Ford Focus ST Forum banner

1 - 5 of 5 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
39 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Forgive me if I sound ignorant but here it comes.

Recently I smashed a pothole pretty good, enough to flatten a tire. After changing to the semi-full size spare (17x7?) I was on my way and drove on that for a few days. Granted I was not exactly babying the car, and I was driving in excess of 45mph. I did not check the tire size prior and it seemed like a full size spare to me so plz no flaming.

After buying a brand new set of rims and taking the winter tires off to put the stock F1s back on, I was driving home on the freeway and noticed a decent pull to the right under throttle. Believe me I know what torque steer is, but I dont ever recall feeling anything like this. The car pulls to the right it seems regardless of what side of the crown in the road I am on, but significantly heavier when leaning down to the right (I hit the pot hole front passenger side). The steering also seems to be finicky, or somewhat loose(?) i suppose while driving and the wheel may be ever so cocked to the right while going straight or it could be my paranoid self.

Now with all that being said, bending a rim, riding on a spare, new rims, different size spare, etc, I am convinced I need an alignment. My auto shop teacher in school always told us, if you need an alignment you need tie rods, and maybe more. Well, when the tires were off I grabbed the tie rods a bit and inspected as best I could, no crazy visible damage. EDIT NOTE: I did not exactly know what to look for, I just remembered an old friend saying grab them and give them a shake, if theyre loose theyre ****ed. I would like to replace at the minimum that side tie rod end regardless.

My question is, when I shop for an alignment, what should I make sure the shop has in order to do a 100% correct alignment? Does Belle Tire have the proper machine, software, etc? Also, how come I can not find the ENTIRE tie rod anywhere, only tie rod end links, is there a different word I should be searching for?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,597 Posts
Unless the tierod has visible movement you do not replace them. Period.

I think you weren't paying attention in class
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
39 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Unless the tierod has visible movement you do not replace them. Period.

I think you weren't paying attention in class
Actually I thoroughly enjoyed that class and my shop teacher was a 30 year ASE technician who could tell you about any engine ran on steam, diesel, gas, corn fuel, or oil.

Furthermore are you talking about only the tie rod end? the inner tie rod could bend without having "visible movement."

PS: No need to be a ****.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,597 Posts
Actually I thoroughly enjoyed that class and my shop teacher was a 30 year ASE technician who could tell you about any engine ran on steam, diesel, gas, corn fuel, or oil.

Furthermore are you talking about only the tie rod end? the inner tie rod could bend without having "visible movement."

PS: No need to be a ****.
The part where not paying attention was in jest. Sorry I forgot a little wink emoticon, man up. :p I could go on and on about my shop teacher and his national awards in national highschool automotive troubleshooting contests, or state teacher of the year, how he became a mentor, helped get me grants, started my career, or how 20+yrs later I still call him to have dinner or beers when I visit home. But I digress, that's not important.

What's important is that tierods are basically a metal spherical ball in a rubber covered boot, grease filled plastic cup. I'm simplifying that for you.. but a tie rod can fail at 5 miles or 100k miles. There is no set maintenance schedule to them. You either have play on them or you don't. Often you check with a prybar and look for play. Or you have wierd shaking or tire wear issues that an alignment didn't solve. But you definitely do not replace each and every alignment. Thats a huge waste of money.

Hitting a pothole that damages wheels or tires, especially while in a turn, now that is a reason to inspect everything, but not blindly replacing parts just because you're performing an alignment. That said, has anyone told you how the factory alignment sucks? How the toe NEEDS to be adjusted to as near as 0.01 as you can get? Toe kills tires, not camber.

A bent inner can still be compensated for, with an alignment, or bent anything really. It's the play you can't account for.
You'll have to go through with an alignment regardless, to see if anything else needs replacing, and when it does get replaced, a final alignment performed.
And anyone that gives a damn about performance, gets an alignment just because factory specs suck so bad.

So, back to the original problem. You hit a big pothole, there is some funkiness you're noticing, but at the same time you've changed a lot of variables and you could just be paranoid... Get an alignment, ask for toe to be as close to 0.01. Not 0.1 nor 0.06. As close to or at 0.01. Then mention your pothole situation, and they can inspect further if anything needs replacing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,330 Posts
As long as there isn't any play in the tierod joint (grab wheel at 3 and 6, push/pull) and it's not bent, you probably don't need new ones. If you did smack a pothole hard, it's not uncommon for the alignment to be out and also not uncommon to bend a tire rod (inner or outer). As long as there's no play and everything is straight, all you need is an alignment. Let the shop know you hit a hard pothole and they'll make sure everything is straight. A good shop will check for bent parts anyway before aligning the car.
 
1 - 5 of 5 Posts
Top