This is a pretty length post, those of you in a rush can understand it mostly from seeing the pictures. Heavy wear on inner edge of tire, slightly less heavy wear on the outer half of the tire. Handling is a bit darty on rough roads and can pull the car to one side or the other when changing lanes on rough roads. Excessive tire wear is only on front right and not front left side. See the pics for tire wear and bushing condition. I put about 25 miles a day to university and back plus the occasional trips here and there. 100+ mile trips are very few (4-5 times in the past year). May or not be important, the tire with the heavy wear is 2008 and the good side is 2015. But when I swapped the wheels side to side the 2015 tire starting developing the same wear so I moved it back to save the tire - Read on for the extra details.
I've got some excessive tire wear so I've done some inspection into what may be causing the problem. But first I'll go off on some theory. This thread is to help me diagnose the most likely parts at fault so I don't end up buying a replacing stuff which is not needed. It's not just the cost of replacement parts, but also it's a shame to remove OEM bushings for example even when there is nothing wrong with them, and replace with cheap 2 year lasting bushes or noisy harsh poly bushes.
So my front right tire has excessive wear on the inner edge and has also been worn pretty quickly on the outer half
(not just edge) of the tire too. This inner edge is also wavy/cupped. Basically I have one groove on the tread closest to the inner edge which is decent. Then all the outer grooves are below the bars and the inner edge is gone. My front left side tire does not have any of this weird wearing pattern. I did swap wheels left to right to see if that made any difference and then I started seeing the cupped shoulder wear on the right side wheel (originally left wheel) so swapped them back to prevent killing both tires. Also as far as handling goes, I do feel like there is a little bit more play in the steering than there used to be. The dartyness of the car when changing lane/rough road I always put down to the wide front tires but I'm not sure about that anymore.
Tire wear problems and elimination.
I'm lowered on Tein s-techs which give a healthy drop and no surprise some added camber. However, the drop is pretty level, camber is equal side to side yet this heavy inner edge wear is only on the right.
I'm getting an alignment done this week. But for the time being, if there was an excess of toe out causing the inner edge wear, then this would be causing the same excess wear on both front tires - right? Same goes for excess toe in. And while we're on the subject of toe, it's either too much toe in or out causing excess inner OR out shoulder wear - not both.
This is what leads me to believe I have a bad bushing or ball joint that is causing the tire to veer left or right while going straight depending on road conditions or when acc/decel. Also I the car pulls sometimes on rough roads and needs steering correction. Smooth highway is no problem. Rough roads with truts or cracks, pulling occasionally. I thought it was because of the wide 255's up front but the unusual wear leads me to believe there is more involved here.
So I suspect the alignment is changing while on the move. I've inspected the bushes as close as I can and have some pictures below.
First is the right side (problem side) second is left side. I can see the cracks and I don't know if this is an indication they're busted or just stress/normal like we see on tires occasionally. What looks weird is the jet black (not greyish) colour on the bush which looks like it's been "freshly sliced/torn". Again, those of you with more experience will probably be able to tell if this is because it's ripped or just because of the severe angle of the arm when the car is raised. To add, I have tried prying up/down against the arm to see if it moves about and it seems firm. But it's all different when you're bring 3500lbs to a stop.
I also have this busted ball joint rubber so this will be on order for sure. Any recommendations for something that will last more than two summers? I can't actually feel any play but I suspect there may be some movement I can't detect. Also suspicious of this as it may be causing an oscillating motion which leads to the inner and outer edge being worn - like the wheel is flip flopping left to right.
I then checked out the LCA bushings. The ones at the pivot are hard to check for damage or cracking but looked good as far as I could tell. Again I tried to pry them back and forth and the movement was very minimal ( a few mm). I did notice the PO or whoever placed a bunch of washer as shown below. I was wondering if this was because the arm kept slipping off the bushing. Like I said, I can't watch these bushings when I'm hitting the brakes or changing lane to see how much movement they really give. The videos are of the right (trouble) side but the left side also had equal amounts of movement. This is with a 2/3 foot long bar and a good bit of force.
The last bushing I checked (which shouldn't be doing much for tire wear anyway) was the lower shock bush on the LCA. It looks to me like the center is lower than it should be placing the bolt closer to the circumference of the hole. Maybe normal, maybe not. Doesn't appear to be in terrible condition anyway.
If anyone could enlighten me on what may be causing that problems, please let me know. And recommendations for what parts to use. I've heard great things about whiteline and energy bushings as far as durability and improved feedback but many say they can be noisy. What sort of noise is this?
Also I will be getting an alignment this week. I know if a bushing is out it won't help much but it'll guide me in the right direction and ensure any remaining issues are suspension related only.