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  #1  
Old 03-21-2009, 02:56 PM
billj6 billj6 is offline
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Question align front end myself?

'99 Ranger, 3.0 liter, 4x2, 105,000 miles

My truck drifts slightly to the right on the highway, nothing serious. Has anyone corrected this problem by simply screwing one or both tie-rod ends one turn in the appropriate direction? I don't see any other adjustments in the linkage. What would a shop do if I brought it in for alignment?
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  #2  
Old 03-21-2009, 06:47 PM
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piotrsko piotrsko is offline
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My 250 drifts slowly left, about a 3 mile radius. I had it "aligned" and it still drifts left because the idiot didn't change the camber the 1/2 degree it was off.

They Should do a toe-in check, caster and camber adjustment. Good places will re-center your steering wheel and give you a real fix it guarantee

A thousand years ago, when I was young, you could do it yourself if you were fairly careful, but tolerances back then were looser than now. toe can be done with a tape measure and a couple of long straight sticks, camber with a plumb bob and caster is a measurement you can't do without fancy stuff. Pretty sure YOU can't change your caster.
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  #3  
Old 03-21-2009, 07:46 PM
billj6 billj6 is offline
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Where do you adjust camber and caster? The only adjustment I see down there is the tie rod ends.
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Old 03-22-2009, 07:12 AM
Dan Robertson Dan Robertson is offline
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I have a 98 2-wheel drive Ranger. The camber/caster is preset at the factory and is not adjustable, at least not by the back yard mechanic. I believe that there may be kits available to allow caster / camber adjustments but they are expensive and complicated. The toe in is adjustable and you can do it yourself, to some extent. The adjustment is done at the outer tie rod ends. You can get yourself in the ball park with a tape measure. I believe that the toe in should be no more than 1/8 of an inch, with zero also acceptable. As posted by piotrsko, you are better off to take it to a front end alignment shop where they have all of the latest equipment and can do it much faster and much more accurate. For the price ($45.00 where I live), it is the best way and, as posted above, you get a warranty . My Ranger pulled to one side and it ended up being a front brake caliper sticking. Another incident of pulling to one side on an old Ford Tempo that I owned also involved a front brake caliper sticking but was due to the rubber brake hose having deteriorated on the inside, allowing it to act as a one way valve thus holding the brake on. Good luck.
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Old 03-22-2009, 08:27 AM
billj6 billj6 is offline
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Thanks for the correct answer, Dan. You can't adjust camber and caster in your garage on my '99 4x2 as it came from the factory. I was hoping to do an acceptable fix with the tie-rod ends since I said the drift was not real bad. Now that you brought up a sticking caliper that will be checked out. There is an aftermarket set of 4 eccentric washers that mount at the end of the large bolts that hold the upper control arm in place. Once installed, the control arm can be shifted slightly in either direction by means of a cammed side to the washers. There is a 1/4 inch hole in one corner of the washers to allow turning it with a 1/4 inch drive of a wrench when the big bolts are loosened. I couldn't believe the average front end shop would know what to do with this set up so I returned them to Auto Zone for my money back and now live with minor front end drift.
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Old 03-30-2009, 10:39 PM
Taumac Taumac is offline
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home made alignment

I would first check tires since roads have a crown in them your truck should pull to right how much depends on the road. Get a simple tire deep guage and see how tires are wearing... when i got the new tires for my expy I would swap front tires every 2000 miles then after another 2000 rotate fronts to back this would keep any wearing patterns into any one tire at 200 a piece for BFGs its worth it. Some shops do a good front end alignment when then do ask for a before and after print of the alignment but sometimes then dont center the sterring wheel correctly and the steering box or rack wants to center its self pulling to left or right. You can do a toe ajustment yourself its easy. Get to striaghtest 2x4 you can cut it to the dia of your wheel so it lays on the rim just inside the bead of the rim the get a other piece of wood it can be a piece of plywood or a 1x4 and attach it to 2x4 making sure its it aligned with the 2x4 then draw a line down the the 1x4 at some point maybe 2inchs in then take a chop saw and cut it into 4 pieces one for each wheel. take your spare tire jack protecting your seat center your sterring wheel take some time here make sure its centered and raise the jack to lock the wheel. Take bunjee cords and bungee thoses pieces you make to wheels then take a masons line or braided fishing line works well and turn tie rods to align the string to lines make sure truck is on ground not on stands or jack a little gease on floor will help wheels turn on garage floor. This works only as good as those alignment pieces you make and the time you take in doing this. Last time I did this went to get new tires and had them align tfront end now I did my home alignment at home about 6 months before guy said i was only .33 of a degree off pretty good for $10 of wood and some time sure beats 49 to 59 for a alignment each time your truck starts pulling but you have to rotate tire reg and make sure tire pressures are correct
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  #7  
Old 03-30-2009, 10:59 PM
cheez67 cheez67 is offline
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can you not adjust camber by changing the bushing on the top ball joint stud?
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  #8  
Old 03-31-2009, 04:28 PM
Pablo-UA Pablo-UA is offline
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Bill! ajusting front end yourself is not a good idea. I tried all these ways to do it and rechecked myself with Josam Truck aligner II (i have at work).

Click the image to open in full size.

I ususally had 3-5 mm/m (we use metric units here) inaccurance. It is not enught to feel, but belive me it is enought for exessive tires wear.

Well, when I used this tool and "play finder" by Maha I found bad BJs and some rubber parts to change later.

Tires are too expencive to save money for aligning with laser tools. I do not say about safety..... All dealers are bloodsuckers, but... they have expencive tools that saves tires, money and lives...
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Old 03-31-2009, 09:45 PM
Taumac Taumac is offline
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I agree shops do a good job and yes tires do get expensive I always get a alignment when get new tires I would never try a caster or camber adjustment but a toe in out adjustment is easy and even through not as accurate as laser the jigs get you in the ballpark. Safety is a big thing if you dont know what your doing dont try it. Tire pressure, rotating and balancing tire are a big in keeping tires in good shape trust me when I say that cause once you get cupping or bad wear patterns in tires youll most likely have a issue for the rest of life of that set of tires
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Old 03-31-2009, 10:54 PM
85e150six4mtod 85e150six4mtod is offline
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85e150six4mtod has a superb reputation85e150six4mtod has a superb reputation85e150six4mtod has a superb reputation85e150six4mtod has a superb reputation85e150six4mtod has a superb reputation85e150six4mtod has a superb reputation85e150six4mtod has a superb reputation85e150six4mtod has a superb reputation85e150six4mtod has a superb reputation85e150six4mtod has a superb reputation85e150six4mtod has a superb reputation
DIY alignment = false economy.
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Old 03-31-2009, 10:54 PM
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