mxyplxDecember 24, 2007

I was quite interested to see an alignment thread. This is a new thread cause the tale is a bit different. Now I have a '79 Toyota 3/4 ton P/U. 210K miles of which 150K are mine ALL mine. It has a torsion bar front suspension and upper and lower control arms with ball joints. Original. I keep it well lubed/maintained - don't let nuthing go. Nuthin. BUT!!!!!!!

It has always pulled to the left regardless of the road camber. I had it aligned "professionally" 4 times. Still ran off to the left. I have printouts from the last 2 alignments (same outfit) and (the last alighment was requested because I bounced it off a curb or some similar mistake).

Now then: The last 2 printouts state the alignmnet specs (front and rear). My "book" states the alignment specs. All 3 "specs" are different. No record of the 1st 2 alignments. The last 2 alignments show the measured final adjustment within or right on specs (different specs remember). After the operation they drove it out and said it was OK. How would they know? I drive it all the time. They drove it once. They didn't drive it before either.

Finally a couple years ago I jacked it up and went at it myself. In my garage. I devised various ways to measure the toe in and camber - caster? nope! couldn't do it. Anyway nuthin worked till finally in complete disgust I cranked both wheels way to the right. How much I no longer know - lost my notes. AND!!!!!

The heap ran down the road straight. STRAIGHT! After all these years. However, in a panic stop situation you have to pay attention. Seems to dive a bit right for some odd reason. I don't allow anyone else to drive it. The tires show no discernable misalignment wear.

My conlusion is that published alignment specs are probly wrong, there is no guarantee the techs are looking at the correct specs for the correct model, most alignment outfits just make a pass at it, within specs is good enough for them whether it is or not, and after watching them work (from a distance don'tchaknow, insurance etc etc) the techs don't have the faintest idea about allowing for paralax and evaluating uncertainty when making their readings/settings.


Well I'm off to Sacramento for Xmas dinner with the kiddies and grand kiddies. Therefore I can't, in good conscience, drink. Grandpa face down on the floor would be unseemly. Grandpa face down on the floor would be in blessed oblivion.

Cheers :-)

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Can you post the old alignment sheet? If anybody has done this correctly I bet you have spent some coin. This vehicle has parts that you can put in to cure Caster/Camber, but it calls for 1.5 hours per side. How does the tires wear? I bet the cross Caster or Camber is off causing the pull.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2007 at 7:00PM
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Va, I'm not sure that the front end you linked to kits for is the front end that his truck has. He said he has torsion bars, and upper and lower control arms. The link you have is for the solid front axle.

mxyplx. Frankly at this point all bets are off as far as what your truck is doing. Maybe the lack of tire wear is because you really don't drive it much? (Just guessing, VBG)

One thing you did touch on has to do with the road test. True we only get to drive the vehicles a little bit for testing purposes. On a typical repair, especially an alignment check I teach the techs to have a course picked out that has road surfaces with a left camber, no camber and a right camber. Every vehicle should act relatively the same going through the course. On the left camber section, the car should drift left, the right camber section the car should drift to the right, and of course not drift at all in the level section. However, this has to be adjusted slightly depending on drivers habits, and typical road crowning. Someone that drives a lot of highway miles, on roads with a lot of crown actually need a car that leads ever so slightly to the left, or else they spend all of their time drifting down the crown to the right. Your truck may easily have been actually set up for a high road crown, and you simply don't normally drive it that way. Result, you think it pulls to the left, when it may actually be correct.

There are two ways to set a vehicle up to compensate for drift. One is with camber, the vehicle will lead to the more positive side. The other is with Caster, the vehicle will lead to the more negative side. You can actually change camber by adjusting the torsion bars, but you have to be sure that you don't make the truck lean too much to one side or the other. Without a real measuring system, you have no idea where anything is actually set at, especially caster which is measured by turning the wheels from one position to the other and measuring the camber change between the two points.

As far as it turning when you hit the brakes, you could easily be describing a braking issue, as well as a suspension one. Anything from a brake applying slowly, to one that is dragging (front or rear) could cause the vehicle to pull on braking. A worn control arm bushing could also easily provide a similar symptom. The problem from a technicians standpoint right now is this truck didn't just wear and end up this way, you have made random changes which are easily clouding all of the vehicles true symptoms, and there may well need to be work done, just to find out what else is wrong. In many ways this is what is wrong with the TV sting operations. It's one thing to simply go in and fix a car that broke, that's what we do. Fixing something that has been hacked or rigged is a completely different situation.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2007 at 9:00AM
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Also, could the truck be drifting because of the brakes dragging on one side? The allignment wouldn't pick this up. I'm sure you've checked tire pressure which can also cause it to wander. Or bad wheel bearings causing drag.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2007 at 8:30AM
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I never messed with the steering adjustments till well after the last time it was "professionally" aligned which will be the last time it is "professionally" aligned unless I happen to be in PA and will see if John G. can cough up the time to do it right.

I drove it today and tried several hard stops and it layed down right good and straight. Maybe a slight pull right or left one time or nuther from road roughness but nuthin to remark about.

I think the squirley stopping occurred with a hard stop when pulling my bigger sailboat/trailer, about 2000#. There's no trailer brake (Shhhh) so the weight will naturally throw to the front. As I recall it felt like the truck dived vertically down (not to the side) on the right front and it seemed like that tire squealed.

The brakes, calipers, pads, shoes, fluid etc are replaced all around with new stuff maybe 5-7000 miles ago. Tires are new Michelins filed with life sustaining nitrogen. Everything is 10-4 so its probly just the trailer weight causing the squirley. I won't be able to check that out till next April/May when the lake fills up again. I think if the truth were known its the rear end out of line but there is no adjust on that and I ain't about to open that can mit worms gemixt.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2007 at 4:27PM
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