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  1. #1
    FEP Senior Member Sask84gt's Avatar
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    Default Tie rods and wheel alignment questions

    Hey guys, So Im doing a refresh on my front suspension. If you seen my other thread I removed old lca, springs, spindles, inner tie rods and tie rod ends caster camber plates. Did both sides then cleaned up whole area and added a fresh coat of paint. Looks really goodwell better anyway lol. So now Im starting to reinstall everything. Realized when I seen that my steering wheel was of center (when it was fine before)that I might have made a rookie mistake and removed everything at once instead of doing one side at a time to keep wheel alignment sort of in check. Is there anything I should be doing when installing the new inner tie rods to make sure steering wheel is centered? Ive counted turns to remove tie rod ends on both sides so I should be close that way. Should I be doing one side of car completely before doing the other side? I know I will need a wheel alignment after but I want to try and get everything as close as I can for now.

    thanks
    Brad
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  2. #2
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    Centering is done at the rag joint coupling to the column shaft. Remove the bolt and slide it off.
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  3. #3

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    Just make sure that the steering wheel is level. On your car, there is no ability to clock things between the steering shaft and the steering rack. If you have to take apart the rag joint to change the phasing, you have done something wrong. Don't do this, as it will create other problems.
    Jack Hidley
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  4. #4
    FEP Senior Member gt4494's Avatar
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    Old school quick and dirty is to use a yard stick and chalk.

    Center the wheel.

    Place the yardstick like one side of an "X" against a wheel. Mark the pavement. Move the stick to the opposite side of the "X" and mark the pavement again. Repeat for the other side.

    "do not move the car".

    Measure the chalk marks side to side first at the front of the wheels and at the back. This will give you the toe in or toe out that you might have messed up.

    Please get a full front end alignment as soon as possible.
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  5. #5
    FEP Senior Member Sask84gt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Hidley View Post
    Just make sure that the steering wheel is level. On your car, there is no ability to clock things between the steering shaft and the steering rack. If you have to take apart the rag joint to change the phasing, you have done something wrong. Don't do this, as it will create other problems.
    Ok, so I should get someone to hold steering wheel straight when I’m installing my inner tie rods and ends? Do one side at time and install inner tie rod and tie rod end then connect to spindle then repeat on other side?
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  6. #6

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    If you make sure that the steering wheel is level, then remove the key from the ignition and shake the steering wheel from side to side a little bit, the steering column lock will activate and hold the steering wheel in that position.

    There are two reasons to do this. It ensures that the steering rack is centered within its range of travel, so that the car will have the same turning radius in both left and right directions. Also, it ensures that the steering geometry will be symmetric as the inner tie rod pivots will be the same distance from the centerline of the car on both sides.
    Jack Hidley
    Maximum Motorsports Tech Support

  7. #7

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    You can easily get the alignment very close using a couple of jack stands, a piece of string and a ruler. There are some good Youtube videos of how to do it, Google it. I recently replaced the steering rack on my sons car, not a mustang but that doesn't matter.

    Get the car on a level surface and straighten the steering wheel. It will be helpful to put some cardboard or something somewhat slick under the front tires. Place one jack stand about 6" away from the car a littel behind the rear tire and the other just in front of the front tire. Stretch a string, kite string works well, between the 2 jack stands and adjust the high so it is around the center of the wheel. Now, using the ruler, measure the distance from the string to the back of the rear wheel and from the string to the front of the rear wheel. The measurement doesn't matter. What you are looking for is the same measurement at the front and rear of the rear wheel. Move the front jack stand left or right until the measurements are the same. then go to the front wheel and make the same measurements. Loosen the jam nuts on your outer tire rod ends and adjust until you get the same measurement at the front and rear. You will want the front of the wheel toed in about 1/16". for example if the rear of the front wheel measures 6", you will want the front of the wheel to be 5 15/16". Again, the actual measurement doesn't matter. What you are looking for is the difference between the front and back of the wheel.

    While adjusting the tie rods, you will want someone to hold the steering wheel. If you take your time you can get very close using this method. Definitely close enough that you can drive the car to the alignment shop.

  8. #8
    FEP Senior Member Sask84gt's Avatar
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    Thanks all, just waiting for my MM replacement tool to get here then will be putting everything back together. I set the MM caster camber plates to the middle and will put tie rods the same as when I removed old ones. Hopefully this will be enough to get me to the alignment shop to get it professionally aligned.
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  9. #9
    Moderator wraithracing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sask84gt View Post
    Thanks all, just waiting for my MM replacement tool to get here then will be putting everything back together. I set the MM caster camber plates to the middle and will put tie rods the same as when I removed old ones. Hopefully this will be enough to get me to the alignment shop to get it professionally aligned.
    Congrats! Just make sure when you take the Mustang in, you talk to the shop and let them know that you have the CC plates and you want a full alignment. Way too many shops today will literally just set the toe and go. Most have such a wide tolerance for Caster and Camber and the tech is trying to make $$ so they do as little as possible. I highly recommend you give them the MM specs for alignment and tell them that is what you want used for the car. Get a print out before and after alignment to verify the changes and what they finally set the car at. Most likely will either charge you more $$ or a flat rate fee for the alignment since it is more than a "standard" alignment. Just some friendly advice from a former service manager at Firestone and someone that has been through this with many Foxes over the years. Good Luck!
    ​Trey

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  10. #10
    FEP Senior Member Sask84gt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wraithracing View Post
    Congrats! Just make sure when you take the Mustang in, you talk to the shop and let them know that you have the CC plates and you want a full alignment. Way too many shops today will literally just set the toe and go. Most have such a wide tolerance for Caster and Camber and the tech is trying to make $$ so they do as little as possible. I highly recommend you give them the MM specs for alignment and tell them that is what you want used for the car. Get a print out before and after alignment to verify the changes and what they finally set the car at. Most likely will either charge you more $$ or a flat rate fee for the alignment since it is more than a "standard" alignment. Just some friendly advice from a former service manager at Firestone and someone that has been through this with many Foxes over the years. Good Luck!
    Thanks for the advice Trey. The shop I’m taking it to is a small performance garage. The owner and his son own a couple mustangs(one is a fox) that they drag race on the regular. They should know what they are doing but I will bring the instructions that came with the cc plates anyway. I believe MM specs are in there.
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