Alignment done-questionable tactics & results? | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Alignment done-questionable tactics & results?


Well-Known Member
March 21, 2014
Reaction score
City, State
Panama City Beach, FL
Year, Model & Trim Level
02 sport trac 4wd
I'm going to link my previous thread on tires and tt that will give background on what I did.

Went for the alignment today at Firestone and lifetime. I still have factory style (maybe even original but not aftermarket) uca's and stock cam bolts and plate. My previous tires showed signs of possible excessive negative camber (I'm guessing by the inner tire wear, both sides). If I remember correctly a slight pull to the right before tt. And the steering wheel was slightly off center to the right.

I ask them to straighten the steering wheel even thou it was slight, I'm paying a lot for the alignment I wanted it right. I mentioned grabbing the tire off the ground had some play but didn't know from where. They said no problem for the steering wheel and if any suspension parts were bad wouldn't do the alignment (or along those lines). I get called back to view the before printout and told the front right was bad and they would need to pull off the camber plates on the right side for additional 1/2 labor charge (40$). I gave the ok because the printout looked bad and I have new tires. I didn't plan on immediately changing the uca and cam kit yet unless was told they were bad-in fact they didn't mention anything about suspension wear. They get done and he reviews the before and after printout w/ me and explains they maxed out the front right camber (still doesn't look good nor did it change much after the extra labor charge and plate removal). He also said something that had me think "he doesn't know what he's doing" :eek::thumbdwn: the tech said my spring is weak. I said but I don't have springs in the front but torsion bars and they are #1 (the highest rating). I don't know what to make of that but not confident.

Now it seems I pull to the right-more noticeable and to keep straight the steering wheel is off center to the left and very annoying! After some research I found this tsb which means he wasn't supposed to just remove that plate but also add a washer which would give them the adjustment, correct? I will eventually get a cam kit when I do uca's but if they can do a proper alignment by putting a washer to replace the plate and I paid extra for that 1/2 hr and it wasn't done properly according to the tsb then should I go back and have them fix it and demand no additional charge (minus a washer)? It also took less than an hr (about 30-45) of actual shop time.

Give me a min for the printout… thoughts?

From reading I think my caster is pretty good with close to 1/2 degree more on the right. The camber, well is not good and I'm guessing the toe is good? I thought negative degree was for toe in and that's what you should try for so I'm not sure. Also not sure what to make of the rear end. Depending on thoughts I may take it back in tomorrow- :thumbsup: :thumbdwn: thanks

Edit: so just read positive for toe means toe in so that seems ok I guess

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You need to get the moog K80065 kit for the right side and get it installed. It gives almost 2 degrees of camber adjustment.

I would suggest trying a different shop. But, try to get this one to fix what they did wrong and then go get a second opinion.

My shop was able to get my IFS back into spec without any aftermarket parts. I know that varies vehicle to vehicle, but that was my experience. When I did my SAS, everything got simpler so in the end that's my suggestion lol.

What do you guys think of him removing the plate? When on the tsb it says to replace with a washer.

I'm going to Double check but that's what I'm getting at he didn't even replace washer for plate (at least made no mention of washer)-I think just removed the plate and reinstalled nut. That has me a little concerned as I'm sure the washer is needed behind the nut instead of just nut.

And then says that's all he can do-but I was still charged extra for labor on a .3 change in camber. I will be ordering the moog or raybestos camber kits (raybestos have more at 2 1/4).

Does my print out suggest I'd have a pull to the right with those #s ?

Yea, I know about the camber washer and then the camber kit. But the tsb calls for reuse the bolt/cam and replace the plate with a, I'm guessing plain washer? I just double checked and he did just remove the plate and put nut back on on both front/back of front right.

Not only that-ripped my rear triangle shaped like shirt (with the 3 push pins). That kinda makes me mad as I'm always careful about that stuff

The Ford W705040-S900 shown in the TSB does not appear to be a plain or eccentric "washer". It has tabs that prevent movement in the UCA. Either way, Firestone being an alignment "specialist" should have been aware of adjustable camber kits and had them on hand in the first place. IMO, you have every right to have them install the kit properly and realign on their dime, lifetime alignment or not.

As for the torn "splash guard", they tend to get brittle, but it sounds like they just pulled on it before removing the retainer pins. RockAuto has them for about $9 each.

Thanks everyone for that, I will be going back to have it fixed but won't be till probably next weekend. In the mean time I am trying to understand more about my #s and what cause they have in driving. So if I can bounce my thoughts so I can go in more informed…

Let's start with camber, obviously this is to much cross camber with having .8 lead on the right and from my reading would cause to turn left?

Then caster would seem to be almost within tolerance of a cross caster of .6 (recommended .5 lead on the right to offset road crown?). Which would cause to turn left also.

So with both camber and caster going to the left at total 1.4 degrees is a lot (but we know my camber is off spec for front right) but this doesn't explain my drift to the right.

So looking at the thrust angle negative .14, I think I understand that this would turn the truck to the right? But does it over compensate for front end turning to the left? I thought I read to look for bent axle for anything over 1/4 degree, so I'm below that range and also it says could be worn leaf springs/shackles (different ride height?). Remedy would be to add a center plate to add height. My left rear does sit lower about 1/2"

But lately, for the rear toe- my left is way off from my right by almost a 1/4. What effect would this add to the equation? And how can the be remedy or can it not being a sold axle?

Hopefully I can get some more insight and figure out what needs to be done. I will be ordering the cam kits this week and may just install before I go back (depending on what I can do on that extra labor I was charged). Can I install just the 1 side for now (front right) as that's the side mostly off and easier than the drivers, I know it was mentioned earlier. I still haven't found the preferred alignment specs, just the within positive or negative range. Thanks again

I have a kind of silly but seemingly otherwise undocumented, related question. Was messing around with upper control arms - had to rebuild a lot of the front end... Anyway, kind of lost track of where the stock camber plates went. Not sure if everyone has this, but mine were labeled MA, SA, and two were PA. Long story short, I put them back in wrong and handling went to ****. Upon trial and error, I ended up putting them back in so that the two PA plates were toward the front of the truck which has the effect that, overall, all of the control arm bushings are more toward the center of the mounts... That's including the fact that the rounded off edges are pointing down. I know, I should take pics, sorry.
Anyway, what do these acronyms mean, and how are you supposed to orient them? I'm going to get some new tires and an alignment myself this week... I already have aftermarket cam bolts capable of off-setting several degrees in either direction (apparently), but I want to install them before I go to the alignment shop - which means matching the stock setup with those weird plates.... Which I hopefully have in the correct positions.
I should also say that having the 2 PA plates in the front, pointing down, seems to be the correct position as that offers the most stable handling. Granted my tires are shot and pretty much racing slicks, so take that with a grain of salt haha ;)