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Old 08-27-2012, 01:43 AM   #1
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Smile Rear Tire - Inner Edge Wear SOLUTION

Solution to rear tire inside edge wear on Ford focus all models:
The primary reason is too much camber for too little weight. This causes the tires to travel on the inside edges rather than on the tread surface. Ford did not make camber setting adjustable, so you have to modify a suspension component, the upper control arm to hub connection point.

Ford will not do this for you. Purchase an aftermarket “camber bolt”. I used the Specialty Products Company part number 81310. I think this is the most common and found at local auto parts retailers, and on the internet. The following instructions are for this bolt, to remove “negative camber”; i.e. make the wheel perpendicular to the ground (or almost).
The kit comes with 2 bolts, each with 2 “washers”, and nuts. The 2 bolts are used on the upper control arm where it joins with the hub, one on each side of the car. The installation is as follows:
1. Set the parking brake. Break the lug nuts free. Block the front wheels.
2. Jack up the rear of the car, and support with floor jack stands.
3. Remove the rear wheels
4. Remove the bolt from the upper control arm.
5. The weld nut is still on the hub frame, and must be removed. This is the only tricky part, so take your time. I used a “Dremel tool” with a cut-off wheel. I had a 90 degree drive on the dremel tool as it improved control, and allowed easier access. Wear safety glasses. The weld nuts have 3 points where they are welded, as seen by an imprints on the collar of the nut. The object is to cut only 1 weld free. Cut where the weld nut joins the hub, in effect, sliding the cut-off wheel between the hub frame and the weld nut edge. After making as deep a groove as possible without getting close to the brake line (be careful); I used a hacksaw. Remove the blade from the hacksaw and reassemble in place with the blade below the brake line and the frame above the brake line. Take your time and saw carefully between the weld nut and hub frame. Eliminating 1 weld spot and making a grove is the objective. When you have sawn as much as possible, remove the hacksaw. Take a small cold chisel that will fit down into the grove, and give it a whack. The cold chisel acts as a wedge to separate the parts (objective is side-ways pressure). The other 2 weld spots will pop loose. Weld nut gone, and “hard part” done.
6. With the drummel tool cut a notch on the top edge of bolt head, aligned with the high-cam lobe on the bolt body, so I could always feel where high-cam was in the future (make sure it had not moved for some reason).
7. Coat the bolt shaft and cam with anti-seize lubricant (for the future). Leaving the “washer” on the bolt, with the big tab pointing out, install the bolt. Make sure the little tab on the washer fits into the hole on the hub frame (this is the adjustment mechanism). The cam on the bolt now sits inside the upper control arm bolt hole.
8. Install the washer (big tab out, little tab in hub frame bolt hole) and nut. Thread on the nut until the little tabs cannot escape from the hub bolt holes (but not tight).
9. Rotate the bolt head until the notch (high-cam) is pointing to the center of the car (away from you). Keep it in this position.
10. Rotate the washer big tab with a punch and hammer. Take your time. Be careful of brake line and brake bleeder valve. If the big tab is toward the center of the car (away from you on the back side of the bolt) you will have extended the hub frame hole to its maximum outward position. In effect you have “lengthened” the control arm, making the hub more vertical.
11. Tighten the bolt. You’re done.

Now would you like to know what the new camber setting is? If yes, here’s a layman’s way of checking. If done properly I bet it’s more accurate than a 4 wheel alignment for $75.
1. Take the car around the block to allow everything to “settle in”.
2. Park the car on level ground.
3. Take a 2-foot carpenter’s level. Stand it on-end next to the wheel. Make sure the bubble shows it is absolutely vertical. Holding in vertical position, measure the distance to the bottom edge of the wheel; measure the distance to the top edge of the wheel. The wheel edge may have some surface contours so position the car so the same contour on top and bottom align vertically. There should be some measurable difference. In my case, the top distance measured 1/8” greater than the bottom on each rear wheel. I have 16” wheels, so multiplying each by 8 gave a ratio of 1:128. The question is what degree of negative camber does this represent?
4. I’m terrible at math, so I went to the web… http://www.1728.org/gradient.htm Select “RATIO”.
Enter “input rise” = 1; Input run = 128. Select “Calculate”. My car now has a negative camber of .447 degree. For the 2009 Focus the range is 0.0 – 2.0 according to local alignment shop.

If the results are not to your liking, loosen the bolts and tap the washer around until correct degree is achieved. To my knowledge it is not required the rear wheels have exactly the same camber (shops only seem to care that each is within range). If you would like to know how successful this is, you could perform this same measurement before starting the job; allowing comparison of before and after.

There are many considerations for the desired amount of camber including weight typically carried in the rear, aggressiveness of driving, etc. The internet is full of good articles. I have no association with Tire Rack, but their web site has an excellent suspension article, one of the best I've read.

If the inside edge of the tire is not only wearing but also “cupping” (also called “feathering”); then worn suspension parts may be the cause. Most common is the shock absorber. My opinion is, with an entry level vehicle, Ford did not spend too much on the rear shocks. These are easily changed to an aftermarket product with more responsive characteristics. But, removing negative camber will always help as the entire tread surface is now in contact with the road, not just the inside edge.
Good Luck,



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Old 07-21-2014, 08:07 AM   #2
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At last a sensible solution to this focus camber problem.
cant wait to get at mine!
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Old 07-21-2014, 08:13 AM   #3
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Or... buy aftermarket adjustable suspension which requires 0 modification to existing parts and you run 0 risk of not doing it "properly"

Great info though, for anyone not willing to spend a few bucks for a less-intrusive solution.
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Old 07-21-2014, 08:31 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mac.mogul View Post
Or... buy aftermarket adjustable suspension which requires 0 modification to existing parts and you run 0 risk of not doing it "properly"

Great info though, for anyone not willing to spend a few bucks for a less-intrusive solution.
This^^^^^^^ + any time you deal w/ camber settings you'll need to reset the toe, as camber affects the toe.
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Old 07-22-2014, 02:41 AM   #5
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Camber bolts are a good solution for excess or uneven camber.

As long as camber is within the stock range checking/adjusting toe has been the easiest answer to rear tire wear/handling problems as excessive rear toe-in (even when in spec.) has been found to have the most effect reducing/eliminating rear tire feathering & inside edge wear.

.010 toe in gets mentioned often, I used a "shade tree alignment" method found here to get 2/32 in & end the problem myself (17" wheels). If you use the fishing line measurement method, lining it up from the wheel centers, remember that the rear on the MkI is 5/32 narrower per side to get the line parallel.
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Old 07-22-2014, 07:52 AM   #6
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While camber bolts will resolve this issue I've always been sorta unsure on their safety since they're a smaller diameter than the original bolts. Whiteline offers replacement adjustable rear upper control arm bushings which I think is a much better option as they allow you to use the OEM bolts. You just need to have a shop install the bushings on your control arms or you can do it yourself if you have the tools.

http://www.energysuspensionparts.com...sp?prod=KCA394
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Old 08-03-2014, 11:56 PM   #7
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Old 08-04-2014, 05:40 PM   #8
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Bottom line is that the stock negative camber at either end isn't a problem, and "adjusting" it out isn't a good way to address tire wear issues. (Exception for out of spec. or uneven of course)

Get the Toe right & it'll drive right & wear properly.
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