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I think the traditional cause is something loose in the suspension (control arm bushings - ball joints) or bad shocks. How many miles, and have you taken it to a suspension shop to examine the parts for looseness?
 

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My wife's old Toyota Solara had issues with that. We put new tires on and about 6 months later they were cupped. They replaced them and cupped again. Then they told us her struts were bad. I asked why they didn't inspect the suspenion as a customary check when doing the alignment, but that's another story. :hissy:

Anyways, replacement of struts and other parts was about a grand. We opted out and sold the car for a discount with the problem made known to the buyer. If you push on the front hood or bumber and the truck bounces a lot after release, you might have a suspension issue.
 

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When my sway link ends wore out, the alignment was affected and my tires had cupping on them. When I put the new link ends on, the alignment went back in place and after a couple of cross rotations, the cupping stopped. I'm not saying that's your problem, but given the how common bad sway link ends is, you might want to look at them.
 

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When my sway link ends wore out, the alignment was affected and my tires had cupping on them.
Did an alignment shop tell you this? I just don't see the physics behind it. I ran without a front sway bar for 6-8 months, and alignments were performed OK, until I had OTHER worn components that made it too loose to be aligned.

AFAIK, the alignment is directly controlled by:

Upper control arm bushings
Lower control arm bushings
Lower control arm mounting bracket
Ball joints
Bearing
tie rod ends and rack/pinion

Anti-sway bars and their links just cross-connect the height of the two front wheels in corners. On the alignment rack, sitting flat, the tires should be at the same height and there would be zero force transmitted through the end links.

Shocks are another item that can be worn out, and alignment wouldn't suffer, although driveability would be gone.

What am I missing?
 

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Did an alignment shop tell you this? I just don't see the physics behind it. I ran without a front sway bar for 6-8 months, and alignments were performed OK, until I had OTHER worn components that made it too loose to be aligned.

AFAIK, the alignment is directly controlled by:

Upper control arm bushings
Lower control arm bushings
Lower control arm mounting bracket
Ball joints
Bearing
tie rod ends and rack/pinion

Anti-sway bars and their links just cross-connect the height of the two front wheels in corners. On the alignment rack, sitting flat, the tires should be at the same height and there would be zero force transmitted through the end links.

Shocks are another item that can be worn out, and alignment wouldn't suffer, although driveability would be gone.

What am I missing?
I didn't need an alignment shop to tell me. I let my link ends go for about a year. I would never have given a thought that sway link ends have anything to do with the alignment, so I was in no hurry to replace them. During that time the steering wheel started pulling hard to the left. The tires were also cupping badly. I cross rotated the tires thinking maybe a bad tire, which I've had happen in the past. I checked air pressure to no end thinking a low tire.I measured the height of each corner with the idea that I might have a bad spring. I also checked everything in your list and couldn't find any problems. Not surprising though, its not really common for any those things to go out before 100k on most modern vehicles. The only time in the last 10 years I've had to replace tie-rod ends was on my Catera. But that car was known for tie rod issues, and it didn't need them until about 85/90k. I was going to have the TB's alignment it looked at, but just before that, because I didn't want them to tell me what I already knew about the links, I finally got around to changing them. Viola. Steering back to normal and the cupping went away. I really was not expecting that it would fix the alignment. That was over a year ago, its been perfect ever since.

One thing working on my own cars and trucks have taught me over the years: Keep and open mind and never say never.
 

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I've had cupping issues also, only on the front...an alignment every 6 months or so seems to keep the problem in check. I have had the alignment shop inspect the suspension each time, and they tell me my ball joints and end links are ok. I am waaaay overdue for an alignment right now (it has been over a year), but I don't seem to be having any problems.....
 

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I didn't need an alignment shop to tell me. I let my link ends go for about a year. I would never have given a thought that sway link ends have anything to do with the alignment, so I was in no hurry to replace them. During that time the steering wheel started pulling hard to the left. The tires were also cupping badly. I cross rotated the tires thinking maybe a bad tire, which I've had happen in the past. I checked air pressure to no end thinking a low tire.I measured the height of each corner with the idea that I might have a bad spring. I also checked everything in your list and couldn't find any problems. Not surprising though, its not really common for any those things to go out before 100k on most modern vehicles. The only time in the last 10 years I've had to replace tie-rod ends was on my Catera. But that car was known for tie rod issues, and it didn't need them until about 85/90k. I was going to have the TB's alignment it looked at, but just before that, because I didn't want them to tell me what I already knew about the links, I finally got around to changing them. Viola. Steering back to normal and the cupping went away. I really was not expecting that it would fix the alignment. That was over a year ago, its been perfect ever since.

One thing working on my own cars and trucks have taught me over the years: Keep and open mind and never say never.
Say what you wish, but NEVER is cuping a bad tire. Flat spots can be really out of ballance but cupping is almost always shocks. Something going up and down with out any control. I have been driving for over 50 years and working on cars for over 40 years. (Roadie: "I still think it is a full moon"....)
 

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Say what you wish, but NEVER is cuping a bad tire. Flat spots can be really out of ballance but cupping is almost always shocks. Something going up and down with out any control. I have been driving for over 50 years and working on cars for over 40 years. (Roadie: "I still think it is a full moon"....)
:duh: I didn't say that cupping was a bad tire, I said that I was trying everything I could think of. Maybe I wasn't clear. I was less concerned about the cupping than the pulling. Twice, I've had a bad tire that caused pulling. Both times an alignment shop found the problem with the tire. BTW, most chronic cupping I've seen was caused by bad control arm bushings, which is still an up & down motion, but also side to side. Not always as easy to detect as other front end issues either.

With all of your experience and expertise (you've got 10 years on me for working on cars), perhaps you have an idea why the cupping and pulling stopped after I replaced the sway links. It certainly doesn't make any sense to me, and clearly Roadie doesn't get the connection either. And I'm not trying to be a smart**s either. I really would like to know the reason.

EDIT: Now that I think about it, I wonder if bad control arm bushings could be the issue? The sway link ends are keeping things tight? I doubt it though. I would think I'd be seeing other symptoms.
 

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:duh: I didn't say that cupping was a bad tire, I said that I was trying everything I could think of. Maybe I wasn't clear. I was less concerned about the cupping than the pulling. Twice, I've had a bad tire that caused pulling. Both times an alignment shop found the problem with the tire. BTW, most chronic cupping I've seen was caused by bad control arm bushings, which is still an up & down motion, but also side to side. Not always as easy to detect as other front end issues either.

With all of your experience and expertise (you've got 10 years on me for working on cars), perhaps you have an idea why the cupping and pulling stopped after I replaced the sway links. It certainly doesn't make any sense to me, and clearly Roadie doesn't get the connection either. And I'm not trying to be a smart**s either. I really would like to know the reason.

EDIT: Now that I think about it, I wonder if bad control arm bushings could be the issue? The sway link ends are keeping things tight? I doubt it though. I would think I'd be seeing other symptoms.
To be honest, you might have solved part of the problem and there is still some things going wrong. More than one thing can add up to a problem. Solve one and the problem seems to go away for a while. Without looking and touching the TB I cannot go any further. One of the problems with front end shops today is they use electronic systems and the guy that can shake and poke is a dying breed.
 

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To be honest, you might have solved part of the problem and there is still some things going wrong. More than one thing can add up to a problem. Solve one and the problem seems to go away for a while. Without looking and touching the TB I cannot go any further. One of the problems with front end shops today is they use electronic systems and the guy that can shake and poke is a dying breed.
This is certainly true, but I would think that since more than a year has gone by, if there is something else awry, it would have revealed itself by now.
 

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This is certainly true, but I would think that since more than a year has gone by, if there is something else awry, it would have revealed itself by now.
Question, have you put the tb on stands, under the front suspen. system and grabbed the wheel and rocked it left and right. Then put a 10 foot bar under the tire and rattled it up and down to see what is moving while the suspension is being held by the stands?????? Can tell if somethings are moving somewhat...... (takes 2 people) Hey,,, same align shop???
 

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Question, have you put the tb on stands, under the front suspen. system and grabbed the wheel and rocked it left and right. Then put a 10 foot bar under the tire and rattled it up and down to see what is moving while the suspension is being held by the stands?????? Can tell if somethings are moving somewhat...... (takes 2 people) Hey,,, same align shop???
Yes, to all of the above except the alignment shop (two different shops, one a dealer, the other an alignment only shop). To me, what you describe is standard procedure. I can't find anything that moves.
 

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Yes, to all of the above except the alignment shop (two different shops, one a dealer, the other an alignment only shop). To me, what you describe is standard procedure. I can't find anything that moves.
Poltergeist????

I am sorry for that. You are missing something. Front shocks are good, yes? how many miles on the front shocks? And nothing shakes??? Rims have been elimated as the problem???? It has worked correctly with these rims??
 

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EDIT: Now that I think about it, I wonder if bad control arm bushings could be the issue? The sway link ends are keeping things tight? I doubt it though. I would think I'd be seeing other symptoms.
that kinda makes sense but so could the extra rotations and extra attention you payed to the issue
 

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Poltergeist????

I am sorry for that. You are missing something. Front shocks are good, yes? how many miles on the front shocks? And nothing shakes??? Rims have been elimated as the problem???? It has worked correctly with these rims??
Poltergeist :p

That one might actually make some sense! No need to apoligize, it was funny and helped make my day a little better.

Front shocks are probably original, 108k on the odometer. Nothing shakes, no leaks in the shocks, everything handles as good as it always has. Rims are original and I rotate my tires about every 8-10k miles, so I eliminated that possibility a long time ago.

This one's a real puzzler, isn't it? :yes:
 

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I see now I put this in the wrong area 2002 Envoy were talking here.

What do you think the deal is on this cupping of the front drivers side inner tire in 3k and 12 days.

First off info, 104k of driving never a problem. Had new struts, outer drivers side tie rod replaced and front end alignment done. Now 3k later the front drivers side tire is really cupped bad and making a vibration to steering wheel while driving.

I'm guessing left something loose or screwed up alignment. Your thoughts.

Should the shop make this right and re-do the alignment? They have always been top notch in the past on any work I have taken to them in the last 15 years, including front end align's. First hiccup.
 
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