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Old 02-19-2008, 11:53 PM   #1
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I have an Alignment Problem

I recently replaced my tie rod outer ends on both sides of the car. I then went to get an alignment. The guy at the alignment shop told me that front wheel drive cars are supposed to have a slight pigeon toed angle on the front wheels. After getting the alignment the car pulled to the left on the highway so I took it back in. The guy said I needed new tires. It seemed like I had eyeballed the toein better. So I bought some Yokohama Avid H4Ss off of tirerack and had them mounted. I didn't know they were directional tires when I bought them. After the tires the left wander got even worse. So with the new tires I took them back to the alignment shop. The guy insisted my alignment was spot on but I asked how could it be if it pulls to the left. So after being as polite as I could and getting some static from them I was able to get them to adjust it slightly to the right. This improved things but didn't fix the problem.

My question: is it true that front wheel drives still require a slight pigeon toe with the alignment? Are the new tires and/or poor wheel alignment hurting my gas mileage?
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Old 02-20-2008, 07:57 AM   #2
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Yes, it is very likely that specs on your car call for some toe. Can you post your post alignment specs?
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Old 02-20-2008, 08:46 AM   #3
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See I get that BS all the time in my area! Yes your vehicle *may* require you to have some toe, BUT the car should NOT pull. The shop is lieing to you flat out, they are lazy ****s.

If its a chain, you GOTTA go to corporate like I have 3 times in the last year. If you want help, I'm willing. PM me.

We can't let these shops win. They are getting bigger and meaner at our expense.

You obviously didn't need new tires either. You truly caught this shops crack pipe when you installed the new stuff. Ha ha, let me tell you what they *wanted* to happen: they tell you, new tires, they hope to have you buy from them. Then if you do, they have loads of new loot in thier pocket, and suddenly they are willing to spend the additional effort aligning your car so the new tires don't pull.
But you didn't end up buying from them. So now, the shop says nope, you bastard u didn't buy from us, so were just not going to align your car = "theres nothing more we can do, its as good as its going to get"

You have to tell me which shop is giving you this BS. And where (city,state)

I spent $400 last year trying to find an honest alignment shop in my area.
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Old 02-20-2008, 10:33 AM   #4
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What about the inner tie rod ends, and the rest of the suspension components, it is quite possible something else is worn out, how about the ball joints?

btw I hate it too, I just took my truck to America's number One transmission shop to pay for a $90 diagnostic just for them to tell me nothing is wrong with it...
well wth I didn't just bring it in because I thought it was all honky dory but yeah I felt like spending money right LOL

But I would check the rest of those components, at least the ball joints.
That would be my clue, something else is worn out.
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Old 02-20-2008, 02:53 PM   #5
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Naw. It's normal procedure at the shops to check ALL suspension components right before any alignment, So They Can Sell You More Repairs. When the motivation is monetary, you can bet 100% that if they didn't say something is wrong, nothing else is wrong.
Nothing else is worn out, and this is just yet another case of a shop walking over another individual trying to care for his vehicle, cheap as he can. Period.

Like I said, we cannot let this sh1t continue to happen.
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Old 02-20-2008, 03:25 PM   #6
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Yep- they can and do mess up. I took my 87 Acura Integra in for an alignment. They said they couldn't align it because the right ball joint was bad and wrote "bad right ball joint" on my ticket- they charged me nothing. So I replaced it myself (it was $100+ since the control arm and ball joint are all one piece).

When I got the old one off I realized it was still nice and tight. So put in the new one (it was a special order- no returns) and I took the old one back to the shop with my car and ticket and said I wanted a free alignment because they told me a $100+ part was bad that really wasn't bad at all. They looked at the ball joint and agreed that it was still tight- so then they figure that I replaced the wrong side so they went out and checked and saw that I had a brand new ball joint on the side that my ticket said was bad.

They ended up making good on it and gave me a free alignment. My best guess is that the alignment tech on duty was working by the hour and just wasn't in the mood to do an alignment.
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Old 02-20-2008, 07:15 PM   #7
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if a shop ever says "all _____ need _____" LEAVE. If they aren't aligning it to the specs it says in the book for your car, they didn't do what you paid them for thus they don't get paid.
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Old 02-21-2008, 09:43 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theclencher View Post
Set the toe yourself in the driveway, it's no big deal.
I agree 100%.

I've been driving lowered Hondas for the last 4 years, and from my experience alignment shops would rather set your car to OEM specs, and not test drive it instead of simply doing the job right. If you do decide to get an alignment done, don't take it to a "chain." Find a place that deals with race cars or off-road trucks since they are used to custom alignments and won't give you the, "we can't get it any better ****." (which is the same thing I was told once after getting an over $100 alignment that made the car pull to the right..)

I recently looked up how to do the alignment myself, set my toe on my friend's civic, and it went from pulling and eating tires, to going straight and not wearing tires at all. Do it yourself and be happy you won't have to go to an alignment shop every again.
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Old 02-21-2008, 09:57 AM   #9
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Their are several different adjustments which you can make on the car. The toe in typically is specified with just a little bit of toe in, the idea being that when your driving down the road, any tolerances in the front end parts will allow the tires to run straight, more or less. The toe in is the most common adjustment and it's the one which most typically goes out, although that isn't necessarily the only one which can go out.

Their are several different ways you can adjust the toe in, some of them are more accurate, some of them are less, if you want to do it yourself. If you are going to take it to a shop, take it to a one man shop, instead of some chain, or take it to a shop that sets up race cars.

The tires can cause pulling, but if you thought it was the tires, you can switch sides on them, and try it. The pull will follow the tire.

You can also adjust the camber and caster, yourself, if your so inclined. If your into giving it a try, let me know and I'll do a diy-how-to, for you.
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Old 02-21-2008, 12:03 PM   #10
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Gary- I am interested in learning about how to adjust the camber. I have just been afraid that I can't adjust it very scientifically/precisely so as to get both sides even.

My wife's car is a 92 Nissan 240 SX. It drives wonderfully straight and doesn't pull, but it always wears the inside edges of the front tires out Its a rear wheel drive and the front tire tread is not "feathered". I have had it aligned several times but the inside edges of the tires wear out in about 40K miles while I still have 60% of the tread remaining in the middle and on the outside edge of the tires. I do rotate the tires and I have even had a tire shop reverse the tires on the rim so I can get more miles out of them. My best guess is that the front spindles are tilted so that the inside edges have more pressure- that would be a camber issue- right?

Before anyone wonders about her weight- no, my wife is not at all "large"
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