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Ride Height And Camber On '99 Taurus

2787 Views 12 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Dave
I bought the car with 59K, so I have no idea what if any suspension work has been done on the car ('99 Taurus SE DOHC) prior to my ownership. 111K on the clock now. Struts are still teeth-chattering firm. My driving is in almost entirely straight lines on smooth highways, as the lay of the land is flood-plain flat-as-a-pancake level, so I'm not plowing through hill-country corners in a four-wheel drift if you know what I mean. Not that I wouldn't once in a while, but no opportunity. Also, I ride by myself to work each day, so the car is always empty, including the trunk, so this is not a loaded vehicle issue regarding my tire wear problem. It has pulled a bit to the left for quite a while. I guess I just got used to it and never thought to correct the situation. (Duh!) :rolleyes:

So, I have extreme wear on the inner corners of the tires, particularily the fronts. :angry: In fact, if you aren't under the car you'll never see the wear from the outside looking in. The horizontal tread surface is wearing well, no cupping. Tire pressures are usually kept in spec. This is the first car I've ever owned that did this. I stayed up late last night digging through the 'net looking for solid information regarding alignment. Found some good tradesman-level info about alignment, of specific interest was camber adjustment, which would seem to be the culprit in my case, however they suggested that loose or damaged suspension pieces must be eliminated from possibility, as does weak springs, aka. the ride height issue.

I don't want to waste the next set of tires, soon to be purchased. Some of the info I found suggested that some makes of cars cannot have their camber adjusted, but that most can. What about the Taurus? Do any of you know? Have any of you had this experience, and if so what was the solution? Salespeople always ask me about the miles on my car, then want to sell me struts. Absolutely nobody's information online said squat about needing to replace struts to cure strange tire wear. Mine are very firm anyway. Many suggested alignment and verifying ride height, but nothing about paying $600+ for new strut installations.

Let's hear your experiences and opinions friends!

Thanks in advance!
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I had the same problem when I put the Roush springs on with the new 17" rims .

I finally had the strut plates cut loose and re drilled/welded and for the rear I got the kit from prosuspension.com....help me guys if thats the wrong name. Antway its been about 6months and no problems

See from everything I know about the Taurus its a "un-alignable car"....untill you do the above
Bad toe adjustment can cause this too.
Originally posted by SHOZ123@May 15 2004, 10:36 PM
Bad toe adjustment can cause this too.
Yeah, it could...... What you should do is run your hand across the surface of the tires from left to right and from right to left (and by this I mean from edge to edge of the tire | ' ' ' ' | <- ). If you feel your hand going smooth one direction and jagged edges going back, then you have yourself a toe issue and it'll look like this |````|. Otherwise its your camber thats out of whack. Which will wear uneven but will not usually have the "feathering" as described for the toe problem. I don't believe that you can't adjust the camber on our cars. There should be some spot welds that hold a plate down and all you gotta do is break those and adjust away. Although you may need another plate... im not certian, but the point is... it should be adjustable. Well.... I hope this helps. Keep us up to date on what the problem is / was.
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Yes you can remove the spot welds in the strut tower plate to get a degree or two of camber adjustment. I hogged out the corners of the tower to get the camber I needed.

I'd post a pic but apparently that feature is not working..........
So will a mere strut change casue the problem you are describing??
if it did, will an alignemnt check find out that the camber is off?
I know that the GEN 3 SHOs came from the factory with this problem. Usually if the camber is correct then changing the struts won't change anything as the plate is welded. Wear on the suspension, wider tires or lowering the suspension will give you problems that will need to have the tower plate loosened so you can adjust the strut location. Almost always they need the top moved out and back.

yes an alignment check will tell you if you have a problem. There are three major parts of alignment. Camber the tilt of the strut in and out, caster the angle of the strut front to back, and toe the degree to which the tires are parallel to one another.

Some really good replies are coming. Thanks for the input. I've heard some speak of a strut plate. I guess that is what must be cut loose to make changes to the alignment. Seems a bit weird that you would have to get out a welder (to say nothing of the lack of precision) to make an alignment change to the camber, but what do I know?

In a week I will have the time to get it in the dealership shop and on the alignment rack. I would rather have those guys tackle it rather than an independent shop if it comes to cutting welds. They are actually more reasonable on price for the alignment too, so that is a bonus. I will update you on what happens.

Thanks, and keep the ideas coming!
You don't have to weld those spot welds back together, that's something Ford did to save money. First off, if you were the one doing the alignment work (it's best to take it to a professional shop for this), take a drill bit (I believe it's a 5/16 bit) and drill the 3 or so welds. Do the alignment and take some rivets and rivet it back together. Problem solved. But make sure the rivets are the proper size, or the plate might move.
I don't even have the OEM plates on anymore. I just use the FSTB plate. And the nuts will hold the OEM or FSTB plate in place. No real need for rivets. But rivets will hold your plate in place so you don't loose your alignment spec if you take the struts out.
As promised, I am letting you know that as I replaced my tires today, and had my alignment checked, camber was in spec on the front, just barely in spec in the back, but acceptable, but toe on the front wheels was significantly off and required adjustment.

At this writing I've not had time to highway-test the car, but anticipate much improvement over the previous setup.

Thanks for all of your input.
Probably get much better gas mileage too. I know I picked up at least a couple mpg with my alignment.
OK, I'm gonna put in a plug for regular every 2 or 3 year alignments here, esp. if you're in a snow belt state. I had to have a tie rod end replaced a while back (don't all Taurus owners? Those things are keeping the service depts. busy) on a '99 and had to finish with an alignment. The OTHER side was way off spec too, killing the tire and gas mileage. Justa heads up.
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