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Old 05-14-2014, 07:25 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Old Mechanic View Post
One more way to visually determine if you have suspension damage. With the steering wheel centered and the front wheels pointed exactly in the direction to travel straight down the road, stand 15 to 20 feet away from each front wheel and look at how the tire-wheel sits in the wheel well. It should be perfectly centered in the wheel opening, front to rear.

Most collision damage and suspension damage will cause the tire-wheel to sit further to the rear of the wheel opening in the fender. The distance from the wheel to the front and rear of the wheel opening in the fender should be the same front and rear.

If there is a difference in that distance, especially from one side to the other, then you will see that in a front end alignment as an out of spec difference in castor angle. When one wheel is closer to the rear wheel than the other wheel the castor angle will be under the specifications. It will usually cause the vehicle to track towards the side with lower than spec castor. The wheelbase will be less onthe side with the wheel sitting too far back in the wheel opening.

There is a small difference in castor angles in every car from oen side to the other. This makes the car track straight down a road with a crown to promote runoff of rain. If the castor angle was identical then the car would drift off to the right on US roads and to the left on roads in England and other countries where cars drive on the opposite side of the road. So in England the castor angles would be different so the car would track straight where traffic travels in the left lane with steering on the right side of the car, just the opposite of US and oither roads where the steering is on the left side of the car and you drive on the right side of the road.

I did this and everything lines up. Replaced another bent rim today, and got the control arm fixed, still the same shimmy in the steering wheel. It's not as violent as it was before, but it's still there and is still unbearable. I'm at a complete loss and am now out of money. Fun stuff.

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