I'm on the verge of tearing my hair out with this one so any help would really be appreciated!
I have a 2002 (Old style) Fiesta with about 3,500 miles on. I noticed that the front nearside was wearing a bit too heavily around the outside edge so I had the alignment checked at ATS who said it was 2 degrees out. One wheel was reading 5 and the other 7. They fixed this and the car was driving fine, but now the steering wheel was off-centre, I had to turn it to the left slightly to make the car go straight, when it was on-centre the car went to the right.
Now, after a few visits, and swapping the wheels around, and checking the pressures, they have gradually adjusted the wheels to the left, they are now reading 9 and 8.5 (my understanding is that the further to the left the wheel points, the higher the reading) The car is still driving to the right if I have the wheel on-centre, and the steering feels a bit more woolly around the centre point.
Sorry that this is sooo long, but I thought I'd better give as much info as possible. Does anyone have any idea what else the problem could be, and how to fix it? I've tried everything that I can think of and am getting sick of it now. :(
I had a similar problem with a '96 Escort. From new it could nearly destroy the outside edge of the NSF in about 3 - 4 k miles, although it appeared to drive OK. No end of trouble getting Ford to fix it. Several attempts at tracking the front wheels didn't solve the problem, and eventually after a year (!) and some really snotty letters to Ford customer services, Ford paid for an outside specialist to carry out a full 4 wheel alignment. This showed up a significant problem in the alignment of one front wheel. No offer to replace the damaged tyres though.
It seemed better after the work, but I was frankly so dismayed by the car I sold it soon after, so I don't know if it was a long term fix.
As it's a 2002 car, it's under warranty so don't use ATS - get stuck into your Ford dealer.
My Seat Arosa ate through front tyres due to incorrect toe-in settings from the factory: the tyre shoulders wore out completely. But the dealer did not adjust it right and the replacement set also wore out. SEAT paid for the replacment tyres in each instance (a total of 4 front tyre) and a 4-wheel laser setup. So far the tyre have been OK.
The tyres aren't badly worn, just feathered around the outside edges, and the car isn't pulling towards the right, if I point it in a straight line and then let go, the car continues in a straight line, it's just that the wheel is off-centre. My last Fiesta had a similar problem, but it would actively pull to one side. I've had it at Rapid Fit today and was surpised that the guy there was really helpful, he checked the alignment on his equipment, and found it to be slightly out, as I suspected. He suggested going back to ATS in a couple of weeks to get it checked again, and have the front offside toed out slightly. I saw the quipment myself so I know what he was saying was true.
He was a hell of a lot more helpful than a guy at the last dealership when there was a rattle from behind the dash, he drove it and I could hear it, but he flatly refused to admit that there was any noise there, and then told me that as it's a Fiesta you have to expect rattles! I haven't been back in a hurry!
Drove to Portugal recently in the Vectra TDI.
The car as usual steered and handled beutifully as normal down to Poole.
Off at Cherbourg and the car was pulling to the right. A long way to go and for a while I imagined it must be the camber of the road. Didn't go away and some days later in Lagosh I took it to a recommended small tyre garage and asked to have the balance checked (some vibration at 85) and the tracking aligned.
I had thought that the ATS supertracker was the bees knees but this one was far more advanced. A huge console on the wall similar to star wars with flashing lights and images.
They placed the car on the ramps driving onto a special plate and fixed the attachments to the wheel rims.
Then after locking the steering wheel consulting a manual and punching in the Vectras code the large digital display gave both a readout of angles of the wheels and an actual graphic display.
The man then adjusted the track rod ends to give the correct readout. "New car" he said when finished..
Sadly as Keith states it made not a scrap of difference as the wear had taken place on the tyres and it pulled just as badly on the return journey.
At home I switched rear to front and still it pulled to one side.
Switched the front across laterally and it pulls to the opposite side.
Conclusions.... The origional front tyres (now on the back) can make no difference as they are now trailing.
The front ones with 17k on and little wear have created their own wear pattern and will hopefully correct themselves when they have been on the front for a while. fingers crossed.
Goint to the tyre manufacurers web sites for info I note they advise having the best tyres on the rear (discussed on site previously) and also regular switching of tyres which I thought had gone out with the ark.
I have always regularly checked the tyres visually leaving the wheels locked over to do this. How I came to miss the heavy inside shoulder wear is due I think in that the tread across the tyres was fairly level. The wear had taken place exactly on the inside corner of the tyres and was about at a 30degree angle, and wasn't easily spotted until the wheel was off the car.