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Old 06-29-2014, 03:43 PM   #1
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Front end alignment saga!


So, I took the Villager down to have the front end aligned on Saturday. I took it to a Goodyear store, with an alignment special of $70. I get there, drop it off, walk down to the café nearby to read the paper while they align it. They call about 40 minutes later (knew they would). They say it is so badly out of align it will take extra work and cost me $116. I said, Ok, but they couldn’t do it until today.

I leave the van. They call me this morning and tell me the outer and inner tie rod require replacement, and it will cost $315. I said, “I’ll just come get it, how much do I owe you?”

They said, “Nothing, we haven’t really done anything to it yet except put it on the machine and measure it.” Plus 1 for them. They didn’t charge me anything yet.

I went and got it, got the spec sheet from their alignment machine and yeah the driver’s side toe in spec is way off. I already knew that. That’s why I needed it aligned. According to the shop manual, the only adjustment possible it the toe-in. To adjust it, you loosen the locknut, then turn the tie rod to shorten or lengthen it. I told the guy this, and said, “Don’t you just adjust the length, get it right and that’s it.”

“Oh the inner tie rod has to be adjusted too and yours can’t be, it has to be replaced.” This is BS. The inner tie rod is a ball and socket, with a threaded fitting that goes into the steering rack. It isn’t adjustable at all. If it is loose, and clunks, it needs to be replaced. Mine isn’t loose, nor does it clunk.

I have the van back, and will probably just lengthen the tie rod to get it closer to spec (it was 4 degrees off). At least they didn’t charge me anything to inspect it. That’s cool.

Question: am I right? Is there something I am missing here? I just have a DIY knowledge base, but from everything I have learned, they’re trying to jack up the cost for unnecessary repairs. Oh, the strut was fine, no issues with it at all.

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Old 06-29-2014, 04:10 PM   #2
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Front end alignment saga!


i would think you are correct. i know of no inner tie rod, on a r/p system ( any modern tie rod for that matter ), that is adjustable on its own. theyre adjusted as a pair.

could be trying to jack you, you might have one bad tie rod and theyre trying to sell you both sides under the guise of replacing them as a group....which, honestly, isnt too bad if it's got high mileage. sort of like not replacing just one shock or strut, doing those in pairs or all 4 at once.

or maybe he was a doofus and didnt say, correctly, what the issue was?

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Old 06-29-2014, 04:33 PM   #3
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Front end alignment saga!


Get a second opinion at another repair shop, preferably one that does alignments as their main business, or at the dealership.

I have very little experience with any vehicle newer than 1990, So I would be mostly guessing but it cannot be bad if the ball and socket is tight. use a pry bar to put a little stress on the joint, and push/pull at the steering wheel to see if it is a loose movement.

ED

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Old 06-29-2014, 05:42 PM   #4
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Front end alignment saga!


I work at a ford dealer. That guy is full of sh** you are correct the inner tie rod is a ball and socket. You rotate the inner rod in or out of the outer end to make the adjustment. That is the only place to adjust toe on each side. If its not loose it's good. To check with it jacked up try to wiggle the tire back and forth you will feel play if it is loose.
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Old 06-29-2014, 08:15 PM   #5
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Front end alignment saga!


I guess i shouldn't have told them i put the tie rod end myself.
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Old 07-04-2014, 07:45 AM   #6
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Front end alignment saga!


Go to another alignment shop.
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Old 07-06-2014, 10:11 AM   #7
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Front end alignment saga!


I turned the tie rod myself until the wheel was slightly toe in by eye. Drove it around, wheel is straight, van doesn't pull, goes straight with no hands on the wheel. Good enough, I reckon.
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Old 07-06-2014, 10:28 AM   #8
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Front end alignment saga!


Not. even 1 degree off and you are needlessly wearing off valuable rubber from your tires.

And where I am from you need all that rubber to grip the road as long as you can possibly keep it.

ED
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Old 07-07-2014, 05:58 PM   #9
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Front end alignment saga!


Quote:
Originally Posted by de-nagorg View Post
Not. even 1 degree off and you are needlessly wearing off valuable rubber from your tires.

And where I am from you need all that rubber to grip the road as long as you can possibly keep it.

ED
You're right, of course. Maybe get it aligned if can find a place I can trust.
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Old 07-07-2014, 09:29 PM   #10
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Front end alignment saga!


You can turn the wheels straight, get under the car and measure from inside tire to tire, mid ways up in front and mid way up in back of the tire and adjust the tie rod until you have the same distance front and back of the tires. Also when doing that check to make sure you aren't adjusting to where the steering wheel is no longer in the dead forward position. In other words, if you adjust the tie rods wrong, it will turn the steering wheel. You will be driving straight down the road and the steering wheel with not be in the straight ahead position. This is harder to explain than I thought.

If your tie rods are not adjusted where both wheels are straight ahead your tires will feather and will wear out fast, out of align the tire is actually dragging against the road.
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Old 07-08-2014, 06:42 PM   #11
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Front end alignment saga!


It was like driving a floor polisher, now it's like a car that needs an alignment.
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Old 07-08-2014, 11:24 PM   #12
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Front end alignment saga!


Not knowing anything about your area (Louisville, Ky. ) I cannot recommend any place to get an alignment other than "try to find someone that does only alignments,"

That way they have no iron in the fire trying to sell you extras, ( tires, marked up parts, brakes, shocks, belts, batteries, etc.)
And will do the alignment, and might tell you about any related parts that are getting iffy.

ED

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