Still chewing up front tires

ESVAGeo
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Joined: July 29th, 2017, 7:22 pm

April 28th, 2018, 4:32 am #1

Hey guys hope everyone is doing well in Metro land. So I got this 94 3/5 base a while back and have replaced a lot of parts in an effort to get her legal and pass inspection here in VA. It had fairly bad rust on the passenger side frame horn which made the car shake badly and the steering was all screwy even at low speeds so the first thing I did was add a 4 point underbody brace from GTluver and then had extra steel spot welded in/around the horn to reenforce which seemed to cure the problem, she drove normally after. Got rejected the first time because of an exhaust leak so I buy new factory manifold/o2 sensor, Magnaflow 2" cat/cat pipe, and Walker resonator and intermediate pipe and had it all installed, gave her a nice growl with the muffler delete. So back to the inspection shop and this time the guy says oh your ball joints and outer tie rods are bad and it fails again. So I get new control arms w/ball joints and inner and outer TR ends with Energy Suspension bushings all around and have them installed. Back to the shop and the guy said yep she's all good claimed he checked tightness on all the nuts/bolts on the newly installed parts and then did an alignment, stuck on the passed inspection sticker and I was good to go. Or so I thought.

So fast forward a few months and I've since added a ram type air intake, new stereo and 4 speakers, full tune up, Glowshift tach and a few other things and been enjoying the excellent mpgs- 47mpg is my best tank so far on a recent 300 mile road trip. Then the other day I noticed that my front tires are both worn pretty badly on the inside 2-3 inches or so of the tire. And the car has recently started pulling to the right slightly when going down the road. From what I can tell this could be caused by the toe setting being off causing the bottom of the front tires to be slightly further out than the tops in an / \ shape. But how could this be since I have the new parts and a recent alignment? Could worn front springs or struts cause this? Anyone have any ideas? Also I have a very rough and bumpy country driveway, could this have knocked my alignment off?

Thanks a bunch guys take care
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Dystopiate666
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Joined: January 19th, 2016, 11:59 pm

April 28th, 2018, 5:02 am #2

If you're still rocking the 12" rims with the 155s I would say taking it daily on a few hundred feet of rough road could definitely knock it out after a few months...If you're sporting the 13's I would say it probably still could....

Are the tires wearing or worn? that seems pretty fast to go through a set of tires....How does your rust repair seem to be holding, definitely still no flex there?
42 mpgs @ 80 mph.....with the windows down!!!

~~~~8 Strings, 3 Cylinders....0 Fuc*s~~~~
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pdqrunner
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Joined: April 27th, 2009, 3:13 pm

April 28th, 2018, 11:14 am #3

I would look very closely at those frame horns. The horns tend to rust into the firewall, along the floor and up the lower door posts. Even a frame brace may not keep the alignment from moving.
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top down-40
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Joined: April 2nd, 2013, 8:48 am

April 28th, 2018, 10:17 pm #4

Toe is adjusted using the tie rod ends and adjusts the front/back alignment. This can cause what you're seeing. It will put outward pressure on the tires and will wear out from the inside edge. Camber is the top/bottom adjustment. It will also cause what you're seeing but with these cars there isn't much for adjustment. Only minor adjustments at the 3 bolts holding the top of the strut and the 2 holding the spindle to the strut.

It seems more likely that if your frame horn moved from factory position it will throw your camber off. Take it back for another alignment check to see if it's camber or toe. It's fairly easy to check the toe yourself. Make sure your wheels are pointing straight forward and with a helper, use a tape measure as high as you can on the tire before the tape touches the bottom of the car. Take a measurement from an identical position on both sides. The center-line of tire if you can find the exact spot or use a tread line by picking a point on the tread block that is the same on both sides. Take a front measurement then take a back measurement using the same position to measure from. You should have a slightly larger width on the front than the back. An 8th of an inch wider on the front would be near perfect.

To check the camber use a carpenter level that is short enough to fit inside the wheel arch. Hold it against the sidewall and adjust whichever end out until the bubble shows plumb. Then take a measurement of the gap at the top or bottom. You can use a piece of string to do the same thing if you don't have a level. Hold the string near the tire and let it fall into plumb then slowly move it towards the tire until one end starts to touch the rubber. Take a measurement of the gap left at the other end. I'm unsure what the correct amount should be and whether it should be top or bottom gap (or even if there should be any gap) for these cars but that info should be in a factory service manual. If you don't have a FSM I'm sure someone here has one you can get the info from. Info to measure the correct position of the frame horn should also be in the factory manual.

Last edited by top down-40 on April 28th, 2018, 10:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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sphenicie
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Joined: November 27th, 2011, 9:50 pm

April 29th, 2018, 11:25 am #5

It is one of two issues.

Alignment or frame horns. period!

"spot welded" probably aint cuttn' it!


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ESVAGeo
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Joined: July 29th, 2017, 7:22 pm

May 8th, 2018, 2:16 am #6

Hey guys sorry the long gap between posts, they've been running us ragged at the plant since the weather here has been nicer.

The tires are worn. Like as in the inner 2.5" or so of each front tire is down to bald no tread left while the outter 2/3 or so of the tires have 90% tread left. All 4 tires were new when I started driving the car regularly about 2 months ago and I've put about 2k miles or so on it in that time. Anyway the are no wires showing yet on the worn inside strips but it's close. I'm gonna schedule to take it back to the alignment shop and see what they say...sigh more money on this car. At least the tires on the back are still perfect so I can rotate them to the front. Yes still got the factory 12" wheels on. My driveway is closer to a quarter mile than it is a few hundred feet and is littered with deep must holes and the car has bottomed out/bounced off the brace several times when I was going just a little too fast down the driveway late for work or whatever so I'm hoping that's the cause and not the rust being further along than I thought. Not sure I have enough sense to do the diy alignment checks so I'm just gonna take it back to the shop and see what they say, will report back with results.

Thanks guys!
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MR1 Kingsbury
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Joined: January 6th, 2012, 12:01 am

May 8th, 2018, 3:04 am #7

You should definitely swap the backs to the front or buy a new pair. The worn ones will keep wearing the same way but maybe not as quick after you get lined up...
MR1 Kingsbury 96 1.3 Auto X2
SageBunny Rocks
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Highwayman
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Joined: January 18th, 2014, 8:29 pm

May 20th, 2018, 5:19 pm #8

At Rock Auto and other providers; there are special egg shaped bolts you can buy and also wedges (caster/camber bolts). They replace the two bolts holding the strut to the steering knuckle and when they are turned, they tilt the wheel out or in to stop the edge tire wear which is common on old tired sagging suspension. The hot rod guys will tell you that the width of tires is important to suspension geometry. They say there is an imaginary line from the top ball joint to the lower ball joint. When the line hits the pavement it should be at the center of the tire on the ground. These Geos with 12 inch tires originally came with 145 / 12 tires. When we switch to wider tires or different offsets using wheel spacers or custom wheels; the imaginary line no longer hits center of tire so causes the tread width to wear unevenly. The special bolts allow adjustment for that. I bought four last week from rock auto 5 dollars each. (Quick Steer K9757 /PK9757 camber kit) Though the camber wouldn't wear the tires that fast so is likely your alignment or fre horns. On my 97 the distance between the center of the front frame arm bushing bolts is 27 inches. Measure the distance on a known good car in your model range to see what the distance should be. Yesterday I had to buy a pull back ram from harbor freight to put on my portapower so I could pull mine back around in inch and a half. Now I will make a brace to attach across the front of the two swing arm bolts to make it stay there. (Wife recently hit something invisible on the road).
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ESVAGeo
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Joined: July 29th, 2017, 7:22 pm

May 25th, 2018, 6:18 am #9

Well guys I finally got her back from the alignment shop that aligned it a few months ago AND did the VA safety inspection and told me it was good to go. Now they say that my frame/firewall area is all eaten up with rust so bad that it won't hold alignment and will never pass inspection again. Seems like they should have noticed all this week ago before they made me replace my exhaust and front control arms/tie rods in order to get it to pass only to be told later the car is no good drive it til inspection runs out then junk it..clearly they didn't do a great job of inspecting it in the first place. Sigh... at least the parts will work on my vert IF I can get it running. Thinking about saying the hell with all this and buying a Civic tbh. Just looking for a good solid high mpg car for work/errands to keep the miles off my truck and have had nothing but bad luck with Metros so far.. probably because I can't find a decent honest mechanic around here and I have no time to do anything myself cuz I'm always working. Anyway thanks guys..I guess I'm just gonna rotate the tires and ride her as long as I can before becoming a donor car. My vert has been sitting under started for 10+ years so iffy on whether I can even get it to run IF I had the time to mess with it. I suppose the alternator for either this 94 base would work on a 91 vert? How about a 91 xfi alternator?
Thanks guys
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smysmbrg
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Joined: November 9th, 2012, 3:42 am

May 25th, 2018, 11:58 am #10

Dont know how bad the rust is but sometimes its not so fatal and a frame brace can be installed. If you have new control arms it would make the frame brace install pretty easy. The hardest part is the little 12mm bolts holding the back bushing on.
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