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Old 04-08-2018, 11:23 PM   #1
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Weldtech alignment

I have an extended van with the weldtech 6" lift and getting cupping on inside of the tire.

Us there anyplace in Los Angeles or North Orange County that is good at aligning these vans?

Thanks.

Ken

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Old 04-09-2018, 07:52 AM   #2
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Initial disclaimer:
I've got the Action-Van 6" lift on my van, not the WeldTec, but I'm sure alignment is accomplished in the same way as the WeldTec lift (or any other Econoline.)

I had fantastic experience with Accurate Alignment in Orange, CA. Their phone number is (714) 538-1916.

Ask for the Shop Manager named DJ Jensen, he is excellent at what he does! You'll probably need radically different caster/camber sleeves installed. These vans are fussy to align properly as you know, even in stock form. But if anyone can make it right (outside of Jeremy at WeldTec himself) I would trust these guys for sure.

EDIT: Cupping on inside edges....is this happening on both front tires? If so, how's your camber look (visually)? When sitting at normal ride height, the front tires should appear totally vertical. It's only when the suspension compresses that they start to tip inboard and create negative (positive?) camber. But should definitely be at 0 degrees (or thereabouts) when the van is just sitting (or cruising) on flat ground.
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Old 04-09-2018, 08:47 AM   #3
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Thanks, yeah sitting level I have a bit of negative camber, figure springs settled or someone else set it funky before I bought the van. Same wear on both tires.

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Old 04-10-2018, 02:37 PM   #4
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Well OUCH!!!!

Took it to Accurate Alignment(DJ no longer works there). Turns out I need new tie rods, balljoints, and a steering box.

Any recommendations on brands? Or is the A-1 kit decent.

Thanks for the help guys

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Old 04-10-2018, 02:50 PM   #5
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Yow.....yep, some $$.....but they sure feel great when everything is new

1) Balljoints ---
Be sure to get the ones that have grease nipples/fittings in them.

2) Steering Box ---
Stay away from the Auto Part store reman steering boxes. The A-1 Cardone stuff is pretty haphazardly assembled hit/miss with quality. I keep hearing how shops will install 3 or 4 of them before they find a good one.

Instead: Best company I've found for a steering box remanufacturer is "RedHead Steering Boxes" in Washington State. SMB Forum member Redoval also recently popped one in his van too, I believe.

https://www.redheadsteeringgears.com/

A steering box from those guys made a huge difference in my '95 when that went in. (Accurate Alignment did the install as well.) Really great customer service and tech line at RedHead Steering too. Price not bad at all compared to the other Auto Part store stuff either (As long as you send back your old steering box as a core.)

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Old 04-10-2018, 03:14 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MountainBikeRoamer View Post
Yow.....yep, some $$.....but they sure feel great when everything is new

1) Balljoints ---
Be sure to get the ones that have grease nipples/fittings in them.

2) Steering Box ---
Stay away from the Auto Part store reman steering boxes. The A-1 Cardone stuff is pretty haphazardly assembled hit/miss with quality. I keep hearing how shops will install 3 or 4 of them before they find a good one.

Instead: Best company I've found for a steering box remanufacturer is "RedHead Steering Boxes" in Washington State. SMB Forum member Redoval also recently popped one in his van too, I believe.

https://www.redheadsteeringgears.com/

A steering box from those guys made a huge difference in my '95 when that went in. (Accurate Alignment did the install as well.) Really great customer service and tech line at RedHead Steering too. Price not bad at all compared to the other Auto Part store stuff either (As long as you send back your old steering box as a core.)

Had a redhead in my old Broncos, was debating on the $$ of it.

Thanks

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Old 04-10-2018, 10:33 PM   #7
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Here's my .02
Here in a city the size of Denver, there is but one single shop that can do an alignment correctly. Kenndy, they are the only one. 4 million plus people in this city and one shop can do it.

Cupping can definitely be caused by ball joints. Replace those, repack the bearings and check your tie rod ends.

Here's a side note. I have the Weldtec 6" on my van. The geometry of the steering is at its absolute max. I'm in the process of trying to find a pitman arm to bring the steering back to a little better angle. After the lift, all the shock from bumps go directly to the steering box. The box is taking direct impacts from the road.
I want to find a arm that is 2" longer by 2" drop. That would bring it to a better angle and eliminate the punishment the steering box takes. I found a 4" by 4" pitman arm, but that is too radical and would drop everything way too low, also would hit the frame when turning to full lock.
In the next few weeks I'm going to try a pitman off a 1997 Excursion. It is 1.5" longer by 1" drop. Not perfect, but better. Just hoping it has the same size 36 spline mount.........
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Old 04-11-2018, 11:26 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by winmag4582001 View Post
Here's a side note. I have the Weldtec 6" on my van. The geometry of the steering is at its absolute max. I'm in the process of trying to find a pitman arm to bring the steering back to a little better angle. After the lift, all the shock from bumps go directly to the steering box. The box is taking direct impacts from the road.
I want to find a arm that is 2" longer by 2" drop. That would bring it to a better angle and eliminate the punishment the steering box takes. I found a 4" by 4" pitman arm, but that is too radical and would drop everything way too low, also would hit the frame when turning to full lock.
In the next few weeks I'm going to try a pitman off a 1997 Excursion. It is 1.5" longer by 1" drop. Not perfect, but better. Just hoping it has the same size 36 spline mount.........
Hey winmag4582001 ----
This is really interesting info about the pitman arm issue. Have you had a conversation with Jeremy at WeldTec about this?

Trying to picture exactly what you're talking about....and I'm envisioning the drag link being positioned by the lift at an extreme angle? And thus driving impact forces from the suspension upwards into the pitman arm / steering box?

Curious if its mostly a pitman arm with more "drop" to it that you're thinking would be a solution? (The Excursion pitman arm you mentioned.) If that's indeed the sole proportional difference you're looking for ---- here's another possible pitman arm possibility: I think "Action Van" has an "alternative pitman arm" that it uses (in vans that have RSC) to correct an RSC-related steering geometry problem for their lift kits, perhaps that might be a similar item to what you are searching for.

Link to the page where they mention it: (You have to contact them to find out that it's indeed a different pitman arm.)

Link: Action Van Suspension - We make driving a van fun again! - Ford Van Lift Kits

"Attention Owners of vans with ADVANCETRAC® WITH ROLL STABILITY CONTROL™:

We have developed a part to correct an issue with the Ford RSC-Advanced Trac System.

Our new part works with existing suspension systems as well as new installations.

Please Contact Us for additional information."
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Old 04-11-2018, 09:13 PM   #9
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It's easier to show than to type it...
Basically if you look at a stock van and the geometry of the steering compared to something lifted, you will see it. I have a non lifted 350 and my lifted 350 and I'll do a video tomorrow between the two.
When you lift something and add larger tires, you compound the angles to the steering box. I've seen lifted vehicles in the past break pitman arms and steering boxes because of the severe angles.
I haven't tried reaching out to Jeremy yet. For on road use, I don't think there would ever really be an issue. Off road use, I could definitely see the steering box, tie rod ends, taking a severe beating.

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Old 04-12-2018, 11:04 PM   #10
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Thanks for the input on pitman arm. I have a redhead box on the way, but extra protection would be great. I do take mine out off road and want a safe/long lasting chase vehicle that I use for camping too.

In Elko, NV working for a week so no repairs for a bit.

Photo is from a night run with a few Subaru friends up Indian Truck Trail to Silverado Peak in SoCal

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