Alignment Mystery (misery) solved. NEW QUESTION 88 80q

TooManyAudis at TooManyAudis at
Mon Mar 12 19:01:51 EDT 2007

Thanks for the reply.
Seems that if anyone has experience with these cars, it is you.
I will take a look at the control arms as well.  -- I just replaced  all 8 
control arm bushings, and the control arms were fine, but that was several  
weeks ago and before the mystery alignment problem.  However, I will also  take a 
look at the adjustments on the ball joints, perhaps if one is all the way  in, 
and the other all the way out, this would account for a "shift" to one side  
or the other.  Maybe, maybe not.  I'm not sure how one adjustment  affects the 
other, although I doubt that these adjustments are totally  independent of 
each other.
The tie rods were most likely bent for some time -- and whatever caused the  
noticeable sudden change probably took less impact to severely bend  a 
"pre-bent" tie rod than if the tie rod(s) had been unbent to that  point.
We are entering the time of diminishing returns -- 250k on car, many  dings 
on the body -- maybe worth $600 to $750 or so to a buyer, but cheap to own  (no 
payments, ins. less than $50 / month -- decent gas mileage means I can keep  
most of mileage $ from my company = untaxed income), fairly easy to maintain 
and  a go-anywhere in any kind of weather conditions vehicle.
Unfortunately, due to work (and pitiful trunk space), i'd be better  off with 
a small SUV, a small avant or something with a trunk and folding rear  seats. 
 However, my checkbook dictates that I'll be keeping this car for a  few more 
months (at least) and it is potentially cheap enough to keep as a  highway 
car with a larger vehicle for work-related activities.
So, I have my eye on a new LH tie rod on ebay (currently $1.50).   Don't any 
of you vultures bid me out of this one...
-- Tom

>  The car has over 250k on it.  And, it appears that over that time,   some 
> things have shifted that would make aligning the wheels,  steering wheel 
> center of rack travel pretty tough to  do.  

That really shouldn't be - did you figure out how your tie  rods were 
bent?  As I recall, the car was parked and afterwards the  wheel was way 
off center?

You could have a bent control arm (about  $70 with new bushings I think), 
perhaps a ball joint has been  tweaked, or a damaged strut bearing... 
or something like that.

>  I am curious as to whether a tie rod from a slightly older vehicle  (4kS  
> 4kCSq) would be slightly shorter in overall length (1/2" or so  ideally,  
> making it possible to make a dead-on  alignment.

I'd get the right part and bring it to the shop for the  FEA.

> The alternative is to align the drive wheels to the steering  wheel, with  
> rack being slightly off center in its travel  (steering wheel would have to 
> be straightened 30 to  45-degrees).

Doable, I suppose, but why not figure out why the tie rods  won't adjust 
right with the rack centered first?

Huw  Powell

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