B3 and the Monkey Lads - The Final Conflict (long)

Ed Kellock ekellock at gmail.com
Sat May 19 15:15:45 EDT 2007

Not sure a shop that supposedly knows your model is the definite answer.
Tie rod ends are often left askew.  I have one that way right now on a V8.
I have fixed this in the past myself by straightening the one and making the
opposite adjustment on the other side to compensate for the change in spec.

A good alignment shop should know better.  It's not like the car is in the
air when they do the alignment.  It's more work to do it well/right though,
so depends on the guy, the day, etc.  Your's sounds like an extreme case
where it caused binding.  

I'm glad you got it sorted out.  It's just good geometry after all.  ;-)


> -----Original Message-----
> From: quattro-bounces at audifans.com 
> [mailto:quattro-bounces at audifans.com] On Behalf Of Bob Gregory
> Sent: Saturday, May 19, 2007 8:18 AM
> To: Quattro list
> Subject: B3 and the Monkey Lads - The Final Conflict (long)
> In our last episode...After car aligned (#2) on Tuesday, 
> serious steering issue developed. Key point - no problem 
> pre-alignment.  Symptom #1 - steering is very heavy - like 
> tires very low air.  Symptom #2 - turning left (loading FR) 
> car starts to turn normally, then "oversteers" dramatically, 
> then does not return to straight unless steering wheel 
> physically turned back.  Turning RT no problem.  Not a good 
> feeling on the road.
> 1st impulse - no more STS - go to real alignment shop.  After 
> some thought, call STS HQ and talk w/ regional mgr (RM) - 
> friendly + sounds helpful.  Arranged shop visit this am.  
> Shop staff not very friendly but RM good.  Car on rack - 
> serious binding 1/2 way thru LT turn.  Tech (grumpy) "You 
> have serious problem here -  rack, rack mounts, strut mounts, 
> yada, yada....".
> RM not convinced and not willing to give up - something too 
> weird.  Disconnects just RT TRE, steering is now smooth, no 
> binding.  Reconnect RT TRE - binding back!  Loosens jam nuts 
> on connected TRE, steering now smooth and free.  I had 
> suggested to RM on phone a concern that RT TRE stud, after 
> alignment, was not vertical - TRE tilted backward, close to 
> max movement limit of internal ball.  Concern = added wear, 
> and TRE boot was always rubbing on strut mounting arm.  On 
> phone, RM says that TR itself rotates so TRE moves to 
> whatever position it wants too - you can move back to 
> vertical by hand I try to tell him B3 not like that, doesn't 
> listen too well.  At shop, before B3 on rack, RM shows me how 
> a Honda TRE rotates on TR - but I notice TR comes directly 
> out of rack, not mounted to plate like in B3.  RM now makes 
> face at me.  I'm wrong again.
> After miracle fix of loosening TRE, RM and I discuss what 
> happened.  I repeat TRE should be vertical to allow max 
> movement.  RM doesn't say anything but goes in shop and talks 
> with techs.  TRE straightened, alignment redone, car is 
> perfect!  RM still shaking head, but it's fixed.
> Get home, look at old TRE, and w/ amount of angle they had 
> TRE set at, no more movement left in the internal ball!  
> Obviously at a point turning LT, everything binds up and 
> steering gets jammed.  
> Conclusions - Go to real alignment shop who knows B3 Audis.  
> The vertical position of TRE moy importanto!  If TR comes 
> straight out of rack, then TR/TRE can rotate quite a bit 
> never binding up - not so if TR fixed to plate that is 
> mounted to rack.  RM later says several newer Chryslers are 
> like this too - didn't know B3 was (wouldn't/couldn't listen to me).
> Normal STS procedure is to get each side within allowable 
> spec range, but not spend much time to get each side as close 
> as possible wrt each other.  I asked them to do this today 
> and they did.
> Although local STS Lads cheered up at the end (maybe I wasn't 
> such an azzzole after all), they were quietly crappy thru the 
> whole affair.  Wouldn't choose to use them in future - would 
> have to tell them exactly how I wanted the job done (probably 
> new techs by then, anyway) and I would get the "Who are you" 
> faces again.  However, the RM was a great guy; too bad he has 
> moved up to management.
> Final note to self; apparently you can eyeball the alignment 
> pretty damn close (at least on a B3), so driving the car 
> "gently" a greater distance to an Audi specialist shouldn't 
> result in significant extra tire wear.
> What an event - I should have known after reading all the 
> Monkey Lad stories posted here thru the years - this was my 
> first.  My bad.
> ---------------------------------
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