Your Vehicle: 2001 Ford Escort ZX2 L4-2.0L DOHC VIN 3
Vehicle » Steering and Suspension » Suspension » Testing and Inspection » Initial Inspection and Diagnostic Overview  
  Initial Inspection and Diagnostic Overview  

CAUTION: Do not attempt to adjust the wheel alignment without first making a preliminary inspection of the front end parts and correcting where necessary.

Prior to inspection:

  • Fill all fluids to specification.
  • Make sure the spare tire or wheel and related equipment are properly stored.
  • Remove any excessive accumulation of mud, dirt or road deposits from the chassis, wheels and underbody.
  • Retain all normal loads in the vehicle. Inflate all tires to the recommended pressure.
  • Check both front tires and make sure they are the correct size.

Wheel and Hub Bearing

  1. Check for excessive front wheel bearing end play; refer to Wheel Bearing Inspection-Front End Play.
  2. Check for worn or damaged front suspension lower arm ball joints; refer to Component Test.
  3. Check for worn or damaged steering components.
  4. Check the steering gear mounting bolts and tighten to specification;
  5. Check if the front wheel bearing is seized or damaged.
  6. Check the wheel hub for:
    • Cracks or damage to the casting.
    • Wear pattern at the inner wheel bearing oil seal contact surface.
    • Scoring or rusting of the front wheel bearing bore.

Strut and Spring Assembly

Visually inspect each component of the strut and spring assembly and replace worn or damaged parts as necessary.
Inspect the shock absorbers for signs of oil weepage or leaks. Ensure that the oil is not from sources other than the shock absorber.
Weepage is a condition that:

  • Deposits a thin film of oil on the strut.
  • Is normally noticed due to a collection of dust on the strut.
  • Occurs during the normal break-in period of 4,800 - 8,050 km (3,000 - 5,000 miles) . After this period, no new signs of oil should be visible.
  • Does not require the replacement of the struts. Leakage is a condition that:
  • Covers the entire strut with oil.
  • Will drip oil onto the surrounding suspension components.
  • Requires replacement of the struts. Test the struts as follows:
  1. Remove the LH and RH struts in question. The strut piston rods should extend when the struts are removed.
  2. Compress the LH and RH strut piston rods. Both should offer the same resistance when compressed.
  3. Compress and release the LH and RH strut piston rods. The strut piston rods should extend equally after being released. If the strut(s) fail the above test, replace only the strut(s) in question.

Vehicle Inspection

  1. Check all tires for proper inflation pressure.
  2. Check tire condition to confirm proper front end alignment, tire balance and overall tire condition such as separation or bulges.
  3. Check the vehicle attitude for evidence of possible overload or sagging.
  4. Road test the vehicle to confirm the customer concern.
  5. Replace any worn or damaged insulators and bushings. Tighten all attachments to specification for torque specifications.

Inspection and Verification - Rear Suspension

At regular intervals, check the condition of the rear suspension arms and bushings and rear suspension tie rod and bushing. Replace any damaged or worn components.