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Old 09-26-2008, 12:42 AM   #1
ElNotto
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Question Do I need adjustable control arms or will camber bolts be enough?

First of all, thanks in advance to everyone who shares their knowledge on this forum, you are generous people and I've learned a lot from all the posts so far!

I'm still unsure on the following, though: which part/parts will I need to correct the camber and/or toe problems on my focus? Do I need adjustable control arms or will camber bolts be enough? Do I need anything else? I haven't seen any alignment specs posted for wagons, so hopefully someone will have some insight...

Car is a 2001 SE Wagon, just installed Spax springs & dampers for ~1.5" drop. Took it in for alignment and asked the mechanic for "minimum allowed toe-in and camber" for the rear (Thanks Geezer!). The mechanic came back afterward telling me I need camber bolts and that he couldn't get it into spec. Also, do I need to worry about the front at all?

Here are the numbers:

Code:
            Camber                  Toe                    Caster
      Initial      Final       Initial      Final        Initial      Final
    --------  --------  --------  --------  --------  --------
FL   -1.2*     -1.2*       0.20"     -0.05"       3.3*       3.4*
FR   -1.4*     -1.4*       0.10     -0.05      3.0*       3.1*
RL   -1.8*     -1.8*       0.20      0.10
RR   -2.0*     -1.8*       0.20      0.10

Thrust Angle:  Initial -0.1*    Final 0.0*
Thanks again everyone!


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Old 09-26-2008, 01:17 AM   #2
fastfocussvt87
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your front toe is off, along with your rear, but im sure you already knew about that, there both adjustable by all means, just start with the rear, because if you do the front first, you'll mess up the front when you adjust the rear. as for camber, you look pretty good, no worries there id say, seeing as your set to -1.8 and spec is -1.8. along with -2.0 to -1.8. might be best to just invest in the bolts to make sure and be dead on. don't want to be buying tires all the time. plus in the future if you autoX your wagon for any reason what so ever, you can adjust the rear camber and make your car handle a little better.
let me know if i helped
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Old 09-26-2008, 02:11 AM   #3
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Thanks fastfocussvt8!

I don't have equipment to do an alignment myself so I took it in to get done. The mechanic said this was the best he could get it -- does that mean I need to replace something to fix the toe being off? I'd rather buy parts if necessary than replace tires frequently.

Is there a way for me to double-check what he did, ie. can you point me to a bolt I can check for the toe setting to see if it's adjusted all the way one way?
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Old 09-26-2008, 09:05 AM   #4
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The rear camber bolts will give you half a degree of adjustment. It's recommended that camber be below 1.5 degrees. You might be ok, just keep a very close eye on inner tire wear on the rear. Also I don't comprehend inches, and haven't seen a machine that uses inches since I left school. So I couldn't tell you about the front.

What I run though is, un-adjusted camber in the rear. 0 degree toe in the rear, and slight toe out in the front. So I'd say that you're doin' pretty good for a good all around alignment.
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Old 09-26-2008, 09:07 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElNotto View Post

Is there a way for me to double-check what he did, ie. can you point me to a bolt I can check for the toe setting to see if it's adjusted all the way one way?
Not really because we use cambolts for are rear toe. When suspension wears and we run of chuck holes and such it slightly throws it off but the bolts generally stay in the same place, provided they were tightened. lol... So it's going to be in a different spot nearly every time you have to adjust. Unless you can avoid hitting things :p
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Old 09-26-2008, 02:37 PM   #6
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First I'll start by saying I don't know exactly what the alignment specs for a wagon are. All the printouts I have for my car (ZX3) as well as those posted here (some SVT's), exclude wagons so they must differ in some way. If your printout has the allowable ranges I'd appreciate seeing those and will add them to my collection. I'm going to make the initial assumption that they don't vary much from SVT's and Non SVT's by much....but I could be wrong.

Starting in the front, the final toe spec meets the maximum allowable for "toe-out" for non SVT's. A SVT allows -0.07" of toe-out. My preference would be to have it closer to -0.01 to 0.02" but that would depend the the allowable range. Front camber looks fine and shouldn't be an issue or a problem.

Camber is a little high in the rear for my taste. As mentioned, I prefer it to be below -1.5 degrees accompanied with minimal allowable "toe-in". Camber bolts would be the easiest and cheapest way to reduce rear camber.

I see the tech got both toe and camber very even side to side. That shows he's very conscientious and understands alignment procedures.

If the 0.10" is the minimum allowable rear toe-in for the wagon than you got what you asked for. Because the car is lowered you may benefit by reducing the rear toe-in a little more but I'd like knowing what the minimum allowable spec for the wagon is before making a recommendation. All in all, it doesn't look bad and may benefit from some additional tweaking.
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Old 10-15-2008, 03:25 AM   #7
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Thank you guys, rep for you all!

I will get the camber bolts but probably not until spring; I plan on getting snow tires for the winter and I will just watch for excessive wear.

I was finally able to get a scan made of the alignment report, yes it does show what spec is. Hopefully this will help other wagon owners in the future. Based on these numbers, should I ask for anything different when I take it for an alignment in the spring after I get the camber bolts on?

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Old 10-15-2008, 12:07 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElNotto View Post
Thank you guys, rep for you all!

I will get the camber bolts but probably not until spring; I plan on getting snow tires for the winter and I will just watch for excessive wear.

I was finally able to get a scan made of the alignment report, yes it does show what spec is. Hopefully this will help other wagon owners in the future. Based on these numbers, should I ask for anything different when I take it for an alignment in the spring after I get the camber bolts on?

Thanks for posting the printout! I looked at it and the wagon does vary from a standard focus but not too significantly as I assumed. The biggest difference is with rear settings. The wagon allows less rear camber and less allowable toe-in. The max negative camber for a wagon is -1.8* vs. 2.3* for a non-wagon. The rear toe-in range for the wagon is 0.05" to 0.15" vs. 0.08 to 0.18" for the non-wagon.

That said, it appears your rear camber is very near the maximum allowed for negative camber. They put rear toe-in right in the middle of the range. I think the combination of those two could promote some accelerated rear tire wear. My preference would be to adjust the camber to below -1.5* and get that toe-in number down to the minimum allowable of 0.05". Up front they have it at maximum allowable toe-out. Keep an eye on that to see if any wear occurs. If so I'd reduce it to about -0.01" to -0.02"

Once again, thanks for the print-out.
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