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Alignment issues after suspension rebuild & tie rod replacement. Help!

Discussion in '1st Gen. Tacomas (1995-2004)' started by dalanis, Jun 1, 2024.

  1. Jun 1, 2024 at 10:01 PM
    #1
    dalanis

    dalanis [OP] Member

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    Hey everyone,

    I recently did a full suspension rebuild on my truck as I had tons of inner tire wear. I have a 2002 prerunner v6 double cab. I am the 3rd owner and have owned it since 2016.

    Timeline as this was all over the span of a year. I appreciate everyone's help on this and I went above and beyond in detail.

    TLDR: My truck was barely able to be aligned and the compromise is that my caster is way off on my drivers side. Both passenger and drivers tie rod ends literally have zero exposed thread and two experienced professionals were left scratching their head. Apparently my cam bolts are maxed out, not well versed in alignment stuff. Second professional is speculating that I was given an incorrect tie rod or that there are not enough threads on it. I notice play in the rack and pinion on driver side, but removed boot and inner tie rod is secured and no slop. Pinion is on drivers side and suspect that's the reason there is mild play.

    The only PN that isn't "correct" are my oem lower ball joints. I noticed that after I got the initial alignment done, little thread was exposed before I replaced the lower ball joints. Random pictures I thankfully took confirm this. See below.

    I have photos with the old and new lower ball joint and honestly they look pretty darn similar. Fit fine on my truck and my understanding is that they are 4x4 variant which shouldn't make much of a difference? Idk please scold me if I am wrong.

    Before I go off buying the correct PN lower ball joint, does anyone have any pictures of their rack and pinion with outer tie rods? Pictures of ball joints too?

    The locking nut on the tie rod looks super thick and the autozone one I saw seemed to be half that thickness. Autozone locking nut is about 1/4" and one on my truck is 1/2". I assume the one I have is OEM but not 100%.

    Half Nut Autozone.jpg

    Nut securing outer tie rod.jpg


    Timeline
    05/29/23: Outer tie rods blew after putting on spidertrax 1.5" spacers. My understanding is that spacers do not affect alignment. I noticed that after I got an alignment done that I had very little threads left. Part numbers are below and here you can see the before and after:

    Part Number Part Name Price Quantity Total
    Old blown outer tie rod and inner tie rod
    Blown Tie Rod and Lower Ball Joint.jpg Old Inner Tie Rod.jpg

    New inner and outer tie rod and old lower ball joint after alignment. Very little threads exposed 2-3 at most. Drivers side.
    New inner and outer tie rod and old lower ball joint.jpg

    06/25/23: Installing new lower ball joints after learning these can lead to catastrophic failure lol
    Part Number Part Name Price Quantity Total
    Parts I have installed
    Correct PNs
    Old vs new
    Old vs New LBJ.jpg Ols vs New LBJ 2.jpg
    Online says it fits? Lol. Dealership did say it did not fit and I proceeded bc I wanted new bolts. Yes, dumb on my part.

    incorrect PN fits.png

    05/16/24:
    My truck can no longer hold alignment and have inner tire wear. Told I need a new suspension due to bad bushings. Bought shock coil assy from suspensionlifts.com. Everything else OEM. Changed rack and pinion bushings with energy suspension bushings.


    Part Number Part Name Price Quantity Total
    • 48068-35120 Lower Control Arm | Passenger Side Front | 1995-2004 Tacoma PreRunner & 4WD
    • 48069-35120 Lower Control Arm | Driver Side Front | 1995-2004 Tacoma PreRunner & 4WD
    • 48452-35020 Toe Adjust Plate | Front Inner | 2003-2009 4Runner | 2007-2009 FJ Cruiser | 2005-2015 Tacoma
    • 90080-11283 Suspension Control Arm Bolt
    • 48409-35050 Cam Sub-Assembly, Front Suspension Toe Adjust
    • 48610-35050 Upper Control Arm
    • 48630-35030 Upper Control Arm
    • 43310-39016 Upper Ball Joint | Fitment in Description
    • 90105-14105 Suspension Control Arm Bolt
    • 90080-17208 Upper Control Arm Nut
    All correct PNs.

    06/01/24:
    Pictures of my inner tie rod bc felt play in rack and pinion drivers side. Slight debris, and little oil. Inner tie rod looks secured and that it has not backed out. Cleaned the residue and it looks yellow, suspect that it's from the grease on the inner tie rod.
    Mild Debris after taking off boot.jpg Fully secured inner tie rod.jpg

    Outer tie rods are maxed out, no threads left. Passenger side. Second professional suspects that my tie rods lack extra threads?

    No thread left outer tie rod.jpg

    Drivers side earlier today:
    Drivers side outer tie rod.jpg
     
  2. Jun 1, 2024 at 10:22 PM
    #2
    joba27n

    joba27n YotaWerx Authorized tuner

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    Im presently at work so I admittedly skimmed through this but do you have a lift or anything? If you do, some kits require you to trim the inner tie rod threads to allow for proper toe adjustment. Otherwise post your alignment sheet too so we can see where exactly things are presently at
     
  3. Jun 2, 2024 at 9:14 AM
    #3
    JJ04TACO

    JJ04TACO Well-Known Member

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    So the tie rods will adjust your toe in and out. The eccentric bolts will do you caster, and I believe Tacomas don't really have camber adjustment built in. If your truck is lifted, achieving the proper amount of camber may require an aftermarket upper control arm. I know the PN's will be different for the LBJ's but I'm unsure of the exact difference. My 04 is a TRD OFFROAD. That said, the LBJ's won't affect the alignment unless they are indeed a different casting with a different bolt pattern. They appear the same in the photos so...

    DID you replace the inner tie rods? If you are going to do the full job, I'd throw those in there too. Although they won't affect your ability to adjust your alignment if they have play, it will cause tire wear. Play in the inner tie rods can be hard to spot with just your hands. You may not be able to pull on it hard enough to get it to move. Food for thought

    With regard to your tie rods, when you replace those you are supposed to count the amount of turns it takes to get out, and then you thread the new one back in the same amount of turns to get the alignment close. Also did you compare the parts when you pulled them? Again these will only affect toe in and out. If you are unable to achieve the camber, you may just need UCA's to correct for the lift (if you have one). If you don't, I'm lost b/c your parts, provided they are the correct PN's, shouldn't affect your ability to align your truck.

    EDIT: Check your bushings in your rack and pinion. All the joint's can be new and tight but if your bushings in your rack are shot and it moves around, the alignment will be done but then shot to hell as your rack moves around as you drive causing tire wear.

    Get under the truck and have someone turn the wheel and watch for the rack to squirm around under load from turning the wheel back and forth. If if moves, buy new bushings. Cheap and kind of easy to do.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2024
  4. Jun 2, 2024 at 9:27 AM
    #4
    dalanis

    dalanis [OP] Member

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    IMG_9233.jpg
     
  5. Jun 2, 2024 at 9:36 AM
    #5
    dalanis

    dalanis [OP] Member

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    I appreciate your lengthy response. I do not have a lift and also did rack and pinion bushings this year. I also replaced inner tie rods last year too. My truck is also the TRD Off Road variant.

    When I got the tie rods, they looked pretty darn close. One thing I would like to note though:

    I counted the exposed threads on the old tie rod before removing. When I put the new tie rods on, I matched the exposed threads. When I went to drive it, man my toe was way off which I also found weird too. Like my tires were squealing and I thought I was a turn or two off, but after I got the alignment I had little to no thread exposed.

    With that thought, I’m seriously wondering if my tie rods are lacking threads. That’s why I bring up the lock nut and wondering if Toyota shortened the lock nuts and reduced threads on the new tie rods.
     
  6. Jun 2, 2024 at 9:38 AM
    #6
    dalanis

    dalanis [OP] Member

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    I also forgot to count the turns to remove the tie rods and only relied on the exposed threads. First time doing it and these are all learning lessons
     
  7. Jun 2, 2024 at 2:33 PM
    #7
    tacoman2001$

    tacoman2001$ Well-Known Member

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    Something on the driver's side is MEGA bent or way unadjusted. That could be the cause to your tie rods being maxed out.
     
  8. Jun 2, 2024 at 3:47 PM
    #8
    dalanis

    dalanis [OP] Member

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    Could you elaborate a bit more on what is unadjusted?

    realistically the only thing left untouched is the spindle or the rack and pinion itself. I never drive my truck hard womping etc. both spindles looked fine when I did the upper ball joints, but something else I can also look into. Thank you.
     
  9. Jun 3, 2024 at 1:36 AM
    #9
    joba27n

    joba27n YotaWerx Authorized tuner

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    I'm honestly wondering if you were sold two right side control arms/ball joints. Could you by chance also post a picture of the whole suspension on a side from under the vehicle. Wheels can stay on. Just a picture to see the details of the ball joints, arms and, eccentric positions
     
  10. Jun 3, 2024 at 5:46 PM
    #10
    dalanis

    dalanis [OP] Member

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    Ask and you shall receive. See anything that I potentially put backwards? I checked upper and lower control arms and I don't think I put em on backwards or on the wrong side. Do the lower ball joints look in the correct orientation if you compare to your rig?

    IMG_9251.jpg

    Rear Drivers
    IMG_9252.jpg
    Front Drivers
    IMG_9253.jpg
    Rear Passenger
    IMG_9255.jpg
    Front Passenger
    IMG_9256.jpg
    Assy Drivers
    IMG_9260.jpg
    IMG_9265.jpg
    Assy Passenger
    IMG_9259.jpg
    IMG_9264.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jun 3, 2024
  11. Jun 3, 2024 at 6:06 PM
    #11
    tacoman2001$

    tacoman2001$ Well-Known Member

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    The eccentric cams are what adjust the caster and camber. If they didn't adjust that right that could explain your crazy caster. If the adjustments are maxed out, your knuckle isn't bent and your arms are correct your frame is bent. This could also explain why your toe is maxed out or vice versa. They messed up the caster to get your toe into spec. For everything being new nothing should be maxed out. All the alignment numbers are inter related. Bad caster will cause the toe to go wonky etc. The question is the caster bad or the toe bad and why. Everything looks correct.
     
  12. Jun 3, 2024 at 7:53 PM
    #12
    dalanis

    dalanis [OP] Member

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    Guys is it me or does it look like I have less thread lol

    Found two Tacomas on the road and asked permission if I could look at their trucks

    my truck
    IMG_9271.jpg

    Two different trucks
    IMG_9285.jpg

    IMG_9272.jpg
     
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  13. Jun 3, 2024 at 8:09 PM
    #13
    b_r_o

    b_r_o Gnar doggy

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    That alignment sheet is hard to read. I'm seeing negative caster on the left side? That's not right

    And yes you should have more threads showing on each inner tie-rod
     
    dalanis[OP] likes this.
  14. Jun 3, 2024 at 8:20 PM
    #14
    dalanis

    dalanis [OP] Member

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    Yeah off to have a convo with Toyota parts tomorrow. Hopefully they work with me, I’m human and I make mistakes too. That being said, I own up to it and fix em
     
  15. Jun 3, 2024 at 9:08 PM
    #15
    O'Silver_Taco

    O'Silver_Taco Well-Known Member

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    Yeah in toyota world they have so many model and chassis options...

    you always put the old part up against the new one from square one...

    especially with the 5lug/6lug incompatibility thing


    this isnt right.....

    IMG_9271.jpg
     
  16. Jun 3, 2024 at 9:17 PM
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    dalanis

    dalanis [OP] Member

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    Thank you for pointing that out too. That may be my fault for choosing the incorrect LBJ, hopefully it's just a tie rod issue.
     
  17. Jun 4, 2024 at 6:30 AM
    #17
    ChinoXL

    ChinoXL Active Member

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    When I installed new tie rod ends recently, I noticed that the new NAPA parts had “extended” (more) threads towards the knuckle side than the OEM parts did. The overall dimensions were still the same.

    So if you didn’t count the number of turns and just matched up exposed threads, then you may have screwed them in too far? This is just my guess.
     
  18. Jun 4, 2024 at 7:41 AM
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    dalanis

    dalanis [OP] Member

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    Thanks for chiming in, but I think when I matched the exposed threads that I did not screw them in enough!

    I first changed the tie rods before anything else. When I matched the threads, the tires were sitting like when you make a pizza with skis! So it had to get screwed in all the way and I think I am lacking threads.
     
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  19. Jun 9, 2024 at 8:59 PM
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    dalanis

    dalanis [OP] Member

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    Hey all, reviving my old thread. I went to the dealer and whatnot and I confirmed that I did get the right parts. I would like to evaluate if my spindle may be bent. Anyone have a good way of comparing besides putting it side to side to a new one?

    I looked at the frame from the hood and that looks pretty symmetric from a visual inspection point of view.
     
  20. Jun 9, 2024 at 10:11 PM
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    Digiratus

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    I don't see where you listed the outer TRE part numbers you installed. Do you have those?

    Not sure how your dealer can make the claim that you got all the correct parts. If I read your earlier post correctly, the LBJ part #s you installed are definitely not correct.

    Parts I have installed

    Here are the Toyota P/Ns for my '02:

    Passenger side (RH) 43330-39556
    Driver side (LH) 43340-39436

    Do you off-road your truck hard? Or has the truck been in a front end collision? If the answer to these two questions is no, it is very unlikely you have a bent spindle. IMO, until you get all the correct parts installed, it is premature to start worrying about a bent spindle or frame.
     
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