It could be the sway bar. If the link is bad enough to affect ride height on one side that could affect the alignment. If it was a little worn or a little loose it's probably not the cause though.
The upper control arms sit on the shock tower and bolts down through two slots. Most cars use shims or an adjustment of some kind. On those cars the bolts just hold the shims/adjuster in place. Our arms just sit there. One piece of steel sitting on another without any locking mechanism. Other than a couple bolts being tight enough. To align them you loosen the bolts and slide the upper arm in our out. This pivots the ball joint front to back and some in/out. If the bolts are not tight enough the arm can slide. On the Mach I it doesn't move around. The bolts are tight enough I couldn't break them loose with a half inch ratchet. Yet it moved at some point before I got it. I can clearly see that wheel sits askew. The rear bolt is all the way inward on the slot. They usually sit somewhere in the middle. I think this car flew and landed hard but the same can happen just hitting the brakes if those bolts are not tight enough.
If it suddenly happened new tires can still be the cause. Honestly it's more likely if it was sudden onset. Front end parts being worn out is usually a gradual onset. Since everything else appears ok I would try the left to right tire swap. I have had it fix several cars over the years as a service advisor. Not a daily occurrence but often enough I would try that before diving any deeper into it. Belts usually break from a pot hole but I have had customers swear they didn't hit one. Our cars tend to sit for extended periods as well.
Always remember NEW is an acronym. It really means Never Ever Worked.
If you have a digital level, you can check alignment yourself... At least if left and right are nearly the same.
I had pulling to one side two times:
- 4 drum brakes; cold no issue / warm pulling to one side; it was the adjuster setting of the shoes
- always pulling to one side; caster was of at one side
Not replacing the strut but changing out the bushings.
I think you were right and the lower control arm bushing on the right side is bad. So I'll go pick two up this week. Got some other things that need to be done for the rest of today and tomorrow so Wednesday I'll be back at it.
Glad you found something. At this point don't stress over the pull. It needs realigned anyway with the strut rod being removed. A competent shop will double check for play before aligning it anyway.
If that strut rod bushing was bad that can cause it to pull. Once you replace the strut rod bushings do some hard stops in forward and reverse to make sure it's tight enough before they align it. I did not and it needs another alignment after I snugged up the bushings.
Haven't updated this. I replaced all the bushings and the 2 lower balljoints. They seemed loose. Still pulled to the right. Looked closely and could see that maybe the driver side upper control arm moved. Took it in for an alignment and sure enough it was the upper control arm driver side. Steers like a dream now other than I may need to replace the power steering unit. There is hardly any return to center when I let go of the wheel after a turn. It is acting like manual steering.
Now I've got to get the car ready for winter storage...dang it anyway.
Did the no return happen after the alignment? Our cars had different specs for manual or power steering. With no caster there is no force returning it to straight. I don't think the pumps have anything to do with this.
Official specs call for power steering it's 1 degree positive caster. 1/8 inch toe in. 0.5 camber. Manual steering cars have 1 degree negative caster.
Positive caster makes it want to track straighter. Wheel return quicker. With manual steering positive caster makes it harder to turn off center. Some hot rodders go as far as 6 to 8 degrees positive caster with power steering. I think that's too much for us. I would shoot for 2 to 3 degrees positive caster with rest of specs staying close to factory specs. If it's still not returning go to 5 degress.
Did they provide you with an alignment before and after sheet?
IICrew is right, about caster. For camber, I would say best is slightly negative. Around -0.25 to -0.5. With modern tires you do not want to have positive caster.
Positive caster (2 to 3) also helps handling.
My setup is:
toe-in: 3mm (thats 1/8 inch of toe in, like IICrew wrote)
I have more negative camber, because I have this semi-slick tires and I do not car about wear. Car rides like a train on rails.