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Alignment Issues--Gen 2

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I have an '87 Camry LE (3S-FE, auto) with 220,000 miles, in excellent mechanical condition, wearing 195/65 Goodyear Eagle GPH's on stock wheels.

I recently noticed the driver's side front tire was wearing abnormally (wear with slight feathering on the *inner* edge of the tire and no visible wear on the outer), whereas the passenger side tire is wearing normally. I suspected slight steering misalignment was the culprit and took it to the Toyota dealer for a 4-wheel alignment.

After a cursory inspection, the mechanic said that he can't do an alignment because both control arms, the steering rack, and tie rods are "worn out" and need to be replaced, along with all four struts (and they'd be happy to do it for me for $2200.00, which is twice the car's book value). The service manager said it's not safe to drive and I either need to get it fixed immediately or buy a new car.

I am a little skeptical, since (1) the steering is tight and precise with no slop at all; (2) there is absolutely no vibration or shimmy up to 90 mph; (3) the car does not "float" over bumps and corners very well; and (4) how do you "wear out" a control arm, since the rubber bushings take the wear? Also, he didn't specify whether it was the inner or outer tie rod ends that were supposedly worn out. If I really shove on the left front wheel, I can turn it left or right about a half inch with the car sitting still, but that's about it.

My main question is, if this were your car, would you consider it dangerous to drive in its present condition (i.e., have you ever heard of a wheel coming loose or a Camry tie rod parting from simple wear)?

I could probably replace the balljoints, bushings, and outer tie rods myself, and maybe the inner tie rods if I had to. Would this be sufficient to cure most front suspension ills, assuming no bent parts?

Thanks, guys!

1 - 7 of 7 Posts

· Car Breaker
1,078 Posts
Don't listen to those guys. If you can get under there yourself and have a look. Or get a automotive savvy person you TRUST and have a look at it.

Oh by the way, my transmission is pretty much shot right now but I drive it anyway. So dangerous to drive for you, not really. Dangerous to drive for me, no it is just my insanity.

North Carolina REPRESENT!

· Registered
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
OK, I put the car on ramps this afternoon, and it was indeed just the bushings--specifically the bushing that connects the sway bar to the control arm, which locates the wheel fore-and-aft. Because the bushing has shrunk, each wheel has about 1/2" of fore-and-aft play, which means the alignment changes with wheel loading. (Acceleration runs the wheels forward and braking pulls them back.) But there's absolutely no way anything can come off, and the tie rods are tight and look fine, and I don't see how anyone could EVER wear out a control arm. So, no safety issues other than less-than-ideal handling. (I've noticed that turn-in to the right is a lot sharper than turn-in to the left.)

What's the best source for suspension bushing sets for the Gen 2 Camry? While I'm under there replacing bushings, I may as well replace them all. Urethane would be OK with me.

· 96 3MZ M/T
3,904 Posts
humm from my understanding windsheald glue is ureathane and you can just refill the bussing with that and it would hold right? (this is relating to the remake your engine mount with windsheald glue posts)

· 3s-gte in a Camry?!?
'89 Camry Alltrac
9,299 Posts
Check ebay for stock replacement bushings. Whiteline has a full polyurethane bushing set if you want upgraded bushings... but I would recommend stock unless you want to upgrade handling at the expense of extra vibration and squeaking. If you want the Whiteline ones, contact Sean and CT Motorsport (

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