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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
First off thanks for reading and sorry for the long back story and all the questions. Normally I just pay $40 for an alignment be done with it.

I changed ball joints on truck. Upper, lower, and tie rod ends. Took it to an alignment shop and had it aligned. Twice now!! Drives worse than before. You know how when you turn the wheel at 55mph it moves back to center or tries to go straight. Mine doesn't any more. It will turn until you turn it back or you hit a tree. Alignment guys says alignment is right.:icon_rolleyes: The adjuster to the upper ball joint fell out on the passenger side and I'm not sure I got it back in right. You could see the marks on it so its right or its 180 degs off.

Need some advice on where to look or at least what to point at when I get to the next shop and say "this is off right here."

I know the basics of aligning the toe and got it close and drove it around the weekend until the shop was open Monday. I can't feel any improvements so any advice as to how to fix the problem myself is appreciated. I would prefer at this point to know whats wrong before I waist my time and money at the next shop.

The front wheels lean in toward the motor if your standing out in front of the truck looking back at it. I've seen several that did this and been told that all these fords were like that but since my truck drove just fine I never paid noticed how much mine did before. It did lean a little bit but how much I'm not sure. A mechanic friend who does not do alignments said that was bull and anybody that said that didn't know how to align a front end.
 

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Any alignment shop worth their weight should give you a printout of before and after. The printouts are pretty self explanatory, and will tell you where you camber, caster and toe are. If they don't offer you a printout, ask for one, and if they won't give them to you, find another shop. Most newer alignment machines print out every job.

A lot of people have had problems with new ball joints being tight on installation. Sometimes it takes a few miles for them to loosen up. Mine took several months to feel normal, and I used Moog joints. I have had customers that bought the cheap store brand joints that never had that memory steer go away.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the advice. Tight ball joints might have something to do with it but I still think the alignment is off. I don't know how to explain it but it a little squirrely. I almost feel like the toe in is too great and when you turn the wheel and one tire gets more of a bite the truck wants to turn a little more than it should at a certain point. It's almost like there's a lot of play in the steering. Gearbox is new too so this truck should drive like its bran new.

The shop I went to was the oldest alignment shop in town. Its run by a couple of guys who are old enough retire a few years ago. There's no computer they do it the old fashion way. I like to help local guys when I can and they have always done a good job in the past.

That said I do think I'm going to have to take it to a different shop.
 

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I am having trouble with "There's no computer they do it the old fashion way." In this day and age we are decades beyond using tape measures and strings. And, the two old guys who are ready to retire likely already have in their minds a long time ago. As mentioned, a different shop is probably in order. Aside from improper assembly or incorrect parts, alignment specifications being out will cause handing concerns.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Don't know why you would be having trouble with them not having a computer. They will tell you up front they can't do 4 wheel alignments and some other cars are to difficult. Yes computers have been around for decades but theses guys were doing alignments decades before the computers were there. They don't advertise and there not out looking for new customers so they are doing a good enough job for enough people to keep recommending them or referring new customers to them in a town that's still small enough where word of mouth will kill your business faster than anything else.

I kinda like going to shops and parts stores where the people know more about the car than what a computer tells them. It always bothers me when I ask a question and the answer I get is "that's what the computer says". Sometimes the 20yr old running the computer and working on your car knows more about the computer than he does your car. But I can see how that could be considered a good thing since its the computer is telling him what to do.

Hmm. Where did that soap box come from. Back to the point.

Granted their not as precise as a car that was put on a computer. I agree they have probably got there minds made up and are only doing the minimum and I'm going to have to find someone who's willing to look a little further. Sometimes it helps to be armed with a little info and ask the right questions to get someone to look in the right spot. That's all i'm looking for.
 

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The big problem with no computer for an alignment is you're guesstimating everything. Yes, I have a camber gauge that I can stick on a tire, but it doesn't give me camber during turns. The only way to get that with my magnetic gauge would be to have 2 helpers watching the wheels while I did the work. The computer does it all, and records it for you. Also, any alignment that isn't a 4 wheel alignment isn't doing much for you. You need to know the relationship of the front wheels to the back wheels to make sure you're driving straight down the road.

There's nothing wrong with supporting local business. I personally take my alignment work to a local shop here over the national chain store. But while they might know their stuff, and have been doing this a long time, doing an alignment without the computer assistance is like trying to figure out what your check engine light is on for without a scanner. You can guess at it, but without the code, you don't know for sure.
 

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. ........ doing an alignment without the computer assistance is like trying to figure out what your check engine light is on for without a scanner. You can guess at it, but without the code, you don't know for sure.
Not a good comparison.

The diesel forums are filled with people doing that everyday.

Just saying ......
 
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