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Please Help!!! Wheel Alignment and Braking Issues

Discussion in '80-Series Tech' started by LX450, Aug 28, 2003.

  1. LX450

    LX450

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    I recently purchase an 1997 LX450 with 94K's. I don't know if this is normal, but the truck seems to drift a little bit to the right side. It is a very slight drift and requires a little bit of a steer to the left. I then took the car to a mechanic for a wheel alignment and were told he was unable to adjust the tie rod bars to make the correct toe adjustment because the tie rods were rusted and he was unable to turn it. :'( : He recommend I replace the two fornt tie rods and tie rord ends in order to fix the problem and quoted me with a price of $500

    Can the tie rod ends and bars get rusted to the point were they can't turn it? I took a look at the tie rods and they seem to have the normal wear and just a little rust for a 1997 truck.

    Do I have another option aside from changing the entire tie rods?

    Also, another annoying problem I noticed is, when I brake on a complete stop, I feel a small thump when the car comes to a complete stop and sometimes when the brakes are released. The thump feels like the truck stops in a forward motion and then tilts back and that's when I noticed it. This does not happen everytime I stop and go but occasionally it will appear. :'(

    Could this be bad front rotors, since I only have the rear rotors replaced? But I did replace all front and rear brake pads.
     
  2. landtoy80

    landtoy80

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    Get a set of new Toyota tie rod ends. Get the new rods from Slee Off Road.
    I didn't know Slee had HD rods and spent many hours getting the old rods off and all but ruined the threads on one tie rod end getting the rusted threads on the new end.
    Do it your self and save, get the wheels straight and have it aligned.
    kurt
     
  3. LX450

    LX450

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    Kurt, so you suggest that I have them replaced, How much do they cost and how many tie rods bars orends do I need to purchase and are they difficult to replace since I don't have the equipment or facility. Also, would it be cheaper if I purchase the parts and have a mechanic rplaced it for me.

    Thanks for the advice.
     
  4. landtank

    landtank SILVER Star

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    First question is whether or not the front axle has been serviced. If it has the second question is whether of not the trunion bearings where replaced. I had a slight drift which was corrected with the replacement of those bearings. Because of the limited travel of the bearing during steering you get a flat spot in the race and concequently introduce some error in your alignment.
     
  5. landtoy80

    landtoy80

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    Rick is right, I too had bad steering bearings that coused the vehicle to not go straight.
    You will need a tie rod end puller tool that presses out the tie rod end.
    How many mi on the rig?
    kurt
     
  6. LX450

    LX450

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    Rick, as far as I know the front axle and bearings were'nt touched. Could it be just the tie rods needing ajustments? Since they are rusted and my mechanic said they can't adjust and I will need replacement. Any other suggestions?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  7. landtank

    landtank SILVER Star

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    The tie rod ends will only adjust toe in and steering wheel position in relation to going straight. If you have a pull in the truck where letting go of the steering wheel allows the truck to pull to one side then that is an alignment issue other than Toe in. If the axle hasn't been rebuilt yet than it should be done very soon. I'd start with the axle rebuild and include the trunion bearings with that work and then see how the truck drives afterwards. IMHO that is all you need.
     
  8. cruiserdan

    cruiserdan SupportingVendor Emeritus Supporting Vendor Moderator

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    A wander or drift could also result from a "tire pull". There is still an issue with the rusted tie rod ends that needs to be addressed. If the axle has not been serviced, that also needs to be addressed. As far as tire pull goes, the way to check for that is to swap the front tires side to side and see if the pull swaps sides. If it does, the pull is caused by at least one of the front tires. If not, it is related to the suspension. In order to correct tire pull you need new tires. Sometimes the tire can be reversed on the wheel and it will help.
     
  9. landtoy80

    landtoy80

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    Dan, thats the 'old used car lot fix', were you once a used car salesman? :D
    kurt
     
  10. cruiserdan

    cruiserdan SupportingVendor Emeritus Supporting Vendor Moderator

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    No green leisure suits or white belts in my closet ::)

    I've always sold cars one piece at a time. ;)
     
  11. Beowulf

    Beowulf

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    LX450, (Do you have a name?)

    I agree with C-Dan in post #7. Rick is also correct in saying the only front end adjustment that an alignment shop can make is the toe-in. The caster can be corrected with custom bushings, custom rods, or with DIY welding. This is something your normal alignment shop cannot do. You don't even want to think about adjusting the camber.

    >> ... the truck seems to drift a little bit to the right side. <<
    >> It is a very slight drift and requires a little bit of a steer to the left. <<

    Another possibilty for the slight pull-to-the-right is a dragging brake pad. On a truck with less than 100k miles this would be my first guess. It could also be a wheel bearing that is a little too tight (adjusting is in Jim's birfield repack article.)

    Don't worry about the tie-rod ends for now. If you're determined to loosen them then soak them for a week or two in PB Blaster or Photoman's miracle potion.

    >> ... when I brake on a complete stop, I feel a small thump when the car comes <<
    >> to a complete stop and sometimes when the brakes are released. <<

    I have heard of this complaint several times on this forum and several times on other lists. I have personally experienced this and believe that I know what you are describing. My guess is that it is tranny related. Many have reported that this problem was resolved with a minor (repeat... MINOR) adjustment of the auto tranny kick-down cable (aka throttle cable.) Mine improved with adjustments but either I could never find the sweet spot or the adjustments were not fixing the root problem. There is good news however....

    About a month ago I took the truck to C-Dan's guy and had a fluid replace procedure on the auto tranny. This is not to be confused with a Jiffy Lube tranny flush. At this dealer they use a machine that hooks to the tranny and uses the tranny fluid pump to pump out all of the old ATF and replace it with new ATF. No cleaners, no additives. I elected to replace the fluid with normal Dexron III, not a synthetic. The bottom line is that the annoying thump went away and has not been felt since the fluid was replaced. I won't be 100% sure this "fixed" the problem for another two or three months. I'm optimistic though.

    -B-
     
  12. LX450

    LX450

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    Land tank - The steering is really not a pull and if I let go of the steering the wheel does not pull to one side. It only drifts slowy to the left as I move ahead. Do you think, it could be a loose front wheel bearing, I remember a Sears Auto tech mentioned to me about looseness in my front right wheel bearing, He suggest I go to a mechanic to get it tighten. I didn't make too much of it at the time. I think there should be some play in the wheel bearings. Am I correct in saying this?

    CruiserDan - I don't think it's a tire pull because I replaced all 4 tires two weeks ago and still notice the drift. Also, any other suggestion on the slight drift since I already replaced all 4 tires with brand new ones.

    Beowolf - Thanks for the detailed information. Concerning the tranny kick back cable, can any mechanic make this adjustment or should I bring to a Lexus or Toyota dealer, they'll most likely charge me much more than a local mechanic, but I don't want just mechanic messing with the tranny cable. who knows what else they might break.

    Thanks again for the help.
     
  13. Beowulf

    Beowulf

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    LX450,
    Adjustment is 1/2 :banana: job and you can and should do it yourself. Details in the archives. Post back if you can't find it (don't forget to search on SOR also.)

    Oh yeah, it's Beowulf and you still didn't give us a name.
    -B-
     
  14. LX450

    LX450

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    Beowolf - You mentioned using PB Blaster to remove de-rust the tie rods is this product called "PB Penetrating Catalyst" I check it on the internet and it looks like a can of spray. Can I just spray it on the tie rod screw area for a few days and let it loosen before I bring to the mechanic for adjustment. How well does this product work and were can I pick up a can?

    Thanks
     
  15. LX450

    LX450

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    Beowulf,

    Sorry for the typo.

    -Jeff
     
  16. Beowulf

    Beowulf

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    Jeff,
    Same stuff. It's available at most auto parts stores; specifically Auto Zone if you have one where you live. It works great. Several spray and soak cycles for heavily rusted suspension components.

    You mentioned a couple of things that have me concerned about your new truck. First, if it is a minor drift then don't spend too much money chasing it before you take care of those things that are important. For example, you said you were told you had a loose wheel bearing. That is something that needs to be addressed quickly or you can be faced with some expensive repairs. Your truck is at that magic 90-100k mile mark and you must address the front axle service soon. Just taking those two items into consideration, I would do the front axle service which includes front wheel bearing repacks and adjustment. It is possible this service may take care of your slight steering drift. The tranny cable adjustment is also a minor annoyance so either do that yourself or wait until the more important things are completed.

    My 2 cents.

    -B-
     
  17. LX450

    LX450

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    Beowulf, your 2 cent definitely counts. Once again thannks for the advice.

    -Jeff
     
  18. landtank

    landtank SILVER Star

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    Ya, what the Boweavel said :D. After 94k it wouldn't surprise me that a bearing might be a little loose. Get the axle service done first. I'd try and find a specialty shop for that if I could. Save you some money and possibly some heartache.
     
  19. Photoman

    Photoman SILVER Star

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    Jeff,
    I realize you are at the mercy of someone else to do the tie rod work, but I must say I never ran into one I could not get out. And I have done some ugly ones on large trucks and loaders. This is the way I usually proceed so maybe if will help you or others. As -B- has pointed out soak it down with PB Blaster first. Take the nut off the tie rod end, use a puller to pull it (or a fork if your not saving it), take the nut off the clamp and spread the clamp to move or remove it, and then put a large pipe wrench on the tie rod close to the end but not on the split part. Put the nut back on the tie rod end with all the threads of the nut being used. Try number one - put a box end wrench on the nut and try to turn the tie rod end parallel to the pipe wrench (not turning the nut on or off). Try number two - use a breaker bar and socket (not the 90 degree way the socket normally bends). Try number three - put another pipe wrench on the tie rod end where it comes out of the tie rod (not on any threads) and again try to turn parallel to the other wrench. and try number four - take a chisel or metal wedge and drive it in the groove in the tie rod carefully, not to damage the threads of the tie rod end, parallel to the tie rod to split the tie rod a little farther. Spray some more PB in the split, etc., and try one, two, or three again. The idea is to try to apply enough torque to get the end loose without bending things up. Also, (not as good)you can try to take one end of the tie rod down, take the other clamp loose, put your pipe wrench on the other end of the tie rod as explained above, and crank on the tie rod with the other end still attached to the tie rod arm. If you have a pipe vise you can take the whole tie rod off and substitute the pipe vise for the holding pipe wrench. A regular vise will not work as well. Now, it seems some mechanics, unless they can just look at a part and it comes off, don't want to go through any effort, and just replace the whole thing. Lament over. :'( Apology for long post.
    Bill
     
  20. landtoy80

    landtoy80

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    When I got my 80 I had to hold the wheel tight while driving. I replaced the shot steering bearings and tie rod ends. Now I and steer it with 1 finger. I had the same problem with the 60. After replacing the steering bearings and tie rods ends I could drive it with 1 finger.
    kurt