03' Explorer Alignment Issues Ongoing for over a year | Ford Explorer - Ford Ranger Forums - Serious Explorations
  • Register Today It's free!

03' Explorer Alignment Issues Ongoing for over a year

mbrando1994

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 17, 2015
Messages
274
Reaction score
6
Year, Model & Trim Level
2003 Ford Ex XLT
4.0 V6
Hey all,

This is for a 2003 ford explorer xlt 4.0 awd

I've had my vehicle to an alignment shop twice in the past year for tire wear issues. I've noticed outer wear on the front passenger side tire, then after the second alignment the driver side now has outer wear as well. So I finally took it to a different place today.

Their chart reads this:

Front
Camber: -1, -1
Caster: 6, 6.4
Toe: 0.15, .08

Rear
Camber: -1.3, -1.4
Toe: -.14, 0.24
Thrust Angle: -.19

Is any of this way out of spec? The shop also noted that a front left lower ball joint is bad, and both rear tie rods or toe links are 'loose'. He also noted that both rear wheel bearings have noise. I've had a wheel bearing replaced back there for $400 at AAMCO Transmissions just this past summer. I know the road noise associated with a bad rear bearing and I'm not hearing it now. Is some noise normal or ok in some bearings? I have no money left and definitely can't afford another $800 to get just those replaced let alone the others. I'm going to replace the two front ball joints myself as well as the toe links. Then take it back to get an alignment at the new place. I'm also going to install a camber adjustment kit while in there so they can adjust that too.

I'm experiencing vehicle wander, it seems to steer itself in random directions especially when going fast or changing lanes and hitting the crown of the road where it's raised from wear. The whole car seems jittery as well and feels like the whole body is shifting left and right at times. Can this be caused by the above mentioned parts? It's a very concerning feeling when driving it, I feel like I don't have any control.

Your thoughts and input is appreciated,
Thanks
 



Join the Elite Explorers for $20 each year.
Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links,.
Add an avatar, upload photo attachments, and more!
.





07gtman

Well-Known Member
Joined
December 28, 2016
Messages
440
Reaction score
45
City, State
Chicago IL
Year, Model & Trim Level
2005 Mountaineer 4.6 AWD
First thing is the bearing on these truck make a lot of noise when they go bad you will know by the loud whining, and dont really create a steering issue..ball joints tie rods would cause steering and uneven wear. if someone charged you for a wheel alignment and didnt notice you had a issue with these other parts dont go back there.... did they tell you they could not adjust it back to spec?
 






mbrando1994

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 17, 2015
Messages
274
Reaction score
6
Year, Model & Trim Level
2003 Ford Ex XLT
4.0 V6
First thing is the bearing on these truck make a lot of noise when they go bad you will know by the loud whining, and dont really create a steering issue..ball joints tie rods would cause steering and uneven wear. if someone charged you for a wheel alignment and didnt notice you had a issue with these other parts dont go back there.... did they tell you they could not adjust it back to spec?

I've had a rear bearing go bad and I replaced the two fronts with timkens, one of the rears was replaced by AAMCO as I don't have access to a press. I'm not getting that whining sound I heard when it went bad. Not sure what this place was hearing in them. They said they could not adjust camber, which is true because I don't have an adjustable shim kit installed. They mentioned nothing about suspension parts, I even told them I would double check all of them since the tires are still wearing and they replied that the wear probably happened before it was aligned. Which I know isn't true.

I have done suspension work in the past and have access to a dewalt impact wrench which has taken every bolt off I've ever tried it on thus far. How hard is it to replace these parts, less the bearings..I know that's beyond my skill and tools. The thought of replacing a lower ball joint kind of makes me anxious. I've done tops before but I replaced the whole arm. Unfortunately due to money constraints I don't have that option here. It's basically $40 vs $250. I just don't have it with everything else going wrong. I also know my intermediate shaft u joint is shot. Could this cause the dodgy steering? How hard is it to replace?
 






07gtman

Well-Known Member
Joined
December 28, 2016
Messages
440
Reaction score
45
City, State
Chicago IL
Year, Model & Trim Level
2005 Mountaineer 4.6 AWD

the steering shaft may cause a little play in the steering, would not cause wheel alignment issues though. or any type of uneven tire wear..
 






icepickjazz

Well-Known Member
Joined
February 9, 2008
Messages
182
Reaction score
3
City, State
Noblesville, IN
Year, Model & Trim Level
2004 XLT Sport 4.6L V8
I just replaced the lower ball joints on my 2004 Ford Explorer 4WD, it can all be done with hand tools. You need to pull the knuckle to press the lower ball joint out, but it wasn't that bad. I went to autozone (oreilly has same) and borrowed the following tools:
  • 27271 - used it to separate the lower ball joint from the knuckle
  • 27276 - used to separate the tie rod from the knuckle
  • 27016 - used to separate the upper ball joint from the knuckle
  • 27037 - since it 4wd have to push the axle out of the knuckle -- my was stuck so i used this to push it out.
  • ball joint press & 4wd press adapter set
I recommend removing the brake calliper before removing the removing the knuckle.
For the wheel bearing replacment, something to consider. In the past I have pull the assembly off the vehicle and taken it to a local muffler/auto repair shop and they press the old bearing out and press the new one that i provided back in. Cost was $35. If you have the old car quest with machine shop near you they will als press out and in the bearing for you.

Jump to 20:25 for some good concept/stips to replace the lower ball joint. Some videos show turing the c-clamp upside down. You don't need to do that.


Here's another video that shows some concepts for replacing lower ball joint.
 






Maniak

Moderator-Stock 91-94
Elite Explorer
Moderator Emeritus
Joined
February 9, 1999
Messages
12,063
Reaction score
129
City, State
Vail, Arizona
Year, Model & Trim Level
1992 XLT 4x4
Hey all,

This is for a 2003 ford explorer xlt 4.0 awd

I've had my vehicle to an alignment shop twice in the past year for tire wear issues. I've noticed outer wear on the front passenger side tire, then after the second alignment the driver side now has outer wear as well. So I finally took it to a different place today.

Their chart reads this:

Front
Camber: -1, -1
Caster: 6, 6.4
Toe: 0.15, .08

Rear
Camber: -1.3, -1.4
Toe: -.14, 0.24
Thrust Angle: -.19

Is any of this way out of spec?

Those specs aren't written quite the way I'd expect them to be... For example.. is the Camber really -1.0 degrees on each side? Is the toe really .15 degree out on the left and .08 degrees out on the right (Positive numbers mean facing out)...

AFAIK, . Camber should be practically 0 and same with the toe (your alignment sheet should show the specs they are aiming for).. As You are sitting now your tires are tipped in 1 degree per side for a total camber of -2 degrees. It's not the end of the world but it will wear the inside of the tires more over time. Well, typically I'd say it's not the end of the world since you would rotate the tires to the rear which would help the wear BUT in your case your rear tires have enough more negative camber....

Also, you rear Toe is not right... the left tires is pointing in and the right tire is pointing out.. That's not right...

So, Fix the Ball joints up front, replace any tie rods that are bad. Then go for an alignment again... If they exist around you (I'm guessing your in the US) get a lifetime alignment from Firestone.. It's < $200 (I got one a couple weeks ago, on sale for $149). Then as things wear or get replaced you can get the alignment done again for free. Heck, they "recommend" you bring it in every 6 months for an alignment.. and each one is free. They are just trying to get you in so they can tell you what else is wrong and have you get it fixed there...

~Mark
 






mbrando1994

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 17, 2015
Messages
274
Reaction score
6
Year, Model & Trim Level
2003 Ford Ex XLT
4.0 V6
Those specs aren't written quite the way I'd expect them to be... For example.. is the Camber really -1.0 degrees on each side? Is the toe really .15 degree out on the left and .08 degrees out on the right (Positive numbers mean facing out)...

AFAIK, . Camber should be practically 0 and same with the toe (your alignment sheet should show the specs they are aiming for).. As You are sitting now your tires are tipped in 1 degree per side for a total camber of -2 degrees. It's not the end of the world but it will wear the inside of the tires more over time. Well, typically I'd say it's not the end of the world since you would rotate the tires to the rear which would help the wear BUT in your case your rear tires have enough more negative camber....

Also, you rear Toe is not right... the left tires is pointing in and the right tire is pointing out.. That's not right...

So, Fix the Ball joints up front, replace any tie rods that are bad. Then go for an alignment again... If they exist around you (I'm guessing your in the US) get a lifetime alignment from Firestone.. It's < $200 (I got one a couple weeks ago, on sale for $149). Then as things wear or get replaced you can get the alignment done again for free. Heck, they "recommend" you bring it in every 6 months for an alignment.. and each one is free. They are just trying to get you in so they can tell you what else is wrong and have you get it fixed there...

~Mark
I appreciate the help, I wrote down the numbers exactly as they appear on their results sheet. I know that camber will result in inner wear but I have none, like the inner tires look as good as the day I got them, it's the outside on both front tires that is wearing badly. The driver side is wearing more now but it's intermittent. Tread is gone in some places but still there in others as you go around the outer edge of the tire. Almost like the tire is wobbling back and forth as it's spinning? Is that possible? I certainly don't notice it and everything's torqued to spec.
 






icepickjazz

Well-Known Member
Joined
February 9, 2008
Messages
182
Reaction score
3
City, State
Noblesville, IN
Year, Model & Trim Level
2004 XLT Sport 4.6L V8
Alignment specs from my alignment shop:

Front
Camber 0.30 to -1.30
Caster 6.10 to 4.10 (for front right caster they had 4.30 to 6.30)
Toe -0.03 to 0.23
Total Toe -0.05 to 0.45
Steer Ahead -0.05 to 0.05

Rear

Camber -0.10 to -1.70
Toe -0.15 to 0.35
Total Toe -0.05 to 0.45
 












mbrando1994

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 17, 2015
Messages
274
Reaction score
6
Year, Model & Trim Level
2003 Ford Ex XLT
4.0 V6
Curious, what kind of tires are you using?
They are hankook dynapros. p235 70 R16 Second time this same issue happened to me with the outer tread wearing away faster than I could even take notice to it. I inspect them every other week. The wear must have happened within two weeks time. Had it aligned a ways back 4 new tires and not a problem until now. I had Kelly Safaris before, and they lasted their lifetime and wore correctly. Now this time around the two fronts are completely bald on the outside and I need to replace them again. Not sure why this keeps happening on this truck
 






mbrando1994

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 17, 2015
Messages
274
Reaction score
6
Year, Model & Trim Level
2003 Ford Ex XLT
4.0 V6
Alignment specs from my alignment shop:

Front
Camber 0.30 to -1.30
Caster 6.10 to 4.10 (for front right caster they had 4.30 to 6.30)
Toe -0.03 to 0.23
Total Toe -0.05 to 0.45
Steer Ahead -0.05 to 0.05

Rear

Camber -0.10 to -1.70
Toe -0.15 to 0.35
Total Toe -0.05 to 0.45

Yes that's pretty close to their specs as well. Though, the numbers I gave you guys were my cars readings. Not the range for specs. I'm guessing due to the ball joints it keeps coming out of alignment, poor quality roads where I live so that probably happened on the way home from the shop.
 






TechGuru

Explorer Addict
Joined
August 23, 2015
Messages
2,301
Reaction score
374
Location
Texas
Year, Model & Trim Level
2003 XLS 4X4 4.0L FLEX
They are hankook dynapros. p235 70 R16 Second time this same issue happened to me with the outer tread wearing away faster than I could even take notice to it. I inspect them every other week. The wear must have happened within two weeks time. Had it aligned a ways back 4 new tires and not a problem until now. I had Kelly Safaris before, and they lasted their lifetime and wore correctly. Now this time around the two fronts are completely bald on the outside and I need to replace them again. Not sure why this keeps happening on this truck

and what pressure are you running them at?
 






mbrando1994

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 17, 2015
Messages
274
Reaction score
6
Year, Model & Trim Level
2003 Ford Ex XLT
4.0 V6
and what pressure are you running them at?
I believe the vehicle recommends 31 in the front and 32 in the back but the tires recommend no more than 35, I've always tried to keep them around 33, I know that's probably wrong but wasn't sure what the right value would be.
 






TechGuru

Explorer Addict
Joined
August 23, 2015
Messages
2,301
Reaction score
374
Location
Texas
Year, Model & Trim Level
2003 XLS 4X4 4.0L FLEX
I believe the vehicle recommends 31 in the front and 32 in the back but the tires recommend no more than 35, I've always tried to keep them around 33, I know that's probably wrong but wasn't sure what the right value would be.

Run 35 all the way around.
 






Teamhhs

New Member
Joined
June 13, 2017
Messages
7
Reaction score
0
City, State
Dover delaware
Year, Model & Trim Level
2003 ford explorer 2wd
Hey all,

This is for a 2003 ford explorer xlt 4.0 awd

I've had my vehicle to an alignment shop twice in the past year for tire wear issues. I've noticed outer wear on the front passenger side tire, then after the second alignment the driver side now has outer wear as well. So I finally took it to a different place today.

Their chart reads this:

Front
Camber: -1, -1
Caster: 6, 6.4
Toe: 0.15, .08

Rear
Camber: -1.3, -1.4
Toe: -.14, 0.24
Thrust Angle: -.19

Is any of this way out of spec? The shop also noted that a front left lower ball joint is bad, and both rear tie rods or toe links are 'loose'. He also noted that both rear wheel bearings have noise. I've had a wheel bearing replaced back there for $400 at AAMCO Transmissions just this past summer. I know the road noise associated with a bad rear bearing and I'm not hearing it now. Is some noise normal or ok in some bearings? I have no money left and definitely can't afford another $800 to get just those replaced let alone the others. I'm going to replace the two front ball joints myself as well as the toe links. Then take it back to get an alignment at the new place. I'm also going to install a camber adjustment kit while in there so they can adjust that too.

I'm experiencing vehicle wander, it seems to steer itself in random directions especially when going fast or changing lanes and hitting the crown of the road where it's raised from wear. The whole car seems jittery as well and feels like the whole body is shifting left and right at times. Can this be caused by the above mentioned parts? It's a very concerning feeling when driving it, I feel like I don't have any control.

Your thoughts and input is appreciated,
Thanks


I had an issue with the rear end swaying and i replaced both rear in/out toe links and it stopped completely!
This will throw your alignment off when changed!
 






mbrando1994

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 17, 2015
Messages
274
Reaction score
6
Year, Model & Trim Level
2003 Ford Ex XLT
4.0 V6
I had an issue with the rear end swaying and i replaced both rear in/out toe links and it stopped completely!
This will throw your alignment off when changed!
As an update, got two new tires, replaced toe links and front lower ball joints, got a 4 wheel alignment and it still feels like the vehicle wants to steer itself in random directions, I'm at my wits end here
 






Top