Front end wheel alignment?

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What do you folks think about this situation?
I looked at my tires in my garage tonight, and it looks to the naked eye like I have toe-out on the front end. I haven't measured it with
a tape measure or anything, and the car isn't apparently pulling to one side or the other, but it sure does look like the left front tire is a tiny smidgen toe out and the right front looks like it is more toe out. The car is too new to see wear marks ( new tires ).
Should I show this to the Dealer? Measure it with a tape measure? Ideas? I just bought this car 3 weeks ago.
Lg
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Sounds like you should drive your car and enjoy it. Don't even try to measure the toe with a tape, if you must have the dealership check it.
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On Mon, 2 Feb 2004 21:57:57 -0800, "Scott" <kissmyredwhite&bluebutt.com> wrote: |
| |> |> |> What do you folks think about this situation?|> |> I looked at my tires in my garage tonight, and it looks to the naked |> eye like I have toe-out on the front end. I haven't measured it with |> a tape measure or anything, and the car isn't apparently pulling to |> one side or the other, but it sure does look like the left front tire |> is a tiny smidgen toe out and the right front looks like it is more |> toe out. The car is too new to see wear marks ( new tires ).|> |> Should I show this to the Dealer? Measure it with a tape measure? |> Ideas? I just bought this car 3 weeks ago.|> |> |> Lg| | Sounds like you should drive your car and enjoy it. | Don't even try to measure the toe with a tape, if you | must have the dealership check it.
Ah, OK. Will take your advice. Thanks. You know, I am like a new mother hen now for a while.
I -do- believe I have 24 months left on my warranty, so, if I don't see uneven tire wear in -that- amount of time ( 2 years! ) then all is well I guess.
What bothers me at the moment, is I never did an undercarriage check before I bought the car. It was a *dealer demo* on the showroom floor, with 6,400 miles on it. I just looked at, listened to the engine and took it for a drive and said OK ;-\
Then I saw this and panicked? I looked at the rear wheels, perfectly parallel. Then I looked at the front, maybe, maybe not.
Well, we'll let this go till the Spring/Summertime, then I guess, and if I'm still having hallucinations about it _then_, I'll drive it over for a look-see.
Lg
Lg
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You should have said it was a demo. They don't usually get treated badly, but anything is possible. Have the alignment checked and see if they will let you take a look at the undercarriage or put it up on ramps and take a look. Your warranty is limited as to how long and how many miles that they cover the alignment, at least it was several years ago.
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On Mon, 2 Feb 2004 22:28:47 -0800, "Scott" <kissmyredwhite&bluebutt.com> wrote: | You should have said it was a demo. They don't usually get | treated badly, but anything is possible. Have the alignment | checked and see if they will let you take a look at the undercarriage | or put it up on ramps and take a look. Your warranty is limited as | to how long and how many miles that they cover the alignment, at | least it was several years ago.
Sorry. Will check this with tape measure and ruler ( to be sure horizontal tape measure ). Will post measurements before going to bed now.
If I see anything WILD, then that means they had better give me a Free Front End wheel alignment. Will post shortly.
Lg
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On Mon, 2 Feb 2004 22:28:47 -0800, "Scott" <kissmyredwhite&bluebutt.com> wrote: | You should have said it was a demo. They don't usually get | treated badly, but anything is possible. Have the alignment | checked and see if they will let you take a look at the undercarriage | or put it up on ramps and take a look. Your warranty is limited as | to how long and how many miles that they cover the alignment, at | least it was several years ago.
Sorry. Will check this with tape measure and ruler ( to be sure horizontal tape measure ). Will post measurements before going to bed now.
If I see anything WILD, then that means they had better give me a Free Front End wheel alignment. Will post shortly.
===================================================== 0230 Central Time USA
Just finished trying to measure tires for toe-out. Impossible, because........the car is in the way ;-)
So I went under the car, all looks OK as far as suspension/drive shafts, struts, etc etc, are bisymetrical, both sides of car.
Illuminated sidewalls of front tires and sighted down them, and they hit the outside edges of the rear tires _almost_ dead nuts on on the right ( passenger side ), and completely dead nuts on on the driver's side. I *figure* that the amount of toe-out needed to expose about 1 inch of rear tire from front to back ( wheelbase ) must be a small fraction of an inch on the right front tire.
This is probably in *tolerance,* probably would see WORSE on other cars if I took the time to look at them this carefully.
Bottom line, I don't think my wheels are out of alignment. Castor/Camber not a problem. Treads are perpendicular to the ground.
As you can see, suspension systems are not my forte. I am learning though.
L8r
Lg
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Did you consider that maybe your steering wheel is very slightly turned? This will make it appear that one wheel is out more becuase the other one will be hidden.

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|Did you consider that maybe your steering wheel is very slightly turned? |This will make it appear that one wheel is out more becuase the other one |will be hidden.
Sure Rex, I have a long driveway, maybe 120 feet long. But when I get to the garage, I have to make a slight turn maneuver to avoid lawn mowers and such. So last night, I followed the driveway -to- the garage, and stopped, got out of the car, raised the garage door, and sighted the wheels on the car while it was still outside.
Not easy to do when it is night time outside. Used multiple flashlights to illuminate the sidewalls of the tires.
As far as I can tell at this point, the wheels are within specs, since only on 1 side of the car can I see about 1 inch of the rear wheel.
What's getting in my way is the cold, dark, and wet. It is the middle of winter up here in Chicago. I am satisfied the wheels are OK now, but am toying with the idea of mounting one of my lasers on a tripod, and lining the beam up such that it just touches the sidewalls of the -rear- tires, which I can see are parallel.
THEN, I can truly see if the beam hits the front tires, and where, and if the front wheels are *turned* as you suggest. I would be looking for close to equal offset on each front tire.
IOW, if the beam hits the sidewall rear of the front axle by 1 inch on the right, I would expect it to hit the front wheel sidewall on the left by similar, but forward of the axle.
This isn't as hard to do as it might sound. Maybe will try it later.
Lg
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wrote:

--
Back in the olden days :-)) We used to wet the car tires, then drive on a
dry patch of road without turnong the steering wheel for about 20'. You were
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| Back in the olden days :-)) We used to wet the car tires, then drive on a |dry patch of road without turnong the steering wheel for about 20'. You were |able to see if the tires track ok. |Gerry
I already tried that Gerry, driving in snow. But finding someplace with a few inches that hasn't already been driven over and packed isn't so easy.
Not knowing how this car was maintained prior to my buying it, I just filled up the tank with 87 octane, and put in 12oz of STP fuel injector cleaner, and 12oz of STP water remover. Now I am about to change the oil and oil filter. But not in _this_ freaking cold. Not tonight. Besides, I think the dealer said the first oil change was on him. Why not? I'll just roll into his service bay at 7:00 a.m. and let -them- do the nasty.
And I might mention the wheel thingy while I'm at it.
Lg
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Lawrence, since you are in Chicago, if the Ford dealer doesn't want to do an alignment check for free, you can always go to Just Tires. They do free checks, no obligation. You may need an appointment. Oh it's wasn't so cold last night in Chicago, I changed my transmission fluid, rear differential oil, and power steering fluid last night :))
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|Lawrence, since you are in Chicago, if the Ford dealer doesn't want to do an |alignment check for free, you can always go to Just Tires. They do free |checks, no obligation. You may need an appointment. Oh it's wasn't so cold |last night in Chicago, I changed my transmission fluid, rear differential |oil, and power steering fluid last night :))
You're a Brave Man, Rex. 7 below zero windchill today. And a snowstorm predicted to hit any time now.
I'm thinking I have everything I need for an oil change right now, except the -willingness- to do it ;-\ If it gets out of the single digits, I may go for it, but according to the window decal, it isn't needed until the beginning of March. Or 6,978 miles, whichever comes first. I'm waiting to see double digits on the thermometer, and then, maybe. It's not like it is an emergency or anything at the moment. I'm just not in the mood to freeze my cajones.
Times like this, I envy people with heated carports, although I can heat mine to some degree ( no pun ) with my torpedo heater.
Thanks for the advice about *Just Tires.* I'll find one and go have the front wheels checked.
Lg
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On Mon, 02 Feb 2004 22:32:24 -0600, Lawrence Glickman

You can measure with a tape measure. Just pick a spot on the tread that you can match easily from one side to the other and measure the front and the back. THey should be the same, give or take. If there is any difference it should be no more then 1/8 inch toed out in front. If it's more then that you still won't get any pulling but it will wear the tires faster and may affect handling/steering effort. If it seems OK don't worry about it for now and just mention it to the dealer when you visit them for an oil change and/or warranty work. They should not charge much, if anything, to check the toe settings. -- Elbridge Gerry, of Massachusetts:
"What, sir, is the use of militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty. . . Whenever Government means to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise a standing army upon its ruins." -- Debate, U.S. House of Representatives, August 17, 1789
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wrote:
|On Mon, 02 Feb 2004 22:32:24 -0600, Lawrence Glickman
|>     |> |>What do you folks think about this situation?|> |>I looked at my tires in my garage tonight, and it looks to the naked |>eye like I have toe-out on the front end. I haven't measured it with |>a tape measure or anything, and the car isn't apparently pulling to |>one side or the other, but it sure does look like the left front tire |>is a tiny smidgen toe out and the right front looks like it is more |>toe out. The car is too new to see wear marks ( new tires ).|> |>Should I show this to the Dealer? Measure it with a tape measure? |>Ideas? I just bought this car 3 weeks ago.|> |> |>Lg | |You can measure with a tape measure. Just pick a spot on the tread |that you can match easily from one side to the other and measure the |front and the back. THey should be the same, give or take. If there |is any difference it should be no more then 1/8 inch toed out in |front. If it's more then that you still won't get any pulling but it |will wear the tires faster and may affect handling/steering effort. |If it seems OK don't worry about it for now and just mention it to the |dealer when you visit them for an oil change and/or warranty work. |They should not charge much, if anything, to check the toe settings.
OK, Elbridge.
Here is what I'll do. I will get some duct tape and tape a tape measure to outside tread on one tire, and keep it level with floor and measure to outside tread on other tire, both front and back.
This is -simple- for me to do, I have a lighted garage. And a torpedo heater in there also. If I see something DRAMATIC, like MORE than 1 inch, like 3 inches or such, _definitely_ I will take it to Dealer tomorrow morning.
OTOH, if I am just hallucinating from too much coffee, then I will remember that it is easy for human eyes to play tricks with a person's mind 8-)))
After measuring, for $hits & giggles, I will post front and back measurements here just FYI.
Lg
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Lawrence Glickman wrote:

that's all I use to actually align the front end anymore. To do it, I pull the car onto a straight stretch of driveway so the car is going very straight and stop gently. Then I get my eye down to about 15 inches above the ground and about 8-12 feet in front of the car, sighting along the front and rear outside edges of the front tire and trying to make sure that they are exactly parallel to the rear tire outside edges. If the sight line intersects the tread portion of each rear wheel, then you have too much toe out. If you can't see the rear tire edge, too much toe in. This simple test should be performed any time you have just had your front end aligned as a simple proof of proper alignment of toe. Toe mis adjustment has THE most affect on poor tire wear. Stan K.
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[snip]
The toe spec for your car is 0.20 degrees toe out + or- 0.25 degrees. (normal for a FWD vehicle) So, you should probably do as Scott suggested.
FWIW, toe when measured in inches or millimeters is specified as being at the center of the rotational axis (that would be 13" up from ground on a 26" diameter tire) and 14' inches forward of the rotational axis (the axle center line). I can't imagine how you're going to get a tape measure to pass thru the transaxle, the chassis and unibody and all the other garbage mounted that would be in the way of getting an accurate reading. (must be a reason that a good alignment machine costs

even do it properly on a dump truck, you'd still be much better off with a set of Trammel bars.
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Neil Nelson wrote: snip

kids can appear to actually align your vehicle . A careful person with basic knowledge and simple techniques can accurately test for proper toe. Camber is simple as well. Caster requires some indirect measurement but can also be done with inexpensive tools. I've been doing all my own alignments for over 35 years this way. Computer printouts are no substitute for common sense. Presumably dump truck tires are far more expensive than automobile tires and therefore justify the most accurate technique. Stan K.
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Dude, you worry too much. Just keep an eye on the tires, you should anyway right? :)
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|Dude, you worry too much. Just keep an eye on the tires, you should anyway |right? :)
You are right, I worry too much. But an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, a stitch in time saves nine, and all that. And you have to know the *tricks* a car dealer will use to fool a customer, like underinflating tires in order to give the appearance of a smoother ride.
Bring the car somewhere (home ) and put the -correct- air pressure into the tires, and -then- see what it rides like.
I checked Carfax for the vehicle history. No problems reported. I checked Kelley's Blue Book for trade value of my old rust bucket and Blue book value for this car.
Just being -cautious-. Caveat Emptor, and all that. Just being cautious. When you're buying a used car, what you don't know can hurt you. I've gone over most of this vehicle with a magnifying glass. So far, everything seems to be OK. Nice ride, plenty of power. I guess I'm a happy camper. So _far_ ;-)))
Lg
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You can't tell a degree or three of toe-in by walking about the car looking. And you can't do it with a tape ruler measuring to the tread either. Sighting down the tires as Stan suggested may not be of use either, because on many cars, the rear wheels are not meant to be exactly directly behind the fronts.
I suggest you carefully inspect the undercarriage of the car for evidence of collisions, contact with speed bumps, and other abuse. Next you should sight down every fender and look for evidence of body panel repair. Also, look at hardware that connects fender chrome and such trim for evidence that is has been removed and replace. Lastly, look where body panels connect to adjacent panels or lights or trim for evidence of masking tape from repainting body work.
If you see no evidence of accidental damage, at worse you will need alignement. Since you don't have evidence of tire wear or handling issues, you may be better off leaving that alone rather than have it done wrong somewhere.
Carfax is only so useful. I saw a car on a dealer lot that had a clean Carfax. Inspection showed that the car had been rear ended. Both rear chrome trim rings had been removed and replaced and there was evidence of repainting because of masking tape off markings. The sales woman came running out as I looked at this thing declaring it had a clean Carfax. When I told her it had been in an accident, she went back inside. Carfax will only pick up that damage if it is input to their system.
Lawrence Glickman wrote:

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