Wheel Alignment after Strut Mount and Spring - Subaru Outback - Subaru Outback Forums
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 08:34 AM Thread Starter
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Wheel Alignment after Strut Mount and Spring

I've had a light noise in my drivers front almost since I got the car a year and 11000 miles ago. It's very reproducible, just drive over a speed bump at low (<5 mph) speed. To narrow it down side to side I drove over a speed bump with the drivers wheel on flat pavement while the passengr side went over the bump, and vice versa.

Took it to the dealers for an inspection sticker, the DTE recall, and 2 noises. This was one of the noises. The other is from behind the HU.

The tech decided to order a coil spring and a mount. I thought it sounded like the mount as I've heard the noise on other cars. But we'll see. Anyway, parts on order "Since my car is so new they don't stock them" <- I thought a gen 5 was a gen 5 was a gen 5. Parts in from Indiana in a week. I'm not complaining as I'm glad they decided to at least try something. They'd prefer to deal with the 2nd noise after they solve the first noise.

Here's kicker number 1:

They want to charge me for an alignment after they do the mount, $105. I always figured that should be covered under the warranty and honestly they wouldn't be my first choice for an alignment. Not to knock them, but I've got a shop that does great work and is somewhat cheaper.

Kicker number 2, and this is on Subaru. From the FSM:
Caution:
When the wheel alignment has been adjusted, perform the following adjustment.
– Lane keep assist learning value clear (model with EyeSight)
– VDC sensor midpoint setting mode
Perform reinitialization of the auto headlight beam leveler system.

The first 2 are SSM functions, and no indie wheel alignment place will have the SSM. The headlight leveler looks like something I can do in my garage. I'm not sure these are done by the dealership for the $105, but I'm going to find out.

So I can either take it to the shop of my choice, then pay the dealer to do the 2 SSM functions, which will probably be 0.5 hours of labor, if I were to guess. Or just let the dealership do the alignment of which the SSM functions should be incorporated. Or they better be.

Typically, my cars need an alignment every 12-18 months. Too many pot holes.

For folks with eyesight, lane assist, and VDC, (and auto level headlights) have you noticed any differences in the car if these aren't performed after an alignment?

Thanks for the lengthly read.



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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 09:56 AM
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The alignment question first:
If marked properly, it doesn't loose alignment, and you don't need to get one. The only reason not to mark it and install it like it was, is to upsell you. It's like a grown adult not knowing how to make toast.

I attached a picture of a 2015 Subaru Factory Service Manual. It's been the same since 1990 Legacy's, this is super routine and widely known - Step 2 says to mark the alignment, and the installation sections says to line those back up (to retain alignment).

The FSM says to "inspect" alignment - it's not required but at the discretion of the tech. Doing it in your case is quite accurately, asinine. Of all the reasons Subaru would make it discretionary, it's situations like yours.

You're not replacing old, tired components, you're not replacing in pairs/all 4, nor has that new vehicle experienced any strut induced geometry change (ride height) due to the components being replaced. And you're only replacing one and it'll be show room ride height. So again we're back to the beginning where there's no material reason to do this due to one mount/spring.

Electronic stuff:
The FSM says to only do this if the alignment is done. So you're needing this only due to alignment, which you shouldn't need anyway.

Ignore it for now - get the strut work done and juggle that alignment stuff however you want.

If it needs to be done - you'll know it. But you won't, so it won't matter.

Those systems have no interaction with the strut mount and spring, they see no input, data, or signals from them. those are isolated mechanical components that can not impact those systems outside of ride height changes...which you didn't experience and if you did you're putting it back to stock anyway. You might as well get an alignment and reset all these systems every time you change from summer cloth to winter rubber floor mats due to the weight differences. As said, asinine is an accurate word here.

Same here - those systems don't "see" those components, so aside from ride height changes (which you didn't experience and will go back to stock anyway), there's nothing that could require this.

I haven't had to calibrate or work on ones this new, but given the same exact things with ABS, SRS, VDC when they first came out - it was the same thing. "what happens, does that calibration need done, how do you cycle the ABS, reset the SRS, VDC... and in every case the systems, for all their intrinsic complexity, have very limited extrinsic interactions that should be obvious like in your case.


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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 09:59 AM
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Step 2 from the Subaru Factory Service Manual, written by Subaru, shows the step for retaining alignment. And again, this has been identical since the first 1990 legacy - so it's not like this is unknown or uncertain, there's almost 30 years and millions of vehicles identical in this regard.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 11:12 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the responses. If it was you working on my car I wouldn't be worried about it. I'm not sure some of these guys would know what an FSM was if it whacked them upside the head.

FWIW, with the low-quality high pothole roads around here, I've not had a car hold alignment over 18 months in so long I can't remember. And yeah, my car is a little "off" in its road feel after a couple of good winter potholes. I always ask for the before and after printouts from the alignment and have never had one that was all green before the alignment was done. Tire wear is fine at the moment, so I'm waiting until the car is unpleasant to drive, i.e. excessive steering correction to hold a lane.

When I had all 4 struts changed on my 08 OBW that dealer did an alignment under warranty. So, I'm wondering why these guys want to charge for an alignment unless it is a pure upsell.

And yes, I did see in the FSM about marking the camber bolt, just don't have infinite faith they'll do it. I guess I can take a look after they're done and it should feel pretty obvious driving if they screwed it up.


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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 01:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lfdal View Post
Thanks for the responses. If it was you working on my car I wouldn't be worried about it. I'm not sure some of these guys would know what an FSM was if it whacked them upside the head.
A dealer tech/service department knows exactly what an FSM is, it's Subaru's documentation from corporate. That would be like a painter not knowing what a brush is.

Have you asked them about it yet? It seems to me like with a reasonable conversation and there's a good chance they'll go ahead and warranty the alignment for this.

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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 05:37 PM Thread Starter
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I will be asking them about the need for an alignment if they follow their own installation procedure.

I'll be putting 500 or so miles on the car in the next few days, at which time I'll decide if it's worth getting an alignment on my own if they don't cover it.


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