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DIY Wheel Alignment Question #4539442
10/10/17 06:32 PM
10/10/17 06:32 PM
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 1,449
New Jersey
Rock_Hudstone Offline OP
Rock_Hudstone  Offline OP
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 1,449
New Jersey

I replaced the struts and R inner tie rod on my Dodge Grand Caravan. I was able to get the driver side aligned pretty close to specs, However, the right side is visibly toed out and the steering wheel is off center at the one o'clock position, When I corrected that toe out condition the wheel became ever further off center.

Does there need to be a compensating adjustment on the left side toe to center the steering wheel and get things drivable until I can get in for an alignment? If so, wouldn't that throw left side toe off as well?


Re: DIY Wheel Alignment Question [Re: Rock_Hudstone] #4539447
10/10/17 06:35 PM
10/10/17 06:35 PM
Joined: Jan 2013
Posts: 1,351
America's Dairyland
LotI Offline
LotI  Offline
Joined: Jan 2013
Posts: 1,351
America's Dairyland
If the wheels are pointed close to the intended direction, it will get you to an alignment shop. Steering wheel straightness doesn’t matter


03 Honda Interceptor
11 Kawasaki KLR 650
12 Ford E450
17 VW GTI
[IMG]http://badges.fuelly.com/images/sig-us/803455.png[/IMG]
Re: DIY Wheel Alignment Question [Re: LotI] #4539454
10/10/17 06:45 PM
10/10/17 06:45 PM
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 1,449
New Jersey
Rock_Hudstone Offline OP
Rock_Hudstone  Offline OP
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 1,449
New Jersey
Originally Posted By: LotI
If the wheels are pointed close to the intended direction, it will get you to an alignment shop. Steering wheel straightness doesn’t matter

Right side is toed way out and a little unstable on curves as well. I won't be able to get in for alignment until sometime next week and don't want to chew up the new tires.

Re: DIY Wheel Alignment Question [Re: Rock_Hudstone] #4539523
10/10/17 07:56 PM
10/10/17 07:56 PM
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 33,099
ME
eljefino Offline
eljefino  Offline
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 33,099
ME
Why did you do what you did to the driver's side?

Do your struts have oblong holes which can effect camber?

Do this:

Re: DIY Wheel Alignment Question [Re: Rock_Hudstone] #4539527
10/10/17 08:01 PM
10/10/17 08:01 PM
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 2,202
Toronto, Canada
George7941 Offline
George7941  Offline
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 2,202
Toronto, Canada
Well, pull the right wheel in close to where it needs to be with the adjustment at the tierod.

I changed a inner tierod end some weeks back and very carefully set the toe to specs using string. I am satisfied with the end result and did not bother taking the truck in to an alignment shop.


2006 GMC Sierra 4.3l, NV3500,G80 , Mobil 1 5W30, Dexcool.
1987 BMW R80 - sold
2015 Honda CBR300R

Staying out of the right lane a lot.
Re: DIY Wheel Alignment Question [Re: Rock_Hudstone] #4539607
10/10/17 09:03 PM
10/10/17 09:03 PM
Joined: Sep 2014
Posts: 1,446
Toronto Canada
WobblyElvis Offline
WobblyElvis  Offline
Joined: Sep 2014
Posts: 1,446
Toronto Canada
Park the vehicle with parking brake set and the trans in neutral. This will relieve any load from the front wheels. Steering wheel should be straight. Get down on your knees and look across the outer surface of the front tires toward the rear tires. Your should see a little of the rear tires along both sides, perhaps an inch of tire showing. Adjust the tie rods so this is so on both sides and you are done.

You need to look up the track for front and rear axles to do a more accurate job of toe in/out adjustment. Set both left and right to look similar with the steering wheel straight ahead and you shouldn't have any crooked wheel while driving down the road.

Re: DIY Wheel Alignment Question [Re: eljefino] #4539653
10/10/17 09:52 PM
10/10/17 09:52 PM
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 1,449
New Jersey
Rock_Hudstone Offline OP
Rock_Hudstone  Offline OP
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 1,449
New Jersey
Originally Posted By: eljefino
Do your struts have oblong holes which can effect camber?


Yes, I installed camber adjustment bolts last time I brought it to Firestone for alignment.

Not happy with their work, the tires developed inside shoulder wear, which by the time it becomes noticeable the alignment is out of warranty and they say you must have hit a pot hole (on both sides of course). Althought it did track and ride well but wore out a set of 70,000 mile tires in 50,000 miles.

Thats why I'm not a big hurry to pay good money and time for sloppy alignments that lead to premature tire wear.

Re: DIY Wheel Alignment Question [Re: Rock_Hudstone] #4539743
10/11/17 12:29 AM
10/11/17 12:29 AM
Joined: Jul 2017
Posts: 309
PR CA, USA
2strokeNorthstar Offline
2strokeNorthstar  Offline
Joined: Jul 2017
Posts: 309
PR CA, USA
Firestone is like a DIY alignment. It may be close maybe not. I got their lifetime alignment and it is consistently bad. The wheel isn't straight or it pulls or tracks..... Had it done at an alignment shop and didn't do any of that. I don't have any idea what they are doing at Firestone. They don't either I guess.

Re: DIY Wheel Alignment Question [Re: WobblyElvis] #4539783
10/11/17 04:56 AM
10/11/17 04:56 AM
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 2,202
Toronto, Canada
George7941 Offline
George7941  Offline
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 2,202
Toronto, Canada
Originally Posted By: WobblyElvis
You need to look up the track for front and rear axles to do a more accurate job of toe in/out adjustment. Set both left and right to look similar with the steering wheel straight ahead and you shouldn't have any crooked wheel while driving down the road.


I looked in the FSM for track widths for my truck and did not find it anywhere. Inspecting it visually the front and rear widths seem to be the same for my truck.


2006 GMC Sierra 4.3l, NV3500,G80 , Mobil 1 5W30, Dexcool.
1987 BMW R80 - sold
2015 Honda CBR300R

Staying out of the right lane a lot.
Re: DIY Wheel Alignment Question [Re: Rock_Hudstone] #4539790
10/11/17 05:29 AM
10/11/17 05:29 AM
Joined: Sep 2014
Posts: 1,446
Toronto Canada
WobblyElvis Offline
WobblyElvis  Offline
Joined: Sep 2014
Posts: 1,446
Toronto Canada
Specs here - https://www.edmunds.com/gmc/sierra-1500/2006/features-specs/

Assuming your truck is rear wheel drive only, and tires front and rear are the same. You should have a little toe in and specs say the rear track is an inch wider than the front. An educated guess tells me as you look along the outside edge of the front tires toward the rear tires, all the edges should line up. In other words, as you look across the outer surface of the front tires toward the back of the vehicle, the line you are looking down should just intersect the outside edge of the rear tires. Truck should be in neutral, level ground, rear park brake set, steering wheel centred.
This will put you in the ball park.

Re: DIY Wheel Alignment Question [Re: Rock_Hudstone] #4539841
10/11/17 07:13 AM
10/11/17 07:13 AM
Joined: Jun 2013
Posts: 1,037
iowa
Traction Offline
Traction  Offline
Joined: Jun 2013
Posts: 1,037
iowa
Originally Posted By: Rock_Hudstone

I replaced the struts and R inner tie rod on my Dodge Grand Caravan. I was able to get the driver side aligned pretty close to specs, However, the right side is visibly toed out and the steering wheel is off center at the one o'clock position, When I corrected that toe out condition the wheel became ever further off center.

Does there need to be a compensating adjustment on the left side toe to center the steering wheel and get things drivable until I can get in for an alignment? If so, wouldn't that throw left side toe off as well?


Sounds like you turned the wrong tie rod is all. Just turn both tie rods an equal amount to center the steering wheel is all you need to do, making one shorter, and the other longer. Assuming the toe-in is set. Of course every time I've done it, I usually turn them the wrong direction on the first attempt.

Last edited by Traction; 10/11/17 07:17 AM.

Certified Tire Service Instructor since 2009
50 Chevy Fire Truck
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Re: DIY Wheel Alignment Question [Re: WobblyElvis] #4540235
10/11/17 01:31 PM
10/11/17 01:31 PM
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 2,202
Toronto, Canada
George7941 Offline
George7941  Offline
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 2,202
Toronto, Canada
Originally Posted By: WobblyElvis
Specs here - https://www.edmunds.com/gmc/sierra-1500/2006/features-specs/

Assuming your truck is rear wheel drive only, and tires front and rear are the same. You should have a little toe in and specs say the rear track is an inch wider than the front. An educated guess tells me as you look along the outside edge of the front tires toward the rear tires, all the edges should line up. In other words, as you look across the outer surface of the front tires toward the back of the vehicle, the line you are looking down should just intersect the outside edge of the rear tires. Truck should be in neutral, level ground, rear park brake set, steering wheel centred.
This will put you in the ball park.


Thanks for the Edmunds link. It may or may not apply to my truck since mine is a reg cab rwd and the three trucks listed by Edmunds are all crew cabs. When I aligned the front end using string I was operating under the assumption that the front and rear tracks were the same and I did get a couple of inexplicable readings. I need to take another look at my truck.


2006 GMC Sierra 4.3l, NV3500,G80 , Mobil 1 5W30, Dexcool.
1987 BMW R80 - sold
2015 Honda CBR300R

Staying out of the right lane a lot.
Re: DIY Wheel Alignment Question [Re: Traction] #4540491
10/11/17 06:26 PM
10/11/17 06:26 PM
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 1,449
New Jersey
Rock_Hudstone Offline OP
Rock_Hudstone  Offline OP
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 1,449
New Jersey
Originally Posted By: Traction
Sounds like you turned the wrong tie rod is all. Just turn both tie rods an equal amount to center the steering wheel is all you need to do, making one shorter, and the other longer. Assuming the toe-in is set. Of course every time I've done it, I usually turn them the wrong direction on the first attempt.

Okay I'll try that.

Re: DIY Wheel Alignment Question [Re: 2strokeNorthstar] #4540503
10/11/17 06:36 PM
10/11/17 06:36 PM
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 1,449
New Jersey
Rock_Hudstone Offline OP
Rock_Hudstone  Offline OP
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 1,449
New Jersey
Originally Posted By: 2strokeNorthstar
Firestone is like a DIY alignment. It may be close maybe not. I got their lifetime alignment and it is consistently bad. The wheel isn't straight or it pulls or tracks..... Had it done at an alignment shop and didn't do any of that. I don't have any idea what they are doing at Firestone. They don't either I guess.

I think they don't have any alignment specialists, at least at the Firestone I've used. From what I could see whatever tech was working on your vehicle was the also the guy that did the alignment.

Not good, as these guys have a bad habit of using impact wrenches to torque wheel nuts. I couldn't loosen most of the nuts on the front wheels with my own impact wrench at full power, had to use a breaker bar.



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