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What causes alignment to go out of spec? #4680404
02/28/18 09:42 AM
02/28/18 09:42 AM
Joined: Nov 2014
Posts: 33
Canada
johnnyh55 Offline OP
johnnyh55  Offline OP

Joined: Nov 2014
Posts: 33
Canada
I know that wheel alignment goes out of spec after bushings, tie-rods, ball joints and other suspension components wear out and they have more and more play in them but what I am wondering is what causes the alignment to change after hitting a pothole? If nothing is bent, the adjustement of the tie rod doesn't actually move after hitting the pot hole right? So if the tie rods stay locked to the previous position when the wheel alignment was fine, what causes it to change after hitting a pothole?

Re: What causes alignment to go out of spec? [Re: johnnyh55] #4680419
02/28/18 10:03 AM
02/28/18 10:03 AM
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 31,664
NY
demarpaint Offline
demarpaint  Offline

Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 31,664
NY
If nothing is bent, broken, jarred loose, or knocked out of adjustment then nothing would change after hitting a pot hole. In other words in order for the alignment to go out, something in the front end has to change.


God Bless Our Troops

Re: What causes alignment to go out of spec? [Re: johnnyh55] #4680443
02/28/18 10:32 AM
02/28/18 10:32 AM
Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 436
Indianapolis, IN
09_GXP Offline
09_GXP  Offline

Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 436
Indianapolis, IN
Sometimes a bushing can be bound up after and alignment and when you hit the pot hole it gets knocked loose. This is more common on alignment settings at the far end of specs but can happen to any unit.

Alternatively, you can hit a pot hole hard enough that the bushing temporarily deforms and then becomes bound up. Bolts will also slip a bit with the high point loads from pot holes and other factors.


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Re: What causes alignment to go out of spec? [Re: demarpaint] #4680444
02/28/18 10:35 AM
02/28/18 10:35 AM
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 485
Ohio
jjjxlr8 Offline
jjjxlr8  Offline

Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 485
Ohio
Originally Posted By: demarpaint
If nothing is bent, broken, jarred loose, or knocked out of adjustment then nothing would change after hitting a pot hole. In other words in order for the alignment to go out, something in the front end has to change.


...or the back end.


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2008 Mazdaspeed3
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Re: What causes alignment to go out of spec? [Re: johnnyh55] #4680445
02/28/18 10:38 AM
02/28/18 10:38 AM
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 485
Ohio
jjjxlr8 Offline
jjjxlr8  Offline

Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 485
Ohio
Originally Posted By: johnnyh55
I know that wheel alignment goes out of spec after bushings, tie-rods, ball joints and other suspension components wear out and they have more and more play in them but what I am wondering is what causes the alignment to change after hitting a pothole? If nothing is bent, the adjustement of the tie rod doesn't actually move after hitting the pot hole right? So if the tie rods stay locked to the previous position when the wheel alignment was fine, what causes it to change after hitting a pothole?


How would you know that "nothing is bent?" Slightly bent components are difficult to detect., except with alignment rigs. There can also be measurement errors caused by the tech setting up the equipment that could be causing the change.


1993 Toyota MR2 Turbo
2008 Mazdaspeed3
2014 Toyota Highlander XLE
Re: What causes alignment to go out of spec? [Re: jjjxlr8] #4680454
02/28/18 10:49 AM
02/28/18 10:49 AM
Joined: Nov 2014
Posts: 33
Canada
johnnyh55 Offline OP
johnnyh55  Offline OP

Joined: Nov 2014
Posts: 33
Canada
Originally Posted By: jjjxlr8
How would you know that "nothing is bent?" Slightly bent components are difficult to detect., except with alignment rigs. There can also be measurement errors caused by the tech setting up the equipment that could be causing the change.


Well if the tech at the alignment shop says the alignment is out so it needs to be aligned but he doesn't mention any components needing to be replaced, wouldn't that mean nothing is bent? Or that would mean something is bent but he can get it back to spec without changing whatever componnent that is bent? So the alignment will be in spec with a bent componenent.

Re: What causes alignment to go out of spec? [Re: johnnyh55] #4680490
02/28/18 11:37 AM
02/28/18 11:37 AM
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 3,459
Where the wind comes sweepin'
Reddy45 Offline
Reddy45  Offline

Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 3,459
Where the wind comes sweepin'
What about alignment cams used on control arms?

Re: What causes alignment to go out of spec? [Re: johnnyh55] #4680498
02/28/18 11:57 AM
02/28/18 11:57 AM
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 8,009
Marshfield , MA
andyd Offline
andyd  Offline

Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 8,009
Marshfield , MA
We were on our honeymoon, 4yrs after getting married. "66 Bug. In Utah on I 80 we hit a dollop of asphalt about 3" high going 60. It bent something and knocked the toe out. Badly enough to see shreds of rubber when we stopped for gas. It was re-aligned by adjusting the tie rods. Between the 4 ends, there is wide range of adjustment.

Last edited by andyd; 02/28/18 11:59 AM.

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Re: What causes alignment to go out of spec? [Re: johnnyh55] #4680512
02/28/18 12:15 PM
02/28/18 12:15 PM
Joined: May 2009
Posts: 12,457
N.H, U.S.A.
ARCOgraphite Offline
ARCOgraphite  Offline

Joined: May 2009
Posts: 12,457
N.H, U.S.A.
Just a new car "settling" in from welding stresses can go out. It can constantly pop in and out if it was not jigged right. Many mac struts don't have brake reaction rods so, you can slam on a brake and put the toe out of spec. The lower swing arm bushings can be very compliant. Garbage mac strut bolted to floppy sheet metal.

Ackermann steering geo is not great, IMO.

Last edited by ARCOgraphite; 02/28/18 12:17 PM.

2019 VW Jetta S,6M OCI#0 1136mi-Castrol Edge Prof? VW508+OE Filter; '17 Subaru Crosstrek CVT OC#6 43467mi-Valvoline Adv 0w20 + SOA Filter
Re: What causes alignment to go out of spec? [Re: johnnyh55] #4680530
02/28/18 12:33 PM
02/28/18 12:33 PM
Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 5,275
Tn.
CourierDriver Offline
CourierDriver  Offline

Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 5,275
Tn.
Those darn potholes in Michigan will do it,, or the railroad tracks..imho


Look into Forks Over Knives Official Plant-Based Group if you want to change your way of eating.
Re: What causes alignment to go out of spec? [Re: johnnyh55] #4680541
02/28/18 12:51 PM
02/28/18 12:51 PM
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 18,407
Deplorable in apple valley, ca
Chris142 Offline
Chris142  Offline

Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 18,407
Deplorable in apple valley, ca
If you hit a pothole and it knocks the alignment out something did get bent. Don't take much.


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Re: What causes alignment to go out of spec? [Re: johnnyh55] #4680542
02/28/18 12:56 PM
02/28/18 12:56 PM
Joined: Apr 2015
Posts: 467
Reunion Island
Superflan Offline
Superflan  Offline

Joined: Apr 2015
Posts: 467
Reunion Island
On a Renault Megane, I had a shorter distance between front and rear wheels on one side of the vehicle. I donít know if it was a pothole or the rear-ended crash Iíve been involved in, but after changing 4 corners arms, it stayed the same. Bent body?


Peugeot Partner 1.9 D, 5W40 C3, 245000 Km, running on WVO
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Re: What causes alignment to go out of spec? [Re: johnnyh55] #4680554
02/28/18 01:06 PM
02/28/18 01:06 PM
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 8,071
Jupiter, Florida
Cujet Offline
Cujet  Offline

Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 8,071
Jupiter, Florida
I've discovered that alignment issues suddenly occur after lending my cars out.


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Re: What causes alignment to go out of spec? [Re: Cujet] #4680566
02/28/18 01:20 PM
02/28/18 01:20 PM
Joined: Apr 2017
Posts: 506
Utah, USA
28oz Online content
28oz  Online Content

Joined: Apr 2017
Posts: 506
Utah, USA
Originally Posted By: Cujet
I've discovered that alignment issues suddenly occur after lending my cars out.


You too? eek


-----------------
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2004 Nissan Quest VQ35DE - PP Euro 0W-40
2003 Ford Excursion 7.3 PSD - Rotella T6 5W-40
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Re: What causes alignment to go out of spec? [Re: johnnyh55] #4680599
02/28/18 02:18 PM
02/28/18 02:18 PM
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 485
Ohio
jjjxlr8 Offline
jjjxlr8  Offline

Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 485
Ohio
Originally Posted By: johnnyh55
Originally Posted By: jjjxlr8
How would you know that "nothing is bent?" Slightly bent components are difficult to detect., except with alignment rigs. There can also be measurement errors caused by the tech setting up the equipment that could be causing the change.


Well if the tech at the alignment shop says the alignment is out so it needs to be aligned but he doesn't mention any components needing to be replaced, wouldn't that mean nothing is bent? Or that would mean something is bent but he can get it back to spec without changing whatever componnent that is bent? So the alignment will be in spec with a bent componenent.


No, the tech won't be able to tell if some component is 'tweaked' slightly. Yes, it is possible to get the alignment back with slightly bent components. Yes, the alignment that is measured on the alignment rigs can be adjusted to be in spec with slightly bent components.

Sometimes new cars come with out of spec alignments. I've seen "non-adjustable" rear suspensions that are out of spec on a new vehicle. Camber bolts or other suspension kits are required to get them back in spec in those situations. Assuming that the car was built with non-bent components, it might have been just a stack up of tolerances during manufacturing or just a defect. It doesn't take much to change the alignment!


1993 Toyota MR2 Turbo
2008 Mazdaspeed3
2014 Toyota Highlander XLE
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