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Front Alignment

 
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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 04 Jan 2013, 03:02 pm
mikelikestobike's Avatar
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Default Front Alignment

Over the past months (trying to get rid of my "clunks" in the front end) I've replaced sway car end links/ bushings, lower control arms and bushings and tie rod end links (outer). I think I've got the clunk licked!

I just got new tires (wow the old ones were bad). I think I should probably get an alignment now.

About what should I expect to pay? How long are they usually guaranteed?

I got a quote for $79 guaranteed 12K miles or 12 months. Does that sound good?
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Last edited by mikelikestobike; 04 Jan 2013 at 03:11 pm.
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Old 04 Jan 2013, 03:33 pm
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Default Re: Front Alignment

Prices are all over the place. Shop around. You should know that 99% of us needed a PT Cruiser Alignment "kit" that consists of two odd shaped bolts that cost about $25-$30 above the price of the alignment. These bolts take the place of the lower bolts (one on each side) of the front struts and allow for the adjustment of the camber.

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Old 04 Jan 2013, 10:16 pm
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Default Re: Front Alignment

If you are serious about getting your wheels aligned, you should have all four done at the same time. Mine just cost me under $500 for all four wheels, as they had to replace all kinds of parts to get the alignment back in order. You will need shims for all four if you decide to lower your car. It's not cheap, and I'd be careful about whom you pay to align them. I took my car to a place (to remain PC, I won't mention their name) who specializes in wheel alignment. When they got done they said they couldn't get the steering wheel to straighten with the alignment, unless I wanted to pay more for them to do their job. Stupid.

Car always had a drift to the left. Not a left turn, just when you'd let go of the steering wheel she'd changes lanes immediately. I finally broke down and took her to my friend's dealership - holy cow, I watched them set her up on a laser alignment system, it shows you the actual state of all four wheels immediately. Front left was cambered out, rear right was cambered in, meaning the car would shift to the left unless you held her in place. To correct the issues they had to pull the old shims and bolt kits and replace with new ones. The old kits were installed incorrectly. Took them over 5 hours to complete the work!!!!! I was shocked, and they walked me through all of it so I couldn't argue over the price. Add to it, they give me a 20% discount on all work, so that's $100 off! Would have been a $600 charge.

Anyway, I'm never going to take it for an alignment to anyone who doesn't have a similar laser system so I can see what's wrong right then...
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Old 05 Jan 2013, 11:05 am
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Default Re: Front Alignment

Dang Chrome thats a lot of money!

It cost me right at $300 to get the full 4 wheel alignment with the shims and whatnot in the back and setup with some negative camber front and rear. The shop has the top of the line laser system too.
The rear axle work is real time consuming, the front is pretty simple...

A simple front end alignment on the Cruiser should be in the $50-$80 range, all they have to typically do is adjust the toe and steering wheel position... If they have to adjust camber that well add to the as it is not adjustable from the factory. A bolt kit isn't necessary, they can open the bolt holes a but to get the needed movement.
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Last edited by rcktpwrd; 05 Jan 2013 at 11:09 am.
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Old 05 Jan 2013, 11:48 am
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Default Re: Front Alignment

For the track guys we recommend a 4 wheel alignment and balance. You can have the chassis checked for alignment specifications but unless you are considering any form of road track event or cone chasing it is very unlikely the need for a 4 wheel alignment. If you have driving skills professionally learned or through experience of other cars running them on a road track by all means spend the money for a 4 wheel alignment you will be able to appreciate the investment. The standard front wheel alignment more then suffices in most cases. Here is something to consider if you spend X=$ on any form of alignment there is NO guarantee that after you leave the shop and drive it 2 blocks it will stay in alignment! It is generally a BIG miss conception that an alignment is semi- permanent. A pot hole can throw off your alignment, or even a weekend of cone chasing. IMO having done this for years for customers my recommendation would be look for known shops that advertise alignment specials, i.e. SEAR,Firestone, etc.. and get a standard spec alignment. Or your price quote with the quote for $79 guaranteed 12K miles or 12 months. Just before the warranty period is up complain about the alignment and get them to check it!




DO NOT copy other's with what they run for specification. The conditions of each vehicle varies and the results are never the same. There are common rules that apply when changes to different alignment specification other then OEM and all of them are trail and error. If it were so simple as one set of "best" setting we would all have NASCAR handling PT's.
Discuss any changes with the alignment technician before making changes from standard specifications.
Chromenuts PT is a good example he has specialized one off springs that he does not even know what the spring rate is, and all the other suspension goodies so his aliment task was custom based on those perimeters and other chassis irregularities. And if the shop was really up on top of things they would have compensated for his body weight and driving position in the PT.


A side note to think about? You may want to pre-order and have the recommend alignment bolts that CREWZIN suggested because not all shops have these which could delay or limit there ability to align your PT.

FRONT ALIGNMENT BOLTS KIT -/+1.75 CAMBER
Front Alignment Bolts Kit 1 75 Camber | eBay



One other thing the best alignment possible is no compensation for the performance level of the tires are. Some wisely on the tires when ever it is time for new ones.
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Last edited by NitroPT; 05 Jan 2013 at 11:53 am.
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  #6 (permalink)  
Old 07 Jan 2013, 08:51 am
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Default Re: Front Alignment

Thanks for your input. A $600 (or honestly even a $300) alignment is out of reach right now. The car used to pull a bit to the right, but since the new tires, tracks pretty straight. I might hold off on even a $79 front end alignment.

Thanks again!
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Old 07 Jan 2013, 02:29 pm
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Default Re: Front Alignment

typically you don't need to have the rear aligned, just the basic front end alignment is sufficient for the Cruiser. I had the rear done, like Chromenut and others to change the driving characteristics of the car. I had also changed out the rear axle assembly due to a minor accident so it needed to be aligned and I took it a step further.

If you put new tires on it's worth it to have the alignment done to make sure everything is good and have the tires last as long as possible.
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Old 07 Jan 2013, 02:37 pm
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Default Re: Front Alignment

Quote:
Originally Posted by rcktpwrd View Post
typically you don't need to have the rear aligned, just the basic front end alignment is sufficient for the Cruiser. I had the rear done, like Chromenut and others to change the driving characteristics of the car. I had also changed out the rear axle assembly due to a minor accident so it needed to be aligned and I took it a step further.

If you put new tires on it's worth it to have the alignment done to make sure everything is good and have the tires last as long as possible.
OK thanks - that helps!
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Old 13 Mar 2013, 06:19 pm
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Default Re: Front Alignment

Everything Nitro stated was 100% accurate. Based on the setup of my PT, a 4-wheel alignment is necessary. Standard front-end alignment is what you need, unless someone rides behind you and states that your car is 'dog-legging' down the road. That is when the rear end does not track properly behind the front end.

If you've dropped/lowered your car, or put custom suspension on it, a 4-wheel alignment is a must. Believe me, I ruined a nice set of Falken 912's by not doing an alignment for several weeks after dropping my PT.
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