Got some front end work done, still some issues.

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Car is 1997 Lincoln Mark VIII Well, my original concern was that my steering wheel didn't "return to center" after turns, etc. Took it in to my mechanic, he said the tie rods were dry so he greased them. He also said the lower driver side ball joint was bad. I purchased the Moog Thunderbird Lower control arm/ball joint(same as MarkVIII but cheaper) and he put it on yesterday. After the installation, the wheel still doesn't return to center. Also, the car pulled to the left when braking as well as the wheel was "off center" even when the car was straight. Also was getting heavy vibration. I figured it would need an alignment regardless. Took it for a 4 wheel alignment today at Big O Tires. My first concern was the "tech" that did it was finished in about 20 mins, which seemed way too fast. On the drive home I noticed that the vibration is considerably lessened but still there at 65+. The car still pulls to the left while braking as well as pulling "slightly" to the right when driving normally and the wheel still doesn't return to center. I'm not sure if the mechanic did something wrong or the guy at Big O did a [censored] job? I'm assuming the latter because of how fast he did the job. I realize I probably won't get rid of all the vibration because of the two piece driveshaft but the other issues are bugging me. So, what does everyone think? Something the mechanic did or the alignment wasn't done correctly? I've also been told if these things don't work, my rack could be bad, ouch! Sorry for the winded post, just don't want to leave anything out. Thanks.
 
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panthermike

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 Originally Posted By: rationull
Maybe this is too simple but is it possible you just need to get the wheels balanced?
Last week I had them balanced with a Hunter Road Force machine.
 

panthermike

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Don't be sorry, any input is appreciated. These MarkVIII's chassis' are very sensitive to everything; alignments, tire balancing, etc. One problem is the two piece driveshaft that Ford put on I'm more concerned with the return to center and moving left while braking then anything else.
 
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Did you get a print out of the alignment specs? If all that was required was a minor toe adjustment it could have easily been done in 20 mins.
 

panthermike

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 Originally Posted By: Rabbler
Did you get a print out of the alignment specs? If all that was required was a minor toe adjustment it could have easily been done in 20 mins.
No sheet. That's good to know that it can be done that fast. However, it still isn't completely aligned so I may take it back anyway. First, I'm going to call my mechanic in the morning.
 
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Alignment and vibration are separate worlds. All sorts of things can cause a vibration, and in any combination. Not returning to center may be a rack or PS pump problem, worn parts on the suspension, or of course alignment issues.
 
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Suspensions will drive you nuts... I think I spent every weekend one summer tearing apart my front end. First off, I'd replace the other ball joint. Even if it's not worn (though it probably is), the difference between the old one that's on there and the new one on the other side could be enough to cause issues. Might be a touch taller or shorter. I'd also probably double check those tie rod ends- if they went dry, they probably wore out. At the very least, there's probably some rust in there mixing with the new grease, causing more friction than it should. (Love that car, btw)
 
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If its pulling to the left when you brake then you might have a sticking/frozen caliper I drove an ice cream truck during a summer when I was in college that would almost change lanes when I stepped on the brakes. Turns out one of the calipers was frozen..
 
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Toe is usually adjusted to obtain correct toe-in, but they ignore position of steering wheel (off center). This requires a little extra effort to both center the steering wheel and align toe-in. I too have been severely disappointed w/ alignments that usually result in same performance as before alignment. good luck
 

panthermike

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Thanks for all the help, If it's a frozen caliper, then my shop should replace it for free as it didn't do it before. As for alignment, I'll probably take it to a guy that I used before. He's pretty old school and takes his time to do it right. Thanks for the comment on the car to.
 
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The shop would only be responsible for a frozen caliper if they worked on the brakes unless they removed the caliper for something else. It is very common for a caliper to freeze if the piston is pushed back in. In time, the boot lets in enough to corrode the piston, both the plated steel ones and aluminum ones. Pushing the piston back with a lump of rust on it, either makes it stick, or the seal leak. Many times people will install new pads in calipers that were working fine, and then they either leak or stick. The solution is timely, preventative replacement of the old worn rubber parts and fresh lube on the piston. I prefer Sil-Glyde. A caliper kit is cheap, and rebuilding a caliper isn't that bad of a job. If you let it go too long, the piston is shot, and the cost of a piston and a kit is more than a rebuilt caliper. I have always rebuilt mine in time. One advantage of rebuilding my own calipers is that I know it goes back together with a good coat of Sil-Glyde on everything, especially the bleed screw, not brake fluid or the special brake greases that are just as hygroscopic. More recently, I am finding kits cost almost as much as rebuilt calipers.
 
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