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2003focusowner 03-24-2008 08:16 PM

Focus Rear Tire Wear - Camber Bolts or Control Arms?
Like allot of others I have the rear inner tire wear problem on my 03 sedan. I have been trying to pin my dealer down on it and finally got an answer from them today. They cannot correct it but they can slow it down with the installation on new upper control arms(TSB 03-13-5 date July 1, 2003), so they say. The revised +1.0 degree rear upper control arms is what they recommend installing. The control arms are $121.00 each and the say they can change them in about 1.5 hours.

I'm alignment ignorant so here goes my questions. I have been following the thread on alignment for these vehicles a while back. It was recommended to install a set of camber bolts and the thread gave the specs for putting the rear of the car in the proper alignment. I can't find that thread anymore however here is my question. Do I need to install the upper control arms or can I achieve what I need for the rear alignment simply using the camber bolts?

Also has anyone heard of repalcing the rear upper control arms and has it helped any?

Assasin 03-24-2008 08:34 PM

id recommend the SPC rear camber arms. i got them on my car and have perfect wear on my rear tires. check em out. i got them off ebay for like 170.

Geezer 03-26-2008 11:16 AM

Camber bolts will do the job for a lot less money than either the Ford or SPC control arms. The bolts allow +/- one degree of adjustment flexibility wherein the Ford control arms are fixed at a one degree camber reduction. Sometimes you don't need that much which makes the bolts the better (and cheaper) solution.

thenorm 03-26-2008 11:26 AM

also look into your alignment as it is now, what is your toe at. camber alone doesnt have too much of an effect (i have -2º camber with no problem), but it is agravated by high toe. setting toe closer to 0 will improve the situation.

also i second using the camber bolts, they're only like 30$.

pantherdan 03-26-2008 03:47 PM

My Wifes 2005 ZX4 SE was purchased used and I looked at the tires before buying. They were all about 50% worn - all evenly. Today (about 1 year later) I found the Drivers rear tire was cupped and there was inside wear on the passenger front tire. A very similar thing happened to a 2001 Focus LX that we had previously owned. I know all 4 tires were brand new when I bought that car.

IMHO, I think its the way we drive. We live in the western North Carolina mountains and we drive like its the road track in Nascar - as fast as possible with hard cornering all the time. I just installed a strut tower brace on my new ZX5 SES. My train of thought is that the uneven tire wear is from the flexing of the strut towers drastically changing the toe in during our hard cornering. The SES has both front and rear sway bars, and with the strut brace it now seems to be the tightest suspension I have driven on. If my new tires wear well, then I guess my theory would be right. I plan to order one for my wifes ZX4, but unfortunately the SE only has a front sway, so it might not help handling as much with the looser rear end.

Anyway, could your problem be from your driving habits? I know the Focus is a popular car for people who like to drive pretty aggressively.

Geezer 03-27-2008 10:43 PM

FWIW, cupping is caused by either a tire out of balance or a bad/worn out shock. You're right aggressive driving can accelerate tire wear especially the front tires of a front wheel drive car.

pantherdan 04-05-2008 02:09 AM

I also plan to start rotating my tires with my oil changes (which I do every 5000 miles).

I still think my tire wear problems are more driver related. In about a year I will have some info to support or disprove my theory.

Garick 04-05-2008 06:10 PM


Originally Posted by pantherdan (Post 2064387)
I also plan to start rotating my tires with my oil changes (which I do every 5000 miles).

I still think my tire wear problems are more driver related. In about a year I will have some info to support or disprove my theory.

Have you gotten your alignment checked? Sure, the driving could be part of it but the alignment would be my first suspicion.

Excessive toe will kill tires very fast, camber does not have anywhere near as drastic of an effect.

The effects of strut tower bars on our cars are debatable at best.

for the op I would suggest the camber bolts or spc camber arms. I think I'd shoot for something like -.5 degrees for just street driving and a bit more for competition use. You could go with fords tolerances on specs too but don't let them do a 'meh, thats close enough' kinda thing.

goinloco1 04-05-2008 06:32 PM

there is an easier and cheaper way to kill both birds. both of my cars have had this done with no problems what so ever over 45,000 miles combined.
pop the rear hub loose from the lower control arm. elongate the holes the bushing bolt goes through by about 3/8"-1/2" toward the center of the car on both lower control arms.assemble loosely and push the bottom of the hub toward the center of the car. this will take the camber out of it and some of the toe. the rest of the toe can be done with the toe adjustment. torque to specs and your set. i did find on lowered cars camber bolts will still be needed, but this gives alot more adjustment range.
or for a couple hundred buy the ford racing adjustable subframe.

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