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Thread: Is a 4 wheel alignment necessary?

  1. #1
    Member V8GrandMarquis's Avatar
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    Default Is a 4 wheel alignment necessary?

    Hey guys I was just going to get a alignment but do I really need a 4 wheels alignment. I don't think there is much to go wrong in the rear end but what do you guys recommend. Thanks.

  2. #2
    P31 Pursuit Car Brown_Muscle's Avatar
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    You have a solid rear axle...For all intensive purposes it is not adjustable. the front will simply be aligned in relation with the rear. most shops will advertise alignments as 4 wheel alignments, even if they only touch the front.

    Also make sure you find a trustworthy shop...they are hard to come by. a lot of places will do half ass alignments, and even less will dare touch the camber/caster adjustment. If you can ask for the before and after print out sheet.
    -Phil



    '82 Ford LTD-S Police Car. 351w, 2bbl 2150 Carb, 3.27 Trac-Lok Rear. Aluminum Police Driveshaft. 86 Valve Body with a Baumann Shift kit. To many little things done to list. More to come, always.

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    Member V8GrandMarquis's Avatar
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    Great thanks for the extra info.

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    fuck no, not today, thank you kindly 1990LTD's Avatar
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    always ask for the print out when you get an alignment...if they say no go elsewhere
    - 1990 Ford LTD Crown Victoria P72 - the street boat - 5.0 liter EFI - Ported HO intake/TB, 90 TC shroud/overflow, Aero airbox/zip tube, Cobra camshaft, 19lb injectors, dual exhaust w/ Magnaflows, Cat/Smog & AC delete, 3G alternator, MOOG chassis parts & KYB cop shocks, 215/70r/15s on 95-97 Merc rims - Summer toy/work in progress.

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    Also that insert cheap price is just for a toe and go. Expect to pay extra for camber/caster.

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    Some great advice here. +1 to everything as someone who's done alignments at a couple different shops.

    85 4 door 351 CV - 160KMs stock and with issues... 4BBL swap and other goodies in the spring...next spring

    06 Mazda 3 hatch 2.3L 5AT (current daily)

  7. #7

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    I just had my race car aligned at NTB. The rack they use is a very impressive setup. No way to screw that alignment up. And, at NTB you can stand right there with the dude as he is making adjustments.

    2009 GM, 45,000 miles
    ADDCO Sway Bars, METCO Control arms & Watts link, KYB CVPI shocks, 3.27 Track Lock, GT500 wheels, Eagle F1 Supercar tires, Walker dual exhaust, AFE Cold Air intake, ADTR ported upper manifold, Stillen Sport Rotors, Hawk HPS pads, Hypertech Programmer, 93 tune.




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    Fastest Box In South Jersey 86VickyLX's Avatar
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    The idea of a 4 wheel alignment in our cars case is to align the front wheels to the rear. Basically, if you just have a 2 wheel alignment, the front is all good, but the rear may have some damage, bent control arms, etc. Camber and Caster in a box panther sucks balls. 92+ for the win.
    "Vicky" 1986 Ford LTD Crown Victoria LX ..................................."Blue" 1992 Mercury Grand Marquis LS

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  9. #9
    I'm an air-conditioned gypsy gadget73's Avatar
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    I had to have mine done 4 times before someone adjusted it right. The first time the toe was done. I went back and asked why the caster and camber numbers were way out of spec, and was told "its not adjustable". I have big brakes on my car, and it has 2 sets of adjustments so thats BS. The second place didn't tighten one of the control arms and it shifted on me some 800 miles from home. I tightened it as best I could with the tools I had, and took it back when I got home. Don't know what they did, but it pulled. I went somewhere else, and they made it drive right. I don't have a printout, but the car goes down the road perfectly straight with no quirky handling habits and it doesn't chew the tires so as far as I'm concerned, its good.

    86 Lincoln Town Car (Galactica).
    Drivetrain: 5.0 HO, Explorer cam, FMS 1.72 roller rockers, 3.55 K code rear, tow package, BHPerformance ported E7 heads, Explorer intake, 65mm throttle body, Hedman 1 5/8" headers, 2.5" dual exhaust, ASP underdrive pulley, SuperCoupe stall converter

    Suspension: Bridgestone Protenza G019 225/60/16 on LSC turbines, 1 3/16" wagon front bar, 1" PI rear bar, cargo coils, KYB GR-2 front shocks, F150 rear air shocks, big front brakes, ES poly front suspension bushings, 00 CVPI steering box, ES poly body mounts, rear disc brakes

    91 Lincoln Mark VII LSC SE, triple black (Timewarp) - poly front bushings, KYB struts and shocks.

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    " all intensive purposes" It's for all intents and purposes [i get it mixed up all the time] The other one I used to have trouble with was "6 in one hand half a dozen in the other"
    But actually... IS there a way to correct anything in the rear?
    My right rear toe is at .14 and my left rear is at -.07; is that far enough out of spec to say that something's the least bit bent?

    And yeah, for $80, the technician gets paid $15... when I do alignments, sometimes, they are half-assed. I can't spend 2 hours on it and make a fair wage. And if something's more than a little frozen, where a propane torch won't get it (or there's a rubber bushing on the other side of that eccentric cam), I don't mess with it. We've had more headaches than appreciative customers, trying to deal with rusted hardware. Or if it's a truck that got lifted, and I have to mess with the torsion bars to correct things, or tear components apart to install aftermarket adjustments and shims, etc., it's easier just to say "it's not adjustable..." and move on to the next job, than price it all out only to have it turned down anyway as too expensive.
    Last edited by BerniniCaCO3; 05-29-2012 at 11:24 PM.

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    hey by the way, I was looking at my '90 box setup... the upper control arm has those two slots, right? I corrected caster by twisting it (moving just one slot outwards), and that sortof makes sense: it effectively shifts the upper ball joint backwards, which directly impacts caster. But it also screws up camber. It looks like the slots only move in and out, not side to side? So I can only get camber or caster correct, but can't fix caster without screwing up camber...? Or am I missing something?

    I'll be taking the upper control arm off entirely, tomorrow; which may show me more.

  12. #12
    The Shape You Want To Be In. mercurygm88's Avatar
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    I had mine done at pep boys last summer cost me $60 they did camber,caster,and toe, and gave me a printout. That was over 15,000 miles ago and all is still good.
    Daily driver 1988 Mercury Grand Marquis LS, oxford white, cabernet leather interior, preferred equipment package 173A, MSD Blaster coil, MSD cap and rotor, ford racing wires, homemade cold air intake, r134a a/c conversion, dual exhaust.



    1995 Mercury Grand Marquis GS R.I.P. Totalled 4/30/10

  13. #13
    I'm an air-conditioned gypsy gadget73's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BerniniCaCO3 View Post
    hey by the way, I was looking at my '90 box setup... the upper control arm has those two slots, right? I corrected caster by twisting it (moving just one slot outwards), and that sortof makes sense: it effectively shifts the upper ball joint backwards, which directly impacts caster. But it also screws up camber. It looks like the slots only move in and out, not side to side? So I can only get camber or caster correct, but can't fix caster without screwing up camber...? Or am I missing something?

    I'll be taking the upper control arm off entirely, tomorrow; which may show me more.
    you're not missing anything, and pulling those arms won't show you anything you haven't worked out already. Basically you play with it to get the best balance and call it good. The lack of adjustability is probably the single biggest reason why they went to cam adjusters starting in 1992.

    86 Lincoln Town Car (Galactica).
    Drivetrain: 5.0 HO, Explorer cam, FMS 1.72 roller rockers, 3.55 K code rear, tow package, BHPerformance ported E7 heads, Explorer intake, 65mm throttle body, Hedman 1 5/8" headers, 2.5" dual exhaust, ASP underdrive pulley, SuperCoupe stall converter

    Suspension: Bridgestone Protenza G019 225/60/16 on LSC turbines, 1 3/16" wagon front bar, 1" PI rear bar, cargo coils, KYB GR-2 front shocks, F150 rear air shocks, big front brakes, ES poly front suspension bushings, 00 CVPI steering box, ES poly body mounts, rear disc brakes

    91 Lincoln Mark VII LSC SE, triple black (Timewarp) - poly front bushings, KYB struts and shocks.

  14. #14
    Fastest Box In South Jersey 86VickyLX's Avatar
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    Had my car aligned at work. Our rack is shit though. Car went straight down the road, but no matter what we tried we couldn't get the steering wheel straight. About an hour at Scott's with Ivan's eyeballing and slight tweakage of tie rod ends made it perfect!
    "Vicky" 1986 Ford LTD Crown Victoria LX ..................................."Blue" 1992 Mercury Grand Marquis LS

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    5.0 HO Swap from 92 Cougar (Courtesy of Lincolnmania, Gadget73 and SVT98t), Electric Cooling Fan, Autodimming Mirror With Compass, Frankensteined but fully functional JBL Premium Sound System, HPP wheels, Working A/C, more mods to come soon!





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    Just did my front suspension: I like to indulge, and had it all apart, so in addition to new polyurethane bushings, did ball joints (uppers probably were still just fine: lowers had no play yet but where gravelly when turned), and sway bar endlinks and frame mounts (endlinks were ready to rust through!), and new springs just because.

    Bought the "lifetime alignments" at firestone; the guy got it to:
    camber -.10 -.15
    caster 3.25 3.45
    toe .03 .05

    can't really complain!
    Maybe new bushings helped align things better?
    Or just having them apart and wire brushed, make the top arms easier to adjust to where they needed to be without binding.
    Or that the guy who did the alignment was 50+ years old and knew what he was doing better than I do yet

    Happily the upper control arms were really pretty rust-free, protected up top, perhaps.
    rear toe eccentric cams are the bane of my workday, they always rust fast.

  16. #16
    Fastest Box In South Jersey 86VickyLX's Avatar
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    You put the slides back in the right places right? The rears have smaller slides than the front adjustments...
    "Vicky" 1986 Ford LTD Crown Victoria LX ..................................."Blue" 1992 Mercury Grand Marquis LS

    Vicky
    Too much stuff to list in my signature...
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    5.0 HO Swap from 92 Cougar (Courtesy of Lincolnmania, Gadget73 and SVT98t), Electric Cooling Fan, Autodimming Mirror With Compass, Frankensteined but fully functional JBL Premium Sound System, HPP wheels, Working A/C, more mods to come soon!





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    wait, they do?
    shit, I don't think so. They fell down and out, I just put them back.
    Do I need to care if it's all in spec now?

    This is a 1990; by slides I assume you mean the rusty squares with the nylon-rimmed locknut in the middle?

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