Dec 29, 2011 update to the Lincoln Mark VII project car

Point it the Right Way

Steve, one of our sales guys, was moving his workshop to his home garage, so we had to clear our junk out of it. That handsome devil reaching for the winch cable is Tom, our web guy.
Greasy fingers are part of the experience, but broken steering is not. We're very glad this didn't fail outright on the track.

This isn’t a piece we recommend anyone try to pick up used at a junkyard, budget be damned.

Never mind the dynamic effect on alignment that a bad inner tie rod can have, it’s straight-up dangerous to race a car when such a critical part of the steering system fails. The passenger-side inner on our Lincoln was in bad shape indeed.

After transporting the car from one staffer’s shop to another, we hit up a local parts store for a new replacement tie rod. Good thing, too: The amount of play in it was terrifying, and we found out why when we took it apart.

The bushing inside the socket had disappeared. We put the new one in, set the alignment roughly to zero using a tape measure, and set the car back down. We have safe steering again. Though ours were thankfully cheap to get new, this isn’t a piece we recommend anyone try to pick up used at a junkyard—budget be damned.

Another thing we quickly remembered from shop class: Wheel alignments must be done with the suspension loaded up. We set toe to zero with the front suspension at full droop. When the car was on the ground, this translated to a lot of very visible toe out. Whoops. That calls for a readjustment.

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ansonivan
ansonivan Dork
12/29/11 9:56 p.m.

I have a little bit of trailer envy.

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