Alignment couldn't be completed. Help!

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Alignment couldn't be completed. Help!

Postby Fiat88 on Mon Jul 11, 2011 10:27 pm

So, I brought my car down to one of the local shops to have a few things fixed, one thing fixed was the sway bar studs on the drivers side and another thing he did was weld and reinforced the cracked top frame rail on the passanger side. That cost me $375.

The thing they coudn't do was the alignment. The mechanic told me the guy at the dealership coudn't do an alignment because he said he thought the tie rods might be the wrong ones for the car! :shock: I bought them from one of the usual fiat vendors and installed them myself. They looked exactly the same as the old ones. He said its fixable with some adjusting, though. Not really sure what to make of it. He didn't charge me for the alignment. I thought part of an alignment was to adjust the tie rods?

Here's the spec sheet, i did notice after getting the car back my steering wheel is off center. I asked if it was drivable and he said, yes. Any advice and comments would be appreciated! Thanks.
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Re: Alignment couldn't be completed. Help!

Postby jctucker on Tue Jul 12, 2011 7:36 am

Did the shop you take it to send it to a Fiat dealer to be aligned?
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Re: Alignment couldn't be completed. Help!

Postby baltobernie on Tue Jul 12, 2011 10:25 am

The tie rods have different threads for the left and right sides. The proper way to install new ones is to count and record the number of threads showing on each ball joint, then PB Blast and remove/install the new ones to the same location. Orient the tie rods so that the assemblies expand and contract with the same tie rod rotation; the conventional pattern is expansion when either rod is rotated toward the front of the car.

It's possible your installation did not provide the mechanic with enough adjustment range on the tie rods.

Caster and camber adjustment is performed with shims, and these adjustments affect toe, as well.
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Re: Alignment couldn't be completed. Help!

Postby majicwrench on Tue Jul 12, 2011 11:29 am

I am not quite understanding those readings. Says toe is -2.07 on left and 4.67 on the right??
It would take a competent front end guy minutes to properly arrange tie rods (if you had something assembled wrong) on something like a spider.
Do you trust these folks?? Do you have somewhere to get a second opinion??
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Re: Alignment couldn't be completed. Help!

Postby engineerted on Tue Jul 12, 2011 12:20 pm

Total toe is the difference between the two numbers. It looks like the guy did not want to mess with the shims to correct the caster and camber, this is typical for our cars that have the washers between the control arm and the crossmember. The techs do not like this setup, takes too much time to remove the lower control to get the washers out. Find a new shop that does this type of alignment, but you may have to pay an hourly rate for this type of service.


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Re: Alignment couldn't be completed. Help!

Postby Danno on Tue Jul 12, 2011 2:05 pm

Couldn't one just do all the shim and washer work at home getting things within workable adjustment distance of a tech who could then make the final measurements and fine tuning.
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Re: Alignment couldn't be completed. Help!

Postby So Cal Mark on Tue Jul 12, 2011 2:25 pm

with 2" of toe the car is not driveable. Did you buy the tie rod assy that comes with both tie rod ends and the adjusting sleeve? I've seen some of those that are too long. If that's what you have, the toe would not be able to be adjusted within specs
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Re: Alignment couldn't be completed. Help!

Postby Fiat88 on Tue Jul 12, 2011 3:34 pm

So Cal Mark wrote:with 2" of toe the car is not driveable. Did you buy the tie rod assy that comes with both tie rod ends and the adjusting sleeve? I've seen some of those that are too long. If that's what you have, the toe would not be able to be adjusted within specs

I bought the complete tie rod assemblies. I think he mentioned something about having to cut them shorter. Do you think I should get a second opinion?
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Re: Alignment couldn't be completed. Help!

Postby 124JOE on Tue Jul 12, 2011 5:15 pm

if its not done right youll wear your tires.or worse several pair
so if you trust him to cut it just to get it right.then i spose
it not like youll ever needit out that far anyway
when you do everything correct people arent sure youve done anything at all.
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Re: Alignment couldn't be completed. Help!

Postby So Cal Mark on Tue Jul 12, 2011 10:03 pm

as mentioned, I've seen those assemblies with a length that is way too long and that would cause 2" of toe. The only trick to shortening them is to do each tie rod equally
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Re: Alignment couldn't be completed. Help!

Postby majicwrench on Tue Jul 12, 2011 10:28 pm

Sounds like you are actually driving the car?? If so, the toe cannot be out as far as the specs indicate.
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Re: Alignment couldn't be completed. Help!

Postby Fiat88 on Tue Jul 12, 2011 10:50 pm

majicwrench wrote:Sounds like you are actually driving the car?? If so, the toe cannot be out as far as the specs indicate.
I only drove the car a few miles back and forth to the shop. I noticed on my way to the shop that when i hit a bump in the road I felt a strong change of direction of the wheels to the left. On my way back from picking up the car, the steering felt a little better but the steering wheel was off-center now. :(
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Re: Alignment couldn't be completed. Help!

Postby azruss on Wed Jul 13, 2011 12:28 am

caster and camber can be done at home with patience, a flat floor, framing square, tape measure and calculator. you can also use a gravity angle gage as well. GM bodies of the 70s had bolt on fenders and used spacers for adjustment. these were fenderwashers with a slot rather than a hole in them. these are perfect for setting caster and camber without having to remove the lower a-arm. until you get your caster and camber right, nothing else will be right. looking at the numbers it appears to me that shims should solve all the issues. As mark said, there are long tie rods that can be an issue. crawl under the car and see if the amount of thread showing on each end of each tie rod is the same. If there are drastic differences, then you can even them up to get a shorter set. can solve the steering wheel issue with the same technique. if you dont want to mess with it, you can pull the steering wheel and put in on straight. the only issue is you wont have the same turn to lock in each direction.
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Re: Alignment couldn't be completed. Help!

Postby Fiat88 on Wed Jul 13, 2011 12:42 am

azruss wrote:caster and camber can be done at home with patience, a flat floor, framing square, tape measure and calculator. you can also use a gravity angle gage as well. GM bodies of the 70s had bolt on fenders and used spacers for adjustment. these were fenderwashers with a slot rather than a hole in them. these are perfect for setting caster and camber without having to remove the lower a-arm. until you get your caster and camber right, nothing else will be right. looking at the numbers it appears to me that shims should solve all the issues. As mark said, there are long tie rods that can be an issue. crawl under the car and see if the amount of thread showing on each end of each tie rod is the same. If there are drastic differences, then you can even them up to get a shorter set. can solve the steering wheel issue with the same technique. if you dont want to mess with it, you can pull the steering wheel and put in on straight. the only issue is you wont have the same turn to lock in each direction.

Will take a look tomorrow. Thanks for the assistence, much appreciated!
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Re: Alignment couldn't be completed. Help!

Postby So Cal Mark on Wed Jul 13, 2011 2:33 pm

do not remove the steering wheel and reinstall to center it. Your steering box will be off center. Boxes are built to have slightly more resistance when they are centered, helping to car to track straight.
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