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Old 05-13-2014, 10:35 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I don't hold that against the shops. These procedures are only necessary when a car has had some kind of impact that caused the misalignment. On the old Z cars we worked on there was no provision for anything but a toe adjustment. If anything else was off, something was bent.

Modern unibody cars have measuring points on the unibody. I think the tolerance is 1 millimeter. Checking every car that comes into an alignment shop to make sure it is in tolerances would mean they would not stay in business.

To that situation I put a sign on the wall of the customers waiting area that asked customers to tell me everything they knew that could be related to their problem.
If you tell me "I aready knew that" after I have spent my time and YOUR money diagnosing a problem the charge will not be refunded.

In extreme cases of animosity created by repeated situations like this, I would ask them to take their business elsewhere. It was very rare but happened maybe 10 times in over a decade, especially when the jerk told me they were "testing" my capabilities. The shop is still operating 15 years after I sold it to the new owner who apprenticed under me.

The exchange of relevant information in hundreds of cases, allowed me to know what was wrong before I ever touched the car. More work completed at lower costs to the customer, done right the first time. I never made money doing it twice.

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Old 05-13-2014, 10:53 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Old Mechanic View Post
To that situation I put a sign on the wall of the customers waiting area that asked customers to tell me everything they knew that could be related to their problem.
If you tell me "I aready knew that" after I have spent my time and YOUR money diagnosing a problem the charge will not be refunded.
That is why I asked.

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When you took it in did you tell them about the problem or just ask for an alignment and balance.
Better to have too much information than lack a critical detail.
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Old 05-13-2014, 02:36 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Thanks guys for the info. I can't do anything related to getting under the car and I am at a different tire shop my friend recommended and this tire shop is SO MUCH BETTER. they allowed me to stand there and watch them do the work, all 4 tires were out of balanced and there was another bent rim. They rotated tires and rebalanced them for free, moved the bent rim to the back just to test if the shimmy would go away, it did not. They are checking my entire front end out at this point. I love these people they are so thorough.
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Old 05-13-2014, 04:21 PM   #14 (permalink)
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there was another bent rim.
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Old 05-13-2014, 05:46 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I can not over emphasize the importance, expecially on rack and pinion steering systems, of making sure the rack is centered before tackling any front end alignment issues.

Centering the steering wheel and the rack is the basis of a proper alignment. If you make sure the wheel is centered and the rack is centered (previous post), then just drive the car and if it drives straight down the road then your alignment is very close (and that's free).

If it drives straight but the wheel is not centered and or the rack is not centered, then it is highly likely that there is something worn out or damaged (if not worn out) or both. Without a collision or worn out components, front end alignments will last a very long time.

I generally do not align the front end once it is "right" unless I see tire wear that would indicate an alignment issue (uneven wear across the tread).

I also generally avoid balancing tires unless there are symptoms. I once took my Riviera to Wall Mart to have the tires rebalanced before the 7k mile free interval. They told me there were not enough miles for it to be free.

I told them there was a vibration and I'll bet the $35 it's a balance issue. One wheel was 1/4 ounce out of balance and the rebalance cost me nothing.

When you replace tires, my experience is they will need a rebalance one time, then they should remain balanced for the life of the tires, assuming there is no major impact or pothole type damage.

Bottom line is in almost every case, without impact damage, your car will "tell" you when it's tires need to be rotated and or balanced.

Make this a sticky if you wish mods, it could save people a lot of coin over a lifetime.

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Old 05-13-2014, 06:49 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Mechanic View Post
I can not over emphasize the importance, expecially on rack and pinion steering systems, of making sure the rack is centered before tackling any front end alignment issues.

Centering the steering wheel and the rack is the basis of a proper alignment. If you make sure the wheel is centered and the rack is centered (previous post), then just drive the car and if it drives straight down the road then your alignment is very close (and that's free).

If it drives straight but the wheel is not centered and or the rack is not centered, then it is highly likely that there is something worn out or damaged (if not worn out) or both. Without a collision or worn out components, front end alignments will last a very long time.

I generally do not align the front end once it is "right" unless I see tire wear that would indicate an alignment issue (uneven wear across the tread).

I also generally avoid balancing tires unless there are symptoms. I once took my Riviera to Wall Mart to have the tires rebalanced before the 7k mile free interval. They told me there were not enough miles for it to be free.

I told them there was a vibration and I'll bet the $35 it's a balance issue. One wheel was 1/4 ounce out of balance and the rebalance cost me nothing.

When you replace tires, my experience is they will need a rebalance one time, then they should remain balanced for the life of the tires, assuming there is no major impact or pothole type damage.

Bottom line is in almost every case, without impact damage, your car will "tell" you when it's tires need to be rotated and or balanced.

Make this a sticky if you wish mods, it could save people a lot of coin over a lifetime.

regards
Mech
After we got off the phone and I got home, I did the tape test, it's 100% on the dot. I turn the the wheel to the right and it's 1.75 turns, to the left, 1.75. I then took the car around the block with easy throttle, checked when I got home, same results, I then bumped it up a little and was more snappy with turns, faster throttle and in general more abusive, same results. That means my alignment is ok right?
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Old 05-13-2014, 07:01 PM   #17 (permalink)
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If you still have the bent lower control arm and the front end was aligned with the bent lower control arm, then I would bet the tie roads are not the same length.

Rack must be centered AND tie rods must be the same length.

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Old 05-13-2014, 07:13 PM   #18 (permalink)
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If you still have the bent lower control arm and the front end was aligned with the bent lower control arm, then I would bet the tie roads are not the same length.

Rack must be centered AND tie rods must be the same length.

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When I take it in tomorrow to get the control arm replaced, and they do an alignment that will fix it right? Or should I say something to them about it?
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Old 05-13-2014, 07:13 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Were the bent lower control arm, bent rim and bad strut originally at the same location?
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Old 05-13-2014, 07:38 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Were the bent lower control arm, bent rim and bad strut originally at the same location?
Elaborate more? If what your asking is if someone hit something then yes, I think the person that owned the car before me hit a pothole because both the rims on the front and both the control arms were shot. I'm just thinking that's what happened.

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