Front end wander.

grouch

Full Access Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2019
Posts
391
Reaction score
613
I should have asked the same thing. Taking to the shops for alignment that, "set the toe and let it go", can contribute to the problems.


The last shop said everything was a breeze except the camber and caster adjustments on the upper control arm so I know the front got an actual alignment. Today, I couldn't get all the tape off after painting the truck so I used it for a parts run. It hadn't had it before but it feels like a bad ball joint. There's a sort of drop and swoop feeling lower ball joints give. Definitely there. I've got a pair each of upper and lower ball joints on order.

As for slop and play in the steering, there isn't any. It drives as tight as my '16 Mazda. Everything but the ball joints is new. The rag joint (yes, I'm old and call it that) is in good shape.

I'm selling the truck so I'd just as soon let the next owner get the tires he (or she) wants. The back ones are new and ran me nearly $900 as they are 10 ply heavy duty tires.
 

PNW VietVet

CCW
Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2014
Posts
9,893
Reaction score
10,433
Location
Oregon
The best way to check the ball joints, IMO, is the obvious you can see with loaded under the lower control arm and check play with a pry bar and I also like to disconnect the outer tie rod and then see how easily you can grab the tire at 3&6 and see how much effort it takes to turn the wheel left and right. A tight ball joint showing no play with a pry bar can still have a binding problem.

So, to get an answer, did you get a before and after print out for the alignment?
 

PNW VietVet

CCW
Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2014
Posts
9,893
Reaction score
10,433
Location
Oregon
It depends on how thorough that shop is. If you have a problem vehicle and the alignment readings look good, then you have to get creative. Like my tie rod disconnect. I have assumed before and wished I hadn't.
 

George B

Oh what fun...
Joined
Feb 5, 2020
Posts
3,793
Reaction score
7,749
Location
Wisconsin
It depends on how thorough that shop is. If you have a problem vehicle and the alignment readings look good, then you have to get creative. Like my tie rod disconnect. I have assumed before and wished I hadn't.
The shop I work with (also one I worked for in the past) will not only find them but indicate by measurement how much they move if loose. Going there is like going to the dentist. You just hope against hope everything is ok and they don't find loose parts. I always do a shake down before I go.
 

PNW VietVet

CCW
Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2014
Posts
9,893
Reaction score
10,433
Location
Oregon
I see what you are saying but a binding ball joint may have no play. I was taught a long time ago. It is just how a-n-a-l I can be sometimes when inspecting for a problem.
 

George B

Oh what fun...
Joined
Feb 5, 2020
Posts
3,793
Reaction score
7,749
Location
Wisconsin
I see what you are saying but a binding ball joint may have no play. I was taught a long time ago. It is just how a-n-a-l I can be sometimes when inspecting for a problem.
I agree and have experienced them too. Usually they pull one way then the other when corrected. A good shop will find them too when they do a “sweep” and one hangs.
 

grouch

Full Access Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2019
Posts
391
Reaction score
613
During the pandemic, the best shop in town closed up when the owner spent several weeks in the hospital. He still isn't 100% so he has basically retired. The ones left, deal mostly with routine alignments on newer vehicles.

Like I said earlier, I finally got the feeling of a failing lower ball joint under motion. I've got new ones on order and when I get back from a short trip, I'll pop them in. I've even checked the rear shackles and spring leafs.
 

Forum statistics

Threads
113,148
Posts
1,538,117
Members
69,801
Latest member
mandop86
Top