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Old 05-22-2010, 08:28 PM   #1
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Curious Alignment Issue

The other day I balanced and cross-rotated (switched sides) the front tires on my tow vehicle. Nothing was done to the rear duals. Prior to this the alignment was near perfect and the cross spoke on the steering wheel was exactly level - or properly tilted counterclockwise to the left to accomodate the road slope in the outside lane. Subsequently, the cross spoke on the steering wheel now tilts clockwise to the right (i.e. - 9:30/3:30) and barely goes to level relative to the road slope - much less demonstrating the normal counterclockwise tilt. There's no noticeable "pulling" to the right - however, with "hands off" the truck will no longer track the highway grooves like it use to. It would appear that the alignment needs to be checked - but I can't figure out what change in geometry was caused by switching the tires from side to side - and why is it acting a bit squemish with respect to tracking???
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Old 05-22-2010, 08:37 PM   #2
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Hi Cracker,

Something changed in the tow settings of the vehicle. If you dont remember a big pothole or curbshot then you might have the suspension and steering links checked to see if something is worn out. In theory, the alignment shouldnt change unless something is bent, damaged, loose or worn. (rotating tires wont affect alignment but you may have a pull in one of the tires that is tugging the truck a new direction. Something in one of the belts inside the tire)

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Old 05-22-2010, 08:58 PM   #3
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Sometimes a belt will shift in a tire, especially when it is cross-rotated. Changing direction of rotation moves the belts, and will cause a pull. If you're up to it, try swapping the tires back to where they were and see what happens.
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Old 05-22-2010, 09:16 PM   #4
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I'm more inclined to believe it's a tire problem - possibly a result of reversing the direction of rotation - but, if that's the case, how will re-alignment help??? Mileage is only 78,000 and all appears tight in the front end.
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Old 05-22-2010, 09:29 PM   #5
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Sometimes a belt will shift in a tire, especially when it is cross-rotated. Changing direction of rotation moves the belts, and will cause a pull. If you're up to it, try swapping the tires back to where they were and see what happens.
Terry: We were both typing at the same time! I'll probably do what you suggest and switch the tires back. The wear pattern I was experiencing that caused me to switch the tires from side to side was not due to an alignment problem - but rather a balance problem on the driver-side tire. For the record, the front tires are a "steering tire design" and not suitable for a 6-tire rotation. They solved a prior problem of "cupping" on the outside edge of the front tires - but not until I had gone through two sets of front tires!
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Old 05-22-2010, 10:19 PM   #6
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Question?

Why are you cross rotating the tires? Its probably a radial pull inside the tire so just stuff those back to the inside dual on the same side.. Maybe thats not an option because you have nice allow wheels and an ugly steel wheel on the inside of that dual set but its an option if not..
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Old 05-22-2010, 10:35 PM   #7
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One of the tires is pulling to the side. May just be best to switch them back and run that way till they are wore out.
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Old 05-22-2010, 10:39 PM   #8
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Tire Pull.

Hi, every one is on track, so here are some thoughts. I know you didn't, but did you accidentally catch one of the steering links when you jacked it up and bend one? [I didn't think so] It is a tire pull; Some tires can and will do this. A really good, old time, alignment guy can adjust for a slight tire pull. But when you switch back, next time, it will have to be done again. Some times if the pull is bad enough, one of the tires will have to be replaced and it isn't necessarily the one on the side it wants to go to. I would have both front tires put on a "Road Force" balancing machine to determine if one of the tires has to go, and which one. Make sure the balancer is used in the Road Force" mode, it can be used to balance tires in normal mode. Last option, put them back where they were.
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Old 05-22-2010, 11:03 PM   #9
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give it a little while and see if the situation improves as the tires get used to their new position. while the angles might be almost the same, they're not. it is very noticeable in truck tires.
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Old 05-23-2010, 12:22 PM   #10
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Question?

Why are you cross rotating the tires? Its probably a radial pull inside the tire so just stuff those back to the inside dual on the same side.. Maybe thats not an option because you have nice allow wheels and an ugly steel wheel on the inside of that dual set but its an option if not..
Like I said in my entry just before yours, I gave up on doing 6-tire rotations real early in my dually days - and no, I don't have alloys. IMHO, unless you rotate every 10,000 miles or less the different wear factors for the duallys and the front tires create problems. The present rear tires are the originals (78,000 miles), with perfect wear patterns and perhaps 10,000 miles of use still available - if I wanted to push it (---which I don't!) They ride at 50 psi when I'm not towing and 55 psi towing - whereas the front tires are maintained at 65 psi. These pressures are in accordance with scale weights - although very conservative for the duallys. The slight boost in pressure provides just a bit stiffer sidewall when towing.
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Old 05-23-2010, 06:36 PM   #11
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Yeah.. rotating all those tires around is a major pain. I still do it but question my sanity at times. I also run my front tires at 65psi and the rears when towing at 60psi.. They heat up nicely to around 70 when hot. Going with the airhitch now so not as concerned as i was about the harsh ride to the trailer. Hope you get your tire pull all sorted out.

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Old 05-24-2010, 05:29 PM   #12
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I switched the tires back this afternoon and all is well! The dually tracks like it was on rails and the steering wheel cross spoke is right back where it's suppose to be. Slightly more noticeable vibration on the driver's side - since that's the tire that has the "out-of-balance" wear spots - but hey, nobody ever said that duallys ride like a Cadilac! I prefer the vibration to the pull and squemish handling.

I appreciate all of the experienced comments and suggestions.
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Old 05-24-2010, 06:07 PM   #13
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Glad to hear it worked out...

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