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wheel alignment problems

R

raycdosu

Guest
i was wondering if anyone knows if there are any special issues with aligning c5 wheels. every since i got new tires and had it realigned, it pulls to the right. the tire place has attempted 4 times to align it, and they have also switched the sides of the tires and even replaced the tires, in case they were the cause of the pull.

they gave up and told me to take it to a dealer, but given my poor experience with dealers, i probably need to figure out the problem ahead of time so when i go in i can tell them how to fix it.

thanks
 

c4c5specialist

Technical Advisor
Joined
May 29, 2001
Messages
3,682
Location
New Haven, Ct. USA
Corvette
Nope, but someday.
HI there,
I would ask that you please post the alignment specs that the shop has aligned your vehicle to.
These would be located on your print out.
We are concerned with Caster, Camber, Toe, and Steering Axis inclination.
Please let us know what you have and we can proceed.
Besttoyou, c4c5:hb
 
C

CorvetteWave

Guest
ray, I took my 2000 Coupe to my dealership for an alignment after running over a large piece of concrete that fell off a truck on the raod in front of me. They did a great job, and it has been about 10,000 miles since, and the tires are wearing evenly, and no pulling in either direction.
Maybe I am brainwashed by my dealership, but so far that have done all my work and have done it well. The reason I like taking it to the dealership is that they deal with these cars everyday, have the build specs for the car and the necessary tools to do a proper job. Now, to say that a proper job will be done is impossible, but I tend to lean toward the dealership.
Good Luck !
 
R

raycdosu

Guest
ok, i didn't have the printouts from the last times because i started throwing them away . i figured they were worthless because they all said that everything was within the limits.

i took it to the dealer for the alignment, and they ended up sending it to a goodyear dealer to have the work done. (the first day they had the car, they didn't get to it, then the second day, the alignment guy was out of town. maybe i just have bad luck with dealers, but these things happen every time i go to one.)

while this alignment is now much better than the previous, the vehicle still pulls to the right. the printout from the alignment shows the following:

CASTER: LF=6.6, RF=6.9
CAMBER: LF=-0.4, RF=-0.4, LR=-0.3, RR=0.0
TOE: LF=1/32, RF=1/32, LR=0, RR=0
THRUST = 0.0

of course, according to the printout, these are all within an acceptable range. perhaps that's not so? currently, at 40 mph, if you let go of the wheel, the vehicle is consistently on the line of the right hand side of the lane withing 3 seconds, and is completely in the other lane within 6 seconds. that seems unacceptable to me. but maybe i'm being unrealistic to expect better?

thanks
 
R

raycdosu

Guest
oh, and i also noticed you guys said the inclination angle was important too. the printout indicates that they didn't modify those, but says that they are:

SAI: LF=3.6, RF=9.2
INCLUDED ANGLE: LF=3.3, RF=8.9

these numbers are quite a bit different between the two sides. is that significant?
 

c4c5specialist

Technical Advisor
Joined
May 29, 2001
Messages
3,682
Location
New Haven, Ct. USA
Corvette
Nope, but someday.
Hi there,
Did you own the car since new???
Those massive differences are VERY IMPORTANT.
If I were thinking correctly, you have not owned this car since new.
Something has shifted your steering axis inclination so badly, that even if the specs are within tolerances, you have handling issues.
This would cause very unpredictable handling, and very unstable feelings in the corners.
Although the rear camber is slightly out, there is more than this in what you are experiencing.
I would ask that you have your frame points checked, as I am suspecting that this vehicle was in an accident.
A frame point check is the only way that this can be addressed.
You may be able to shift the subframe mounts some, to assist in the repairing of the condition, however, I dont think that this will be enough of a change to correct the readings fully.
Please keep us posted, c4c5:hb
 
G

godalex

Guest
Alignment trouble

I had a problem with my car since delivery, 02 Coupe, the dealer that sold me the car couldnt align it properly, and after four hours, gave up... it didnt pull, but was erratic on uneven surfaces and pitched to either side under high excelleration and at speed, tried another dealer and the rear was way out... finally had to go back one more time and now it is tolerable. It's scary to think they can sell so many vettes and not have a clue on such a simple service procedure. (I explained at length to them that a 50K car made to perform should do just that) My suspicion is that in initial transit the car was torqued down on the transport too hard and that sent it out of alignment. -my two cents worth
 

rwd

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 22, 2002
Messages
234
Location
Yes
Corvette
Varies
It's an argument for having a designated vette service center in metro areas. Nothing fancy, just a dealer with techs who specialize in them.

Granted, some customers might feel it's inconvenient, but I'm not sure it's realistic to expect low volume dealers that sell just a handful each year to have service managers and techs familiar with them. Considering the sophisticated systems available on the wide variety of cars, trucks and vans now sold, you could spend all day training and never get any work done.

Not meant to be offensive. You've hit on a problem that's always existed.

That's one reason c4c5specialist's input is so valuable.

And it's also why it's so important to give him feedback on what he says so that he can refine his methods and evaluate the info in conjunction with his other experiences.

I hope I can find someone as experienced when I have to take mine into the shop. I'll certainly check around.

raycdosu, I'd have to agree with his assessment. Good luck, and please keep us posted.
 
G

godalex

Guest
Re RWD

Your points are well taken... the irony is, Glenn Smith, sells a lot of vettes (where I purchased the car), they had 15+ or so when I was there last, and half of them Z06's... but like many dealers they purchase vettes from other dealers to try and push there quota up. Capitol Chevrolet in Montgomery AL is a large dealership with an impressive service facility, and not near as many Corvettes. Both dealers have listed credentials for Corvette certified mechanics, in one expertise or another, yet it came to my attention that in the case of Glenn Smith, the only Vette specialist prefers not to work on them! He just got the certs for the higher pay, and in the case of Capitol, the technitian working on your car in most cases is not the one certified to do so, they just certify individuals to meet the servicing requirements from GM so they can deal with the Vette. When I had a flat, I had trouble getting Goodyear and Chevrolet to fix it, Capitol attempted and claimed there tire machine broke, Goodyear refused to touch it with a ten meter cattle prod until the EMT tech was in, and he only is there till noon. It took finding a custom wheel shop before I could have the flat repaired. I do a lot of custom work on various vehicles, and have prefered to do my own work in the past to make sure it is done correctly (I purchased the factory service manual for every car I have owned, and did so with the Vette as well-and I highly recommend it as insurance against incompetents service techs, you may have to baby sit them, but at least you are in a position to know when work is done correctly), but I lack a tire machine and an alignment machine so I am at their mercy... and there is something inherently screwy about having a new car under warranty, and not being able to service it with out driving three hours to Atlanta! It also irks me that the service manuals specifically show the jacking points, but three dealers have chosen to jack from the end of the springs, which is a huge no-no according to GM. I understand that things happen, and we all have to deal with it when it does, but let us remember that owning a car is for transportation, and it can not serve it's intended purpose when you can not get it serviced. Especially for something as trivial as a flat or an alignment. I'd hope that at least the techs working on a particular car would consult the manual before doing so... it is something I do religiously. Perhaps the work ethic in this area is just very lax.

That said, I love the vette, love driving it, the only down side to owning one is having to deal with incompetent service departments.

Thanks for the reply RWD
 
R

raycdosu

Guest
thanks for the info, c4c5specialist. you're advice on this board is greatly appreciated since you often provide insight i can't find anywhere else.

you mentioned that i could have the subframe mounts adjusted, but that would not correct the problem fully. are you saying that this problem would be irrepairable?

you are right that i did not purchase the car new. it did have somewhat erratic steering through ruts in the road, which went away when i replaced the tires and got the new alignment. i chalked that up to the fact that i replaced the tires with non-run-flats. but that is also when it started drifting--right after i got the alignment. i also admit that soon after, someone squeezed me into the curb on a narrow four lane street and i hit hard enough to blow the tire. however, i was having the drift problem before that, and it didn't get any worse afterwards, so i think any damage would have been prior to that.

after reading your post, i did some internet research on the finer points of wheel alignment. i read that the important point is the included angle, which is the sum of the steering angle inclination and the camber. my main question is this: though the SAI cannot be adjusted, is it possible to adjust the camber on one side so that the included angle on both sides match? then would the car go straight down the road? it seems possible, though i would expect that the adjusted wheel would have uneven wear on the tire.

if that is possible, it is my suspicion that the previous owner may have done this to the vehicle. that would explain the uneven wear i noticed on the old tires.

i guess i would also like to know if it is possible that only the strut or tie rod is bent and that maybe replacing those would fix the problem?

thanks. i just want to better identify the problem so i won't get ripped off when i take it to get it fixed.
 

c4c5specialist

Technical Advisor
Joined
May 29, 2001
Messages
3,682
Location
New Haven, Ct. USA
Corvette
Nope, but someday.
HI there,
I cannot say if it will NOT be repairable, as I cannot measure the frame mounting points. This should be the first course of action, in the measuring the correct frame reference points, to confirm that the frame is NOT bent.
If, after your body shop referenced service document, 209946, which will contain all the correct measurements, they conclude that the frame is NOT bent, then, correct checks of the tie rods, and the control arms, as you have stated, would be the next course of action.
Also, if the frame is fine, then you may be able to loosen the subframe mounts, and shift the subframe, in the correct direction.
Anyway, please keep us posted, as I like a challenge.
Besttoyou, c4c5:hb
 
R

RedRocket

Guest
You might want to check you wheel bearings. We had a problem and it turned out that we needed to replace the hub. It was done under warranty and now does beautifully.
 

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