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This is a discussion on Alignment basics within the Suspension & Wheels forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; Wheel alignments aren't just about setting the car up to the specs in the computer. Well, party it is. But, ...

  1. #181
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    Wheel alignments aren't just about setting the car up to the specs in the computer. Well, party it is. But, with everything else, you should REALLY understand what your doing before you start playing with someones car. You should understand the angles, what they do, how they effect how the car handles. You should know the theories, how to compensate for road crown, how to diagnose drive ability issues. All that comes with time and practice. At my job I did nothing but wheel alignments for almost 3 years. It's nerve racking, and at times frustrating. But to set up a car to custom specs or diagnose and fix, nothing can describe the feel of the car after wards when it's perfect. Or maybe I'm just a little too into my job

    But before you bring your car to a shop to get an alignment done, have some knowledge. Do your homework. An experienced tech should already know the in's and out's of your car, where the adjustments are, so on and so forth.

    Just be smart, it'll save you money in the long run.

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  3. #182
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    My alignment

    I just acquired an 02 WRX wagon. It had a few issues but I got it for a great price, so I don't mind working through them. One issue I have is that the front tires are worn badly in the inner edge. So badly in fact, that the tires need replacing when otherwise they look like they are fairly new. "No big deal" I thought, I will just get an alignment. I expected the front to be toed out. However, what they said was that the toe was +12 and -37 (corrected to within specs), and that the camber was out of spec (-0.9 and -1.0) and could not be brought in line because the springs had been cut. Having read the first post of this thread, I realize this fits this description:

    "if your shop is having trouble getting front neg camber approaching -1.0+ tell them the lower strut bolt needs to be loosened as well to achieve this- you won't believe the # of shops that don't know this"

    So my question is, do you think my springs have been cut (pic attached)? Was the toe out enough to wear the tires out like this. Is this camber enough to cause the problem? I am obviously going to take the car back to the tire shop and show them the info about the strut bolt, but I want to make sure I have this fixed before I install new tires.
    Thanks
    Rick
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 40547_1350421448486_1469861791_30755054_5124908_n.jpg  

  4. #183
    Moderating on the run! Big Sky WRX's Avatar
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    your camber is fine- just leave it- close to -1.0 is where I'd want a daily driver

    not sure on the springs- are they oe springs? measure the ride height from the center of the wheel to the center of the wheel arch to the nearest 1/4" on a level surface and I can tell you how far you are from oe ride height

    are the original toe measurements in .00" units? if they are- yes that would explain the tire wear

    did you get a printout of the final specs? "within spec" can run the gamut between good (very close to 0) to not so good at the outside range
    "Simplify and add lightness." - Colin Chapman

  5. #184
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    Thanks for responding.

    I don't know if the springs are stock. Measuring from the ground, through the center of the hub, to the arch in the fender, shows 24 3/4 inches.

    The alignment measurements are in inches, and I did receive a before and after print out of the adjustment.

    Thanks again for the information.

  6. #185
    Moderating on the run! Big Sky WRX's Avatar
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    what are your after toe #'s front/rear, left/right?

    the oe ride height for the is 387/376 mm- measured from center of hub to center of wheel arch- they measure this way as it takes the tire out of the equation

    if your springs are black and have small paint dabs on them they are oe- if your ride height is close to the above then your good to go- if they are quite a bit lower than you may have cut springs and would be worth sourcing new springs
    "Simplify and add lightness." - Colin Chapman

  7. #186
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    alignment stuff...

    Quote Originally Posted by Spencer3636 View Post
    Went back for my alignment and it looks pretty good

    F.L.
    Camber -0.8
    Caster 2.7
    Toe 0.00

    F.R.
    Camber -0.8
    Caster 3.2
    Toe 0.0

    R.L.
    Camber -1.5
    Toe 0.0

    R.R.
    Camber -1.7
    Toe 0.0

    Cross Camber 0.0
    Total Toe 0.01

    The only thing that is out of OEM spec would be my front left Caster, my cross caster is -0.5 and might explain my slight pull to the right, what can I do to even these out a bit?
    Hi Spencer, I am new here but not to playing with alignment specs.... your cross caster probably would make the car want to lead slightly to the left...the larger positive caster on the right would tend to steer the car towards the opposite side. However, what could be causing the pull to the right is a tire defect known as concentricity...a fancy word that says that one of the front tires has a problem....try swapping the front tires side to side temporarily and see the if the pull goes away or switches sides...if it does then concentricity is the problem. Let me know how it works out for u.

    cheers!

    Tom

  8. #187
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    Hey Bigsky! Ride height question help

    Just installed some Stance Gr+ coilovers and am extremely pleased with them (minus a small fitment issue in the rear on my 04 wagon). My dad works at a dealership that has a killer $45,000 alignment rack. So for a good price I get personal time and my dads buddy (been doing alignments for years) to set me up with whatever specs I want. My car is a DD but I will be attending some track days this spring. My question is what is the optimum ride height for cornering? Currently I have some rubbing in the rears with the tires tucked just under the fender wells so not surprising and I know its too low just haven't gotten around to raising it up. Any numbers from hub to top of fender arch for front/rear would be appreciated Also looking at going -1.5(maybe -2)front camber, zero toe all around, and -1.5 rear... sound good? Thanks in advance your the man!

    WrRexGoliath

  9. #188
    Moderating on the run! Big Sky WRX's Avatar
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    ahh your own personal alignment guy- nice

    the oe ride height for the wagon is 387/376 (that's center of hub to wheel arch)

    I'd recommend ride heights in the 15-25mm lower range- Impreza's just don't take to lowering very well (MacP suspension)

    your alignment #'s look good- I'd probably opt for a little closer to -2.0 than -1.5 if you have the adjustment, ~ -2.0 with 0 toe shouldn't give you much problem w/ tire wear
    "Simplify and add lightness." - Colin Chapman

  10. #189
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    Alignment Problems??

    Hey just got a question. i own an '07 sti n have gone threw three sets of tires in a year and a half. Subaru says that its normal but if any body's had the same problem, im looking for some answer on wat it could be. thanx






    Quote Originally Posted by Big Sky WRX View Post
    I frequently get pm's/emails w/ ?'s on alignment so I thought I'd put together a a alignment basics thread. We'll look at camber/caster/toe, do's and don't for alignments and a few other bits and pieces along the way.

    Camber- what is it: measurement in degrees of the tire/wheel from the front




    What does it do for us- negative static (car not moving) camber can help us gain grip in turns, when our cars turn the outside tire wants to go positive, by having neg camber this positive change is negated and we optimally get a flat, wide contact patch.

    Excessive neg camber can degrade straightline braking (less contact patch) and can cause excessive tire wear (not as much as you'd think though- ore on that w/ toe).

    The oe spec for front camber on the WRX is -0.25- that's not a lot, especially for a performance orientated car. The WRX's upper strut bolt is eccentric and allows for adj, w/ the stock bolt- it's common to be able to get close to -1.4 degrees w/ the oem bolt. Camber plates (or caster camber plates) can increase this to close to -2.5 - -3.0. Some have also combined a camber bolt in the lower hole w/ the oem bolt to increase camber.

    The oem spec for rear camber is -1.3, there is no adjustment in the rear oem, many use camber bolts in the rear to provide adjustment.

    The oem specs provide for limited performance and help promote understeer- by increasing front neg camber you dial out some understeer, by adding positive camber to the rear you do the same. With camber bolts in the rear you can add some positive camber and dial out some understeer- you don't want to dial out too much though as you still want static neg camber for improved grip in corners.

    Cross camber- the difference between left and right camber settings, you want this as close to zero as possible.

    Caster

    what is it: Caster is the angle of the steering pivot, measured in degrees, when viewed from the side of the vehicle



    Caster also expresed in degrees, can help w/ performance as it goes more positive (ALK or caster/camber plate) it has the same effect as adding static negative camber. It also provides for straight line stability. It is not adj oem.

    The oe specs for the WRX are ~ 3.5 degrees, the ALK adds ~ .5 degrees, caster/camber plates ~ to 1.5 degrees.

    Most feel there are no negatives to increased positive caster (a little heavier steering effort), some cars run w/ as much 8 degrees.

    With caster plates you are able to control cross caster as well.

    Toe

    what is it: The toe measurement is the difference in the distance between the front of the tires and the back of the tires

    this example shows toe in



    Toe is adjustable both front and rear, the oem specs are 0 (+/- 3mm)- toe is adjusted in the front via the tie rods in the rear via the rear lateral links.

    Toe contributes more to tire wear than camber, thus most reccomend near 0 toe. Toe can also effect performance, toe out in front will help w/ turn in, toe out in the rear w/ rotation, toe in front and rear w/ high speed stability. People play w/ toe for performance gains, but make sure you know what you are doing befoer considering something other than very near 0 toe.

    Cross toe is important as well, again as close to 0 as possible.


    Alignment do's and dont's

    -do request a before and after printout
    -do tell them you want cross toe and camber as close to 0 as possible!
    -it's better to give them specific specs vs just getting it to "spec"- spec can range from positive camber on one side to neg on the other, toe in one side- toe out on the other- the factory specs are pretty wide (too wide!)
    -some shops won't do "custom" alignments- know that before going in
    -if your shop is having trouble getting front neg camber approaching -1.0+ tell them the lower strut bolt needs to be loosened as well to achieve this- you won't belive the # of shops that don't know this

    These are basics, I reccomend to everyone to learn more- your alignment is one of the biggest contributors (ditractors) of suspenion performance.

    WARNING this has not been thoroughly proofed, if there are glaring errors please let me know- thanks.

    Big Sky

    Here are the oem specs

  11. #190
    Moderating on the run! Big Sky WRX's Avatar
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    how and where are they wearing? pic by chance?

    some tires are short lived (even more so if your driving spiritedly), but for day to day driving that sounds a little excessive to me
    "Simplify and add lightness." - Colin Chapman

  12. #191
    Registered User WrRexgoliath's Avatar
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    Thanx big sky, just got her raised up a bit.getting my alignment in an hour.what should my caster be? Although I think I remembered reading it cannot be adjusted without caster plates?

    Thanks.
    WrRexGoliath

  13. #192
    Moderating on the run! Big Sky WRX's Avatar
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    correct not adjustable, unless you have plates (and then they need to be canted)- should be in the 3.5 range
    "Simplify and add lightness." - Colin Chapman

  14. #193
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    Ok one more thing. If I'm going to go -2 camber front should I go -2 rear? I do have front/rear camber plates.

    WrRexGoliath

  15. #194
    Moderating on the run! Big Sky WRX's Avatar
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    no- keep the rear around -1.2 to -1.5, that's enough camber for the rear- going higher than that will just dial in more understeer
    Last edited by Big Sky WRX; 10-27-2010 at 03:34 PM.
    "Simplify and add lightness." - Colin Chapman

  16. #195
    Registered User WrRexgoliath's Avatar
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    Numbers Are In

    Big thanks to Big Sky!

    Didn't get your reply about the rear camber until after the alignment but everything turned out ok. So here are the numbers and some pics of the killer alignment rack($80,000) which was awesome to see delivering real time data! And a big thanks to Eddy (my personal alignment guy). Taking her through some corners tomorrow let you guys know how everything turns out.

    WrRexGoliath
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails alignmentnmbrs.jpg   alignmentscrnsht1.jpg   alignmentrack.jpg   alignmentrack2.jpg  

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