[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: re: alignments and Phil and Judy


> From: Phil and Judy Rose <pjrose@servtech.com>
> Subject: re: alignments and the freinds who love them

> This question makes me think in terms of its converse: If proper alignment
> can result in much more balance and overall grip, then what about the
> _dangers_ of improper alignment...?
> How potentially dangerous can a quattro's handling become if the alignment
> is done to the *wrong* specs? About 18 months ago...

> Before I could get around to going back to ask some questions about the
> alignment specs, I had my ill-fated encounter with the wet sand on the
> curve over Barto Hill; my car was ditched (and  a total loss). The twitchy
> handling that led to the accident was as startling then as it is a mystery
> (to me, at least) today. When I posted on the qlist about the car's weird,
> unrecoverable oversteering, we got into the dreaded t*rsen bite thread, and
> I've never pursued the question of what role improper alignment might have
> had in my experience.
> Can anyone offer a well-informed opinion as to whether alignment of a '91
> 200q to the wrong specs (what specs, who knows?   '92 100q? the S4?) is
> likely to induce significant (and disasterously negative) alteration in its
> handling. I'm sure to be seen as grasping at straws here, but I think it's
> an important issue to try to clarify. Alignment is casually regarded by
> many as an issue of merely tire-wear and straightahead tracking. That's
> obviously wrong, but _how_ wrong is it?

Phil & Judy,

I won't advertise myself as "well informed," but have had some personal
experience with this. I believe significant mis-alignment can be
somewhat dangerous in a 2 wheel drive car, and damned dangerous in a
4-wheeler, depending on which parameters are out of whack.  

In September 1995 I bought an '88 Mazda 323 GTX - turbocharged, all
wheel drive...fun car. It seemed to run straight down the highway, tire
wear over the first few months seemed even across the treads, all tires.
In the dry, it didn't seem to have any major faults when pushed
moderately. But when the first slippery winter conditions hit, holy
s___, the thing nearly gave me a heart attack. It was white knuckle time
even driving it in a straight line on snow or over those "bridges may
freeze before roadway." The car was simply not driveable, wanted to swap
ends with abandon ("twitchy" would be a fair but mild description). I
took it back to the shop where I bought it, they kept it an afternoon,
and when I picked it up they sheepishly told me the car had been
mis-alligned, with toe out ("too much?"...probably were supposed to be
toed _in_) in the rear wheels. 

What my seat of the pants gleaned from that: that particular
mis-alignment would, if same on both sides, be mostly masked by all
wheel drive in most conditions. Car _might_ seem to oversteer if pushed
in curves. It's when traction is iffy that a rear driving-wheel on one
side, with momentary greater traction or loading, will take control of
the situation and pull the back end of the car to its side. VERY
QUICKLY! Another hint I had: when driving over a manhole cover to one
side of the car, the rear end would twitch ever so slightly over to that
side when the rear tire went over.

Don't know if the above was a factor in your incident, but sounds
awfully suspicious. 

Frank M. 
Odessa, NY, USA
'90 200 TQ