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Author Topic: Eagle keeps eating thru front tires, multiple alignments haven't helped  (Read 5081 times)

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Offline Zoro

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When I got my '84 Eagle Wagon I noticed that it was wearing the front tires at the outer edges of the tires, got an alignment and that seemed to slow the wear down but didn't get rid of it. Had another alignment done then put on a brand new set of BFG AT's and the Eagle ate thru those in less than 5K miles. It wore the right side tire down to the steel cords and the left side wasn't far behind. Took it in for another alignment and the shop "couldn't find anything wrong" that and it's too old...I've got a bunch of receipts from the previous owners which show 4 or 5 alignments as well as ball joints, bushings etc.

Anybody else have an issue like this with their Eagles? Each time I get it aligned I'm told that everything is within spec and nothing needs adjustment. I've had a couple of shops take it back in a 2nd or 3rd time to fix it then give me an earful about it being a 30 year old car. I know it's an older car but it's not THAT old, right? I'm only having this issue with the front tires, the rears still look brand new.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2012, 01:14:48 PM by Zoro »
84 Eagle Wagon aka 'Zoro II'
228,000 miles and counting!

Offline ammachine390

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Re: Eagle keep eating thru front tires, multiple alignments haven't helped
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2012, 12:14:50 AM »
Also make sure that the alignment shops are actually aligning all 3 things. A lot of shops will just adjust the toe. Camber, adjusted by turning the bolt in the eccentric nut on the lower control arms. Caster, adjusted by adjusting the nuts on the strut rods where they attach to the strut rod bushings. And toe, adjusted by turning the tie rod sleeves. The TSM says to adjust them in that order, first camber, then caster, and then camber.

On a side note though, I replaced nearly everything in my front suspension, and I was never able to the get the passenger side camber within spec. Maybe it was a bent control arm. My car still shakes a little at highway speeds too.
Dan
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Offline carnuck

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Re: Eagle keep eating thru front tires, multiple alignments haven't helped
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2012, 10:30:25 AM »
Sounds like the bushings/balljoints are worn out. The second alignment threw it all out of spec. How much offroading did it see?
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Offline Zoro

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Re: Eagle keep eating thru front tires, multiple alignments haven't helped
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2012, 05:39:24 PM »
Thanks for the replies guys! I don't believe it when the shops tell me it can't be fixed, it's obvious they either don't know how to fix it or don't feel like it. I did find a new shop that's pretty confident they can dial it in. The owner himself came out and looked the Eagle over and was thrilled to see the car. He actually thanked me for keeping it on the road.  ;D

I spent a fair amount of time under the car today working on some other stuff and took a look at the suspension. On the driver side the upper ball joint is bolted in and the lower appears to be riveted. Did not look at the ball joints on the passenger side.

Also looked at the bushings for the control arms that run to the brackets that go to the frame behind each wheel. Had these replaced with the last alignment and that got rid of a real bad rattle at HWY speed. I believe the metal cups on the outer(rear) part of that bushing assembly are installed backwards. The recessed part faces away from the bushing towards the double locking nuts that hold them in place. Is this normal or should they face the other way? Anybody got a photo of this spot on their car?

As for off roading this car doesn't see any, the closest thing it sees is a dirt driveway or two and maybe the occasional washboard dirt road. The car goes down the road nice and strait with a slight pull to the right. No vibrations at HWY speed, it's smooth up to and over 75mph. However if I hit a good bump in the road or pothole the car shakes a bit and gets pretty rough for a few seconds, I'm thinking it's time for shocks.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2012, 05:44:20 PM by Zoro »
84 Eagle Wagon aka 'Zoro II'
228,000 miles and counting!

Offline mudkicker715

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Re: Eagle keep eating thru front tires, multiple alignments haven't helped
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2012, 05:52:09 PM »
Pretty certain you lifted. now it will be a bi tch to align it.

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84 eagle sedan stroker DD
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Offline Zoro

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Re: Eagle keep eating thru front tires, multiple alignments haven't helped
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2012, 06:06:26 PM »
Pretty certain you lifted. now it will be a bi tch to align it.

I don't think it's lifted but it does sit higher than my first Eagle.

Best four photos I have that show ride height.







« Last Edit: August 05, 2012, 06:09:52 PM by Zoro »
84 Eagle Wagon aka 'Zoro II'
228,000 miles and counting!

Offline mudkicker715

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Re: Eagle keep eating thru front tires, multiple alignments haven't helped
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2012, 07:36:43 PM »
Sorry was thinking of someone else than. gotta be bad bushings somewhere.

Current amc's
82 concord waggy 258 DD
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Offline Zoro

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Re: Eagle keep eating thru front tires, multiple alignments haven't helped
« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2012, 08:19:46 PM »
Sorry was thinking of someone else than. gotta be bad bushings somewhere.

That's what I'm hoping.

As far as parts go are there any serviceable parts in the front end that aren't available aftermarket that need to be sourced from a parts car?
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228,000 miles and counting!

Offline recomer

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Re: Eagle keep eating thru front tires, multiple alignments haven't helped
« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2012, 08:20:21 PM »
The recessed part faces away from the bushing towards the double locking nuts that hold them in place. Is this normal or should they face the other way? Anybody got a photo of this spot on their car?

Theres a few pics on here showing it like that. From the posts thats the way its supposed to be.

Just a thought, has the car ever been in an accident? If the results from mechanics keep saying its in specs but its still wearing the tires maybe get it to a body shop that has a frame alignment machine to verify it is within specs.
83 Eagle Wagon

Offline Zoro

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Re: Eagle keep eating thru front tires, multiple alignments haven't helped
« Reply #9 on: August 05, 2012, 09:06:13 PM »
The recessed part faces away from the bushing towards the double locking nuts that hold them in place. Is this normal or should they face the other way? Anybody got a photo of this spot on their car?

Theres a few pics on here showing it like that. From the posts thats the way its supposed to be.

Just a thought, has the car ever been in an accident? If the results from mechanics keep saying its in specs but its still wearing the tires maybe get it to a body shop that has a frame alignment machine to verify it is within specs.

Yes. The carfax shows it was in an accident but doesn't say what type or how bad. I've been wondering how much that could throw off the alignment.
84 Eagle Wagon aka 'Zoro II'
228,000 miles and counting!

Offline recomer

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Re: Eagle keep eating thru front tires, multiple alignments haven't helped
« Reply #10 on: August 05, 2012, 09:15:46 PM »
All depends on how bad the accident was. Could explain why front end alignment says in specs and its still having issues. As the others have said, would look over all front end component (parts, bushings, etc) are the wheels straight, and if everything looks good, might be worth a trip to the body shop...
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Offline eaglefreek

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Re: Eagle keep eating thru front tires, multiple alignments haven't helped
« Reply #11 on: August 05, 2012, 09:28:41 PM »
I agree with recomer. See if you can find an collision shop that can take a look at it. Unfortunately, in this day and age, many shops don't spend the time to a job properly. It's about getting the job out the door and getting paid.
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Offline rollguy

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Re: Eagle keep eating thru front tires, multiple alignments haven't helped
« Reply #12 on: August 05, 2012, 09:53:51 PM »
I am not sure if a "4 wheel alignment" will show if the body/frame is bent enough to be out of spec.  Maybe a body shop is needed to correctly measure the car to see what is not correct.  Most shops can measure the center line of the axles in relation to themselves, and with the body.  You could also do a crude (but maybe functional) measurement yourself to see if the car is far enough off to make a difference.   Have a helper measure the car in an X pattern under the car with the wheels straight (stretch a string along the length of the car touching the sidewall of the tires).  Try making the tape as straight as possible and place the end on the same spot on both sides (outer edge of wheel rim?) and see how far off it is (if any).  Also front to back on each side.  If any measurement is more than an inch or so from the opposite side, you have found the problem.
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Offline priya

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Re: Eagle keep eating thru front tires, multiple alignments haven't helped
« Reply #13 on: August 06, 2012, 11:01:23 PM »
Hello Zoro!
I am Ward Zintel, Priya's husband. I am an automotive technician, and I do a
lot of chassis work and wheel alignments (my speciality).
 Right off the top I suspect you have an issue with the toe on the vehicle,
radial tires do not wear the edges from camber unless they are very low profile
tires, like a 40 ratio (PXXX/40RXX) tire or lower, not the type of tire likely
to be on a 4WD/AWD vehicle.
 If you take you hand, palm down, and slide it in and out on the tire (towards
the center of the vehicle and back out) - do this in a spot with no steel belts
showing, the belts will chew your hands up, don't ask how I know this! If the
inside of the tires is worn away the tire will feel smoth sliding out, and rough
sliding in. If it has this it is "sawtooth wear", caused by the toe being out of
specs.
 priya's eagle service manual gives ball joint specs of .160" laterally (side to
side) for the upper ball joint and 0(zero) play on the lower ball joint, any
visible play is grounds for replacement. I recommend blocking a piece of 2X4 or
something similar between the bottom of the upper control arm and the frame so
when you jack it up the control arms remain in roughly the same area they are in
with the wheels on the ground as this is where most of the wear will be.
 Give the control arm bushings very close scrutiny, they are rubber and will
move but should spring back, if they have enough play to slop around they will
let thecontrol arms move about , causing the toe to change constantly, and too
much.
 If any parts are bad, get them replaced, and back on the alignment machine.
Find a shop with a modern computerized 4 wheel alignment machine. Tell them you
want a print out, with the following readings:

-Front caster, camber, and toe. These are the normal front alignment angles, the
"basics"

-Rear camber, toe, and thrust angle. These readings will tell you if your axle
housing is bent, and how it's located under the vehicle. Rear camber ideally
should be within .25 degree of zero, but I've seen solid axles with .5 degree
negative camber that worked just fine and did not wear tires. Ideally the total
toe on the rear axle will be with in 1/8" of zero (zero preferred), if it gets
more than about 1/4" it'll start wearing the rear tires. The thrust angle should
be with in .5 degree of zero, if it's more than that the axle is not tracking
correctly, causing the car to "dog track"

-Front and rear setback. These readings tell us where the tires are located
relative to each other, and along with the thrust angle and a couple more to
follow, allow us to find accident damage. Setbacks should not exceed .5" side
to side on either axle.

-SAI (or KPI) steering axis inclination (king pin axis inclination). this is a
very important angle to get, it's the angle of an imaginary line drawn through
the  ball ball joint pivot points reference to true vertical. If possible, have
them get you this measurement wheels elevated, it's more accurate this way.

-Icluded angle. This angle is though the ball joints like SAi, but is referenced
to the plane of rotation of the wheel, instead of true vertical. Once again have
this measurement made wheels elevated.

-The SAI and included angles, taken together with the front camber allows us to
find bent suspension components (steering knuckles, control arms, body mounts,
etc). In an ideal universe the sai, included angle,
and front camber will all be within .5 degree of the same angle on the other
side of the vehicle, but there is much more to it than than that, as the
universe is not quite that ideal. When you have some readings I will gladly
look at them and let you know what I see.

-The last reading to get is the toe out on turns reading. They also should be
within .5 degree of each other, the closer to the same the better. I have seen
vehicles with close to a degree difference side to side that did not wear tires,
but it's not ideal. If these readings are much more than .5 degrees diferent it
indicates a bent steering arm.

Clear as mud, eh? If you have these readings let Priya know, I'll gladly tell
you what I see. -Ward-  ;D

Offline priya

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Re: Eagle keep eating thru front tires, multiple alignments haven't helped
« Reply #14 on: August 06, 2012, 11:33:53 PM »
Zoro: I forgot to mention one important thing: When the ball joints are being checked for wear you CANNOT pick
the vehicle up by the lower control arms! Most vehicles have the spring on the lower control arm, the lower ball joint is the load carrier. On an Eagle the spring is on the upper arm, the upper ball joint is the load carrier. the lower ball joint on an Eagle is the follower. If you pick it up by the lower control arms the ball joints will never show
any play, as the veficle's weight will bind them tight. -Ward-

 

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