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Old 08-05-2019, 12:30 AM   #1
bradleyheathhays
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Tracking / steering issues

My '11 Crown Vic has got 315k miles on it and I'm having some kind of tracking problem that I think is coming from the steering. If there's not much wind it drives straight down the road just fine up to about 60 mph. But if the winds up some, or if I take it up to 70, it's tracking characteristics start to get weird and unsettling. Rain seems to cause it to get worse as well. The feeling is not dissimilar to hydroplaning.

I got the wheels off the ground and pushed/pulled on all the tires..3 and 9 o'clock, 6 and 12. Back wheels were solid, and the fronts were ok when I did the 6 and 12, but on the 3 and 9 test the tires moved about 1/4". They didn't move easily say as if they were completely loose, but it didn't take all that much effort to get them rocking either. At each limit of movement there's a low grade thud that's coming from somewhere between the two wheels, pretty close to the center of the car I'd say. I don't know if the movement I'm seeing is normal, but the degree the steering seems to be unpredictable would seem to correlate to about the degree of movement I'm seeing with the 3 and 9 test.

Any ideas on where I go from here?
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Old 08-05-2019, 01:38 AM   #2
RustyPile
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Re: Tracking / steering issues

I'd be looking at the tie rod ends and steering box, checking for worn and/or loose parts..
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Old 08-05-2019, 09:26 AM   #3
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Re: Tracking / steering issues

Go look at the grill. They circled the problem for you.
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Old 08-05-2019, 10:43 AM   #4
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Re: Tracking / steering issues

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steeveedee View Post
Go look at the grill. They circled the problem for you.
Ha! Ha! That's Funny!

But in all seriousness I'd take it to a reputable Alignment Shop, they will find the issue.
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Old 08-13-2019, 07:10 PM   #5
bradleyheathhays
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Re: Tracking / steering issues

Funny Steve. Actually I agree. I got the car for free so guess I can't complain.

Thanks for all the good advice and sorry it took so long to get back. I just got the car back from a front end inspection and they're saying my biggest problem is that both lower ball joints need to be replaced. I've done work similar to this before (using a pickle fork to separate joints and using a rented ball joint press) but they were advising it might be too tough of a job to do by myself in my driveway. I have a 1000lb impact wrench but only a really small compressor.

What do you guys think about attempting this job myself? Any advice?
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Old 08-13-2019, 07:53 PM   #6
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Re: Tracking / steering issues

Lower ball joint. Have a look when someone else is moving the tire. Easy to replace on the CV
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Old 08-15-2019, 03:17 AM   #7
bradleyheathhays
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Re: Tracking / steering issues

Well I've decided I'm gonna give it a shot at doing this myself. 'Couple' questions...

- I know the lower BJ presses out, but does the top one press out as well?

- Does the sway bar link have to come off for better access?

- Anything else I should change out while I'm in there? So far I'm gonna be doing both upper and lower BJs and probably the tie rod ends.

- I've been told to use green loc tite. That would be used on the threads on the bottom of the BJs?

- Also been told to watch out for the spring shooting out at me but I believe I have a shock in spring, a strut? Is there any danger of this spring suddenly popping out after tension is eased? I don't plan on removing the spring at all.

- The Moog BJ I'm considering at Rockauto doesn't appear to have a grease boot. Am I looking at this picture wrong? Is that black part a boot that will expand when it's filled up?

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Old 08-15-2019, 09:52 AM   #8
Steeveedee
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Re: Tracking / steering issues

If you have struts you won't be eating a spring when you take everything loose. Don't know about the upper ball joint, but that is one nice setup with a snap ring to hold the ball joint. A bit more positive than just a press fit. You probably won't be able to lower the a-arm enough without removing the stabilizer bar link. If the nut you get with the new ball joint looks like the one in the picture, you won't need any lock-tite, since it has a nylon locking feature at the top of the nut. I personally would expect to see a new boot with the ball joint. Maybe they sell that for extra? I am not familiar with the new-fangled stuff, so that part of the BJ may expand,I just don't know.

You may as well jounce the car and make sure you don't need shocks before you start. You'll be half way to removal when you do the lower ball joint. Any oil at the seal, or jouncy motion, I'd do the shocks at the same time. I put a set on my ''05 Corolla t 180k miles. I'd be amazed if yours are still good.
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Old 08-22-2019, 12:09 AM   #9
bradleyheathhays
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Re: Tracking / steering issues

Thanks for all the good advice Steev. This cars been in a fleet where it was looked after fairly well but I have no idea if the shocks are original or not. Possibly. Since I'll be that far in there I'll probably do them as well.
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Old 08-27-2019, 01:32 AM   #10
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Re: Tracking / steering issues

Do I have a stamped steel or forged top A-arm? I believe it's stamped but I'm not entirely sure.



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Old 08-27-2019, 01:37 AM   #11
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Re: Tracking / steering issues

those a arms are stamped
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Old 08-29-2019, 05:33 PM   #12
bradleyheathhays
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Re: Tracking / steering issues

Considering the mileage I've decided to change out everything I can. Ordering 2 new top A-arm assemblies, 2 lower ball joints, 4 lower A-arm bushings, 2 new strut assemblies w/ springs, and 2 sway bar links. This only leaves the tie rod ends which there is a chance are not original. This car was part of a fleet that got regular maintenance so since I didn't see any movement at the outer tie rod ends when I was doing the 3 & 9 push test I'm thinking they may have already been replaced. I'll put in everything I've ordered and see how the steering is after that. Do you always do both inner and outer tie rod ends at the same time or is it common just to do the outer, or just the inner?

Found a decent set of ebay shock and spring, strut? assemblies for $150 but it's specified as fitting the interceptor model whereas mine is just the base model. Would they still work ok?
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Old 08-30-2019, 03:06 PM   #13
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Re: Tracking / steering issues

sounds kinda foolish not to change the tie rods if you are doing everything else. Either way you should get a front end alignment when you finish so if the tie rods have play they will not be able to align it correctly. Do it once and be done. just my 2 cents
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Old 09-13-2019, 09:44 PM   #14
bradleyheathhays
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Re: Tracking / steering issues

Found a fairly comprehensive front end kit for a great deal...like $137 for all of this...

2006-11 Ford Lincoln Mercury Steering & Suspension Kit 12 Piece Set - 1ASFK05040



https://www.1aauto.com/2006-11-ford-...t/i/1asfk05040

I'd rather go with something more dependable like Moog at least on the lower ball joints.

What do you think? Should I go with this kit and save? She's got 320k on her now.
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