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Discussion Starter #1
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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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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Steering and suspension needs to professionally checked out and worn parts replaced before any wheel alignment / geometry adjustments are corrected .
 

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Discussion Starter #4
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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Is there any slop in the steering wheel?


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Discussion Starter #7
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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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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Discussion Starter #9
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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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?


Yes they both press out.

No the end links can stay in place unless theyre in your way. When I did the ball joints on my 98 I didnt need to touch them as far as I can remember.

Check everything for play, straightness and check all the bushings. If it checks out ok dont throw money at it. Check the wheel bearings and tie rods for play since youre already there.

I believe I used a dab of blue locktite but its not absolutely necessary since the new one will most likely use a castle nut and cotter pin to hold it in place.

The spring isnt going anywhere but if its a concern you can always put a jackstand or jack under the lower control arm to keep some tension on it.

It would appear that the boot will expand once filled on that one.

Its not a hard job just time consuming really. I would recommend a large breaker bar (a 30” came in handy for me) and a pickle fork. I also used one of those ball joint presses from auto zone. It was easy to use but I definitely needed the breaker bar to help out lol.


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Looks like stamped steel to me.


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Discussion Starter #15
Considering the mileage I've decided to change out everything I can. Ordering 2 new top A-arm assemblies, 2 lower ball joints, 4 lower A-arm bushings, 2 new strut assemblies w/ springs, and 2 sway bar links. This only leaves the tie rod ends which there is a chance are not original. This car was part of a fleet that got regular maintenance so since I didn't see any movement at the outer tie rod ends when I was doing the 3 & 9 push test I'm thinking they may have already been replaced. I'll put in everything I've ordered and see how the steering is after that. Do you always do both inner and outer tie rod ends at the same time or is it common just to do the outer, or just the inner?

Found a decent set of ebay shock and spring, strut? assemblies for $150 but it's specified as fitting the interceptor model whereas mine is just the base model. Would they still work ok?
 

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What Bert said. Also I believe the lower a arm bushings have to be pressed in.


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Once you have replaced all the parts you have ordered it will be advisable to get the geometry / alignment checked out and set if needed , usually alters with that amount of parts replaced
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Found a fairly comprehensive front end kit for a great deal...like $137 for all of this...

51379


It's awfully tempting considering all the money I'd save vs. getting the individual pieces. Not sure about it's quality though. It's coming through 1aauto.com...

2006-11 Ford Lincoln Mercury Steering & Suspension Kit 12 Piece Set - 1ASFK05040

https://www.1aauto.com/2006-11-ford-lincoln-mercury-steering-and-suspension-kit-12-piece-set/i/1asfk05040


I'd rather go with something more dependable like Moog at least on the lower ball joints.

What do you think? Should I go with this kit and save? She's got 320k on her now.
 
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