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Old 04-04-2008, 01:10 AM   #1
shankster
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Freestyle toe adjustment

I have the dreaded factory alignment problem on my AWD 05 Freestyle Limited that causes the accelerated tire shoulder wear. Dealer refused to do anything about it despite the fact that TSB 06-15-4 says they should align it according to the revised specs and replace my trashed tires under warranty. OK, rant over with - here's my question:

Anyone know the relationship between number of turns (or "flats") on the tie rod and the amount of resulting toe? I need to add about 0.1" total toe-in on the front and about 0.05" total toe-in on the rear. Haven't actually looked at the rear wheels and method of adjustment yet but I'm hoping it's straightforward.

I can use my high school trigonometry to try to figure it out or use good old trial and error but I'd really like to save myself an hour or 2 if someone has that info handy.

Thanks
Robert
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Old 07-06-2008, 10:21 PM   #2
glenncof
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Re: Freestyle toe adjustment

You can measure and calculate the front suspension, but there's still large error possible. I have made minor corrections with a turn or two on other vehicles.

An alternative is to make your own alignment jig.

I have not done this since my toe-in was slight and decided not to do anything except rotate. I did find $7 laser levels at Fry's Electronics in California.

Use two laser levels, 2 jack stands and a 2x4" board. This will only work if your wheels are not bent, a pro machine would allow you to spin the wheel slowly to check run-out. Attach the laser levels to the wheels*.

First put the 2x4 on jack stands close to the car bumper with 2x4" on top. Aim the lasers ar the board and this is your zero toe since the distance is small. Mark them with a Sharpy pen or other. Then move the jacks/board out by 15-20' keeping it parallel to the front of the car.

The laser dots will move in with toe-in or out with toe-out. With this you can only look at total toe and adjustments works only if the toe is symetric on each side. Some high school trig will help you nail down a number for the toe.

Normal precautions are all tires properly inflated, bounce the vehicle to get it settled, wheels facing directly forward, and flat/level surface. Tire wear pattern should help you know which direction and in this case there is a TSB describing the problem of early tire wear and re-adjusting to non-factory settings.

This procedure works for the front and should work for the back.

* I never worked out the laser attachment to the wheels. I envision using 1"x1/4" aluminum bars cut to fit and taped in place. Hardware supply store should have aluminum stock and duct tape.
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Old 07-10-2008, 01:37 PM   #3
mwolvin
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Re: Freestyle toe adjustment

Considering the amount of cost involved buying the parts, and the time spent fabricating this, and calculating it, you may be better off taking the car to a reputable shop and paying the $35 or so to get a pro alignment.

The other options are to escalate your situation to Ford's corporate customer assistance (phone number located in the owner's manual) or, if you insist on doing it yourself, you could measure the thread pitch on the tie rods and doing the trig to find out the relationship between one turn and the total effect on toe. (measure the distance between the tie rod end and the center of the wheel hub along with the distance between wheel center and tire edge.)
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