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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys. I have a somewhat serious problem with my front tire tread. I have been doing major suspension work - replacing bushings, ball joints, tie rods, struts, etc. However, I have noticed everyday that it is really eating up my front right tire (see pic). Now, after a week when I am finish replacing everything, I am putting 4 new tires, balance, & alignment.

Now in order for me to last one more week... is it okay to rotate my "directional tires" from the right to the left?? I have already done front to back a few times, with the same bad tread wear on the back right tire. The left side of the car has good tread & the alignment is far better than the right side.

I JUST NEED IT TO LAST ONE MORE WEEK!! Again, is it okay to rotate my "directional tires" from the right to the left? Thanks!

LOL - I have NO grip in the rain! 8O

 

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About the only thing that will help is to get it aligned. Until then you might be able to turn the tie rod in a couple rounds and get some improvement. By making small adjustment then driving the car you can usually tell when you are getting close to where it should be.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the tip. As you might see in the picture, most of the damage is only on the outer part of the tread.

Anything else I can "tweak" for the time being, or am I going to mess it up more?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
TurboSupra12 said:
you have already ruined your tires. I'd swap sides, and drive as little as possible.
- I agree. As of today, I've swapped tire sides.

During the past few weeks I have been running them at 33-34psi. How bad would it be for me to over-inflate my tires to 36psi (35psi MAX)? I know that will be more pressure on the separating tread, however I'm thinking it would put more pressure towards the inside of the tread & not the outside.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
celery952 said:
i wouldnt drive a car at all with cord showing. put the spare on
Good idea... But I have found out my spare is the original GoodYear that came with the car. It is over 15 years old. However, the tread on it looks new & untouched. I know manufactures say you shouldn't ride a tire that's over 6 years its age. So will a 15-year-old temporary spare be better than a tire w/ separating-tread?
 

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Yes, because that 15 year old spare has spent its life in darkness. It is UV exposure that shortens the life of a tire to 6 years, not dark storage.

You might want to try measuring the toe-in of your front wheels. You would need to roll the car forward, and be able to get a measuring stick to see the distance between the inner sidewalls, as high as the frame would let you get -behind- the center of the axles, then as far as the subframe, etc would let you get -ahead of- the center of the axles. The difference should be either zero, or maybe 1/16" closer together at the front. If you let the car roll backward at all the measurement would be invalid. Also, the wheels have to be on the ground. Jacking the car up at all changes the geometry a lot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Can the camber be adjusted? I'm assuming the lower ball joint effects this. If this is true, mine don't look good, so I am replacing them. But man.. I can't get that pinch bolt off to install the new ones!! :?
 

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I dont think the ball joint affects camber much. The two bolts at the top of the spindle, where it attaches to the bottom of the strut are for making that adjustment. On other cars one of the bolts has an eccentric collar, and turning the bolt allows for the camber adjustment. I havent done it on my Escorts, but with the bolts loosened (but still snug) you could pull or push (or hammer) the strut in or out to adjust the camber. To check the adjustment you would need to tighten the bolts, put the wheel back on, and roll the car forward on level ground - then measure the tilt of the wheel. And after any camber adjustment you would need to recheck the toe-in.
Sorry I dont know the specs on camber though.

I tried to get that pinch bolt out, and it was tough. Even with it out, the ball joint didnt want to slide down out of the spindle. It turned out I didnt need to undo it, but if I did I would have tried driving a wedge into the gap where the pinch bolt 'pinches'. I know I will have to do it to replace the ball joints, though for now they are okay.
Escorts only have the ball joint on the bottom of the spindle where it connects to the control arm.
 

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did u lower your car?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
jay92gt said:
did u lower your car?
- If you're asking me, no I did not. I'm replacing the "rust" down there with all aftermarket stuff (except lowering springs). I need an alignment like RIGHT NOW, but after I mount & balance my new tires.

Today I just took off the front right lower control arm & replaced the bushings with those polyurethane ones. Now my car pulls ever so slightly to the left which was driving straight before. Hey, maybe it might wear down a tiny bit more of the left than the right side of the tread. ;)
 

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camber is adjusted with the strut towers, and if thats not enough you have to get bolts. usually tho even if you are lowered and it cant be corrected with the towers, something is probably bent
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Well the outer tread wear occurred AFTER I installed the new struts. The tread was even before... So, I'll try to adjust the tower & the 2 bolts if I can.
 

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Its possible something is bent - seeing how bad the tire wear was. But changing bushings on just one side of the suspension can cause the car to pull slightly; because the bushings on the other side have had years to 'sag' a little. That results in a slight difference from one side to the other, either in camber, or of where the line of the steering axis falls inside the 'ground contact patch' of the tire. (The axis wont be centered in the 'contact patch', but it has to be symmetrical: left versus right, i.e. mirrored).
You can have the same affect if you have tires of different tread width on the right and left.
The pull might be gone after you change bushings on the second side and get the camber correct, especially if you didnt notice the 'pull' until you changed the bushings.
I dont recall if one of the bushing mounts on the Escort control arm is adjustable. If that got bent or the adjustment shifted, it could affect 'caster', which is likely to result in some slight steering 'pull'.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I'm not sure why the word "bent" keeps being mentioned (I've never hit anything or anything hit me). But, it is something to thing about. However, the picture of my tire shows tread wear of many months of damage, not a couple of weeks. So again, I DID NOT have any visible tread wear damage BEFORE I touched anything on the suspension. Thanks to all of you I am learning A LOT about tire alignment.

Tomorrow I'm taking my car to my friend's repair shop (which he's the shop owner). There I will hopefully finish all the rest of my suspension work & get my new tires on & aligned. I totally can't wait to drive safe again in my "new" Escort GT! :p
 

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Bending can happen when hitting a pothole that you have forgotten you hit, or when going over a bad railroad crossing too fast, or just from sliding into a snowbank in the winter-time (that had a curb hidden in it.)
Another test of good alignment is the "Hands in your lap" test. Go down a side street where no one will get alarmed, and slam on the brakes with all your might. A properly aligned car should stop with the steering wheel not turning left or right. Also, if anything is going to give out on the brake system, you want it to happen now, not when someone starts across the street in front of you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Wow. Thanks for the info. So will an alignment job fix any minor bending? How do you pinpoint a major bend in a suspension part?

As for slamming on the brakes thing.. When I first bought my car I took my it to my mechanic friend who owns the shop. During his test drive when he slammed on the brakes, somehow the rear brake lines burst & he went right through a busy intersection with no breaks. Very luckily, no one hit him or my Escort. He had to stop the car with his foot! (E-brake didn't work either)

Never buy a car with lots of rust. :(
 
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