Wheel alignment / tracking – Technical

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Andle
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Wheel alignment / tracking – Technical

Post by Andle » 07 Oct 2019, 11:56

Hello all – hoping to open up a technical discussion regarding best practice prior to, during & after wheel alignment:

Before undertaking an alignment – what should really be checked (e.g track rod wear, tyre pressure, mountings, bushes etc.) for the whole thing to be worthwhile - if being done competently?

While it is being done – what should we look out for or be aware of?

Once done – what tests should be carried out?

I’m hoping this thread can be a general discussion to explore this topic & share any insights members might have. I’d like to flesh this out - so newbies can enlighten themselves too.

(My reason for opening up this topic is my Mk1 xsara - If anyone can provide me with the comprehensive data on what the readings should be - I’d be most grateful)

My car:

Picasso Xsara
1.6 HDI VTX
92 bhp
9HXC
DV6TED4
2007
80,000k

Genuinely grateful to fellow members, willing to contribute to this topic.

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GiveMeABreak
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Re: Wheel alignment / tracking – Technical

Post by GiveMeABreak » 07 Oct 2019, 12:40

To start you off:

Geometry Angles
Camber Angle.png
Camber Angle.png (37.69 KiB) Viewed 494 times
Castor Angle.png
Castor Angle.png (23.76 KiB) Viewed 494 times
Camber Angle: Angle formed by the plane of a wheel and the vertical
(Vehicle seen from the front).
Castor Angle: Angle formed by the pivoting axis of the front wheel and the vertical
(Vehicle seen from the side).
Kingpin Angle.png
Kingpin Angle.png (28.51 KiB) Viewed 494 times
Tracking.png
Tracking.png (20.94 KiB) Viewed 494 times
Kingpin Angle: Angle formed by the pivoting axis with the vertical, measured in the transverse
plane of the vehicle (Vehicle seen from the front).
Tracking: Difference between distance A and distance B (Front of the vehicle: In the direction of the arrow).
A less than B: Positive + or Toe-in.
A Greater than B: Negative - or Toe Out or Opening.
Thrust Angle.png
Thrust Angle.png (43.37 KiB) Viewed 494 times
Thrust Angle: Angle formed by the thrust axis of the rear axle and the longitudinal axis of the vehicle.
  • You should have the correct size wheels and tyres fitted and correctly inflated
  • The vehicle should be at the reference heights (lowered or raised vehicle heights will have a bearing on measurements

Andle
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Re: Wheel alignment / tracking – Technical

Post by Andle » 07 Oct 2019, 18:25

GiveMeABreak,

Fantastic start!.

So here's a couple of contributions:

A) Ensure the steering wheel clamp is used. It centres the steering wheel reasonably well. A properly centred steering wheel - serves as a base line from which alterations should be made. Very often - the clamp is not used.

B) Once the clamp is used, equalise the length of the track rods - before you start changing anything.

Hoping to get the discussion going...

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xantia_v6
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Re: Wheel alignment / tracking – Technical

Post by xantia_v6 » 07 Oct 2019, 19:22

In regard to things to check, you need to pay careful attention to all joints and bearings that can affect a wheel's position relative to the car and the road, for example if a lower ball-joint is worn, it can change several of the critical angles slightly, and even if an alignment is done to correct the static angles, the dynamic behaviour (when the car is driven) will be wrong. Subsequent replacement of the worn part will pull the alignment back to wrong angles.

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NewcastleFalcon
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Re: Wheel alignment / tracking – Technical

Post by NewcastleFalcon » 07 Oct 2019, 19:28

Andle

There is an active thread on C5 Wheel Alignment which has some interesting contributions.

There is the importance of getting the correct makers specifications for your particular vehicle. This post by Marc makes that point.
GiveMeABreak wrote:
03 Oct 2019, 10:14
To answer your question, yes, they are different between the MK I, MK II and X7.

Post your VIN up for the correct specs. And I would do yourself a favour and get the wheel alignment done at a proper garage if they can't get that right. Be aware the wrong specs can shred tyres in a few months! It happened to me at ATS on a MK II - had 4 new tyres and the wires were showing in less than 2 months! This was on their 'new' laser alignment machine - but it was calibrated incorrectly with said result and was out of action for weeks after my complaint.

However if this is for your 3.0 HDI MK III (X7) with Hydractive Suspension:
Front
Tyres225/60 R 16225/55 R 17
245/45 R 18
245/40 R 19
Camber (not adjustable)- 0°16' ± 0°30'-0°17' ± 0°30'
Castor (not adjustable)5°30' ± 0°30'5°30' ± 0°30'
Pivot angle (not adjustable)8°06' ± 0°30'8°06' ± 0°30'
Tracking at the axle (adjustable)-0°09' ± 0°09'0°09' ± 0°09'
Another element covered on the forum is the DIY approach, and the various tools and methods used, many with continuing success over many years.

Peter N recently posted up his old faithful tool on POTD
Peter.N. wrote:
23 Sep 2019, 18:13
Image

This is my state of the art high tech tracking tool, been using it for 30 years +, good every time. 8-)

Peter
Regards Neil

Andle
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Re: Wheel alignment / tracking – Technical

Post by Andle » 09 Oct 2019, 19:49

xantia_v6 wrote:
07 Oct 2019, 19:22
In regard to things to check, you need to pay careful attention to all joints and bearings that can affect a wheel's position relative to the car and the road, for example if a lower ball-joint is worn, it can change several of the critical angles slightly, and even if an alignment is done to correct the static angles, the dynamic behaviour (when the car is driven) will be wrong. Subsequent replacement of the worn part will pull the alignment back to wrong angles.
Have I understood correctly:

A) To undertake an alignment competently, it is vital to ensure there is no play in the pins/bushes/bearings. (Any parts I've missed??)

B) Not all rear wheels on some cars can be adjusted. So don't get suckered into 4 wheel alignment, if only the fronts can be adjusted. (Does this apply to my car??)

I'm trying to help build a picture, of the correct process that should followed (before & during alignment).

Open to contributions, thought, hints & tips...

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myglaren
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Re: Wheel alignment / tracking – Technical

Post by myglaren » 09 Oct 2019, 20:39

Maybe I have missed something but I have never understood four wheel alignment for the same reason. Never submitted mine for it.

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xantia_v6
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Re: Wheel alignment / tracking – Technical

Post by xantia_v6 » 09 Oct 2019, 20:45

Although nothing can be adjusted, a 4 wheel alignment can be a useful diagnostic, telling you that something in the rear suspension is worn or bent.

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mickthemaverick
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Re: Wheel alignment / tracking – Technical

Post by mickthemaverick » 09 Oct 2019, 20:58

Even if a rear wheel cannot be adjusted it is still possible for it to suffer from a bent mounting/axle/bottom arm etc as a result of an impact with a kerb or pothole etc. A 4 wheel alignment check will identify that there is a problem if a rear wheel is running out of line to give toe in or out effects which will cause undue tyre wear. Also the vehicle may crab or pull sideways due to a damaged rear mounting system. Some cars do allow adjustment so you can compensate for such problems but if something is bent the best course is to replace it. :)

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Re: Wheel alignment / tracking – Technical

Post by Gibbo2286 » 10 Oct 2019, 10:03

Way back in the sixties we had a man come in to have his Austin Westminster tracking checked, he also said there was a scraping noise on the front when cornering, one of the mechanics took it to the top of the road and did several quick circuits of the roundabout.

When he returned he confirmed the noise was there and quite bad, so off came the front wheel, brake drum and hub, it was clear the drum was rubbing against the top of the backplate on turns.

We were discussing what the cause could be and I told them that the stub axle must be bent, "what's the stub axle?" said the customer, "That." I said resting my toe on the end of it at which it dropped off with a clang on the floor, it had a metal flaw right through at the inner end.

The mechanic who had tested in on the roundabout went white. :-D

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NewcastleFalcon
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Re: Wheel alignment / tracking – Technical

Post by NewcastleFalcon » 10 Oct 2019, 10:15

Gibbo2286 wrote:
10 Oct 2019, 10:03
Way back in the sixties we had a man come in to have his Austin Westminster tracking checked, etc
You need to start a thread. "Gibbo's Garage Casebook" :-D

I always used to enjoy Barry Cade's Garage Casebook in "Car Mechanics" magazine of old! (apparently it was "Tricks of the Trade" but I'll take the discussion over here to keep this thread on-topic!)

REgards Neil

Andle
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Re: Wheel alignment / tracking – Technical

Post by Andle » 11 Oct 2019, 21:07

First things first - check tyres - get them checked/changed if needed. Ensure they are inflated & balanced properly (steel rims - metal clamp weights. For alloys - stick on weights?). Dynamic wheel balancing systems have an advantage over static ones it would seem?

Once this aspect has been take care of - then the following applies:

It' now clear, that the consensus is that 4 way wheel laser alignment - is the most comprehensive way to get the job done thoroughly.

But it requires considerable diligence. Successful pre-alignment checks - are fundamental to getting it right?

http://www.support.pro-align.co.uk/faq- ... ment-check

The geometry of the rear steering assembly/wheels are often overlooked, especially if the rear wheels are not adjustable. But the case remains, that there might be something 'off' with the rear assembly - something that simply can't been seen via visual inspection alone. Let's be straightforward - 'wheel alignment' does serve an important function.

It's possible that there has been damage to the rear shocks, arms, bushes, rear-assembly etc - that require a full 4 wheel laser assessment in order to come to light.

For more modern cars - there are others significant aspects to consider:

https://www.toptechnicianonline.co.uk/p ... tructions/

And it is absolutely vital, that the correct measurements for your particular make/model are correctly bought up on the alignment system.

With so many different makes/variants - it can be easy for the wrong variant to be (accidentally) selected on the system menu. Measurements for every single model of every make, will never be in every system database.

If they do not have the correct measurements for your exact vehicle - they have to be acquired before the work can be done right:

http://www.support.pro-align.co.uk/faq- ... y-database

PSA cars specifically:

http://www.support.pro-align.co.uk/faq- ... ot-Citroen

So - only now can I say that I feel confident in proceeding to find someone to undertake this task.

I am very interested in fellow members comments and thoughts on all this.

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bobins
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Re: Wheel alignment / tracking – Technical

Post by bobins » 11 Oct 2019, 21:24

If your car is going to need an MOT in the next few months, then I'd wait for that before you get the alignment checked. The MOT test will highlight any worn suspension and steering components, and if you get a pass with no advisories then it'd be safe to assume that the steering and suspension components are all in good order.

Andle
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Re: Wheel alignment / tracking – Technical

Post by Andle » 14 Oct 2019, 11:35

Given the amount of work that needs to be done, for a properly executed pre-alignment check - what would be a reasonable charge (four wheel laser alignment)?

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GiveMeABreak
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Re: Wheel alignment / tracking – Technical

Post by GiveMeABreak » 14 Oct 2019, 11:44