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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
During my last oil change this weekend, when the car was on the ramps, I noticed that the front driver's side tire was worn to the wires on the inside only. I can only assume that means my suspension is sagging or my camber is off, as I keep my tire pressure to spec.

My question is, should I start with an alignment and see how off it was, or should I just buy new spring/strut combos for the front? Is there a way to tell if the springs are sagging, maybe by a measurement of some sort? Don't want to put too much money into the car as I'd like to get a different one within the next year, but don't want to wear out tires either.

2000 Ford Taurus SE/SVG
3.0 Duratec
179,xxx miles
 

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The springs like to sag. I'd bet money that's your problem, but an alignment is cheaper than new suspension if you're going to get rid of the car soon.
 

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FYI: there is no OEM front camber adjustment, the shop will need to drill the strut tower mounting plate spot welds to adjust the camber.

The toe could also be way off, is the tread feathered?

Look at the link below to help with diagnosis.
Tire Wear
 

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Wear

During my last oil change this weekend, when the car was on the ramps, I noticed that the front driver's side tire was worn to the wires on the inside only. I can only assume that means my suspension is sagging or my camber is off, as I keep my tire pressure to spec.

My question is, should I start with an alignment and see how off it was, or should I just buy new spring/strut combos for the front? Is there a way to tell if the springs are sagging, maybe by a measurement of some sort? Don't want to put too much money into the car as I'd like to get a different one within the next year, but don't want to wear out tires either.

2000 Ford Taurus SE/SVG
3.0 Duratec
179,xxx miles
Inside tire wear can come from "toe out". However it will happen on both tires. As outer and inner tie rods wear loose, the toe goes out while on brakes. A ball joint can do this too, but will have camber out at the bottom also.

Camber will effect one tire different, but you can sight rear to front on level ground to see if the fronts are near staight up and down. I saw a car the other day where one front was kicked out maybe 5 degrees or more. I was meeting it and wondered how they drive that. Camber can come from failing ball joint, or mechanical damage. Really needs to be checked.

-chart-
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the helpful replies. I had the car in this morning for 2 new tires (I put them on the back until I figure out what the real issue is) and a free alignment check. Turns out, as I imagined, the front driver's side wheel has a large negative camber. I asked what the cause may be and how long until I wear out another tire, and he thought either a bent/worn shock/strut/spring or lower ball joint, and I would wear out a new tire at maybe 20,000 miles at this rate. There was nothing he could do for me as far as alignment (because as stated earlier, there is only drilling to adjust camber). So my question is, do I start with replacing the lower ball joint and work my way to other parts, or should I just bend over and get it all done (quick struts, upper strut mount, ball joints and tie rod ends)?
 

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I ould figure out what is wrong first. Weither you take a look or take it to the shop. No poin in wasting money.

Unles you have hit a really bad pot hole or curned the card I doubt a bent strut.

You can test for a ball joint by jacking the tire in the air, grabbing the tire at 12 and 6 and shaking. If loose the ball joint is bad.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
My guess is the balljoints need replacing at the very least.
Which brings me to my next question...

My car squeaks when steering. Sometimes only at the end of full lock, sometimes throughout the whole turn, and it's on both sides. I assume that is the lower ball joint, correct? I may as well go ahead and get these fixed.

When the car was in the air this morning, the mechanic did the 12/6 and 3/9 wheel shakes and said everything was tight (surprised was I...).

I think what I'll do is plan for a bit of an overhaul (since I may be stuck keeping it after all). I'd like to do quick-struts and lower ball joints on both sides in front, and my rear brakes need an overhaul (drums have ridge, can't get them off). I shouldn't have to do tie rod ends since everything was "tight", but what about strut mounts? Also, when ordering spring kits from RockAuto, is one kit for one side, or does it cover the entire rear?
 

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On our '93, the upper strut mounts were worn/busted allowing the struts to tilt inward toward each other giving negative camber.
 

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Do the ball joint first as the left side has probably already been done sometime in the past. You can do it yourself but might want to take the knee to a shop and have them push out the old and insert the new one for you. Tie rod ends are easy and the toe in can be set using a friend and a tape measure (a sixteenth of an inch less front to back is fine). Getting the steering wheel centered will take a little time, but that is easy also once you get the idea of what you are doing.

Now as to tire pressure, the fronts should always be run harder than the rears. Thirty psi is a starting point for the rear tires only, since the fronts on the Taurus/Sable have sixty percent of the weight on them they need more air pressure to keep the tire patch similar to the rear tire patch (area touching the ground). I run between 35-38 psi on the fronts. Better mileage, less tire wear, not as soft a ride though.
 

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+1 on the tire pressures and noising tie rod ends! Also + on jacking up the car and pulling, shaking. always a good start to finding worn/broken suspension items. visuals, sounds, and touch are good starts to diagnosing suspension issues.
 
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