model with a negative camber. As I was waiting for your answer, I went to my local tire shop, and there is no adjustment on the rear. The only solution is to replace the higher control arm with an after market -adjustable one.
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Monday, February 15th, 2016 AT 10:03 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Dandy. The aftermarket industry does a pretty good job of making things like this available.
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Monday, February 15th, 2016 AT 10:42 AM

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