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Front End Adjusters, and opinionated techs


Active Member
June 21, 2005
Reaction score
City, State
Year, Model & Trim Level
1994 Limited 4WD
My wife's 94 X needs a front end adjustment. So I go to this shop, family owned that specializes in alignments. The guy starts by telling me all he can do is toe because it's a Ford and the bushing is concentric with a tab and if you break the tab off it doesn't matter - it's concentric. I tell him that no, I've got a Dana 35 and the adjusters are hex and eccentric. "Then they have been replaced" I said they had not, but he continued to insist. At this point both my 'clown' and 'turd' alarms are going off. I just left. Just in case I checked the FSM when I got home and it clearly shows the hex adjuster. The concentric one he showed me had an F9 (99) part number. The truck was parked right in front of the huge window to the office. So he was mistaken, but unwilling to even entertain that he was not. What do you think is going to happen when I have a complaint about his work? That's why I left. No need to darken that door. Take your toe and go and blow!

So my question is this: When was the transition from the hex eccentrics to the round concentrics?

And anyone know a good shop near Raleigh NC?

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I have an understanding (not first hand experience) that you can do a pretty good DIY alignment if you have the right tool, namely a Fastrax tool.

And, I discovered a digital level the other day at Home Depot for under $40, with a tenth degree resolution. If I thought about it long enough, I think I could figure out how to do an alignment with just that, and maybe a chunk of wood or two.

I live in a town with 3 or 4 corporate type repair shops and a few local owner shops. I have had dicey experiences with all of them.

I hear the car-talk guys maintain a mechanic's registery on their website. That might be helpful.

You can get alignment bushings in both hex and non hex style. Our 1992 X had a non hex style on the drivers side and a hex adjustable one on the other side.

I own an SPC 91000 camber/caster gauge so I used that, a couple blocks, two 4 ft levels and a couple tape measures to set my Tow and Camber.

I can say that the SPC camber adjusters have the hex head which makes it really easy to change the camber without even pulling the tire (after they are installed). I just set the tires on homemade camber plates which is really just a couple pieces of sheet metal with bearing grease between them so the front end will unload.

If a shop is really good, they can put in the 0 degree cams, check the toe/camber/caster, and figure out which adjusting Cam to get to bring both the camber and caster to the desired setting. I'm not that good so I just set my Camber and didn't worry about what the caster ended up at.


Edit: here's a post where I put the SPC brand adjusting cam part numbers..

Did a little digging and found this:

If the axle was not adjustable from the factory, there would not be a 'preferred' setting. Notice the 93-94 4WD is unique - it had 4 wheel ABS! I discovered that little detail by accident while looking for that stupid little 12 point screw that holds the guard block for the sensor on the knuckle.

I think I'm just going to drop it off at my race buddy's place. He's got the gear and a little more time on his plate lately.

Many vehicles are not adjustable from the factory, but they are still alignable.

I do agree that you did the right thing and leave that first shop. If he would have had a better attitude and walked outside to take a quick look under the truck the answer would have been found.

How the adjustable ones got under your truck (from factory or from someone else) doesn't matter. What matters is what is under there now.. He was more worried about being right than getting your truck aligned.