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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,
I have a 1994 3.0 (Single Cam) Taurus.
I have a bad shake in the front end over 55MPH. Showing wear on the Inside Front Driver's side Tire.
No modifications besides SHO wheels.
I have a few questions

1) Does anyone have the alignment specs for a 1994 Taurus? i googled and searched on this forum but I couldn't find the specs.
I'm going to string up the car this weekend to get some readings to see if the shake is being caused by improper toe. will also check camber/caster for possible worn components which leads to my next question...

2) I was trying to figure out how to tell if I have worn components in the suspension. I read that jacking the front up and gripping the wheel at 9 o'clock and 3 o'clock and try to rock it back and forth. then doing the same for 12 o'clock and 6 o'clock.
There's no mention if both tires should be off the ground with the steering wheel locked, or if one wheel should be on the ground.
also what am i looking for? Any play at all?
I have no play top to bottom, but left to right there's a tiny bit of flex on both wheels. It's not a lot of play and feels more like flex in a rubber bushing, if that makes any sense :lol2:
I had the car up on jack stands, I'm a little hesitant to work on the car supported only on one side by a hydraulic jack.

3) I found a set of gen2 SHO wheels on craigslist for 40 bucks! I put new tires on them and have been running them on the car for a little over a couple years now. I know incorrect offset on a wheel can cause a bearing or hub to go bad prematurely. I would assume the suspension on the SHO and regular 3.0 taurus are different since they house different engines. Should the SHO wheels be ok on my vanilla gen2 taurus? I still have the stock wheels and tires, but the extra traction is nice :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
So the alignment was towed out. Set total tow to -1 degree. The car tracks true now, but i'm still getting a shake at about 65mph. Attached a picture for anyone familiar with doing a string alignment.

How would i check the ball joints/tie rods/wheel bearings to see if they're bad?

Anyone?
 

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look for movement in the cup on the ball joints. use a pry bar between the knuckle and lca. if you have any up and down movement theya re bad. grab the tie rod end and turn it by hand, if it turns easy more then likely its bad. the shake down test(clock test) is the best way. you can do it with only one tire jacked up, wheel locked. You should have very little movement. If you are unsure, jack up a friends car that rides good and compare them.
there are shops out there that do free inspections. Find one and have them check out your car. they can confirm bad ball joint or tie rod end.
from the sound of things I will say you need tie rods. ball joints click when you turn the wheel.
Shaking front end at speed normally means tie rods or bad tires.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
look for movement in the cup on the ball joints. use a pry bar between the knuckle and lca. if you have any up and down movement theya re bad. grab the tie rod end and turn it by hand, if it turns easy more then likely its bad. the shake down test(clock test) is the best way. you can do it with only one tire jacked up, wheel locked. You should have very little movement. If you are unsure, jack up a friends car that rides good and compare them.
there are shops out there that do free inspections. Find one and have them check out your car. they can confirm bad ball joint or tie rod end.
from the sound of things I will say you need tie rods. ball joints click when you turn the wheel.
Shaking front end at speed normally means tie rods or bad tires.

Thanks! I'll try the shake test on another car to see what i'm looking for.
I'll test the tie rods to see if they have any looseness. When I was doing the alignment the passenger side one seemed quite a bit easier to move in the socket than the drivers side, but i'll confirm when I get a chance.
Again i really appreciate the help.
 

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Passenger side usually takes more wear than the driver's side, so that would not be surprising.

If you do need new ball joints, you will have to replace the whole lower control arm, as it is pressed in, and there's no real easy way to press the old one out on a 86-95 Taurus.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the help everyone.

I did the shake down test on a car that rides good and then checked again on the taurus and it seems like the passenger side tie rod is bad.

I'm going to replace both tie rods since they're cheap and the other side is prone to go sooner or later since it's up over 100k miles. I might get lucky and find a parts store locally that has the parts in stock and i'll get to swap the tie rods tonight.
 

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be careful of the cheap tie rod ends.even though it has a warranty every time you replace it you have to spend cash on the alignment. moog ends last a long time. the house brand ( $14 part ) wears out quickly. in the long run its cheaper to buy the better tie rod end. I know sometimes you can't afford to get the best parts but when it comes to ball joints and tie rods I always spend the extra money.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
be careful of the cheap tie rod ends.even though it has a warranty every time you replace it you have to spend cash on the alignment. moog ends last a long time. the house brand ( $14 part ) wears out quickly. in the long run its cheaper to buy the better tie rod end. I know sometimes you can't afford to get the best parts but when it comes to ball joints and tie rods I always spend the extra money.


Thanks for the heads up. I tend to get quality parts and tools no matter what i'm working on. If it's a one time use tool that i might never use again i'll get it cheap at harbor freight, but that's the only exception.
I can totally understand what you are getting at about the alignment. $80 for an alignment gets spendy real quick if it needs to be done more than once in a short period of time. That's partially what lead me to learn how to do my own alignments. The other thing that lead me to do my own alignments is that I wanted to get the numbers exact, instead of "in the green"

Again thanks for your help, i really appreciate it. :)
 

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On a car i intend to keep for a long time, lifetime alignment purchase is priceless. Fyi, a couple of buddies from firestone recently told me they have seen a slew of fairly new moog tie rod ends come back faulty. Maybe a bad batch or manufacturing change? 3-9 oclock tire shake for tie rods, 6-12 oclock for ball joints.
 
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