MINNETONKA, Minn. — Northstar Manufacturing Co. Inc. has developed a solution for a premature tire wear on the Ford Transit 150-350.
The Transit, a replacement for the Ford Econoline van, is known for premature tire wear due to lack of camber adjustment on the new style front suspension.
Northstar, a designer and manufacturer of products for under-vehicle servicing of automobiles and trucks, said it has developed a replacement lower ball joint that can add camber adjustability. The lower ball joint is part of the suspension knuckle, the company said, and is lightly pressed in and secured with two bolts.
This adjustable ball joint fits in the same hole and is also greaseable, unlike the OE joint. It is not required to be pressed in like the OE ball joint, Northstar said.
The Northstar adjustable ball joint offers an offset stud and turns inside a sleeve to change the camber. The sleeve is also threaded, and the ride height can be adjusted up or down if further camber change is needed.
These two adjustments together will give a total of plus or minus one degree of change. When adjustable ball joints are installed on both sides of the Transit, Northstar said, an alignment technician can achieve alignment angles for the specific vehicle and adjust for the load the van may be carrying on a regular basis.
Northstar said Ford uses a variation of the RevoKnuckle front suspension that mounts the strut to the knuckle with a clamp. This system is not adjustable for camber from the factory or with aftermarket cam bolts.
Ford recommends for the alignment technician to perform a cradle shift, done by shifting the cross member to optimize alignment angles. It requires loosening the four bolts that hold the cross member to the unibody.
Northstar said the solution is not always effective because it trades positive camber on one side to negative camber on the other.
Northstar claims its ball joint is the only aftermarket solution to this common problem.