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Re: Alignment techniques

> > There is absolutely no reason the wheel should be misaligned any worse
> > than when the car was new.  None.  Zip-slant-doodly-squat nada...
> You're not thinking deviously enough.

Actually, thinking deviously is one of my talents (I'm in the tax biz...)
but communicating my thoughts clearly sometimes isn't, especially around
this time of the year.  :^(

What I meant to say is that there's absolutely no ACCEPTABLE reason why the
wheel should be misaligned any worse than when the car was new, despite the
many excuses you'll almost certainly hear from the dealer or alignment shop
about why they can't correct this and how you'll just have to learn to live
with it.

> Obviously someone did a bad alignment, and tried to fix it by shifting the
> steering wheel round a spline or two.  Then the car was properly aligned,
> and now the steering wheel is out ...

This is certainly a possibility but I wouldn't count on the car having been
properly aligned.  At this point, the only proper solution is to start with
centering the rack, re-center the steering wheel to your satisfaction (I've
seen a few cars where it's not possible to perfectly center the wheel along
with the rack because of production tolerances but they're rare) then align
the wheels.  There's no magic involved, just time, and since most shops set
a fixed-price for their alignments, they're motivated to spend as little of
it as possible on each car.

That's why car manufacturers specify such a broad range of tolerances with
their alignment specs.  A racer-buddy who used to manage an alignment shop
told me that a surprisingly large number of cars brought in for alignments
actually fell within the specified range of tolerances and thus no work on
them was required or performed ... besides writing up the bill, of course!

If you're a conspiracy buff, you'll understand why most alignments are done
by tire shops...

                /| | | |\  |   |\  | | |\  |  AudiDudi@delphi.com
               /-| | | | | | = | | | | | | |  Jeffrey Goggin
              /  | |_| |/  |   |/  |_| |/  |  Scottsdale, Arizona