Crown Victoria Alignment Question


#1

Vehicle is a 2006 Crown Victoria . Worn inside edges on both front tires pointed to the need for a wheel alignment…To make a long story short, alignment shop “A” says camber on one side can not be brought within specs without installing a “camber kit” on the lower control arm that provides more adjustment range than the stock set-up…Such kits are available from Moog and NAPA (K100094 Moog or NCP2643803 NAPA) and they do indeed replace the stock lower control arm pivot bolt and washers. There is an online video showing the installation procedure…

So I check with another shop, an alignment specialist, he says bring it in, let me look at it…I drive it over to shop “B”, the tech opens the hood, points out the mounting bolts for the UPPER control arms have generous adjustment slots available and says I have plenty of adjustment range to correctly set caster and camber. “You don’t have to mess with the lower control arm on these” The hood closes and we go inside to fill out a work order…

So my question is, when adjusting the CAMBER on these late Panthers, what is the normal, factory approved method of performing this adjustment? From the upper control arm or the lower control arm ?? Shop “A” wanted $350 to install two camber kits and do an alignment. Shop"B" says $49 will do it, no camber kits necessary…Any alignment guys out there?


#2

The camber is adjusted by rotating the cam bolts at the forward pivot bushings of the lower control arms.

Tester


#3

Thanks Tester…That’s what shop “A” says and most of the online material agrees with that. That’s where the “camber kit” off-set bolts are installed…BUT the upper control arms are bolted to the top of the frame rail with generous provision for adjustment…While this adjustability might be there for CASTER adjustment, they may be usable for CAMBER adjustment too, avoiding the need to use the camber kit…We shall see…


#4

Did either shop put the car on the alignment rack? The wear could also be cause by excessive toe in so unless they actually put it on the rack, neither shop is right.


#5

One thing for sure, If you are down in the alignment pit, it would be a LOT easier to make the adjustment on the lower control arm…I’ll have the answer in a few hours…


#6

Until the car has been on the alignment rack with heads on all 4 wheels this discussion is pointless. Depending on mileage at 10 years of age worn ball joints or other components may be found. Inner edge tire wear can also be caused by toe adjustment out of spec. Anyway, an alignment inspection needs to be done before determining what, if any, parts need to be replaced, as keith noted above.


#7

That’s what is taking place now…Anyway, here is the how to video for installing the camber kit…This guy gets it done in about 11 minutes…


#8

I drive an 06 Town Car. Bought it in 09 and it had eccentrics on the lower control arms already. If they were factory I don’t know, it had 90K when I bought it. But the set up looked original to me. I can’t imagine the car needing more camber adjustment than the eccentrics allow for. The slots on the upper arms are for adjusting caster.

But at any rate at least you’re getting it taken care of.


#9

The lower control arm adjustment cam might be hidden in plain sight;

If necessary, remove and discard the cam bolt retainer flag.


#10

So…upon closer examination, all the adjustment available on the upper control arm (right side) had been used. The only option now is to install the camber kits on the lower control arms and get the alignment back to factory specs…


#11

I think Nevada’s link is correct, there is factory adjustment for both camber and caster as needed. If I would have driven my Town Car to work today I would run it up and take a look.

If there’s not enough adjustment left to get things into spec I think something is bent. Something needs replacement.


#12

This is a 9 year old car with 140K miles…It’s first 6 years were spent as a Colorado State Patrol car. I drive it down to Mexico every year and it sees many miles of unimproved dirt roads along with high-speed interstate driving…So I expect to have to do a little maintenance once and a while…The FACTORY provided adjustment for camber only allows plus or minus 1 degree, maybe 1.5 degrees at most…The weight of the car tries to twist the frame inwards, slowly increasing negative camber. Every pot-hole, every washboard road is pounding on the frame, trying to tear the front end apart…
The aftermarket camber kit allows an extra plus or minus 1.5 degrees to be available for proper alignment. That’s not a lot, but it was enough to get my alignment numbers set in the center of their allowable range, a pretty tight window…Before installing the kits, the shop carefully checked the front end over for worn, bent or deformed parts…No defects like this were found. The front end was tight and sound. I’ll let you know how she feels when given a little exercise out on the highway…


#13

Is there anything unusual about the tires on the car? Like is the tire size different from what it came with, new?


#14

Glad you’re back on the road. My 06 Town Car is at 150,000 or so and the lower ball joints are getting a little sloppy. Trying to decide whether it’s time for something different or not. I’ve had this for 6 years, that’s the longest I’ve ever had a car.

I’ve had 2 Crown Vics, a Grand Marq, and a Town Car. Never had one that needed more adjustment than the factory eccentrics allowed.


#15

In 2006, the CVPI models come with 235/55/17 V rated Goodyear Eagles…I have replaced them with a set of 225/60/17 H rated touring tires, Conti Procontacts…They are on the stock 8x17" steel wheels…


#16

Your current tires are a little thinner and taller, right? Compared to the originals. I wouldn’t guess thinner would cause an alignment problem causing inside edge wear on the front. If anything, I’d guess that would make them less sensitive to alignment issues. And they are only slightly taller… hmmm … Did the original tires show some inside edge wear too, but maybe not as much? Does the owner’s manual suggest any particular tire size restrictions for this vehicle?

Edit: I queried Costco’s tire selector for that car (I presume it is the police interceptor model since it has 17 inch wheels), and all the tires they recommend are sized 235/55R17 . So it is at least conceptually possible the change in tire size is contributing to the unusual tire wear.


#17

It was a set of 235/55/17 tires that wore on the inside edges. I replaced them with a set of 225/60/17, and had the car aligned…Ford put those 235/55/17 tires on the cop cars to get the kind of numbers they wanted/needed on a skid pad…Since I don’t do skid pads or high-speed pursuits, the slightly taller, slightly narrower tires suit me FINE. The speedometer error is insignificant, 1 or 2 miles an hour…Choices are limited with the 235/55/17’s. Much greater choice of tires with the 225/60/17 size. And they are about $10 each cheaper…


#18

@GeorgeSanJose I can’t see that the change in tire size contributes in any way to tire wear. My 06 Town Car wears 225/60R17 tires, and following the standard “upsizing” of tires, increasing to 235 and decreasing to 55 results in a tire that is wider as much as it is lower, in other words the 2 sizes are interchangeable.


#19

You still may not need the camber kit. It depends on the position of the bolts in the upper control arms. If the upper control arms use concentric bolts, turning them in opposite directions changes the caster, turning them in the same direction changes camber. If there is only one concentric bolt, then you can only change caster although in this case, a change in caster also changes the camber.

If the upper control arms use slots, again, sliding the bolts in opposite directions changes caster and in the same direction changes camber.

Unless the upper control arms are at their limit in the direction you want to go, you can get some help from there and then fie tune at the lower control arm.


#20

I agree that the tire size isn’t likely the problem causing the inside tire wear. Especially since the unusual wear occurred w/the OEM tire size. If I had that problem the first thing I’d check is the toe-in. Has that been checked? Maybe all you need is a simple toe-in adjustment.