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Old 01-10-2004, 05:56 PM
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Donny Carlson Donny Carlson is offline
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Negative Camber - Abnormal Inside Tread Wear

I did a search on this and there was some discussion about problems with abnornmal inside tread wear, usually appearing at about 15,000 miles.

My sleek black beauty is at the 15K mark, and today I inspected the tires (my 15K checkup is Monday). Sure as ricers, the inside tread on both front tires is abnormally worn. I don't think the tires are goners... yet, but they will be in not a whole lot a more miles.

Inner tread wear is a sign of improper negative camber. So, my question is this... has this been identified as a common problem with 2003 models (my build date is 6/27/02), AND more importantly, has Mercury figured out what the problem is and devised a fix?

Next question - this far into the game, is it safe to assume my dealer has the proper alignment specs for Marauders? Should I hit them up for a free alignment?

Now, the tire question. Should I have the tires removed from the rims and swapped side to side, so the worn inners become the outside tread (the remaining tread is fine and worn evenly), or leave them as is? Should I toss these tires and replace them?

Is the full size spare the same size as the fronts? What if I removed the better of the two worn tire and had the spare removed, thereby only needing to buy one front (i,e., have the better old tire be the spare).

Last question --

My dealer does not have a Hunter GSP9700 for wheel balancing. The local Chevrolet dealer does, as does the high end dealers (mercedes, lexus, cadillac, etc.) I also note the both the Honda plant in Lincoln, AL., and the Mercedes plant in Vance, AL have these machines. Is it worth taking my car to a dealer with one of these machines? There's a Tire Pro shop reasonably close to me with a GSP9700, so I wouldn't have to slink into Serra Chevrolet or Serra Toyota.
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Old 01-10-2004, 06:17 PM
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FordNut FordNut is offline
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I'll take a shot at answering some of your queries...

Not sure if it has been identified as a generic problem with the 2003's but my 300A had the problem and the wife's 300B did not.

If you have a good service rep you may be able to get a free (warranty) alignment. Officially if it's past 12k it's not warranty.

Do not assume they have the right adapters. Verify it and do a careful before/after inspection of your wheels. They should have the correct specifications however.

I just got another set and ate the cost of tires, but I was swapping rims at the time. The tires do have a specific inside/outside tread pattern but I don't know how critical it is. As far as I know nobody has tried mounting them inside-out. I would suggest getting the alignment corrected and just run the tires until either the rest of the tread wears down or the inside edges are totally gone.

The full size spare is the same size as the fronts. Breakdown, remount, rebalance price makes it marginally cost effective to swap the spare tire onto one of the front rims. At least at the tire prices last summer. That may be different now, as I believe the tire prices have gone up.

No help on the balancing question.
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Old 01-10-2004, 09:45 PM
JamesHecker JamesHecker is offline
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I had the same problem. Had to replace the tires. Dealer says he corrected the problem. We will see.
2003 Mercury Marauder
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Old 01-11-2004, 05:15 AM
jfclancy jfclancy is offline
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I have had same problem,also remeber a thread about someone taking a dealer to Arbitration and I think they won but not positive. I also replaced the tires and mine is a 2003A. As I remeber it was something to do with parts of the whole front end working loose.

Joe Clancy
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Old 01-11-2004, 02:30 PM
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Donny Carlson Donny Carlson is offline
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Local Tire Dealers Says...

Basically, negative camber can't be corrected. Here is the email I got from him. This is one of the oldest dealers in town and own who specializes in performance cars:

Hello Donald,

Thank you for your request. Yes, it would be cost effective to use your spare. The cost of the P235/50ZR18 987W BF Goodrich G-Force T/A KDWS is $142.00 @ tire. The wheel balancer that we use is the Hunter 9700 Road force variation oem matching system. The cost of lifetime wheel balance is $15.00@ wheel. The extra mounting fee would be $15.00 just for the spare.

We use the Corghi Atrigliomaster Tire mounting machine which does not even touch the wheels when servicing. Yes we have the equipment to align the 18" wheels without harming them. We service quite a few exotic Porsche's etc.

I used to own a 1996 Impala SS, which was the inspiration for the Marauder. The one thing that I have seen on the Marauder's is that there is no provision for adjusting camber on the front wheels, which is a shame, because they do run negative camber, which will wear the tires on the inside. Another thing that I though was odd, was that Ford put staggered sizes on the Marauders which prevents rotation. The cost of the wheel
alignment is $49.95. Have you heard about the new zipped up special versions that Ford made in the Marauders?

the total cost of the service and parts that you are requesting is $255.55, which includes new valve stems, disposal fees, and of the course the tire, mounting, balancing and wheel alignment.


Tire Rack is quoting $103 for the tires as of now, without shipping, so I think it's fair to pay $142 for the tire to a local dealer. Once shipping and mounting is factored, the Tire Rack tire would be close to $142.

The break down for the $255 is something like

Tire = 142
R/R Spare = 15
Balance two wheels = 30
Alignment = 50

Valves stems, disposal, taxes = 18

Seems fair. Comments?

Is it true camber can't be set? Does that mean we're all doomed for early abnormal inner tire wear?

Last edited by Donny Carlson; 01-11-2004 at 02:37 PM.
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Old 01-11-2004, 07:14 PM
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Camber is adjustable by loosening the forward nut of the lower control arm, removing the "cam bolt retainter flag" and rotating the cam bolt. The alignment tech can easily see it when he gets under the car.
Also note that excessive toe-out will also cause excessive inside edge tire wear. The factory recommends .7 degrees of negative camber for handling. I wouldn't want to deviate from that too much, maybe to .5 degrees. They recommend .12 degrees of toe out. I think setting that to zero would help with tire wear and not affect handling.
Pricing sounds fair, especially if they are using the GSP9700 which is a very expensive piece of equiptment.
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Old 01-11-2004, 10:24 PM
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Donny Carlson Donny Carlson is offline
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Thanks for the replies. I'm taking it to the dealer tommorrow (fortunate to have a couple of days off). It's nice to verify the prices quoted are fair, but I am concerned about this tire dealer telling me the camber can't be set, then carfixer explains that any alignment tech could easily see how to do it... makes me wonder about the expertise of the dealer.

I'll see what the dealer service people say. This car was a demo with 6K on it, and I was assured it was "checked over top to bottom" before I took delivery. Maybe because I have only driven it 9K they will do the alignment for free. I am prepared to pay for it, though. It's time for an oil change, anyway, not to mention the rest of the 15K checkup. I can't image Ford would build this car with a known defect like too much negative camber, and not have the ability to fix it. Then again, it could be excessive toe-out.

I looked at the tires again tonight, and I think if the wear problemn were fixed I may get anouther 10K out of them. The rest of the tread is in good shape, other than normal wear.

Thanks, and I'll let you know how it goes.
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Old 01-12-2004, 01:06 AM

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I had mine at a good alignment shop (that is all they do) the inside front of the tires was bare. My car (2003 300A manuf. 8/02) had toe out of .52 and .53 deg. left and right. The owner of the shop re-set the toe to zero. He said it should help the inside tire wear and also a small improvment in the handling dept. He also said that he has had a few 2003 police cars in for the same thing.
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Old 01-12-2004, 06:22 AM
b4z b4z is offline
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I had posted about negative camber back in November.
Looks like it was partly designed in by Ford.
Sorry you guys are having this problem.

Here is my post:
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Old 01-12-2004, 09:59 PM
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Donny Carlson Donny Carlson is offline
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My service writer said no dice to the free alignment; Black Beauty has over 12K. He said the wear on the inner tread had been caught in time, and that an alignment should take care of it. He was savvy to the proper adapters on their equipment, and the price aint bad ($34). He thinks they should be left as is, and that all four should be changed in about 12K. We did notice the rears are showing some wear to the center part of the treads, and I have kept proper inflation on them. Best guess, acceleration wear

He told me an interesting story about a Marauder owner who came in last week complaining that the ride and handling on his MM had gone to hell after he had his car aligned at a local shop. They told him there was something wrong with the suspension.
Seems their alignment guy had put the wrong tires on one side of the car, one side had the larger tire in front, smaller in back, the other had the correct smaller tire in front, larger in back.

Really surprising part was the owner HAD NO CLUE he had different size tires on the fronts and rears until they showed him.
Hey, bud, RTFM!!
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Old 01-13-2004, 05:36 PM

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Are you they guy that showed me the right wipers to use outside bryans road?
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Old 01-14-2004, 08:38 PM
Thomas C Potter Thomas C Potter is offline
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My opinion is to use neg 1/4 deg camber.
Road force balancing is the only way to go. I recently had 2 Continental 275/40/18 that were found to be my imbalance problem, using the road force balance machine.

TP Blue 03
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Old 01-14-2004, 08:52 PM
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Donny Carlson Donny Carlson is offline
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Originally Posted by rurumon

Are you they guy that showed me the right wipers to use outside bryans road?
No, sorry.
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Old 02-03-2004, 07:56 AM
Heavy351 Heavy351 is offline
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I now have 7000 miles and extreme inside tire wear on the fronts.

last night I got the car back from the dealer and they tell me the Camber was way off and they have adjusted it back to the factory specs.

They ordered new front tires for me that should be here in 5 days.

No charge for anything. When I go back I will get more details.

The right dealer makes all the difference.
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Old 02-03-2004, 05:10 PM
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Mattsmerc Mattsmerc is offline
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i had a problem with the MM pulling to the right so i went to the dealer, they sent it to a garage because they did not have the tools to do the alignment. any way the camber on the driver side was off a little bit. after that i get the car back with scratched rims but good alignment. cussed at the dealership and got new tires and rims. so far so good.
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