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Discussion Starter #1
I check for tyre wear every once in a while and rotate tyres every 10.000 km. Since the last 4 wheel alignment about a year and a half ago the tyres have always had even wear.

Today I discovered that the front right tyre was almost bald on about half of the tyre, from the edge and about a third inwards.

My mechanic says that the car needs another alignment and that it most likely is out of spec, possibly due to off roading. I did get bogged pretty badly about two months ago in the snow, had to be pulled out.

I'm going in for an alignment on Monday, but now I'm starting to think that it might not be an alignment issue. The excessive wear on only one tyre is not consistent with a possible toe problem, right? If the toe is too much in on the front wheels the left tyre would also display uneven wear, wouldn't it? My mechanic checked for play in the front suspension today and didn't find any.

Do you agree that this is a toe-in issue or could something else be the cause since it's only the front right tyre that has a problem?
 

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On the front end only, incorrect toe should cause wear on both sides, for wear on the one side, incorrect camber is another possibility.
 

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depending on how you were pulled out, a bend in something is always possible on the rightt front, I bent a tie rod a few weeks ago, right front wheel was very noticeably out of alignment compared to the left with the steering in the straight ahead position. On the alignment jig left front toe was within spec, right front was 15 mm out according to the tape measure, the machine wouldn't even give a reading until it was within 5 mm

I will be interested in what they find.
 

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Please remember that alignment is more than just toe, caster & camber are also critical - incorrect caster is unlikely to cause a tire wear issue, but both camber & toe can.
 

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I agree totally Fordem, Camber definitely will, unlikely on a stock vehicle unless the strut gets bent, but certainly possible if a camber adjustment bolt shifts.
In my case it was definitely toe on one side.
 

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Think about this carefully - toe is the difference between centerline of the tires measured in front of and behind the wheels - we're discussing the front or "steering" wheels - toe is not going to be correct on one side and in correct on the other side - the vehicle will pull to one side or the other, the driver will compensate by steering in the appropriate direction, at which time the vehicle will run in a straight line and the toe will be equal on both sides.

Toe at the front is adjusted "per side" to keep the steering centered, but adjusting either side affects the other because you are adjusting the opposite ends of a single link.

I've taken my vehicle, directly off of the alignment rack, all measurements within spec. and found the vehicle to have "unequal lock" - more turns from centered to full lock on one side than the other - I then personally get under the vehicle and carefully tweak the tie-rod ends - screw one tie-rod one full turn into the end on one side, unscrew one full turn on the other side, and repeat until I have equal lock in both directions - pull the steering wheel & re-center it on the splines and then take the vehicle back to the alignment shop and have it rechecked.

If the vehicle in question has independent rear suspension, it may have adjustable toe at the rear, and these will need to be adjusted per side as each adjustment is a separate one.

Going back to incorrect camber, with IFS & Macpherson struts, there are numerous different ways to get the camber out of spec - bent struts is one - worn ball joints, torn suspension bushes (like that rear bush on the front control arm), even sagging springs.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the input! My mechanic will have the car on the alignment instrument on Monday. That should show if it is out of spec. I agree that it likely isn't a toe issue since it's only on the right front. There are noises coming from the front end and the vehicle has been driving a little like a boat recently. There's no slack to be felt when using a bar on the control arms, but the bushes do look worn. Anyway, machine will show if it's a camber issue and hopefully my mechanic can diagnose if it's bushes, struts or something else.
 

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There's no slack to be felt when using a bar on the control arms, but the bushes do look worn.
The rear bush on the front control arm is a known weak spot on the third gens - the easy way to diagnose, apart from a close up visual inspection - requires two persons, one to walk alongside the vehicle and observe the wheel movement, and the other to drive slowly forward or backward and then brake - if the body/wheel arch can be observed moving relative to the wheel/tire, the bush is on it's way out.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
So we had the car on the ramp and the alignment instrument on. There is positive camber on the front right. That's the middle row in the picture. The rear wheels, by the way, did have too much toe-in. Mechanic said that it's adjustable. Thought it was only possible to adjust camber on the rear, but he insisted. He used to work for Suzuki and is quite insistant that he's right. Front wheels had too much toe-in and that was adjusted to spec.

Anyway, there was nothing obviously broken on the front suspension. The strut bearings seem fine but the bushes on the control arms are worn. As suggested by fordem the rear bush on the control arm could be the cause of the positive camber. The positive camber is visible by eye. His suggestion was to replace front right control arm. I had him get a price on both front and right arms since there's noise coming from the left bush and might as well change both since they're both 9 years old. Hope that is the cause.

100603
 

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What can be adjusted varies from vehicle to vehicle, and is dictated by the suspension design, on some vehicles only the toe can be adjusted and only in front, (first & second gen, because of the live rear axles), the third gens, have independent rear suspension, which is adjustable.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
What can be adjusted varies from vehicle to vehicle, and is dictated by the suspension design, on some vehicles only the toe can be adjusted and only in front, (first & second gen, because of the live rear axles), the third gens, have independent rear suspension, which is adjustable.
Just thought the workshop manual mentioned that toe cannot be adjusted on the rear suspension, only camber. Anyway, I ordered two new front control arms and will have them replaced and hopefully fix the negative camber issue on the front right.
 
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