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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Had an alignment done today, need some feedback.
Front:
...............................LEFT..........RIGHT
Camber:...................-2.4........-1.9
Caster:......................6.7°.........7.1°
Toe:.........................0.00°........0.02°
Total Toe:................-0.02°
Steer Ahead:.............0.01

REAR:
...............................LEFT..........RIGHT
Camber:...................-1.6..........-1.6
Toe:.........................0.17°........-0.16
Total Toe:.................0.33°
Thrust Angle:.............0.00°

My front subframe had a dent in the center and it created an upward dent .
I replaced he subfram yesterday..
Your feedback is greatly appriciated.
Stats: Koni Fully Adjustable Coilover
CPP Rear Lower Control Arms
Front and rear 22mm sways
BBS LM's 19"x8.5"
ET 25 front
ET 25 Rear
 

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Re: Had an alignment today, need feedback. (Spoolin1X)

Quote, originally posted by Spoolin1X »
Had an alignment done today, need some feedback.
Front:
...............................LEFT..........RIGHT
Camber:...................-2.4........-1.9
Caster:......................6.7°.........7.1°
Toe:.........................0.00°........0.02°
Total Toe:................-0.02°
Steer Ahead:.............0.01

REAR:
...............................LEFT..........RIGHT
Camber:...................-1.6..........-1.6
Toe:.........................0.17°........-0.16
Total Toe:.................0.33°
Thrust Angle:.............0.00°


I hope you like to buy tires, -2.4 thats alot of negitive camber for the street, most people on the street run between -1.5 and -1, and why couldn't they get your front camber a bit closer, I mean a half of a degree, I can align you car with eyes closed better than that... Bottom line take it some where else and get it done they suck
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
there are not that many good places in NYC area.
i really didn't like the way they did my alignment.
i am gonna install the GC camber/caster plates tomorrow in the AM and then go and get another alignment.
so i guess i threw $60 out the door for this alignment.
 

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Re: Had an alignment today, need feedback. (Spoolin1X)

It seems that your alignment technician was not aware that the caster can be adjusted by shifting the engine cradle (subframe as you called it) and re-tightening the bolts. This is the factory recommended adjustment method. Unless the vehicle has been damaged in an accident, there should be enough adjustment to get the caster into spec and the same from side to side. After the caster has been adjusted, the camber will also be affected, and I would have to guess that the camber on the left side would shift a little more positive, thusly bringing it closer to the value on the right side. Also note that the camber usually goes more negative when the vehicle is lowered using lowering springs since the design of the suspension tends to go more camber negative as the suspension travels in the jounce direction and more camber positive when it travels in the rebound direction. Personally, I would not be concerned with camber readings as low as -2.0 degrees with a lowered ride height as long as they were reasonably even from side to side. The values you have indicated will probably give a condition known as "camber thrust" which may make the vehicle pull to the side with the most positive camber (right side). This would be compounded by the fact that the vehicle will also tend to pull to the side with the least positive caster (left side). So, in effect, the two angles would tend to fight each other, making for an ill-handling car. So, after that not-so-brief explanation, I would say that the front should have the engine cradle adjusted properly for caster and camber and then reset the toe. I'm assuming that the readings you have posted are from the readout provided you by the alignment shop. Normally, there would be three sets of readings printed on the sheet:
1. Vehicle preferred specs (not posted) sometimes these don't jive
with the actual factory specs from VW
2. The actual alignment readings before any adjustments are made(not posted)
3. The actual alignment readings after all adjustments have been made to bring the vehicle as close to preferred spec as possible
I would be highly suspect of any "alignment" that didn't give you all of this information on your customer copy of the work order. The problem can be either the lack of knowledge needed to perform the adjustments properly or an attempt to cover up a shady practice known in the car business as a "toe and go". This refers to the practice of putting a car up on the rack and quickly adjusting the toe (which is the main tire wear angle) to spec and to ensure that the steering wheel is level and straight. Then the car goes out the door without having any other angles adjusted and they pocket a quick buck. Most customers never know the difference and the car will probably not wear tire, but the enthusiast is looking for an actual honest alignment for performance and handling optimization. This can be hard to find in today's world. There is more evidence that something doesn't add up with the specs you have posted. The rear specs don't make sense to me. The camber is dead even at -1.6 on both sides, which is good. However, the toe is positive 0.17 on the left and negative 0.16 on the right. Now, this equates to a total toe of positive 0.01, but the sheet says the total toe is positive 0.33! This doesn't make any sense. The only way the total toe would be 0.33 would be if the rear wheels were both toed-in (positive) which would be
0.17 + 0.16. This is not the case, since the right side is actually toed-out(negative) according to the sheet. And, think about this, if the total rear toe-in were 0.33, the car would be scrubbing the rear tires off at a very high rate. They would be noticeably feather-edged, which I doubt is the case. The other thing to note, is that while the actual total toe is 0.01 (very close to zero) the thrust angle is not "0.00" as indicated. Both the rear wheels are pointing the same way. ie: the left is pointing to the right (toed-in) and the right is pointing to the right(toed-out) This would make the thrust angle 0.33! Hmmm Something is funny in Denmark here. So, in lay terms, the rear wheels are toed correctly in relationship to each other, but are creating a thrust angle in relation to the centerline of the car. This is also not good for handling, especially in an AWD platform where that thrust angle is under power! So, either the specs shown are simply gobbletygook, or someone tried to pull a fast one on you. At any rate, I doubt that you would really need to addd camber/caster adjust plates to get this vehicle into spec, unless you were lookng for some unusally wild alignment angles or dropping the car way down. Hope this lengthy explanation helps in some way. Anyone else feel free to chime in. Alignment is a big topic.
 

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Re: Had an alignment today, need feedback. (Stealthpilot)

Awesome post! http://****************.com/smile/emthup.gif http://****************.com/smile/emthup.gif
I will have to re-read it, as my head exploded!
Keep the discussion rolling, I will print and file this one and hopefully learn something of value!
 

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Re: (Spoolin1X)

Quote, originally posted by Spoolin1X »
there are not that many good places in NYC area.
i really didn't like the way they did my alignment.
i am gonna install the GC camber/caster plates tomorrow in the AM and then go and get another alignment.
so i guess i threw $60 out the door for this alignment.

106 st and northern blvrd
the tire place in the corner http://****************.com/smile/emthup.gif http://****************.com/smile/emthup.gif
 

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Re: Had an alignment today, need feedback. (borntorage)

Quote, originally posted by borntorage »
Awesome post! http://****************.com/smile/emthup.gif http://****************.com/smile/emthup.gif
I will have to re-read it, as my head exploded!
Keep the discussion rolling, I will print and file this one and hopefully learn something of value!

Sorry, I didn't mean to create cranial carnage! I'm only educated in most things automotive. You need a doctor, or possibly someone who stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night! LOL
Actually, most of what I posted should be fairly common knowledge to any well-trained alignment technician. IMO, the purpose of this type of forum is to share that information with VW enthusiasts who want to have a better understanding of any auto related topic which will hopefully help to make their modifications more effective. I hate to see many of the members of this group spend thousands of dollars on suspension upgrades and not get even half of the potential benefit from their investment because of a slipshod alignment by an untrained or unscrupulous mechanic. The problem is, alot of so-called alignment shops hire the kid from Jiffy Lube, teach him how to set up the machine, calibrate the heads, use the printer and set the toe, in one easy lesson. Now he's "fully trained" and ready for battle.
Many shops tend to rely on the impressive appearance of the modern computerized alignment machines to sell their competence to the public. In reality, just as in any other skilled trade, it's the skill and training of the operator that determines the quality of the job. I actually received my initial formal alignment training on one of the old "sliding screen" machines with the mirrored wheel heads that were common back in the 1970's. This actually made it easier to do a good alignment when the newer computerized machines came along, because I had a better concept of what I was checking and how it affected the vehicle. Don't get me wrong, I'm not pining for "the good old days ." The new machines are wonderful tools, but it still takes a trained professional who has a passion for the job to get a truly good alignment on your car. OK, I'll get down off the soapbox. I got carried away!
We can keep the discussion rolling, but we need some input from other current or former technicians, automotive engineers, mechanical engineers, etc. Surely there's more people like that who frequent this forum and could add valuable info. I'm not the authority. Like I said, alignment is a big topic and there are people out there who know much more about the topic than me. I'm always up for learning too.
 

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Re: Had an alignment today, need feedback. (Spoolin1X)

read the thread and was enticed by the knowledge hear. so to keep the thread going I also need an alignment and maybe someone can help me. I have a mk3 gti and my car dog walks. (if you don't know what this is, it's if you were to follow my car while driving you would see the front of the car is more to one side than the rear of the car) the local alignment place said that there is no adjustment to align the rear and that something is bent or off in the rear and would need to replace the rear beam and that, that would be the only way to correct my problem. (dog walking) is there a way to correct this? do I need to buy a whole new rear beam? and if I do, is the rear beam on a VR6 and 2.0 GTI the same or are they different and need one from a VR6?


Modified by Gufifooted at 12:54 PM 12-17-2006
 

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Re: Had an alignment today, need feedback. (Gufifooted)

It is usually possible to adjust the rear camber and toe with full-contact tapered shims installed behind the stub axles. Any reputable alignment shop should know this and be able to perform the service.
It can be time consuming, so many shops don't like to "bother" with it, and just tell the customer that it is "not adjustable." This has been basically the same rear axle setup since the MKI cars. Any of the solid rear torsion beam axles can be adjusted with these type of shims. The same shims were used on other cars with similar rear axle designs, such as the Dodge Omni/ Plymouth Horizon models from Chrysler. Of course, it is possible that the rear axle beam on your particular car may have been damaged by accident or abuse sometime in the past. If it's bent very badly, it will need to be replaced. I would also make careful inspection of the pivot bushings (frame mount bushings) If these are deteriorated, it can effect the rear axle alignment. You may simply need new bushings and a good alignment. Bottom line: have the car checked out by a knowledgable
VW tech. You need someone who knows these cars specifically, not the average wrench.
Interestingly enough, VW had a factory recall on the rear axle beams on the MKII Golfs back in the mid 1980's (1985, 1986, etc.) while I was working as a dealership tech. They were bent right from the factory and we replaced a bunch of them. Hopefully, they had that problem fixed by the time the MKIII cars came out. FYI
 

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Re: Had an alignment today, need feedback. (Gufifooted)

http://www.hunter.com/pub/prod...5%2D3
Here's a link to a page on Hunter's site (they make a large percentage of the four wheel alighnment machines used in the US)
that shows the rear-axle full contact tapered shim assortment sold by Hunter for adjusting the rear camber/toe on torsion beam axle cars.
Hunter's newer machines even have software that calculates the proper orientation of the shim to correct both rear alignment angles at the same time without any calculating or guesswork by the technician.
This allows the tech to make one shim adjustment per side and have it come out right the first time. This is important since you usually have to disassemble the rear brake assemblies and backing plates to install the shims behind the stub axles. The customer should only have to pay for the labor time to do the adjustment once, not multiple times for trial and error tweaks. This does take time and therefore usually costs more than your cheapo $39.95 front end alignment, but it's worth the effort and expense.
 

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Re: (Spoolin1X)

Quote, originally posted by Spoolin1X »
WOW, lots of info here.
thanks stealthpilot for helping out.

No problem, glad to help. Since it was your question and car that started this thread, I was wondering if you were able to eventually get a proper alignment on your R32?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Actually the answer is no, i have not done much if any the last few weeks, i have a place that a fellow NY member has recommended that i will be going to once i get my winter tires and raise my car a bit.
but with all the info i have read on Vortex the last few weeks revolving around alignment. i can gladly assist and mention tips to the tech incase he is stumped. but hopefully that won't be the issue. i'll keep you guys posted.
 

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Re: (Spoolin1X)

Quote, originally posted by Spoolin1X »
Actually the answer is no, i have not done much if any the last few weeks, i have a place that a fellow NY member has recommended that i will be going to once i get my winter tires and raise my car a bit.

You mentioned raising the car and I see that you have the adjustable coilovers. You really need to choose what ride height you want to run, set it that way and then get the alignment done. If you raise the car for winter driving and plan on lowering it for summer or track days, etc., you will need another alignment when you change the ride height.
As I said earlier, R32s have camber change built in to the suspension as it goes through the range of suspension travel. Also, the toe will sometimes change a slight bit as well, so it's important to have it checked after any ride height change. The other thing to note, is that the factory alignment specs apply to the vehicle at the stock ride height only. If you lower the vehicle and then set all the adjustable angles to spec, you will often end up with a "skewed camber curve"
because you have set the camber at a lower ride height which should have more negative camber than at stock height. So, what you actually end up with, is less negative camber throughout the suspension travel. This is why I commented that -2 deg of camber was not a big concern to me given your lowered ride height. Personally, I like to set the camber at stock ride height (this can be achieved on the alignment rack with the air jack system lifting the car)
then let the car back down to it's lowered height (on the springs) and see where the camber is. It will probably be more negative than where it was set at stock height. If it's reasonable and even from side to side
I'd go with it. This is one of the biggest mistakes I see alignment shops make when dealing with lowered vehicles. They blindly set the car up to factory specs and usually end up taking negative camber out of the entire range of suspension travel. Often times, this will negate much of what could have been gained from the suspension mods. In fairness to alignment shops and techs, they are trained to align cars to factory spec at factory ride heights, and there is considerable liabiity
involved with doing any non-spec alignment in these days of litigation.
I also noticed that you are running 19X8.5 wheels. Are you using wheel spacers, or different offset (than factory) wheels to allow them to clear? If so, this is a big problem from an alignment standpoint. From an engineering standpoint, the entire suspension is designed around a given track width, which effectively changes when you change wheel offsets in any way. Things such as scrub radius, roll center, etc. end up being changed and there is no way to compensate for those changes with an alignment. The biggest problem, from a handling perspective, is how the offset induced trackwidth change affects the toe-out-on-turns function of the suspension. When you turn your car in either direction, the inside wheel needs to follow a smaller radius than the outside wheel. The sharper the turn, the greater the difference between the two radii. So, effectively, what happens is the front wheels must actually become toed-out to follow different radius paths. The factory engineers spend tons of time figuring this out and then designing the suspension to give the proper amount of toe-out for any given steering angle. This is determined by the factory suspension geometry and pretty much set in stone. Usually, when you use wheel spacers they increase the trackwidth by some amount which
requires less toe-out-on-turns than the stock setup for any given steering angle. What this means for enthusiasts is that the car will scrub (drag) the inside front wheel when pushed hard into a corner. The outside tire is heavily loaded and the toe-out-on-turns is more than needed to achieve the desired turning angle. Something has got to give, so it scrubs the inside tire. For street driving, this condition will also tend to make the car feel very nervous in the rain, snow, or ice, because the grip level is so much lower. So, all of this gives you extra tire wear, poorer handling, and safety problems in bad weather. There are some other engineering reasons why wheel spacers and non-stock
offset wheels are a bad idea, but I've tried to keep this alignment related.
Also important to note, is that if you have an alignment with narrower, stock offset winter wheels and then switch to wheels with different offset for the summer, the alignment angles will again, have to be checked. The biggest problem with the extra offset is that it changes the caster readings when you sweep the heads to check it on the machine. Changing wheels won't physically change the actual caster angles of the car, but it will often affect the readings on the machine, which is what was used to set the caster in the first place. My recommendation would be to have the caster set with wheels of stock offset.
Here's a couple of tips to help you get the most from this or any future alignment: Take the car to the shop with 1/2 tank of fuel. This will simulate an average fuel weight in the rear from full to empty. don't have heavy items like golf clubs or bowling balls in the trunk, unless you always carry them with you. This should be common sense, but you'd be surprised at how many customers never give it a thought. Total vehicle weight and weight distribution have an effect on alignment angles. Also, if you usually only drive the car alone, you may want to simulate the drivers weight in the seat with weights comparable to your average body weight. We used to actually have the driver sit in the car on the rack to do this, but most insurance regulations don't allow that any more. This will give a better alignment for tracking, autocrossing, and solo street driving, but may not feel as good with other passengers onboard. You decide on that one.
Well, good luck, and remember, you have factory caster adjustment (shift engine cradle) factory front camber adjustment (lower ball joint slotted mounting holes) and factory front toe adjustment (tie rod ends) You also have CPP adjustable rear control arms which can be used to set the rear camber and toe. There should be no reason that your car cannot be made right, unless it has hidden damage.
Have a safe new year.
 

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Re: (Stealthpilot)

I just read through this and man... thats a pile of very very useful information. I don't know if anybody else appreciated it, but I feel much more knowledgeable now after reading it. I'm in the alignment-needed camp too, so thanks for all of this! http://****************.com/smile/emthup.gif http://****************.com/smile/emthup.gif
 

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Re: Had an alignment today, need feedback. (WikdR32)

Quote, originally posted by WikdR32 »
That was an amazing exlpanation, & only 1-2 typographical errors. I'm definitely saving this one. Very imformative.

I know, is Stealthpilot's real name Earl S. MacPherson or Colin Chapman?!
 
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