1. #1
    bradleyheathhays's Avatar
    bradleyheathhays is offline Senior Member
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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?

  2. #2
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    Tracking / steering issues

    I'd start with verifying tire pressure, wear, balance. Shocks and springs or struts. Sway bar, end links and bushings. Then move to alignment. Toe, camber and thrust angle.

    On the 3-9 o'clock get someone to verify with you. Might be a frame bushings, tre or bearing.

    Regards,
    JPNinPA

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  3. #3
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    Re: Tracking / steering issues

    I gotta pee, be right back.
    Needs to go yonder.

  4. #4
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    Re: Tracking / steering issues

    Oh $hit, I was on the wrong threead and being a wise guy . Well, we get backfires sometimes.
    Needs to go yonder.

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    Re: Tracking / steering issues

    Thanks for the good advice JPN and glad you got to pee Gennybro. 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?

  6. #6
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    Tracking / steering issues

    There is no half way on this. Is this your only car? Uppers look easy. Lowers come out easier than new goes in. Just be sure they press straight in. If they are not straight you have to press out and start with another new one.

    There are several you tube videos on this.
    Regards,
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  7. #7
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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?

    Tracking / steering issues-moog-bj.jpg

  8. #8
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    Tracking / steering issues

    It depends. I don’t gave a manual for yours but if you post a pic I could tell you.
    Some replace the upper arm and ball joint. Some have a pin bolt holding the upper in. Others are pressed.

    Post a pic I'll post a video I saw but Im not sure how yours is set up.
    Is this what it looks like?Name:  IMG_2840.JPG
Views: 87
Size:  28.3 KB

    Never used green but its the lowest of strengths.

    The spring should never shoot out in a strut but post a pic.

    Yes the black is the boot where the grease is beneath. It may not fill and expand out. The design is different for the cars design.


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    Re: Tracking / steering issues

    Thanks for answering all my questions. That's the setup I have, in the picture, so I've figured out recently that I'm ok with the spring issue. And I figured out the top bj has to press out because they're offered on rock auto.

    Loving those cheesy smiles at the end of the vid btw

  10. #10
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    Tracking / steering issues

    Many replace the entire top swing arm with new already pressed in ball joint.
    You get the new rubber bushings also.

    And yes removing the end links would open room to remove the ball joint.

    And here is the facts on green thread locker. I only use anti-seize on parts unless I go back a week later and find they loosened.

    "Loctite Green Threadlocker is recommended for locking preassembled fasteners, e.g. electrical connectors and set screws. The product is categorized as medium-to-high-strength for wicking. It is also available in a liquid form, cures in 24 hours and can be removed with heat and hand tools."

    There are 5 types of green.
    One is over 300 ft-lb break free torque.
    Over 100 deg C degrades strength.


    I just removed struts that someone used blue loctite on. The grease from the cv boot started erupting out of the breather before the blue reached glass transition temp and softened. I thought the strut was going to explode.





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    Last edited by JPNinPA; 08-22-2019 at 09:19 PM.
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  11. #11
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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.

    Tracking / steering issues-twrttdv.jpg

    Tracking / steering issues-ndh1acn.jpg

  12. #12
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    Tracking / steering issues

    Stamped


    Stamped parts look like they took a sheet or plate of metal and bent it into shape with a stamp. The edges are sharp or square.

    Forged is a piece heated and shaped as a solid piece.
    Tracking / steering issues-img_0202.jpg

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    Last edited by JPNinPA; 08-27-2019 at 10:14 AM.
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  13. #13
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    Re: Tracking / steering issues

    When I'm working on my steering, I either get someone else to steer the Jeep, or I setup a camera (usually I have to do it myself). I make quick back and forth movements, looking for slop. Like this:



    or this




    It doesn't take much movement to give you issues.
    My 2005 Wrangler Build Thread

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  14. #14
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    Re: Tracking / steering issues

    Thanks for that camera idea Terry. I'm surprised I hadn't thought of that myself. I had a buddy turn the wheel when I was underneath and the only thing I can confirm is that the outer tie rod ends seem to be ok.

    But 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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    Re: Tracking / steering issues

    Quote Originally Posted by bradleyheathhays View Post
    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?

    Just a total guess, but does the Interceptor have a larger (heavier) engine, and may need a heavier / firmer spring?
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  16. #16
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    Tracking / steering issues

    ^^agree^^
    From Wiki
    "Another difference is Ford's "severe duty" shock absorbers that offer a stiffer ride than the standard Crown Victoria. They also have black steel wheels with stainless steel or chromed plastic hubcaps."

    "Police Interceptors have higher-rate coil springs, approximately 0.8 inches (20.3 mm) of additional ground clearance, and thinner rear antiroll bars (shared with the LX Sport) than the Handling and Performance Package Crown Victorias; the base Crown Victoria does not have a rear antiroll bar."

    Maybe upgrades?


    I just replaced 6 mo old struts on our Honda because the second set leaked and this last set the top mount bushing fell apart (warrantied)Just an FYI. Hopefully you don't run into this.

    Do not forget sway bar bushings front and rear. I just swapped the TJs to grease-able poly and you could and much less more boat roll.


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    Last edited by JPNinPA; 08-29-2019 at 08:16 PM.
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  17. #17
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    Re: Tracking / steering issues

    Ok since I'm in deep already I might as well do the sway bar bushings too. But do they really effect handling that much?

    I haven't looked for it yet but that wikipedia article you quoted says the base CV doesn't have a rear antiroll bar, so hopefully I'll only have to replace the front.

  18. #18
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    Re: Tracking / steering issues

    Yes the concept is to reduce body roll. Bushings should be $15 or less a set.


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  19. #19
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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

    Name:  GdoU7S3.jpg
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    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.

  20. #20
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    Tracking / steering issues

    It would be easy to reply if the we knew the mfg. of the new parts. So I'll say you get what you pay for.

    I went this way with struts. Bought cheap. Replaced twice under warranty. My time is worth buying the higher quality part. If I was paying for the replacements instead of doing it myself id have spent2x the quality part. Not 2x the savings but 2x the total cost.


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