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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-04-19, 09:42 PM Thread Starter
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Tracking / steering issues

My '11 Crown Vic has got 315k miles on it and I'm having some kind of tracking problem that I think is coming from the steering. If there's not much wind it drives straight down the road just fine up to about 60 mph. But if the winds up some, or if I take it up to 70, it's tracking characteristics start to get weird and unsettling. Rain seems to cause it to get worse as well. The feeling is not dissimilar to hydroplaning.

I got the wheels off the ground and pushed/pulled on all the tires..3 and 9 o'clock, 6 and 12. Back wheels were solid, and the fronts were ok when I did the 6 and 12, but on the 3 and 9 test the tires moved about 1/4". They didn't move easily say as if they were completely loose, but it didn't take all that much effort to get them rocking either. At each limit of movement there's a low grade thud that's coming from somewhere between the two wheels, pretty close to the center of the car I'd say. I don't know if the movement I'm seeing is normal, but the degree the steering seems to be unpredictable would seem to correlate to about the degree of movement I'm seeing with the 3 and 9 test.

Any ideas on where I go from here?

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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-04-19, 10:50 PM
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Re: Tracking / steering issues

I would suggest doing it again with someone else to look for movement, or even place a phone/camera towards the steering rack or tire/steering knuckle to pinpoint exactly where the play is coming from.


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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-05-19, 02:20 AM
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Re: Tracking / steering issues

Steering and suspension needs to professionally checked out and worn parts replaced before any wheel alignment / geometry adjustments are corrected .

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-05-19, 01:01 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Tracking / steering issues

Thanks for the suggestion. I forgot to add that I did have someone watch the opposite front wheel when I would move the other one and both times the opposing wheel moved as well.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-05-19, 09:00 PM
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Re: Tracking / steering issues

Is there any slop in the steering wheel?


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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-06-19, 08:06 AM
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Re: Tracking / steering issues

I would have the alignment checked. The machine can see anything that's out of specs.

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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-13-19, 03:20 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Tracking / steering issues

Sorry it took so long to get back. I just got it back from a front end inspection at a good shop and it turns out both my lower ball joints need replacing. I've done work similar to this before (using a pickle fork to separate joints and using a rented ball joint press) but they were advising it might be too tough of a job to do in my driveway. I have a 1000lb impact wrench but only a really small compressor.


What do you guys think about attempting this job myself? Any advice?


edit: 85ltd... no slop in the steering wheel
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-13-19, 06:10 PM
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Re: Tracking / steering issues

I did the uppers and lowers on my 98 p71 in my driveway. I broke my pickle fork lol. But I only used hand tools and everything got done. I say go for it.


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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-14-19, 11:22 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Tracking / steering issues

Well I've decided I'm gonna give it a shot at doing this myself. 'Couple' questions...

- I know the lower BJ presses out, but does the top one press out as well?

- Does the sway bar link have to come off for better access?

- Anything else I should change out while I'm in there? So far I'm gonna be doing both upper and lower BJs and probably the tie rod ends.

- I've been told to use green loc tite. That would be used on the threads on the bottom of the BJs?

- Also been told to watch out for the spring shooting out at me but I believe I have a shock in spring, a strut? Is there any danger of this spring suddenly popping out after tension is eased? I don't plan on removing the spring at all.

- The Moog BJ I'm considering at Rockauto doesn't appear to have a grease boot. Am I looking at this picture wrong? Is that black part a boot that will expand when it's filled up?


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