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97 Limited alignment

Discussion in 'Stock 1995 - 2001 Explorers' started by hafcanadian, October 18, 2013.

^^Searches ExplorerForum.com^^





  1. hafcanadian

    hafcanadian New Member

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    Location:
    Oregon
    City, State:
    Oregon
    Year, Model & Trim Level:
    1997 Ford Explorer Ltd.
    We occasionally tow our 97 Ltd behind our diesel motorhome. Several years back I started noticing tire wear issues on our Michelin Crossterrains, fronts, inside edge. Our home dealer in Oregon realigned it and the rig then rode with vibration not previously there, supposedly because of the edge wear now being an anomaly against correct specs. They said they thought the wear was due to being out of alignment too long, and not because of being a "toad" (towed behind the RV).

    Some RV forums indicated these Explorers had inherent inside front wear issues from being towed and needed alignment tweaks to compensate, but alignment shops poo-poo that notion. I did make minor hitch corrections to make sure the towbar was level and the car wasn't being "pulled down" in front by a coach hitch sleeve that was lower than the car attachment bar.

    I finally had the dealer put new Wranglers on all around and realign again, plus new brakes. The vibration was gone.

    But after a couple thousand miles of towing behind the coach, I saw telltale wear hints again. I had a Ford dealer in Kearney, Nebraska, check it and their tech was fit to be tied. Not only did he find it improperly aligned with missing or misplaced "shims" (I know next to nothing when it comes to suspensions), but the entire front end was down on the limiters, which in itself splayed the front wheels - I assume affecting toe in. I had thought it didn't look right up front, but assumed it was okay since it just came out of my home shop a couple months before the trip.

    The air suspension sensor was missing a mounting bolt and the other bolt was loose, so it was out of place and not guiding the air system to the correct level. He realigned everything, repaired the air sensor, and checked for leaks and any other damage. I complained to my home service advisor who allowed $90 credit for the bad alignment job and apologized all over himself -- he's a good guy, but his alignment tech not so much. They should have caught at least that the car wasn't level. Sure wish I lived in Kearney! At any rate, his adjustments and fixing the leveling issue apparently has taken care of the tire wear; they've been fine through another 4000 miles of towing and a couple thousand more of regular use.

    I just had my dealer try for the 3rd time in two months to repair a non functioning air conditioner (just in time for winter :eek: ), and for some reason the advisor apparently checked the alignment, unrequested, because they included a report on it with the AC service receipt - my advisor wasn't there when I picked the car up, and I didn't notice the report until I was filing my receipt.

    At any rate, the report is unclear to this layman. I'd like to know just what the Front Toe and left and right wheel Camber numbers are supposed to be for our Explorer, so maybe I can decipher the report. The report says no adjustments are needed, but I'm not sure I trust the dealer's techs in this department. I tried the link on this website for specs, but browser ads were blocking part of the data such that I couldn't tell if what I needed was even listed.

    Thanks for any input and/or alignment specs. I think the report is saying Total Front Toe at 0.10 degrees (graph range 0.05 to 0.55), Camber Left Front at -0.7 degrees (graph range 0.0 to -1.4), Camber Right Front at -1.0 degrees (graph range -1.4 to 0.0). It doesn't appear they checked the rear alignment.

    97 Explorer Limited, Pearlescent White, 4WD SOHC 6.

    Also, anyone know a reasonably priced source for hood and rear deck struts? They've all gotten pretty wimpy at holding things fully up.

    -Joel
     
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  3. imp

    imp Well-Known Member

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    Do not give up on us. I just spent 45 minutes analyzing your problems and the ####ing forum suddenly cut me off. Your issues are easily solved, IMO.

    I'll try tomorrow. Sorry. imp
     
  4. Kiliona

    Kiliona Active Member

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    1992 Ford Explorer
    By "graph range #- #" I think that means, if I understand what you're saying correctly, that for it to be in alignment it must fall in those numbers. For example to be in spec your toe graph is .05-.55, you measured .1 meaning you were in spec (.05<.1<.55). The same for your other angles.

    All those numbers sound reasonable to me, it looks to me like you're in spec and good to go.

    The reason the rear wasn't checked is most likely that none of your rear alignment angles are adjustable, which is common.

    Try rockauto.com for hood struts and such, last time I looked mine were only like 10 dollars a piece. There should be a discount code floating around the forums if you do a search for "rockauto discount code" that'll take 5-10 percent off.
     
  5. hafcanadian

    hafcanadian New Member

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    Location:
    Oregon
    City, State:
    Oregon
    Year, Model & Trim Level:
    1997 Ford Explorer Ltd.
    Thanks for the input, Kiliona. You back up my take on the report. I need to call the service advisor next week when he's back, and confer as to why they checked the alignment at all. Guess maybe he was just being cautious after the embarrassing botched job 2 years ago.

    Will check rockauto out. $10 @ is a lot better than the $60+ the dealer quoted for gas struts. I'm getting tired of snagging my head on the back door when it's open, cuz its not all the way up, and having to find sticks to hold open the hood.

    Imp, thanks for trying to assist. I've noticed during my relatively brief time here that the site is kinda unstable, bouncing around unexpectedly for no reason, or out of nowhere flashing to a previous page then back. Plus the ads pasted over the top of the spec sheet data was a first.

    Joel

    Addendum: checked out rockauto, but they offer like 5 different brands. Any recommendation which is the best built?
     
    Last edited: October 19, 2013
  6. my98nnj

    my98nnj Well-Known Member

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    City, State:
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    Year, Model & Trim Level:
    1998 XLT
    Total toe at .1 degree, L camber -.07 and R camber -.1 with a diff. Of .03 is perfectly fine.
    The vehicle should drive straight down the road without any pull aside for the crown of the road. The rear is a solid axel, nothing to adjust.

    You should be fine.
     

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