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What a diff 1/2" makes

So here's the story. Ever since I've had the car it was a little squirrely over road seams and the brail marking highway lanes. I though maybe it was the tires (PO had put on cheapos and the fronts were a size smaller than stock). Then I thought maybe the tie rod ends or ball joints were loose, but every time I checked they seemed fine and solid (no wobbles). So Finally when I was doing some other work, I had the tires off again and saw the cord coming through the rubber! Time for tires, but it's just my daily driver, so I didn't go top-o-the-line, but bought a comple set of BF Gooodrich Traction TAs. The jittery reaction over uneven roads had gotten less noticeable over time, probably due to lack of thread, but with the new rubber it was back with a vengence, made the car feel a little unstable at speed, and like it wanted to break loose on turns. I was going to pull the whole front end apart, but thought I'd do a quick check. I clamped a couple of straight edges to the bottom of each front rotor and measured between them front and back. No ___t! it was about 1/2" difference, closer in front than in back (toe in - right?)! So after a little coaxing, I loosened the tie rod adjustmant nut and spun the rod till the measurement was equal front to back,...Wow! The change is remarkable. Sure and steady, hands-off stable on the highway, and I'm just waiting for the chance to hit some curves. Guess I know why the tread went so quick now.
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Old 02-15-2004, 10:28 PM
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Go get that thing aligned!
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Old 02-15-2004, 11:04 PM
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Yikes!

How many degrees d'ya think that represented?!?!
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Old 02-16-2004, 12:25 AM
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Yep, you really should spend the $$$ and get it aligned.
Mine was aligned right to specs but I had a little bit of "tramlining"
where the tires want to follow the road imperfections so I added just a bit more toe in and it improved straightline stability.
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Old 02-16-2004, 03:56 AM
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mine was also a "little squirrely over road seams" (tramlining) even after a 4 wheel alignment. turned out to be the different tire types, front/rear.

with four new tires it's like being 'on rails'.
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Old 02-16-2004, 04:58 AM
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man i bought a brand new set of $800 michellines ?spelling? and an alighnment and mine still sucks in the twisties... a mazda pr5 with 220lb lowering springs kicks the crap out of my car. and i have the M030 suppension... whats wrong???
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Old 02-16-2004, 07:00 AM
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Remember that the M030 set-up was different for the different models. For the '88 924S it consisted of Konis all around, stiffer front springs, and 24.5mm rear torsion bars, the 23mm front anti-sway and 20mm rear anti-sway bar. This was an upgrade to stock, but not necessarily equivalent to cureent sport set-ups. The other half of the handling equation is (as always) the HP/Wt ratio. Even a little mazda with 120 HP can outmanuever you in the turns if it's got a current sport suspension and it's ration is higher. This is obvious when NASA runs the 944-SPEC Class alongside the Miata-SPEC Class. Very different cars, but comparable in performance on road courses.
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"If everything seems under control, you're just not going fast enough."
- Mario Andretti
Old 02-16-2004, 08:56 AM
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You have to set the front alignment with the tires on the ground. Even so a 1/2" tells me that there is something bent with the front suspension. Get an experianced tech to look at it.

NOTE: Don't let the alignment shops jack you around. A front alignment is the same as a VW Golf.
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Old 02-16-2004, 09:27 AM
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