Front end wanders at highway speed 96 T-bird LX

Asked by Jul 23, 2014 at 11:38 AM about the 1996 Ford Thunderbird LX

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Just waiting for a cop to pull me over and check me for DUI due to constantly having
to correct steering because of wandering front end.
I've replaced front struts, upper arms (with ball joints) and lower ball joints but this did
not correct the problem.
Sway bar bushings look ok.
Car has a constant "clunking" from front end when going over bumps. Haven't been
able to locate from whens the clunking comes. Somewhere low to the ground, between
front end and tranny. Tranny mounts are tight, bushings good.
Thanks.

11 Answers

Also: tires are good. Rotated tires, but no change...

216,795

Stabilizer bar links? Perform an Alignment? Might be your rack and pinion.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Stabilizer bar links... are they the funny lookin short bars mounted straight up and down with dust booty on each end? The booties are shot; I was going to change these bars out next, since there isnt much left to change. They look like a pain in the *ss. Any tricks to these? I appreciate the reply. This is the 1st forum of any kind I've seen that's actually worth a d*mn.

Strangely, I don't see any uneven tire wear...

216,795

Yes. No tricks that I know of, put some Liquid Wrench or equivalent before removal.

216,795

Clunking might be the control arm bushings? Did you swap tires from front to back to eliminate them as you wandering? But the clunking concerns me. Any chance you can get a mechanic to diagnose it for you?

No mechanic: can't afford it. Have been doing all the work my self and saved big $$ doing so. Yeah, swapped tires out but no effect. Well, bar links and control arm bushings are next: will let you know if it works or not. Thanks for the input.

4,605

Just a faint possibility but it still could be tires. I presume they are radials. You could have broken belts in one or all that will cause a similar problem. Go to a good tire dealer and ask him to check them. THIS COULD BE DANGEROUS IF IT IS THE PROBLEM. REPLACE THEM.

Hey there oldtimer. I'll have to check if they're radials, but i just rotated them myself and gave em a look over and the rubber looked good to me; no sign of belts. Do you mean broken belts where they are not visible? I happen to be going to a mechanic tomorrow to do some code checks on the tranny. I'll run it by him. Thanks for the reply.

4,605

Broken radial belts are on the inside of the tire tread. You don't usually see them but can feel them when you rotate the tire on a jack. Just a small bump in the tread.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

I see. Will have to check for that; will let you know what the outcome is. Thanks again...

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