FEOA Forums banner
1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Greetings,
Mid last year, I caught a glimpse of my front tires and was shocked how badly the inside was worn. I asked my father about it and he said I needed to simply rotate my tires which I did myself. Recently though, I noticed the inside wear is happening again. There must be a problem in the suspension or alignment? I'm not sure what is the culprit exactly and thus not sure which way to go if anyone could help?

Some back story, maybe a year before I noticed the tire wear, I had a mechanic replace the tail pipe and muffler. He said I needed some "sway bar links" which I had him install. I asked if there was anything else I should be worried about when I picked up the car. He said "one of the tire rods" could be replaced. He didn't seem too concerned. I didn't feel anything was off so perhaps another day as I just spent a butt load of money? : ]

51408


I did some testing for a bad tire rod today while changing my oil. I jacked up both wheels off the ground. I was told you could try pushing on the wheels and see if you get any wiggle or hear noises. With medium strength, the tires didn't move nor make any sounds. With max strength, bot tires moved perhaps 1/4" - 1/2" in both ways and made a clink sound. I couldn't deduce if it was the inner tie rod or the steering mechanism. The clink sound was the exact same for both tires. I couldn't tell where the sound was coming from. So then I shook the crap out of both tie rods and they didn't move. I did notice some old crusty bushing, mostly on the top of the sway bars. I did see a flap exposed on one tie rod end. It wasn't ripped exactly, but the bottom had came loose and was sticking out. One tie rod boot looks a deflated balloon. :D It seems shifted and not in a cone shape. Both lower suspension ball joints are rusted to hell. (Edit: After viewing the big images, I see a cracked sway bar link?)

I was thinking about purchasing this KIT. (I'm broke so don't judge me.) Slapping that on then going to get an alignment? Are my current tires to worn so bad I shouldn't let anyone do an alignment? Maybe just 4 new tires and an alignment? Perhaps I'm wrong entirely.

Thank you all!

Here are some images. Let me know if you'd like others? I'm going to leave them real big so it is easier to see?

51410
51411
51412
51413
51414
51415
51416

Attachment is a headlight restoration using Rustoleum's $10 kit. Super worth! Its not the headlight in the overall pic. Done today.
 

Attachments

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
10,375 Posts
The reason for the tire treads wearing out on the inner side is pretty common. It amounts to the toe-in being toe-d out; i.e. negative toe-in. This happens from worn ball joints, or worn tie trod ends (both of which are the result of normal wear, and both require fixing). Less common wear items include the suspension arm bushings, or having slid into a curb on an icy road and having slightly bent something.
While the first two reasons for a toe-d out situation are the most common, the repairs involve taking things apart which will be strenous, harder than doing an oil change for instance. The parts arent really expensive, but the labor has to be done carefully for the car to be safe. The common doctrine is to replace the parts on both sides of the suspension.
It may also be worn inner tie rod ends. These are close to the ends of the steering rack, and involve working further under the car; and renting the tool to unscrew them.

If your tires were wearing out on the outer part of the tread, it would indicate there is too much toe-in. The other factors in suspension are camber castor - which are not so easy to adjust.
If you are an experienced shade tree mechanic, the work would be within your ability. I would advise you get a Ford Escort/Tracer Service Manual for your year of car. I got each of mine from ebay, where they seem fairly cheap. If you are new to this kind of work, I would advise taking it to a shop that can do an alignment check, and make the necesary repairs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The reason for the tire treads wearing out on the inner side is pretty common. It amounts to the toe-in being toe-d out; i.e. negative toe-in. This happens from worn ball joints, or worn tie trod ends (both of which are the result of normal wear, and both require fixing). Less common wear items include the suspension arm bushings, or having slid into a curb on an icy road and having slightly bent something.
While the first two reasons for a toe-d out situation are the most common, the repairs involve taking things apart which will be strenous, harder than doing an oil change for instance. The parts arent really expensive, but the labor has to be done carefully for the car to be safe. The common doctrine is to replace the parts on both sides of the suspension.
It may also be worn inner tie rod ends. These are close to the ends of the steering rack, and involve working further under the car; and renting the tool to unscrew them.

If your tires were wearing out on the outer part of the tread, it would indicate there is too much toe-in. The other factors in suspension are camber castor - which are not so easy to adjust.
If you are an experienced shade tree mechanic, the work would be within your ability. I would advise you get a Ford Escort/Tracer Service Manual for your year of car. I got each of mine from ebay, where they seem fairly cheap. If you are new to this kind of work, I would advise taking it to a shop that can do an alignment check, and make the necesary repairs.
I've used a torque wrench, a torch, and a breaker bar before. :D A whole new front end suspension is out of question. There is a limit, which consists of a budget and the vehicle's worth.

So the question remains, what are my odds the kit (in the mail), new tires, and an alignment, are successful? I'd like to hear other's opinions.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
May I ask why this post hasn't been made public yet? Curious as to avoid doing the same in the future.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,573 Posts
As Denisond said inner wear is associated with with the wheels being toe'd out excessively . This could be from worn parts or just a bad alignment. If you have play when grasping the tire at 3:00 and 9:00 and wiggling back and forth you have worn inner and/or outer tie rods. Checking the ball joints either grasp at 6:00 and 12:00 and try to wiggle back and forth or use a pry bar between the ground and the bottom of the tire to see if there's play. If so, your ball joints are worn out. Have you checked the pressure in your tires? Low tire pressure can cause excessive tire edge wear but it will likely be both inside and outside. Ball joints/tie rods and alignment is where I'd start looking.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
As Denisond said inner wear is associated with with the wheels being toe'd out excessively . This could be from worn parts or just a bad alignment. If you have play when grasping the tire at 3:00 and 9:00 and wiggling back and forth you have worn inner and/or outer tie rods. Checking the ball joints either grasp at 6:00 and 12:00 and try to wiggle back and forth or use a pry bar between the ground and the bottom of the tire to see if there's play. If so, your ball joints are worn out. Have you checked the pressure in your tires? Low tire pressure can cause excessive tire edge wear but it will likely be both inside and outside. Ball joints/tie rods and alignment is where I'd start looking.
Hey FordMan,
I do intend to keep the tires at 32 psi. I'd be lying if I didn't drive a bit sometimes on a less than optimal tire though. Overall, yes I do. : ) I pay attention to routine maintenance quite a bit. Got a coolant flush coming up. On the tire play, there was no play 6 to 12. The tiny play described in the OP was 3 to 9. It was so little, it didn't stand out as an obvious issue with the suspension. I had more of a feeling that came from the steering and I had to really push or pull hard to get the play.

It probably just needs an alignment to fix the toe. Yet, I can't do that on bad tires. Yet, I can't neglect those rusted parts and bushings either... I was just hoping for a sanity check before spending $500 on a $1000 car. :D

Thank you.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
10,375 Posts
You can adjust the toe-in yourself, by rotating the rod on either side of the car. You would need to loosen up the locking nut on the end of the outer tie rod first (I think a 18 or 19 mm open end wrench), then probably using a pair of vise-grip pliers clamped onto the tie rod to turn that. I would start by turning it half a turn. If working on the driver's side of the car; If you clamp the vise grips on the tie rod so they are above the tie rod, then pull them down so they hang below the tie rod, that will increase toe-in somewhat. The threads on the tie rod are right-hand, for both sides of the car, and on the inner end of the tie rod, they are held i a socket, the adjustment not involving any threads on that end.

Admittedly with tires whose tread is worn unevenly (more on the inside than outside) you wont be able to know if you have done the most accurate toe-in adjustment. For that you would need either a new or evenly worn tire; but you can still do the check/adjustment. If the tires on the rear are evenly worn, you could swap them for the ones on the front. I like to check my tire treads after couple of thousand miles, for keeping track of 'even tread wear'.

After each time I have the steering parts of my cars apart, I like to do a rough check of the toe-in. Since I use the same size and width of tires and wheels on the front and rear, and since the track width is the same front and rear, my simple string twine method works. Attaching a length of twine to the latch at the hatch, I run the twine below the bumper, and forward along the side of the car. I have it so it is toughing the sidewall of the rear tire, about halfway up, and also touching the sidewalls of the front tire, also about halfway up. The taut string should touch both sidewalls of the tire the same amount. You have to do this same check on the other side of the car, to ensure your steering isnt cocked to the left or to the right at all. And you need to drive the car forward as straight ahead as you can, for about 8 feet: And you then must not move the car at all - so you can check the sidewalls correctly. I can easily see if the string is touching the rear sidewall more than the font sidewall. If the twine evenly touches the front and rear sidewalls on both front and rear tires, on both sides of the car, you will know your front wheels are pretty much lined-up. The actual toe-in spec for these cars is very small, like half a degree. I do this check on pavement, since even being on gravel allows the tires to squish the gravel slightly, and mess up the toe-in check. Be sure to retighten the locknut on the tie rod!

The last time I took a car of mine in to get a check of the toe-in, they said they could only do the total alignment (castor camber and toe-in), which would cost under $100, and would then 'require' correcting anything that wasnt in spec., for an unspecified added amount. So I left. That was many years ago, and my tires have continued to show even tread wear on all of my cars since.

This does not work on vehicles with a beam front axle and kingpins!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
85 Posts
Any alignment shop worth their salt should do a free alignment check for you and give you the numbers. That way you will know exactly what is going on.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
10,375 Posts
I agree, and that may be more true today than years ago... But this franchise tire store wanted money.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I agree, and that may be more true today than years ago... But this franchise tire store wanted money.
I've been shopping around for a free alignment check. I called "Tire Discounters." They'll only do 4 wheel alignment and no checks. They're the most expensive shop in my area overall and only offer discounts when you buy using their credit card. :D Although, it is still cheaper to use Walmart Auto for the same tires. Yeah, some shops just aren't worth a damn.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,733 Posts
I always confuse Discount Tire and Tire DIscounters. But yeah they're going to have more overhead than a Walmart for the simple fact that it's a dedicated building and that's the only thing they do.

For the time it takes to mount and setup the equipment, it doesn't make dollars for them to do a free check. They generally like to charge an hour shop labor minimum for any work.

If alignment changes, there's some reason that necessitates some kind of service. Only time mine needed an alignment check was: tie-rod end change, steering rack change, broken ball joint (never should've replaced OEM), tweaked rear-end (rust)

Ironically the tweaked rear-end seemed to have more of an impact on the front end.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
68 Posts
I just end end links and inner bushings on the rear, on the front I am NOT gonna do the inner mount bushings, since it seems the subframe has to be lowered... just the end links. What OP is seeing on his blue ZX2 w/ his front end links are broken magnesium spacers on the end link - theyre easy to replace on the front. I would go through at the very least and do out side tie rod ends, ball joints and sway bar links. Look into getting your coilovers replaced or new springs put on if the shocks are OK. If you're still getting front end noise, check any bolts that could be colliding w/ exhaust shields, aside from that and the top hats being loose, noise at the front end should be pretty minimal on these cars
 
  • Like
Reactions: dev

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hey Some,

Thanks for your insight on these tire wear and suspension issues. I did not plan on replacing the front or rear sway bar mount bushings. I know they're important. But I checked them out and they actually looked good. Black in color, no cracking, and little rust. I believe I saw a youtube vid awhile back when I was researching all this stuff. While role-playing as a contortionist, he was able to go in front the back to reach the front mount bushings. I think he had a lift.

The front struts are suspect. They're just so old and very rusty. There is significant cracking on top of the strut tower* seen from the engine bay. The metal where it mounts is good. Just cracked on the strut itself. However, they do work fine. I'm not too knowledgeable of all of that, so I'll have to research it a bit. Yeah, I'll look into replacing them as well.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
68 Posts
Just cracked on the strut itself. However, they do work fine. I'm not too knowledgeable of all of that, so I'll have to research it a bit. Yeah, I'll look into replacing them as well.
my pleasure! the struts also will drop out pretty easily - when I got all the bolts out the fronts literally fell out! no spring compressor needed! as for the rear, you have to back out the knuckle bolts at the same time or about so - otherwise you'll need to rent the spring compressing tool! (I had to for ONE coilover LOOL)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I'm not sure "easy" applies to any repair on my car. I recently replaced my upstream o2 sensor - fun! Strews for the plastic snappin off. Had to dremel a bolt for the heat shield. Remove radiator fan. Took a few attempts in total :D I'm not looking forward to the rusted bolts of the suspension at all...

I was planning on only replacing the front. You think these complete deals will work?
FCS 1332315 - $45
FitsFront; Body code E90; ZX2 Cool Coupe; Coupe; w/o Anti-lock Brakes
orFront; Body code E90; ZX2 Hot Coupe; w/o Anti-lock Brakes
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
68 Posts
I have not tried these however their claims look pretty solid and perfectly reasonable, I have used rockauto many times and trust them as a source! For the price, its not too low for what a coilover strut would be, like $20 for a single eibach spring and $20 for a KYB shock customer cost
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I'm not doing anything to the rear besides installing new sway bar links, they came with the kit and are easy.
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top