Alignment Experts

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Thread: Alignment Experts

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    Alignment Experts

    I've been complaining about my Soul's crosswind sensitivity for a while now.
    I contacted KIA and they said talk to your dealer. OK.
    I went by the local KIA dealer, they ran my car over a new $20G Tread Spec machine on their floor. First run was October 16, it claims to laser-read your tires for tread depth and your wheels for alignment. It said no alignment needed.

    http://www.tireprofiles.com/treadspec-2-0/

    I went back yesterday and they ran my car over their fancy machine again. THIS time it needs an alignment. Plus the graphic on tread depth was totally different and a bit schizo I must say. I'll see if I can move a photo or scan of the two readouts over here so youse guys can see.

    I'd been planning on getting an alignment anyway, just because once the front end had been checked for loose parts and there were none, where else do you go? My 2015 Soul, basically the same car, was solid as a rock in almost all wind conditions save a sudden 60 MPH gust which would move it slightly. But considering the boxcar shape, you'd think the car would get blown all over the road. Not so.

    The only adjustment made, by my reading of the printout and I'm past my pay grade in this stuff, was 5 degrees toe on the right front. Solid rear axle so there's no aligning going on there. Before was 0 degrees, after appears to be 5 degrees toe in. Is that likely to make any difference in crosswind stability? Of course nobody in the shop could answer that question.

    The machine is pretty interesting. BUT...if you ever use one, I'd get at least three different readings because after what I saw yesterday I'm not exactly dazzled by this brilliant technology. There's only one service writer who seems very smart, fortunately he's the one I usually deal with. I asked another monkey "So do you ever run a car over this machine and then put it on the alignment rack to check your machine for accuracy?" That pretty well confused him and I got a answer.
    Last edited by Neanderthal; 10-24-2019 at 12:08 PM.
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    Re: Alignment Experts

    Machine's Calibration/Operator.

    The last Wheel Alignment I had done wasn't finished the first day, so they spit it off of the Hoist, sent me home for the night and started it again the next morning. The End Spec's were not the same as the Next Day's Beginning Spec's. I got the same dumbfounded look when I brought it up.

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    Re: Alignment Experts

    Some toe in is needed, otherwise you would get a little road wander. A lot of front wheel drive cars with solid rear axles have adjustability via shims between the hub/spindle and the axle beam.

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    Re: Alignment Experts

    Some toe in is good if you have negative camber, but it could effect the steering in high winds. I'd question how accurate their fancy machine really is.

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    Re: Alignment Experts

    I will add manufacture specs are quite WIDE and from one limit to the other limit can make quite a difference
    a GOOD NON DEALER alignment shop will often do a better job because they do it every day

    basics

    toe in looking at your car from above the forward edge of the tires are closer together then the rear facing edge you WANT a few degrees to "load" the tires - suspension ETC

    ZERO TOE the car will wander badly
    TO MUCH TOE and the car will scrub off the front tires quickly and will be darty of straight ahead

    camber is the TOP of the tires lean in (think those "stanced" cars with the tires almost sideways that is CAMBER

    you want SOME camber as the car goes through a turn the outside tire will be standing upright and the toe causing a bit of "loading" / scrubbing of the tires a bit of camber is "needed" to centre the contact patch

    caster - the joint the tire is turned on when steering ( old school the kingpins newer the upper/lower ball joints) the top of the line which the tire rotates around when steering leans FORWARD a bit

    to little caster and the car will wander and NOT centre / to much and the car will have a STRONG centring force

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    Re: Alignment Experts

    Quote Originally Posted by richmond2000 View Post
    I will add manufacture specs are quite WIDE and from one limit to the other limit can make quite a difference
    a GOOD NON DEALER alignment shop will often do a better job because they do it every day

    basics

    toe in looking at your car from above the forward edge of the tires are closer together then the rear facing edge you WANT a few degrees to "load" the tires - suspension ETC

    ZERO TOE the car will wander badly
    TO MUCH TOE and the car will scrub off the front tires quickly and will be darty of straight ahead

    camber is the TOP of the tires lean in (think those "stanced" cars with the tires almost sideways that is CAMBER

    you want SOME camber as the car goes through a turn the outside tire will be standing upright and the toe causing a bit of "loading" / scrubbing of the tires a bit of camber is "needed" to centre the contact patch

    caster - the joint the tire is turned on when steering ( old school the kingpins newer the upper/lower ball joints) the top of the line which the tire rotates around when steering leans FORWARD a bit

    to little caster and the car will wander and NOT centre / to much and the car will have a STRONG centring force
    Thanks for all that, as I said the toe was the only thing off and I'd like to put the charts up here.

    Normally I wouldn't go to a dealer for an alignment, I went this time because I thought if there were any loose parts/wrong parts/etc. up there, that's a warranty gig.

    I need a windy day to do a test run. If it's still sensitive, I'll probably go to an alignment shop that was recommended by a guy who operates an old-timey car repair shop. You walk in there and it's the '60s or '70s again, one of those gritty places who do good work and don't charge you an arm and a leg. I took my wife's PT there because I thought I needed struts and shocks. He replaced some bushings along with the Watts link which was discovered by a chain tire store but they lied and said I'd need a four wheel alignment and blah blah blah so I got lucky and found this old shop.

    Anyway that guy recommended an alignment shop, which is also in the ghetto but competent honest shops are few and far between.
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    Re: Alignment Experts

    IMHO alignments is more of an "art" then a "science"
    anybody CAN do an alignment but only FEW can do a GOOD alignment

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    Re: Alignment Experts

    A good alignment will have all the values as close as possible to the minimum end of the allowed range and more importantly very nearly perfect left to right. Hard to get that at a dealer.

    But what about tires? Much difference in construction even within a size. Also I found H/K often have somewhat small tires. I went up one number in cross section on my Accent and it made it a totally different (better) handling car. Also many, many, (many) years ago I replaced the tires on my '58 Bug with some Michelin X take offs from a Porsche 911. One size up and much stiffer. HUGE difference in crosswind stability. Convinced my Dad to put Michelins on his '74 Bug.

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    Re: Alignment Experts

    Quote Originally Posted by Larkbill View Post
    A good alignment will have all the values as close as possible to the minimum end of the allowed range and more importantly very nearly perfect left to right. Hard to get that at a dealer.

    But what about tires? Much difference in construction even within a size. Also I found H/K often have somewhat small tires. I went up one number in cross section on my Accent and it made it a totally different (better) handling car. Also many, many, (many) years ago I replaced the tires on my '58 Bug with some Michelin X take offs from a Porsche 911. One size up and much stiffer. HUGE difference in crosswind stability. Convinced my Dad to put Michelins on his '74 Bug.
    Thaxx, Larkbill. As I said, I'm waiting on a windy day and if it's good, it's good. If not, it's off to Ghetto Alignment for further tuning.

    I doubt tires are a factor. I replaced the OE, typically Nexen or Kuhmo, with the tires posted in my sig. So it's done this with all three sets of tires, OE, BFG summer, and Bridgestone winter tires. Stock size is 205.60.16 which I think is sufficient for a 2800-3000 pound car.

    I have wondered, because my '15 Soul had Pirelli P7 in 215.55.17 and it was rock solid. But as I said, I think this is an alignment issue of some sort. Waiting on good sailing day.
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    Re: Alignment Experts

    Ran Pirelli P3's on my Falcons. Very stiff and stable tires. I suspect your P7's are more of the same. I think I'd be trying some P215's on that rascal. But construction would be more important.

    Why are the best alignment dudes always in sketchy locations? Luckily mine just moved out to our county. Good luck with yours.

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    Re: Alignment Experts

    Quote Originally Posted by Larkbill View Post
    Ran Pirelli P3's on my Falcons. Very stiff and stable tires. I suspect your P7's are more of the same. I think I'd be trying some P215's on that rascal. But construction would be more important.

    Why are the best alignment dudes always in sketchy locations? Luckily mine just moved out to our county. Good luck with yours.
    The BFG are 225.55.16.
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    Re: Alignment Experts

    Sounds like not enough positive caster. Caster doesn't necessarily show up in uneven tire wear.
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    Re: Alignment Experts

    No tire wear issues. But today was windy, that little bit of toe-in seems to have fixed the problem. At some point I'll probably go to Ghetto Alignment just to pick his brain a little and maybe get another alignment.

    Thanks for your input, one and all.
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    Re: Alignment Experts

    Some toe in is good if you have negative camber, but it could effect the steering in high winds. I'd question how accurate their fancy machine really is.

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