shitbox alignment tech in CC

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    shitbox alignment tech in CC

    After finally finishing up the post-crash parts swapping I took one of my shitboxes to be aligned.

    Prior to this I just spun the tie rod end on without giving a fuck because "fuck it I'm taking it to be aligned anyway". Despite the wheel being turned 1/4 turn left when driving straight and the wheel wanting to turn left rather than re-center as you approached left lock it drove fine, or as fine as it could for being toed in so far.

    So I got it aligned. They said they couldn't get it dead nuts on because a control arm was slightly bent but they were able to get it pretty close. I looked at the printout and was satisfied with how close they got it and none of the numbers stood out to me as being far off. I can replace the control arm but will almost certainly put it off until I put a new trans in a different car and free up a garage bay.

    As it is aligned currently the car properly re-centers except when you go all the way to the left lock but it wanders substantially on the highway and pulls left when you get on the gas. It's way more eager to turn in and it body rolls substantially more on turn in and has way more roll steer than it used to. Normally I'd just tolerate this but this car drove amazingly before so I'd like to un fuck it. Due to the lack of sway bars and rear suspension geometry I understand that it's gonna roll in turns and roll steer a bit no matter what I do but I own two other copies of this car and they don't drive this way.

    To me the wandering on the highway and pulling when I get on/off the gas sounds like not enough toe. The wanting to steer left at full lock makes sense assuming the right control arm is bent back a little thereby moving the contact patch inboard a little making it want to re-center less.

    I'm at work but I'll dig out the before/after printout from the alignment place when I get home. If I'm lucky I can find an old printout from months ago when it was dead nuts on. Y'all will just have to speculate in the meantime.

    What do y'all think my issue is?

    I'm hoping to do the fine adjustment and get this car driving nice enough myself. I have a caster/camber gauge but no good way to measure toe adjustment other than counting turns on the tie rod. Once I get it dialed in I'll pay someone to put it on a rack and tell me what the numbers are for future reference.
    Last edited by arse_sidewards; 07-06-2020, 07:28 AM.

    #2
    The unibody is bent. Subarus are disposable cars, your not supposed to crash one and then fix it. Its probably never going to be right again, but I'm sure you already know that.

    On your alignment printout.... Check the thrust angle numbers and also if its on there the WB #'s from side to side. Sounds like the control arm mount is either pushed in, pushed back or both.

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      #3
      I don't recall seeing a thrust angle on the print out but I'll check. I doubt the mount itself is pushed in. The arm is a shit design for taking force in the rearward direction and I have no doubt it's pushed back a little. The mounts are comparatively stout, at least in that direction. It wasn't a bad crash.

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        #4
        The caster may be fucked up. Have a good look at the suspension bushings. Get a long pry bar and try to force the suspension parts to move ,compare one side to the other. No problems with front CV joints ?..But it may be what the guy above suggested...

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          #5
          Originally posted by arse_sidewards View Post
          I don't recall seeing a thrust angle on the print out but I'll check...
          Isn't 2 options available? Or fall victim to bait & switch.
          1) Front End alignment
          2) Thrust Angle Alignment

          It seems everybody gets the Front End checked within specs & returns back to shop to complain (bait) about it's off somewhat... The switch is to spring a bit more to get the Thrust Angle alignment.

          Always ask for both, reasonable price-

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            #6
            Here's the alignment as it was brought to the shop on Friday and currently sits

            Click image for larger version
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              #7
              And after turning the entire house inside out I found the paper from "handles awesome before and after I brought it to the shop" alignment. I found it in the super "important shit" folder with all the chain of custody paperwork proving I have legitimate titles to all the vehicles I have legitimate title to and the dorm room decoration my girlfriend made for me back when I was in college.

              Click image for larger version
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                #8
                So TL;DR they put a ton of toe into it and caster is fucked on the right. I guess they probably just kinda said fuck it once they saw they couldn't get the caster correct.

                Caster isn't adjustable on this car AFAIK so the control arm probably is bent. The negative caster almost certainly is what's causing it to want to wander on the highway and the eagerness to turn in.

                As much as I would love to ghetto fix it I think I'll buy a control arm.

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                  #9
                  Used OEM control arm is $40. Dorman is $45. Which should I get?

                  Edit: Fuck it, I bought the OEM one because it ships faster.
                  Last edited by arse_sidewards; 07-06-2020, 08:30 PM.

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                    #10
                    A control arm for that costs what? $25?

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                      #11
                      Originally posted by arse_sidewards View Post
                      Here's the alignment as it was brought to the shop on Friday and currently sits

                      Click image for larger version  Name:	IMG_20200706_211142_778.jpg Views:	0 Size:	129.1 KB ID:	62982
                      That toe and caster is horrible, I did Alignments for years and I would of never sent it out the door like that. I always inspected a car beforehand so if there were bent or damaged parts, the cust wasn't wasting money on the useless alignment. You want caster even-ish on both sides or it will pull under acceleration or braking, especially with toe way out. The max toe on a street car is usually around +-0.03 degrees. Currently you are pushing your front wheels around with them pointed at each other. To put it in kid terms your car is doing pizza when you want french fries. Your current set up will eat tires in short order.

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                        #12
                        I would see if you can loosen the subframe bolts and get it squared up better. A good hit can shift the subframe.

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                          #13
                          Originally posted by Juztyn00 View Post

                          That toe and caster is horrible, I did Alignments for years and I would of never sent it out the door like that. I always inspected a car beforehand so if there were bent or damaged parts, the cust wasn't wasting money on the useless alignment. You want caster even-ish on both sides or it will pull under acceleration or braking, especially with toe way out. The max toe on a street car is usually around +-0.03 degrees. Currently you are pushing your front wheels around with them pointed at each other. To put it in kid terms your car is doing pizza when you want french fries. Your current set up will eat tires in short order.
                          No shit. They gave me that alignment for free since it was so far off and told me that the control arm was bent which I didn't see when I just glanced at where the wheel was in the wheel opening. I know how alignment works and how the different adjustments affects tire wear and have a basic understanding of how the adjustments affect handing.

                          Pulling under accel/braking is exactly what it does which is how I knew something was fucked in an asymmetrical way.

                          Originally posted by DMG View Post
                          I would see if you can loosen the subframe bolts and get it squared up better. A good hit can shift the subframe.
                          If I get the new and old arms side by side and there's no difference I'll do that but I basically drove over the rear corner of a Camry so I'm not surprised it's bent. Strut was bent too but that was replaced already. The subframe doesn't have anywhere to shift to without bending the rest of the car. There isn't much clearance on those bolt holes so it's not like it can slide around enough to affect anything beyond what an alignment can take care of.

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                            #14
                            The subframe can be moved around enough to affect your numbers significantly.

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                              #15
                              Get a tape and fix the toe. Its fwd caster generally wont make it pull. That alignment guy should be fired.

                              Comment

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