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One front wheel out of place?

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  • #16
    Nikos -

    Just thinking out loud here, it just doesn't seem that things could be off this far without something being fishy with the control arms or bushing/lollipop location. After all, the upper mounts, even adjustable or camber correcting, can only affect the location of the upper end of the strut, and its angle relative to the body, right? Ultimately, it's the control arm that determines the position of the lower end of the strut. So unless the control arm is distorted, or its attachment to the unibody is off, how can the wheel position be so far off (mine is easily 20mm too far aft)? It just doesn't seem possible (unless of course the whole body is wracked, but you have eliminated that possibility from yours.

    I wonder - are the lollipops (bushing mounts) symmetrical? Is it possible to mount them upside down such that the bushing is too far aft? Are there right and left hand pieces, or are the two sides identical? Is there a front and rear to the part, such that the bushing is held 10mm off the center of the mounting bolt? If so, reversing the one that is too far aft would shift the wheel forward. Hmmm.

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    • #17
      To answer my own question, the lollipops are different right to left, and it appears to be impossible to assemble them incorrectly due to the angle of the bracket. Seems like the only way this kind of difference would be possible is if the unibody is badly distorted - but that should be visible elsewhere I would think..... or if the subframe ball joint attachment is in the wrong place. But if that were the case, the wheel would also be moved outboard quite a bit - which seems possible with my car, actually, now that I think about it. Hmm again....

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      • #18
        John,

        That is why I am looking into the spindle, control arm and possibly front subframe...caster and strut tower deformation effects are minimal since the spindle is located at the bottom of the strut.

        FWIW, on my car, I've also installed a sparco strut bar with no problem (some may say this is a good indication that they are not bent...). I also have Gustave's ackerman spacers.

        Unfortunately, I won't be able to swap out my RH suspension until after my vacation, but maybe they had a bad batch of control arms or something. Mine came from VAC early 2005 (note: I am not blaiming VAC...but maybe there's a bad batch?). Of course, at this point, something as simple like this is wishful thinking on my part... :rolleyes:


        Nick

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        • #19
          I have bent a steel arm with my E36, but that required hitting a tree ! After losing the car on a snowy road I entered the bushes and as the steering was at full lock it managed to hit a tree (miracously nothing else contacted the tree). The wheel was moved more than one inch backwards - nothing else broke. Don't know if alu arms can take this much bending before breaking.

          It is possible to install the lollipop wrong way around (dont ask how I know...) but it won't sit in correct position because the sleeves protruding from the chassis won't go into corresponding grooves in lollipop so there should be about 3 mm clearence between if this is the case.

          Another possibility is to put the bushing in to the lollipop in incorrect position, there are dots on both to mark the correct alignment. (Assuming you have the offset bushings this makes a differnece on wheel location.)

          A picture of lollipops would be of great help !

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          • #20
            Ok, I just came back from my friend's shop where we put the car up on the lift, and did all kinds of frame measurements, and none of the cross-checks was more than 3mm different. The control arms are not bent, we couldn't find anything to explain the large difference. He was stumped because we still measure a good 14mm difference in wheelbase at the wheel center at full droop (though this changes quite a bit with small adjustments of steering). There is some fender liner rub on the RH wheel that is not present with the left. I am curious how much of this could be due to differences in ride height due to settling of the suspension - that is, as the suspension compresses, the wheel moves up and aft with respect to the body. If the "settled" height differs by much side-to-side, one wheel will appear to be closer the the rear than the other. Thus, measuring wheelbase differences is only significant if the ride heights are equal. Just a thought....

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            • #21
              The settled height will affect it to a certain degree...but not 14mm worth.

              I just looked up my measurements:

              Stock spec = 2565mm (at stock height which I am not at)
              Left = 2555
              Right = 2540

              So, I am actually off 15mm side-to-side.

              FWIW, the settled height will acount for some difference, but not that much. For example, assuming 8.5 of caster and a 2" lowering will only account for ~8mm decrease in wheelbase (someone can check my "simplistic" math I am sure, but that is inline with what my left wheelbase is at...).

              My car sits square all the way around height-wise and my front spring perches are set to the exact same height with fairly stiff springs (1000 in-lbs front, 1370 rear), so there is not much settling...unless a gorilla decides to jump on any single corner...


              Nick

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              • #22
                Nick -
                I am off by about the same amount, and I am also running adjustable plates and stiff springs (H&R Sport I believe). I see no evidence anywhere of anything being bent or hit, no cross-checked measurements have been off by more than 3mm, control arms measure up the same, subframe looks straight - in short, nothing that would account for such a gross difference. I mean, it is really hard to imagine that even gross misalignment at the upper mount or tie rods could account for this. My next stop will be a body shop where I will have them measure to spec. I suppose this could just be one of those "shut up and drive" kind of issues

                -John

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                • #23
                  John,

                  Any updates on your wheelbase issue? I just got back from vacation and will be tackling mine in a couple of weeks...once I get it back from my roll cage builder


                  Nick

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                  • #24
                    Nick -
                    I got my car up on a lift, and took extensive cross measurements, and nothing seems off, all within spec, the car seems straight, and I can find no evidence whatsoever of any body work or bending, anywhere. All cross-wise measurements still seem to be within 3-4mm or so, which isn't nearly enough to explain what I see.

                    My next stop is a body shop where they can be a little more thorough and precise, but like you, I've had other things taking my time the past couple weeks...

                    John

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                    • #25
                      John - Did you ever find out what the issue here was?
                      -AJ

                      -'88 Henna Red-

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                      • #26
                        As best as I have been able to determine, this is a non-issue, based on the points you choose to measure from, and the fact that it is very difficult to get the wheels perfectly straight. When measuring from all suspension points, my car is perfectly straight. When measuring from points on the wheels, i.e. like from the center caps, it's possible to get big variations, depending on the precise positioning of the steering at the time.

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                        • #27
                          Have the alignment shop do a SAI(steering angle inclination) measurement to isolate what maybe a bent spindle or control arm.


                          Cris
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