Auto Service World
Feature   December 1, 2010   by Jim Anderton, Technical Editor

The Other Stud

Bent front end components can be invisible ... and make alignment impossible

Ever do everything right, but still get a poor outcome? This mid-life Ford pickup was a case in point. Tie rods, centre link, idler arm, Pitman arm and adjuster sleeves were perfect and arrow straight … yet the vehicle wandered even after a good alignment. Why? The reason was almost imperceptible.

What did we learn? Noise and alignment issues most commonly come from the traditional steering and suspension sources like tie rods and ball joints, but subtle damage can frustrate even a great alignment job. Replacing the entire lower control arm assembly was more cost effective than dealing with individual parts and ensured that the rock strike that crippled the ball joint didn’t leave the arm distorted. Naturally, for a critical assembly like this, it’s essential to use quality parts (we used ACDelco for this installation) both for safety and fit … light truck suspension service can be heavy work. You’ll want to do this job right the first time.


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