Need help with tire wear and wheel Alignment
Hey everyone I need some advice here and I'm a bit of a noob. At the risk of asking a silly question after doing a bunch of research here and Google.
My FJ is a 2007 standard model, Manual Transmission with over 150K. I kept it stock for a long time till two years ago. My friends took me out off roading for the first time and I got the bug. First I got new tires, some BF Goodrich tires. Then I got an ARB Steel bumper with a Warn M8000 Winch, so naturally my front end sunk down over an inch. That didn't settle well with me so my buddy and I installed the OME2885 Heavy Springs in the front end which actually gave me an unexpected lift. Just over two inches over stock height if I remember correctly. So a few weeks after the install I had an alignment done. I didn't have any problems with handling on the road or on the trail. If I let go of the wheel the vehicle would continue straight. Didn't have much of a problem with bump steer but there would be a wicked pull on the wheel if I'm on the highway and I drive over a large puddle. Nothing I can't handle though.
Fast forward to today. I did a ton of work after my Alternator busted on me a few weeks ago and the dealership was pointing out a laundry list of stuff that was wrong with my car. I let the dealership take care of the alternator but I did the rest. I had to replace both frozen front calipers and all four rotor disks. I wasn't even aware the calipers were frozen. looking at my beautiful BF Goodrich All Terrain T/A tires which have less than 50K on them I noticed that both front tires show identical wear. Both tires had the outer edges worn down, where the difference between the outer edge and the center of the tire tread was about an 1/8" in tread height. Surprised the hell out of me so I went to the local shop to get another alignment done.
Here's the result:
Caster Left........0.2............0.2..........Bad...2.3 - 3.3 Unable to correct
Caster Right......0.0............0.0..........Bad...2.3 - 3.3 Unable to correct
Camber Left......0.2............0.2..........Good -0.4 - 0.7
Camber Right....0.1............0.1..........Good -0.4 - 0.7
Toe Left.........-0.05............0.00........Corrected -0.05 - 0.10
Toe Right........0.15............0.10........Corrected -0.05 - 0.10
Toe Total........0.10............0.10........Good -0.10 - 0.25
The Pepboys Technician (Yes I went there) told me that I need to get a "Toyota Caster kit" to fix the Caster misalignment issue. Second thing he told me was I need to get the coils and shocks aligned properly. He brought up first that I'll probably need new coils and shocks so I told him I installed new coils and springs not 2 years ago. So he said I made an "error" in my installation and told me I should have marked where the coil and shocks should be aligned. Then he said that I should get new tires since the wheels are worn unevenly. After that is all said and done then get a final wheel alignment. Oh I've got a nail in the tread too close to the side wall. The shop said legally they can't repair it but I can do what ever I want with a patch kit.
So here's my question, is aligning the Caster critical to safety and the even wear of the tires and did I screw up installing the coils and shocks that they need to be re-aligned?
I couldn't believe that after 2 years the edges of the tires wore down so fast. Maybe it was a batch of softer rubber? My last set of BF Goodrich tires which came with my FJ in 2007 lasted almost 90K! Right now they're swapped with the rear tires and I did notice that the drivers side was worn down at the edge more than the passenger side. Reading some threads it looks like the only way to correct the Caster alignment is to get something like the Total Chaos Upper Control Arms at $900! I've only got a mild lift on my FJ, and all I wanted to do was level my FJ out with the new heavy bumper installed.
I appreciate any help I can get.