2004 Cavalier wheel alignment toe in at maximum, should I worry.

Discussion in 'Domestics' started by NickD, Apr 9, 2009.

  1. NickD

    NickD wrench

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    Car came with P205-55R16 Goodyear RS-A tires, close to 60K, still have 1/16" of tread left to the wear marks, but decided it was time for new tires as was getting belt rubbing noise. Never had a flat tire and always kept my pressure up at 35 psi.

    Debated whether to put another set of RS-A's on it, cheap now as GM isn't buying tires, were listed at 120 bucks a tire, but now down to 69 bucks. But elected to pay 17 bucks more per tire to get Dunlop Signatures, deeper tread with a meaningless 70K treadwear warranty, but like the tread pattern much better.

    In the process, got a free alignment check, my toe-in is at maximum and would have to be let out 0.1* to be within the mean value, tire dealer highly recommended I pay for an alignment. With my car on the rack, all he had to do was to loosen the tie rod jam nut and turn the inner tie rod out a tad for that 0.1*, but for that, he wanted an additional 55 bucks. That translates to an additional 0.020" of toe in. Said leave it.

    LOL, should I worry? Or leave it.

    I could measure the distance from the tie rod to wheel center, use that ratio to that 0.020" of additional toe out I need, measure the threads on the tie rod, then calculate the number of degrees I would have to turn the tie rod in to bring it back to mean specifications. The would be roughly shortening the tie rod about 0.010", really doubt if that would affect steering wheel centering just to do it on one side. I don't believe in tire rotation, never had them rotated, if I see wear, then it's time for an alignment, but no signs of unever wear with the old tires. Think they were just falling apart.
     
  2. jjdrewski

    jjdrewski Sr. Member

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    PLEASE---if it ain't broke, don't fix it!! Folks are lucky to get 20K miles with original equip wide tires. I'm just a shadetree guy, but if you get the wear, and are within spec, and no loose parts, you are good to go!
     
  3. NickD

    NickD wrench

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    Not that I don't trust tire dealers, but was no signs of tampering with the jam nuts, LOL, did look. But what I didn't think about was the free play in the steering mechanism, certainly enough there to get a cumulative error. Did check the play, about a 1/16 of an inch that would correspond to a 0.3 degree error. Guess I am most accustomed to toe in of an 1/8" plus or minus a 1/16", not this tenth of a degree stuff. But on this car, the toe in is suppose to be at zero, that is also new to me.

    Just wish when my car was on the rack, I grabbed the wheel and pulled it out a tad to see the response.

    Could never figure out the pricing for wheel alignment, in an older GM car, RWD, had to play with shims for camber and caster adjustments, but only charge 20 bucks. But with a FWD where only the toe in can be adjusted, the price was over twice that. Still that way, except the prices are much higher.

    Use to do my own alignment, for camber, used a level, level floor, bubble on center for vehicle with a couple of equal blocks on the level to clear the tire. Wouldn't worry about caster as long as the steering wheel spun back after turning. Toe in, used a ground sharp nail on a block to scribe a line in the tires by spinning them, then another 2 by four with sticks attached to the vertical center of the tires with nails on the end to compare the front with the rear of the tire, adjusting so the front would be about an 1/8" shorter than the rear. For steering wheel center, could eyeball a line from the front tire side to the rear to see if the front wheels were veering left or right.
     
  4. jjdrewski

    jjdrewski Sr. Member

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    Most front drive cars seem to have zero or slightly toe out specs to allow for the toe in force as power is applied to the front wheels, and to result in zero toe for least rolling resistance--I assume for green ,you know. If you are getting fabulous tire life, I wonder how good the alignment machine is. Personally,I use carpenter string held on to the rear tire with a wire hook, running over a stick sized to compensate for the narrower rear axel, and read the toe out/in directly on the face of the front tires. I think the NASCAR guys do it this way too. Have fun.
     

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