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Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 118
Weird alignment issue. HELP!

Had a front alignment job performed on my '88 Carrera for two reasons:

1. It had a very mild pull to one side (FIXED)
2. The passenger side front wheel sticks out a few mm past the fender line. Note that this occurs at ANY camber setting, be it zero or negative.

Let's focus on number 2...

What could possibly cause this? Car has had zero incidents from new, has a pretty flat stance, and actually tracks pretty decently. Metal fatigue? Some suspension parts worn? Should I go to a chassis aligner for a reading? Your ideas are welcome!

TIA!

Old 08-17-2012, 02:25 AM
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If it happens at any camber setting, then the lower ball joint is technically 'out too far' - some possible causes are bad ball joint or A-arm bushings have moved from their original position, either thru wear or accident. I'd remove the wheel and look carefully at the hub, ball joint and a-arm to see if anything seems amiss from right to left, and to see if there are any spacers in there.

I know some people say there are differences in these cars - I'm not disagreeing with them, but I'd certainly want to take a look at all the components to make sure they are not displaced.

You say no incidents - have you had the car this long, and has it always been this way?

Chuck.H
'89 TurboLookTarga, 338k miles
Old 08-17-2012, 05:00 AM
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Chuck, thanks for your input! I'm not the original owner of the car but it does have a clean carfax, zero incidents from new. My inspection of the underbelly confirms the same. The wheel sticking out is an old issue, but one that became obvious only after lowering the car. I'm currently at standard euro height.

What puzzles me is that the suspension bits seem okay. The roads in my neighborhood aren't the smoothest, and would easily expose weaknesses in any car's underchassis. So now, my question is this: If in fact the lower ball joint is out too far, would that be communicated thru the steering wheel? Same question for the A-arm bushings.

I would probably have to put the car on a lifter to check which components on the right side do not agree with the left. Should be fun
Old 08-17-2012, 07:05 AM
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The first thing I would be looking at is whether or not the alignment was done properly. A few years ago trusted the word of a shop that did an alignment for me only to find out later while on track this shop had no idea what they were doing. All they really did was "set the toe and let it go!". So if your claim of incident free is accurate then you should look at the spec sheet before and after from when the alignment was performed. Your problem could be related to the caster and possibly camber settings depending from where you are doing your measurements but you really should look at the spec sheet. I have found I have been most pleased with having a race shop do an alignment. They seem to be the most knowledgable about proper set up. I have also received great advice from Chuck Moreland at Elephant Racing, when I went through my last round of suspension parts he made the right recommendations and also gave me some specs that he thought would be most appropriate for what I'm doing. The guy knows his stuff. This may seem trivial, but is it safe to assume that you have the same size tires in the front on left/right sides?
Good luck, please keep us posted as you get this issue resolved.
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'89 CARRERA
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Old 08-18-2012, 03:12 AM
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Check that the offset is the same on both front wheels, it is stamped on the back of the wheel. Unlikely but you never know what the PO has done. Could mismatched struts do this?
Old 08-18-2012, 05:08 AM
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Michael Lang: Yes, it never hurts to get a 2nd opinion. Same tire and wheel sizes left and right. I actually have two sets of wheels and the problem is apparent on both. (6 and 7, and 7 and 8)

Dublinoh: Mismatched struts... that crossed my mind too.

Old 08-18-2012, 09:21 AM
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