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shitbox alignment tech in CC

arse_sidewards

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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.
 
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SLOWPOKE693

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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.
 

arse_sidewards

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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.
 

Truckedup

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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...
 

det107

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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-
 

arse_sidewards

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

IMG_20200706_211142_778.jpg
 

arse_sidewards

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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. :laughing:

IMG_20200706_211012_723.jpg
 

arse_sidewards

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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.
 

arse_sidewards

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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.
 
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Juztyn00

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


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.
 

DMG

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

arse_sidewards

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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.

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.
 

Bamajeeper

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The subframe can be moved around enough to affect your numbers significantly.
 
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Get a tape and fix the toe. Its fwd caster generally wont make it pull. That alignment guy should be fired.
 

DMG

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

Yep. A long time ago I was the main alignment guy for a new car dealer group. I moved a ton of cradles on body shop alignments. Most of them you just have to loosen the bolts and wiggle them around until they are more or less centered again. Some you have to twist and pull with pry bars and big rachet straps then tighten them down.
 

arse_sidewards

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Last night I replaced the TRE which had a decent amount of slop in it and I re-seated the ball joint in the hole since it came loose and was flopping around. That greatly improved NVH for today's commute though mysteriously the pulling got worse.

Today I fixed this. Unfortunately that means the alignment is now totally fucked and I have to drive the Aerostar to work tomorrow.
Click image for larger version  Name:	IMG_20200714_204538_542.jpg Views:	0 Size:	337.5 KB ID:	71122
 

ThePanzerFuhrer

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Last night I replaced the TRE which had a decent amount of slop in it and I re-seated the ball joint in the hole since it came loose and was flopping around. That greatly improved NVH for today's commute though mysteriously the pulling got worse.

Today I fixed this. Unfortunately that means the alignment is now totally fucked and I have to drive the Aerostar to work tomorrow.

when you say Aerostar you mean the space shuttle right? What will the whiney guy at work say when you show up in that?
 

ThePanzerFuhrer

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He's too lazy to do a site walkaround more than about once a month. Odds are he won't know it exists for a long time. :laughing:

Just for entertainment sake can you toss a large vertical stabilizer on the roof. See how long it takes him to blow a gasket.
 

arse_sidewards

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Got it aligned yesterday. Haven't driven it yet but the girlfriend says it drives good and she tends to give more fucks than me. I have a camber gauge so I'm gonna have to set the camber myself. I'm not sure how they managed to fuck it so bad considering it has its own bolt that lets you adjust it independently.

IMG_20200716_214247_796.jpg
 

Juztyn00

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Got it aligned yesterday. Haven't driven it yet but the girlfriend says it drives good and she tends to give more fucks than me. I have a camber gauge so I'm gonna have to set the camber myself. I'm not sure how they managed to fuck it so bad considering it has its own bolt that lets you adjust it independently.


Messing with the camber will mess with the toe. Take it back and have them do the job right.
 

arse_sidewards

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Messing with the camber will mess with the toe. Take it back and have them do the job right.

I'm gonna put a couple hundred miles on this weekend and see how I like it. It's gonna get passenger side outer and inner tie roads before I align it again because those and the control arm bushings are the only >1yo wear items on the front end at this point.

I missed the part about the whiney guy. I remember the shuttle thread.

Cliffs?

The kind of people that wind up as building manager for swanky high dollar office space don't tend to like dented up 20yr old shitboxes that leak two drops of oil every day. He likely thought my car was abandoned because I always park in the same spot, get there before him and leave after him. He left a note on my car telling me he'd tow it if I didn't fix it. I called him up, told him who I worked for and that I'd throw a tray under it. That's shut hum up since but a couple times he's asked my coworkers if they know who drives the shitbox.
 

Brecklin

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I'm gonna put a couple hundred miles on this weekend and see how I like it. It's gonna get passenger side outer and inner tie roads before I align it again because those and the control arm bushings are the only >1yo wear items on the front end at this point.

The outer edge of that RF tire is going to be gone long before you get a couple hundred miles.

I would honestly bring it back and have them do it right. I'd be ashamed to let that leave my shop, let alone have a customer pay for it.
 

Juztyn00

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The outer edge of that RF tire is going to be gone long before you get a couple hundred miles.

I would honestly bring it back and have them do it right. I'd be ashamed to let that leave my shop, let alone have a customer pay for it.

Gotta be a untrained lube tech doing the alignments. Get her in the green, no clue what the numbers mean kind of guy..
 

arse_sidewards

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Gotta be a untrained lube tech doing the alignments. Get her in the green, no clue what the numbers mean kind of guy..

That's exactly what I'm thinking. They keep giving it to the fuckup tech because it's a shtitbox. The lady on the phone told me "maybe it doesn't have camber bolts". Like fuck it doesn't. How many vehicles you know where camber isn't in some way adjustable? Like fuck, I'm not bringing them a TTB truck. All they gotta do is dial the camber then dial the toe. It's an easy car to do right.

If I had any clue where my camber gauge is I'd set the gauge to their measurements and then dial it back to zero and let the toe be fucked since I'm taking it back Thursday. I think they're less likely to fuck up if the only thing that isn't green from the get go is the toe.

If there's any "precise" way to measure toe in a garage shop with a less than level floor I'm all ears because I would love to not have to pay for alignments and only have my self to blame when shit is wrong.

Also the economy tires they sold me with the initial alignment are shit. I let them sell me a set because they were being pushy about the alignment square things not having enough tread to clamp on to, it was only $20 more than Walmart and I knew I needed them anyway. Normally I rock Douglas brand all seasons from Walmart. I don't know what the fuck these new tires are but they are loud and don't grip for shit. They clearly have a rock hard compound. I hate to be acting like a Karen but I fucking paid for an alignment to spec and I still haven't gotten a fucking alignment to spec.

I'm probably gonna jack it up and check for play and maybe replace the front left inner/outer tie rod before it goes for alignment this time. Those are the only wear items on the front end of the car that haven't been replaced in the last month.
 

arse_sidewards

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The outer edge of that RF tire is going to be gone long before you get a couple hundred miles.

I would honestly bring it back and have them do it right. I'd be ashamed to let that leave my shop, let alone have a customer pay for it.

Well I drove a couple hundred miles this weekend and it was fine. I guess those super hard economy tires are good for something. :laughing:
 

DMG

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That's exactly what I'm thinking. They keep giving it to the fuckup tech because it's a shtitbox. The lady on the phone told me "maybe it doesn't have camber bolts". Like fuck it doesn't. How many vehicles you know where camber isn't in some way adjustable? Like fuck, I'm not bringing them a TTB truck. All they gotta do is dial the camber then dial the toe. It's an easy car to do right.

If I had any clue where my camber gauge is I'd set the gauge to their measurements and then dial it back to zero and let the toe be fucked since I'm taking it back Thursday. I think they're less likely to fuck up if the only thing that isn't green from the get go is the toe.

If there's any "precise" way to measure toe in a garage shop with a less than level floor I'm all ears because I would love to not have to pay for alignments and only have my self to blame when shit is wrong.

Also the economy tires they sold me with the initial alignment are shit. I let them sell me a set because they were being pushy about the alignment square things not having enough tread to clamp on to, it was only $20 more than Walmart and I knew I needed them anyway. Normally I rock Douglas brand all seasons from Walmart. I don't know what the fuck these new tires are but they are loud and don't grip for shit. They clearly have a rock hard compound. I hate to be acting like a Karen but I fucking paid for an alignment to spec and I still haven't gotten a fucking alignment to spec.

I'm probably gonna jack it up and check for play and maybe replace the front left inner/outer tie rod before it goes for alignment this time. Those are the only wear items on the front end of the car that haven't been replaced in the last month.

1. There are a lot of cars without camber adjustment. Most cars now. If your Subaru doesn’t have an aftermarket camber adjustment kit (camber bolts) you don’t have camber adjustment.

2. An old rust belt shitbox may have camber adjustments that are rusted solid. An alignment tech isn’t going to get out the torches and spend the extra time without a call to you to ask if you want to pay an extra hour and to warn you that they won’t be responsible for broken shit.
 
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arse_sidewards

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1. There are a lot of cars without camber adjustment. Most cars now. If your Subaru doesn’t have an aftermarket camber adjustment kit (camber bolts) you don’t have camber adjustment.

2. An old rust belt shitbox may have camber adjustments that are rusted solid. An alignment tech isn’t going to get out the torches and spend the extra time without a call to you to ask if you want to pay an extra hour and to warn you that they won’t be responsible for broken shit.


Lazy assumptions like that are why I can't fucking get a proper alignment. :mad3:

I've taken all this shit apart and put it back together before myself. I have camber adjustment. The top strut bolt is a camber bolt. My other two Legacy wagons of the same year have the same bolts so I'm fairly confident saying that it's not aftermarket and that it should be in their service literature. They're not rusted. I've taken them in and out and when I put them back in they got anti-seize. I replaced ball joints last month so they had to come out so it's not like they've been there for years. The whole car is basically rust free below the floor pan anyway thanks to all the oil leaks.
 
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