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Front wheel alignment


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I took my 2000 Boxster with 80K miles into a local mechanic to replace the front lower control arm. He called to let me know the car is ready but that he could not do a front alignment because, and I quote, "The car wouldn't fit on my machine." He says he drove it and the alignment is fine.

Recommendations? Drive it? Take it to Porsche?

Going to start searching now, but wanted to get the question out there since I have to pick up the car in a few hours.

Thanks,

Todd

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Its advisable to have an alignment done, it won't harm to drive too far to your Porsche centre. If the alignment is out, you may not feel it but it may be scrubbing your tyres.

Thanks for the quick reply. I'm getting new tires in November for my B-Day, so not terribly concerned about them. Just worried about screwing up the new control arm or something. . .

I don't understand why the guy can't do this . . . I should ask for a discount from the price he quoted me.

Todd

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There may be many reasons why your car won't "fit" on his machine; I can think of three:

(1) The car is too low and won't fit up ramps or clear a lifting device.

(2) The wheelbase is too short...the front and rear axles can't be on slip plates simultaneously.

(3) The wheel adapters/clamps for his machine won't fit your wheels at all or won't fit without damaging.

I encountered #2 on the machine I use, which is one of the latest/greatest machines from Hunter. It's a manageable problem, though; I check and set the rear axle first, then roll the car forward to the front slip/turn plates to do the front axle.

There is a fourth reason, that just occurred to me...(4) He didn't want to do it. (?) Checking and setting alignment can be pain, depending on the machine and the car. If a machine is older, with strings and time consuming compensation steps....

A simple drive won't tell you much about the alignment. Camber, caster and toe settings can each be out of spec without clear symptoms. For instance, total toe can be off, but clear vision (steering wheel angle) OK. Conversely, the steering wheel angle can be out of whack, but total toe AOK. Camber and caster anomalies won't usually be evident unless cross-camber or cross-caster (the difference between the left and right sides) is out of spec...but if both the left and right side are similarly out of spec, then the result may not play out until you have irregular tire wear.

--Brian

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