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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I very nearly had a three wheeled Escort. :lol: Friday of last week I heard a louder-than-normal popping noise under the car and noticed that it wanted to go in different directions depending on whether or not I gave it gas. Felt like a Ford I-Beam when the radius arm bushings rot away. I pushed my luck and drove it to the post office yesterday (had a lot to ship), so this morning I got it up in the air and discovered I had about 2 turns left on the right side sway/radius bar retainer nut before it became a deadly low-flying projectile. That would have sucked when the RF dropped back and seized up on the wheel well. :eek:

Anyway, it hit me that that was the side where the local service station had replaced the ball joint in February to pass inspection ( I was busy/lazy). I had a popping noise ever since, which was the play from a loose nut they forgot to torque. I assume. Never had a problem like that from my own suspension work, so it just goes to reinforce how no one cares for your own safety like you. I have a lot of bad luck when other people work on my cars.

Anyway, I got to rotate the tires and adjust the rear drum that wasn't adjusting, so it worked out.
 

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Amen to that. I work at a shop and take care as much as possible to do quality work, but I am always so rushed in my work that it's impossible to be perfect, even with good intentions. When I get to work on my own stuff I can slow down, relax, and go more methodically.
 

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I had a garage fail to tighten up the locking nut on a tie rod after doing an alignment for me several years ago. I was lucky it came lose at about 5 MPH instead of the 55-60 MPH that I usually drove. I've boycotted that garage ever since. I don't even take my cars in for an alignment any more. I've learned that I can drive it and make minor adjustments to it myself until I get it close enough that it doesn't wear out the tires. I can usually have it in pretty good shape by the time I've driven the car 5-10 miles, just by the way it handles. That is close enough for me. Doesn't cost me $50.-$75. either.
 

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jfarcas said:
Amen to that. I work at a shop and take care as much as possible to do quality work, but I am always so rushed in my work that it's impossible to be perfect, even with good intentions. .
No, amen to that. I'm in the same boat. There are figures on how long a certain repair takes. Most of the time, they can be beat. However, there is always the one job that kills ya. That's when the boss notices the lengthly time you are taking. You tend to get in a hurry, and forget to tighten this or reinstall that (not saying that ever happened to me :whistle: ).

In hest, mistakes get made. To err is human. As long as they are few and far between, you shouldn't fault the tech. That said though, if it happens quite abit, I won't go back.
 

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I've never taken my car to a mechanic, aside from new tires or alignment, and this is why. Every time I've gotten new tires they've been dangerously inflated (56 PSI on one right after it was put on), or they never bothered to torque the lug nuts. This has happened at every single place I've been to here. Oddly enough, it takes 4 guys 45 minutes to install 4 new tires. When I was working that stuff, it took me no more than 22 minutes from driving the car in to parking it outside again, and I worked alone. I never had a lug-nut loosen, either, although I broke more than my fair share of pop-can grade Toyota lug-studs.

I had a similar problem when I first got my Escort on the road, WJC. The car would steer differently depending on the gas given. It turned out the control arm stub hole in the knuckle itself had become egg-shaped. I didn't see it at first (and have never seen it before or after) and it caused some very scary handling problems..and yes, very much like worn out track-bar bushings. You should go back and complain about it, although that will likely result in nothing.
 

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Wow, that sucks. Its a good thing you caught it. Ive actually had a LF wheel seize up like that. It was a mess.. CV shaft yanked out, brake line broken, wheel bent back further than the factory intended. This was at a busy gas station at about 5 pm... Due to a ball joint that was for that year, but still wasnt the right size due to a body change part way through that year. Damn volkswagens..

Ill check my front end when i get the scort aligned
 

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The original ones are Timken tapered roller bearings. The entire bearing is a combined unit, with inner and outer bearings in one giant race. It's about 1.5" long, and about 2" in diameter. If you get the ball bearing version, expect to be replacing them in 10k miles. I didn't know the cheap ones were made that way before, and paid the price. Almost having one wheel seize and the other fall off was not fun in the middle of a road trip...having no other option than to drive the car anyway made it worse. The replacement Timkens aren't cheap, but hey, they've lasted me about 20k now without any problems.

Here's the real rub: those ball bearing ones have almost no grease in them, either. Sadly I sold a knuckle to msleeper a few years ago, and it had a ball bearing unit pressed in (was a spare). He had problems with it from day 1 as the bearings themselves weren't seated properly (and it was a sealed unit).
 

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I'm sure that everyone could post a horror story!

Last two times I took my car to a mechanic, when I got the car back, at least one sensor was unplugged. And it's always in an area unrelated to what they were doing???

That and the shop I took it to for axle work, took it to a transmission shop, who pulled both axles and let the differential fall, and then they forgot to put the nut on one of the transmission mount bolts, and overfilled the transmission by about 1 quart.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
A big part of the problem is when you let non-specialized shops work on your car. They get in a rush, and with so many makes and models coming through, it's hard to get into a groove. They start working from memory and assumption, rather than following the shop manual, and remember things incorrectly. Having a work-on-anything shop is something I would never want to do, because you're constantly re-learning the same mistakes over and over. And you never have the right tools you need for a particular vehicle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well after having to constantly go back and re-tighten the goofy passenger swaybar nut, I finally pulled everything apart yesterday. Turns out the metal sleeve was missing from the bushing. So the nut was just crushing the rubber, and not tightening down against anything solid. The bushing and the retainer plates were destroyed. Not a big deal once I figured it out. $10 for the kit (both sides), and $20 for a new tie rod outer that I cross threaded in haste. :lol: So I'm tracking nice and straight, and will continue to do so without worry.

So, the moral is, if you ever have the swaybar or control arm off, make sure when you put them back together that the each swaybar-to-arm connection includes 2 buching halves, the inner metal sleeve, and 2 retainer plates.

PS I might be buying a friend's mint condition 97 Ranger today. If it works out the Escort will be retired to part time duty. Which will give me a chance to finish the body work & painting. If I get the Ranger I'll post a pic here.
 

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Last time I took it to a shop, they cracked the negative battery terminal, left off a bolt that held in the transmission mount pin, left the O2 sensor unplugged, and overfilled the transmission by about a quart.
 
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