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Old 12-04-2005, 10:36 AM   #1
Kpaisner
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Alignment Probs

I skinned a 6" curb with my SVT (12k miles), and put a 1/4" chip on the edge of the rim, and skinned a tiny size patch of rubber off the tire bead adjacent to the rim. A high performance tire guy at an exotic dealer said the tire sidewall was thicker there to protect the tire from blowout, and would be ok. The alignment must have got knocked out, because the steeringwheel was off center, and the car required extra steering input to keep it tracking straight (it wandered at highway speed) Before the hit, it was rock solid dead straight. I got it aligned at a BMW dealer, who had a new computerized 4 wheel aligner and it eliminated most of the steering prob, but the steering wheel is a hair of center and it still pulls to the right slightly at highway speed. Do I need to replace the rim and tire?? Do I need another alignment? Could I have bent some suspension component?? Did I ruin my car's handling??

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!-Ken


2004 SVT 3 dr #1258-A fine ride indeed......


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Old 12-05-2005, 04:25 PM   #2
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Moved to ”Wheels, Tires, Brakes & Suspension”...

Most likely your wheel and tire are OK if you don't feel any vibrations.
It's worth a shot to take it back to where you got it aligned, and have them check it again.
The alignment specs for the SVTF are rather vague to say the least.
Try and get them to set the front with as much toe-out as possible (within spec),
and the rear as close to straight ahead as possible (within spec).
What do the numbers look like after they did the alignment?
Did they give you a printout?

You could still have a bent tie rod, or lower control arm too.

By the way....last but not least:
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Old 12-05-2005, 10:10 PM   #3
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Hey WD, thanks much to say the least. I thought it odd they didn't give me a printout. The alignment guru I chatted with seemed to know what he was doing-it's a Porsche/BMW/VW store. I'll make the suggestion to him-is there anyplace the "specs" are published? I think he was using the values in the computer. Do you do alignment??

BTW my specialty is Auto Finance. I sell leasing programs, and can pull the lease numbers for almost any car in any state. Could save someone a ton of money....Ken

PS-I'm gonna change my nic to "LeaseProphet"-K
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Old 12-06-2005, 03:16 PM   #4
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If the car is wandering at highway speeds it has to be the alignment. like WD said, if it was the wheel/tire it would only cause vibration. (BTW if its in the front of the car, have them move the damaged wheel to the rear, you wont be able to feal vibrations back there as easy) But as long as they checked the balence on the wheel then its the best you can do with it.
as for the alignment, most people dont do the best that they can if their in a hurry. I know where I work, we cheat sometimes if its buisy. but if you go back in and tell them its still off, then they will do it better so you dont keep comming back. just ask for the printout before and after. If you pretend to know about alignments and you watch the tech as they do it, then they will be scared to cheat too. just a few tips ive picked up working at a under car garage!
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Old 12-06-2005, 05:37 PM   #5
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is there anyplace the "specs" are published? I think he was using the values in the computer.

This is what is printed on the alignment sheet I got from the Ford Dealer after having it done:

Ford 02-04 Focus SVT
Front (left and right) Specified Range:
Camber -1.8° to 0.7°
Caster 2.0° to 4.1°
Toe -0.15° to 0.00°
Front:
Cross Camber -1.3° to 1.3°
Cross Caster -1.0° to 1.0°
Total Toe -0.30 to 0.00°

Rear (left and right) Specified Range:
Camber -2.3° to 0.3°
Toe 0.08° to 0.23°
Rear:
Cross Camber -1.3° to 1.3°
Total Toe 0.15° to 0.45°

IHMO, the rear should be as straight as possible, though the factory specs show .08° toe in.
See if your shop can get it closer to 0° at the rear for ya,
and right at -.10° in the front.
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Old 12-06-2005, 07:48 PM   #6
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Hey Metalnick and WD thx so much for yr posts. I brought it in today with WD's previous post printed out. They took another swing at it, and I think it's near perfect. WShen I first got it, I was astounded it would track perfectly at 85 mph w/no hands on the wheel. It's just about back to that state. It doesn't pull or wander, and the torque steer iss greatly reduced. The shop is a BMW/Porsche/Vw store, and I support the sales/finance ops, so they know me, and know I'll be back. You would think if they can align a 911 turbo to run straight a 170 mph, a Focus should be a piece of cake. They did give me a printout today. Rear toe -.09 both l&r, front toe -.04l, -06r. Total toe rear, .18. Total toe front-.10



I love the handling on this car. It's almost uncanny the way it tracks, and I haven't been able to make the tires scream in a corner yet. But I'm trying.

Thanks again-Ken
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Old 12-07-2005, 03:21 PM   #7
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Good deal!
Now that you've seen the specs (and experienced the difference),
you can see what I meant about the factory specs being rather "vague".

Off topic:
I'll bet you get see some pretty nice cars in their shop...
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Old 12-07-2005, 08:21 PM   #8
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Luidicrous rides. Aston Martin DB9, Bentley COntinental GT, CL65, and my fave (to look at anyway, it's brutal to drive) Lotus Elise. I also kinda liked the bright blue M3 droptop with matching blue stitching on the leather. Yow!! I run leases on these kinda cars all day, so I really wanted something that handles, but I drive 3500 miles/month, so reliability and durability matter. I got 330k out of the 98 Scooby, and I hope this car does half that. Even better than the cars? The women waiting for them in service!

Last week's lease special: 2005 MB CL65 MSRP 183,000, capped 170,000, payment $2495X51 mo. w/$6000 out of pocket. A mere bag of shells, for a 605HP V12. And yeah, it's a compact. -Ken-Thx again for the help!!
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