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Some front end advice please

Discussion in 'Stock 2006 -2010 Explorers' started by 07EddyB, February 15, 2019.

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  1. 07EddyB

    07EddyB Active Member

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    So I bought new tires at 90K. They were rotated at 100K in a cross pattern - the rears went straight to the front on each side and the fronts were crossed to the back. No problem. Fast forward to last weekend where I rotated them again at 110K. Same rotation pattern but this time I'm getting a lot of road noise from the tires. It is very noticeable at speed. I am assuming at this point that it is the rear tires making the noise because they are in effect rotating backwards now from what they are used to.
    RR bearing has about 14K on it - LR bearing has about 8K on it. LF bearing has about 5K on it - RF has about 25K on it. I only mention that for info purposes - I don't think this is bearing related.
    Before the rotation, I had noticed increased noise and vibration that was much like a bad bearing which is why 2 of my bearings are so new. That did not solve the issue.
    It wasn't bad enough to really worry about it so I had pretty much pushed it to the side until the rotation. After the rotation, I realized that I might have a front end problem since I now have less vibration yet more noise. My working theory is that something in the front end is wearing the tires unevenly and when I cross rotated them it became more obvious. The vibration decreasing when those tires went to the back is bolstering that theory for me.
    I will mention that it hasn't had a front end alignment since probably around 2009 at around 20K right after I bought it. It tracks really well and our roads here are not bad. Tires haven't been balanced since they were put on 20K ago.
    So what specifically do I need to look at from your experience? The Ex only has 110K on it - I'm wasn't expecting front end work to be required at this point. Do tie rods/ball joints fail this quickly? Any suggestions on testing them?
    Edit - forgot to mention that none of the tires show any cupping or any unusual wear.
     
    Last edited: February 15, 2019
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  3. Bill MacLeod

    Bill MacLeod Active Member

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    Very easy to throw the rear wheels out of alignment when replacing the rear wheel bearings. Your overdue for a 4 wheel alignment, but the front end is probably on its last legs also. You are near the point were the struts may need replacement. These are all wear items that at some point need to be replaced.
    Wait too long and a good (and expensive) set of tires may get ruined.
     
  4. Phil Lorenz

    Phil Lorenz New Member

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    For sure you’ve got to rule out something loose... which wears tires & from there gives you the bad ride.

    1) I’ve got 2x 2010s & buy tires ~30k miles & have found some brands (like Goodyear) either don’t age well... or ride hard as hell :). I only buy Michelin LTXs at this point.

    2) I worked for a tire company in the early 90s &, I’m not sure if what I experienced then is still applicable,... but changing the tire’s rotational direction doesn’t work well is n terms of longevity. No matter the brand, we found belts shifted & tires went out of round more often when we didn’t keep to regular front to back rotation.

    HTH
    Phil
     
  5. digifoss

    digifoss Elite Explorer

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    Early to mid 70's, radial tires were available but many many people were still buying bias-ply tires. The first couple of sets of radial tires I bought I was told by two different tire stores never rotate radial tires in an X. Move front to back ONLY, tires on the left side stayed on the left side their entire life, same for right side. I have not heard that in years BUT I still do it that way.
     
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  6. 07EddyB

    07EddyB Active Member

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    I don't recall seeing any adjustments on the rear when I swapped the bearings. Can the rear actually be adjusted?

    The tires are Michelin LTXs. This is my second set - I've been very happy with them.

    I've heard that a few times but that's what the manual calls for and I've always done it that way. This is the first time I've had any issues. I haven't had a chance to go through the front end yet - might get some time this weekend. I do plan to swap the rears back to their original side also to see if the noise decreases.
     
  7. Phil Lorenz

    Phil Lorenz New Member

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    Yes I believe there are rear camber & toe settings available. Follow the real control arm/lateral supports from the rear spindle back to the center line of the body (near gas tank) & you’ll see offset cams that increase or decrease the distance to the spindle.
     
  8. 974X4BLACKSPORT

    974X4BLACKSPORT Active Member

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    This is a good point, additionally some tires are even marked with direction of rotation right on the tire and must never be use in a position on the car so as the tire rotates a different direction, so switching the tire from one side of the vehicle to the other side has no benefits.
    Rotate tires FRONT TO BACK only on the same side of the vehicle for the life of the tires and you should never have a problem.
     
  9. Bill MacLeod

    Bill MacLeod Active Member

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    The inner bolt for the upper arm and the lower toe link are the adjusters. If you loosen these bolts in order to move these components prior to removing the outer bolts before removing the knuckle, then your alignment will change.
     
  10. 07EddyB

    07EddyB Active Member

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    Good to know. As I recall, I only removed bolts at the knuckle. Didn't loosen anything on the other end. Now that I know it can be adjusted though it might be time for a good alignment.
     
  11. Bill MacLeod

    Bill MacLeod Active Member

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    And have them check for abnormal tire wear. MS2's that I replaced last year had significant wear on the inside shoulders. They were about 7 years old so changed them for Defenders, changed rear bearings (1 was noisy) and had a 4 wheel alignment.
     
  12. Art Tonucci

    Art Tonucci New Member

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    When changing bearing hub assemblies, the most important thing is to get the spindle nut torqued correctly. If you do not get to the proper spec, the bearings good fail and make a noise in less than 5k miles.
     
  13. 07EddyB

    07EddyB Active Member

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    I swapped the rear tires back to their original sides last night and it made a big difference in my morning commute. Way less noise and vibration.
     
  14. Phil Lorenz

    Phil Lorenz New Member

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    So it’s the tires, & with low defect rates, something in your suspension “likely” created wear that gave you the bad ride.
     
  15. 07EddyB

    07EddyB Active Member

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    That's pretty much my working theory at the moment. We've had social obligations the last two weekends with the youngest kid's birthday so I haven't been able to check out the front end thoroughly yet. Maybe this weekend unless the septic continues to act up in which case I will be digging the tank so I can figure out if the problem is in the line coming in or the line going out.
     
  16. 07EddyB

    07EddyB Active Member

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    Checking back in - haven't been through the front end yet. Haven't dug the septic tank either. Starting to slide to the useless side of the scale I guess.
    Anyhoo - vibration and noise is completely gone now. So I guess if I had rotated front to back to begin with it would have never been a problem. However, I think the manual shows the X rotation - and, I guess it does tell me that something is out of whack - otherwise it shouldn't have been a problem.
    One thing I didn't think about before was that I did put a new bearing on the front about half way between rotations. Helped a little but not a lot. I guess it could be that the bearing was worse than I thought and it had effected the tread wear on that tire.
    Will keep an eye on things but I'm really more relaxed about it now.

    The joys of home and vehicle ownership :banghead:
     

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