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Alignment Question

kumaxlt

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City, State
Sacramento
Year, Model & Trim Level
1999 XLT
I replaced all four ball joints and took it in for alignment. The left side Caster - which I replaced the entire control arm and bushing - is within specs. The right side Caster - which I only had to replace the lower part of contol arm, not the bushings - was sligthly out of specs. The specified range is 3.2 to 5.2 degrees. The actual was 5.3 degrees. The mechanic said that its not worth adjusting this as it will not effect tire wear and it will require cams/adjustments and cost about $250. He also said that the crown in the road will compensate for this and that if the drivers side was out of spec then it would be more of a concern. Does this sound right?

The left side Camber range is -1.0 to 0.0 degrees. Mine after the alignment is 0.1 degrees?

Also, the Cross Caster range is -1.4 to 0.0 degrees and after alignment mine is -1.7 degrees?

Im concerned about this because the car drove perfectly straight, no pullling and the steering wheel was straight, when I went to the alignement shop. After they first aligned it and I drove off, the steering wheel was crooked. I went back and they put it on the rack again and said that the machine shows everything is straight. They ended up changing the alignemnt/toe to make the steering wheel straight - so they said. Well, I drove off and the steering wheel was much better but stil not straight. Yes, my confidence in them is limited at this point so Im here to ask the experts!
 



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Blee1099

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Camber adjustment cams cost about $30-$40 for a set for both sides. Dunno who told you the $250. I suggest taking it elsewhere.
 






Chew_12

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Yep I agree take it somewhere else.
 






Runnin'OnEmpty

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How does it drive? Those alignment numbers are close enough if it drives OK, and the crown of the road does enter into the difference in caster between right and left. Centering the steering wheel is very easy, by simply shortening one tie rod and lengthening the other one.

If you did ball joints, you can 'finish' the centering job. Just figure out which way the steering wheel needs to move, and turn the tie rods in/out the same amount on either side. If you're careful, the toe specs will remain the same.
 






kumaxlt

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1999 XLT
It seems to drive fine - no pulling, just the steering wheel is not quite centered. Not sure if I should mess with it. The shop wanted me to bring it back a thrid time... when I explained my concerns they agreed to refund the money. Im not sure if its worth messing with the toe/steering wheel adjustment - it sounds like it is aligned properly.

So do you guys think that their machine is not callobrated correctly? Two different mechanics aligned it each time saying that the machine says it is correct. If it is the machine then perhaps all the alignemnt numbers are incorrect - although it does drive fine. Should I take it for another alignment at another shop or save the $50?
 






Runnin'OnEmpty

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it will require cams/adjustments and cost about $250.
KumaXLT, that's the only statement that I would question, as did the other posters. Maybe the price they quoted included installation and of course another alignment......maybe they thought the cost and effort wasn't worth gaining another degree of caster......

Wheel alignment isn't rocket science, and neither is it a precise art. The suspension is a dynamic assembly that moves constantly; that's why the factory specs have a lot of leeway. As long as it drives and steers good, and gives even tire wear, I'd call it OK and within specs.

The shop wanted me to bring it back a thrid time... when I explained my concerns they agreed to refund the money.
This tells me they are a reputable shop; I'd just take it back to them to straighten the steering wheel. (I'm one of those guys that loses sleep over a mis-aligned steering wheel. :confused: )
 






wingot

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my steering wheel isnt centered either...
 






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