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1999 White Diamond ETC
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So it has been a repeating theme, my tires wear on the outer shoulder, when they are in the front. I have a "lifetime alignment" at Firestone, and they always hand me a printout showing everything is within specs.

This is my second Cadillac and this has been the case before. So it dawned on me that I probably do push the car a little bit while cornering sometimes. Call me a spirited driver (sometimes).

Either way, the struts on these cars do not have a camber adjustment, but I have seen kits that have eccentric bolts that replace the top strut-to-wheel bearing bolt (Eibach 5.81260K Camber adjustment kit). I was thinking of installing one, and telling the alignment guys to make the camber as negative as possible, while remaining within the specs (-0.20° ± 0.75°). Does this sound like a good idea?

Does anyone have any experience with this outer front tire wear? It can get pretty bad, especially without rotations. Any input or ideas are very welcome.
 

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'98 STS (RIP @ 206,xxx miles)
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....my tires wear on the outer shoulder, when they are in the front. I have a "lifetime alignment" at Firestone, and they always hand me a printout showing everything is within specs.

This is my second Cadillac and this has been the case before. So it dawned on me that I probably do push the car a little bit while cornering sometimes. Call me a spirited driver (sometimes).
Maybe increase tire pressure a bit or install a different brand/quality of tire (or both)??
Either way, the struts on these cars do not have a camber adjustment
Nor a caster adjustment. The only specification that is easily tweaked is toe.
....but I have seen kits that have eccentric bolts that replace the top strut-to-wheel bearing bolt (Eibach 5.81260K Camber adjustment kit). I was thinking of installing one, and telling the alignment guys to make the camber as negative as possible, while remaining within the specs (-0.20° ± 0.75°). Does this sound like a good idea?
Not to me; your alignment geometry is not the problem.
 

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1999 White Diamond ETC
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the replies. JimD, really appreciate your thoughts. I've looked into this for the last 5 years, off and on trying different things. On my 98 ETC (sold 2+ years ago), I had Goodyear Eagles, then Falken Ziex Ze-512 (consumer reports best all weather blah blah), then Firestone Firehawks or something like that (really nice looking tire). They all eventually kept wearing on the outer shoulder (front only). I even had them flipped (unmounted from the rim, then remounted) at one point so that the inside shoulder of the tire would be on the outside, and this of course eventually wore down too.

My DHS came with Michelin Symmetries, and I have kept it on those (I replaced them 2 years ago, and they now show the same outer tire wear). I've rotated them on schedule, and had alignment check-ups every time (lifetime alignment and rotation). The Firestone folks were never too concerned about the wear, the excuse: once a tire starts to wear unevenly it keeps doing so.

But get this... it's only on the outer shoulder of the tire... no wear on the inner shoulder as would be the case with underinflated tires. Yet I tried playing with tire pressures a few times. I even tried them around 35-38 on the front and one time Ranger was in Dallas purchasing his White Diamond DHS and he drove my ETC and mentioned it felt like the tires were overinflated (they were).

On my DHS I have TPS and keep them around 32-33 psi.

Stumped? I have been looking at my driving habits and sometimes I do find it exhilarating to take some twisty turns faster than most, enjoying how the car stays pretty level and controlled... tires begin to howl at those speeds. This could very well be the cause. If so, would it hurt to make the camber adjustment to the -0.95° (-0.20° minus 0.75°) ? It would still be within spec but would tend to wear the inside of the tire more, for a change, relieving the outer shoulder.
 

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'98 STS (RIP @ 206,xxx miles)
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Is there any obvious damage to the engine cradle?? Like might happen if someone jacked both front wheels off the ground with one jack positioned at the front-center of the cradle??
 

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1999 White Diamond ETC
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Is there any obvious damage to the engine cradle?? Like might happen if someone jacked both front wheels off the ground with one jack positioned at the front-center of the cradle??
None, I've been down there a few times (drain and refill coolant, looking for leaks, looking at strut/spring see my other suspension/noise posts ]). I am pretty sure I didn't see abnormal wear when I purchased the car. Same for the 98 ETC that I had for 3+ years, and I thought for sure something must've been wrong with it due to the same exact outer-only tire wear. I am surprised noone else has posted the same issue (or I haven't come across it yet).

Both of my cars have had alignment checks and adjustments (Firestone lifetime alignment contracts: toe is really all they adjust and they won't do it if they notice any issues with tie-rods or wheel bearings). I started to notice the wear on the ETC and paid for an alignment at Sears initially to no avail. New tires and Firestone lifetime alignment changed NOTHING :(

Then come in the DHS and same thing begins to happen. I replaced outer tie-rods and both wheel bearings, to no avail.

If indeed it's my driving habits (taking twisties a little fast), would the camber adjustment help a little? It's <$20 so I was willing to try. Once the kit is installed I don't see why the alignment guys wouldn't work with me and adjust it to max negative camber (but I haven't inquired!).

Thanks for your time and input, it's appreciated.
 

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It's your call on that Eiback piece, but the part # you mentioned in post # 1 yields a picture on Amazon's pages and there is no way that pictured part applies to your chassis.

Share whatever you learn and post pictures of any aftermarket parts you install (before you install them).
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
It's your call on that Eiback piece, but the part # you mentioned in post # 1 yields a picture on Amazon's pages and there is no way that pictured part applies to your chassis.

Share whatever you learn and post pictures of any aftermarket parts you install (before you install them).
Yes actually the review on Amazon says the picture is completely unrelated to the part.

The part looks like this


It's basically an eccentric bolt. Here is a video on Youtube of the bolts I refer to and the installation process (on a Mustang, but same process).

 

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2002.5 F55 CORSA STS, 2014 Explorer XLT FWD
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Is there any obvious damage to the engine cradle?? Like might happen if someone jacked both front wheels off the ground with one jack positioned at the front-center of the cradle??
In the 2002 Seville GM/Helm Service manual, Page 0-27, Vehicle Lift Points diagram; Point #5 is the center of the front cradle rail. I have used that point with a floor hydraulic jack for 5.5 years with no problems or damage. It allows the front end to be raised, level from side to side, and jackstands placed under the heavy pads located just next to the outer front ends of the cradle arms. You must insure that the floor jack pad indent engages the cradle properly so the car does not slip off the jack during lifting.

I just did this procedure Friday noon while changing the oil & filter. Piece of cake.
 

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I've never heard of that claim either, and have done the same on my own and others vehicles since I started. No damages to speak of.
 

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....It's basically an eccentric bolt. Here is a video on Youtube of the bolts I refer to and the installation process (on a Mustang, but same process.
If you go that way, be aware that both bottom strut to hub bolts are splined and you have to remove the nut and then pound the bolt straight out toward the front of the car.

Which makes me wonder how tight a fit the lobe on that Eiback piece is to the dimension of the splined bolt hole in the hub. You will be the expert. Keep us in the loop.
 

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i use a 2ft level. i attached 2 long screws into level so they are spaced at rim diameter. use that to check camber. than i use string tied to rear tire and kiss it off front tire to check toe. my car was within .1 deg for camber and toe was +0.1 deg on 1 tire and +0.2 deg on the other. spec is +/- 0.1 for toe. shop wanted to know if they should tweak it the 0.1 degree to get it within spec? point is, you can check camber yourself.
 

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:duck:Whoa folks, that's called shooting the messenger.

For every 10 people that use proper and safe shop tools, there are (at least) 10 that use what's available. In the case of floor jacks, a jack pad with a diameter of 5" would be considered the proper tool to single point lift the more than 2,000 lb front end of a front wheel drive car.

Picture someone trying a single point lift with a bottle jack and jack pad of 2" diameter. And nothing between the jack pad and the hollow cradle to spread the load.

I've seen the damage.
 

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2010 DTS
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Good point Jim. I always use a large floor jack. Never even considered a bottle jack. That's probably closer to 1" diameter.

BTW, no shots intended.
 

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'98 STS (RIP @ 206,xxx miles)
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Good point Jim. I always use a large floor jack. Never even considered a bottle jack. That's probably closer to 1" diameter.

BTW, no shots intended.
I was tucked and covered!! :bows: No blood, no foul.

Trying to assist the 2nd or 4th or ?? owner of a car is a roll of the dice. There is no way to know the history of "who done what-when-or-why".

Meanwhile, back to the tire wear pattern and the possible camber solution.
 

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2002.5 F55 CORSA STS, 2014 Explorer XLT FWD
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back to the tire wear pattern and the possible camber solution.
From the tire wear picture my guess is that the camber is OK - not sure about toe-in though.

......and if the OP is running 28 - 30 psi (I saw the TPMS/ 32-33 psi note) the wear pattern also looks like plain old high speed cornering in a FWD car. These cars have a 60/40 front/rear weight distribution, so it's really easy to roll the outside tread bars under in a hard turn because the front end plows so much. The DHS uses the soft spring package, so it will plow even more than either a DTS or STS.

(I keep looking at that tire wear picture. That's classic excess toe-in or high speed cornering. If the pressures were consistently way off: too low and both inner AND outer tread bars wear; too high and the center bars wear.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
From the tire wear picture my guess is that the camber is OK - not sure about toe-in though.

......and if the OP is running 28 - 30 psi (I saw the TPMS/ 32-33 psi note) the wear pattern also looks like plain old high speed cornering in a FWD car. These cars have a 60/40 front/rear weight distribution, so it's really easy to roll the outside tread bars under in a hard turn because the front end plows so much. The DHS uses the soft spring package, so it will plow even more than either a DTS or STS.

(I keep looking at that tire wear picture. That's classic excess toe-in or high speed cornering. If the pressures were consistently way off: too low and both inner AND outer tread bars wear; too high and the center bars wear.)
The specs the Firestone techs give me say everything is well within spec (toe, camber, caster). I hate to realize it is my driving habits that are causing this wear, but it makes sense. So how should one corner? how fast should the car be going for a 90 degree turn? I like twisty roads, a little over the limit posted. I guess I like to see how the torsion bars do their job and keep the car pretty level (the firm Gabriel HiJackers in the rear, definitely contribute to level cornering--these are only a few months old though).

Regarding the springs, I'm not so sure the STS/ SLS or ETC/ESC or DTS/DHS/Base have different springs, but rather the shock absorbers are the ones that are firmer/softer. I could be very wrong about it, but remembering the specs of my ETC, and brochures thereof, seems they use the same springs. This may have changed with the Magneride cars, as I did ride with a forum member who had an STS with magneride and the cornering and ride were not what I was used to--quite reminiscent of BMW/Merc -- smooth but firm (no float).

My DHS with Gabriel HiJackers in the rear (OE replacement), and Gabriel Ultras in the front (in an effort to match), rides like my 98 ETC. The DHS feels more stable though... you set the steering and forget it--stays where you leave it. The ride is not really very soft (very little float), but can bottom out on huge bumps (yes, springs are soft and going fast over rough surfaces rather unsettles the car, instead of absorbing the bumps. The Ultras are much like OE). The rears do not bottom out, probably due to the HiJackers being so firm (heavy duty), and the much lesser weight in the rear.
 

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2002.5 F55 CORSA STS, 2014 Explorer XLT FWD
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There are 2 spring packages: FE1 (soft ride) and FE3 (sport ride). Base, DHS, Eldorado, ESC, and SLS are generally FE1. Look at your RPO sticker under the spare tire cover. (and, yes, the struts and shocks differ among the spring packages, suspension options ordered, and the model - similar to the spring packages).

This is a stretch, but the Hijackers in the rear would tend to cause the front end to plow even more than normal - less weight transfer during maneuvers, causing the nose to plow.
 
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