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Thread: Alignment Shop Must Be Wacky.

  1. #1
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    Default Alignment Shop Must Be Wacky.

    Had the alignment on my 87 T-Bird checked today and the readings the Shop gave me are wacky and the reason they gave me for these values was the ball joints were bad and they wanted $450 to do the repair.

    Readings were:
    Camber L = -4.2 deg Cross Camber = -7.2 deg Camber R = +3.0 deg
    Caster L = +2.1 deg Cross Caster = +0.5 deg Caster R = +1.6 deg
    Toe L = +1.55 deg Cross Toe = +1.28 deg Toe R = -0.27 deg

    The last alignment readings from a different Shop were:
    Camber L = -1.6 deg Cross Camber = +0.4 deg Camber R = -2.0 deg
    Caster L = +0.6 deg Cross Caster = +0.1 deg Caster R = +0.5 deg
    Toe L = -0.39 deg Cross Toe = -0.81 deg Toe R = -0.41 deg

    On the right front Camber I don't even think it is possible to get a +3.0 deg reading without having the car damaged in some way. Reason for the recheck was new front springs were installed and the car was pulling to the left slightly. The new springs did raise the front end a little. I'm not worried about the Camber reading because I don't believe those are accurate. My question is going by the Toe readings from today would those readings result in the car to pulling to the left? As for possible bad ball joints I'll check them myself before relying on what this Shop said.

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    wow, those specs look nasty. ( i do alignments )

    your camber being so far out on the left side is causing your pull to the left.

    I will say that a bad set of ball joints could cause the specs to be so far out. I would check them, both for in/out movement, and for up/down movement, using a bar, while supporting the lower control arm. I would have asked the shop to show you the play in the ball joints, any reputable shop will gladly show you the bad parts, as a way to verify they arent trying to screw you over. At least that's how it is here. I gladly welcome to show my customers why im suggesting that they let me put in parts.

  3. #3
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    Take it to another shop and have them check it. Do nothing other than ask for an alignment check and then compare the results.

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    Could someone explain how toe in can vary from side to side??? Is this spec taken with steering wheel straight ahead??

    Traveling down the road IF there is say 1* on left & 0* on right, it will divide itself out to * on each side, yes the steering wheel will be slightly off center...






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    Quote Originally Posted by TurboCoupe50 View Post
    Could someone explain how toe in can vary from side to side??? Is this spec taken with steering wheel straight ahead??

    Traveling down the road IF there is say 1* on left & 0* on right, it will divide itself out to * on each side, yes the steering wheel will be slightly off center...

    total toe is what you explained, where 1 degree on one isde and 0 degree on the other would divide itself , and the steering wheel would compensate by being off.

    but the reason that toe looks off more on one side vs the other is that most alignments require a caster sweep, where you turn the steering 10 degrees to the left, 10 degrees to the right, and then center it from those specs. most modern machines use triangulation to measure how much needs to be taken out of each side.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bootleggers deluxe View Post
    total toe is what you explained, where 1 degree on one isde and 0 degree on the other would divide itself , and the steering wheel would compensate by being off.

    but the reason that toe looks off more on one side vs the other is that most alignments require a caster sweep, where you turn the steering 10 degrees to the left, 10 degrees to the right, and then center it from those specs. most modern machines use triangulation to measure how much needs to be taken out of each side.
    Thank you

    So basically it finds a possible mis centering of steering wheel?






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    kinda, yeah. theres miles of specs and theories, but basically, yeah.

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    Default Thread Update

    Had the alignment on my 87 T-Bird checked today and the readings the Shop gave me are wacky and the reason they gave me for these values was the ball joints were bad and they wanted $450 to do the repair.
    Got around to looking under the car at both ball joints. This "so called" alignment shop was just trying to rip me off. Both ball joints still had grease from the last lube all over the under side of the joints. Going by how the Ford Manual says to check for wear they would of had to wipe the grease off to see the Wear Indicators. Both indicators stuck out and measured near new. Tell me if Ford is wrong in how to check for ball joint wear.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by bootleggers deluxe View Post
    wow, those specs look nasty. ( i do alignments )

    your camber being so far out on the left side is causing your pull to the left.

    I will say that a bad set of ball joints could cause the specs to be so far out. I would check them, both for in/out movement, and for up/down movement, using a bar, while supporting the lower control arm. I would have asked the shop to show you the play in the ball joints, any reputable shop will gladly show you the bad parts, as a way to verify they aren't trying to screw you over. At least that's how it is here. I gladly welcome to show my customers why I'm suggesting that they let me put in parts.
    If these measurements were accurate it would pull RIGHT. The front end always pulls to positive camber and/or positive caster. It doesn't really matter though, there is no possible way you're getting a cross camber total of 7 degrees. Some greenhorn bumped the aligner heads. The widest variance I've seen from a bad balljoint is +/-0.6 camber, and I've seen balljoints straight ready to separate. These are contaminated measurements. The car should be remeasured.
    You should see around +2 caster give or take .5, -.75 camber, but if you have weak springs or you're lowered, you could have more neg. Tie rods take a beating, so you could see just about anything for toe. Get it remeasured by their oldest tech, I'll bet your readings are more sane.
    1988 Thunderbird 5.0
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by 87tbird_org_owner View Post
    Got around to looking under the car at both ball joints. This "so called" alignment shop was just trying to rip me off. Both ball joints still had grease from the last lube all over the under side of the joints. Going by how the Ford Manual says to check for wear they would of had to wipe the grease off to see the Wear Indicators. Both indicators stuck out and measured near new. Tell me if Ford is wrong in how to check for ball joint wear.
    You should lift the wheel by placing a jack under the spring cup so that the suspension remains loaded, get an inch or so of air between the tire and the ground. Grasp the front of the wheel and try to wobble it in and out. Any play you find here will be attributed to the inner or outer tie rod ends. Using a long prybar, place one end under the wheel on the ground, and using the grounded end as a fulcrum, push up on the bar. You're watching for the wheel to move up and down, specifically the lower balljoint, so you may want an assistant to work the prybar while you watch the joint. Technically, there is an allowable amount of play here, but it's small and a dial indicator is required to measure it. Personally, I consider ANY play to be indicative of failure.
    1988 Thunderbird 5.0
    GT40P, TFS-1, KB domes, 30#, MAF conversion, Explorer GT40 Upper/Lower, Smog delete, Wide Ratio AOD Mod, Unlocked Speedo, 3G Charging System Upgrade, Hi-Torque Mini Starter, 3.73 LSD, BBK 1 5/8 unequal headers, H-Pipe.

    88 Thunderbird/Cougar EVTM
    (Thanks to Trinom for hosting)

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