[200q20v] Re: DIY Alignment, was front suspension/replace

Bernie Benz b.m.benz at prodigy.net
Sun Jun 3 07:53:49 EDT 2001

Hi Derek,  My further critique interlaced below.


> From: "Derek Pulvino" <dbpulvino at hotmail.com>
> Date: Sat, 02 Jun 2001 09:51:08 -0700
> To: 200q20v at audifans.com
> Cc: b.m.benz at prodigy.net
> Subject: [200q20v] Re: DIY Alignment, was  front suspension/replace
> Howdy all,
> What are you guys using for alignment specs?  Are you setting to the factory
> prescribed specs (ie .5 degree neg. camber, and .17 deg. toe in on front,
> etc.).  Have you found that being slightly off that mark makes a difference
> in the handling/tracking of the vehicle?
My specs in general are within the broad factory spec range, depending upon
the useage.  Example:  200-20V camber factory spec. -.5D +/- .5D.  For
freeway cruising, what the 200 was built for and best at, I use 0.0D camber
for max tire life.  For aggressive driving I would use -0.5D (with a
prestressed Benz Strut Brace) at some sacrifice in tire wear.  For track (no
personal experience) I'd start with -1.0D, who cares about tire life?
Winning is everything!
But, IMO, the factory allowed camber side to side difference of 0.5D is
grose!  Should be zero, or as close to zero as possible.  DYI is about the
only to achieve this with certanity.
> As asked several months ago, still trying to sort out the front end tracking
> on my vehicle.  Have had several alignments on the vehicle, and still not
> there (only one of which I've had to pay for).  The funny thing is, going
> from one shop to the next, I found the alignment readings where not the
> same.  Not much time between alignments, and don't think the car was jolted
> to terribly in that time; makes me wonder about machine calibration.
As well as operator knowledge and care, or suspension parts problems.
> I'm guessing you're using the degree/bubble gauges for camber, but it would
> seem a good t-square, engineers scale, and some math would also get you
> there.  What are you using to check toe?  String-box method?  I know the
> garage floor in my abode is not flat, so I guess to using a bubble gauge
> would require me to first find the angle of the garage floor, before setting
> camber.  Once you get a camber reading, how are you physically moving the
> strut housing-once you loosen the bolts on the camber plate, is hand
> pressure enough to move the strut housing's position?
Must unload the strut to tower interface by jacking the chassis, as the
shops do.
> How also would you suggest checking/setting the thrust angle.  I'd seen one
> suggestion to use a plumb bob to check alignment of the front end
> componentry, but I guess I would once again have to compensate for the
> garage floor.  I'm pretty sure the subframe is not right in the middle.
I don't use the term thrust angle, but I do align such that the chassis goes
down the road straight.  Will get into how in a forthcoming disclosure.
> Also, does anybody know if the 92-94 S4 had any issues with tracking and/or
> twitchiness running it's stock wheels (star fish wheels)?  I remember
> discussion saying the strut housings, and control arms between the 200 and
> the S4/V8 are not the same, but I'm wondering if anybody knows if this
> changed the front end geometry at all, to make it more compatible with a
> 40mm offset wheel?  My logic is following that if the geometry hasn't
> changed between these vehicles, and the S4 didn't have problems with
> tracking in stock guise, then my car when correctly set up shouldn't
> either-I'm running the 16" star fish wheels on my car.  That's where the
> lion's share of my tracking problems arise.
> All right, enough said.  I leave this one to the floor for discussion.
> Derek Pulvino.

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