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Discussion Starter #1

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What is it? Is it -3 mm to 0 mm or outside that? Probably okay with the load if you had a full tank of gas as well and it was still within spec.
 

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Start by checking the alignment data report (did you get one?) that shows the before and after readings for each wheel. See if the rear toe "after" readings are where you want them to be. If it's not, then perhaps the mechanic was saying that it was adjusted as far as it could go. In this regard, we can't answer your question ("Should I be concerned for my brand new tires") without knowing the final setting.

Also, perhaps ask the mechanic what the note means. It might just be a "waiver" because it was set to where you wanted it and not to the shop's data for the car.

Most computerized alignment machines should have up-to-date alignment specifications. I seem to recall that in 2008, or perhaps it was 2009, the rear suspension parts were changed slightly so that it shouldn't be necessary to "offset" the alignment with the additional load in the cargo area. Were you experiencing the symptoms that the linked thread is about?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Is there an easy way for me to check? I assume that the rear toe was adjusted to max in an attempt to get within the spec but didn't quite get there. I had full tank of fuel as well as the extra load.

Thanks for the feedback.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Start by checking the alignment data report (did you get one?) that shows the before and after readings for each wheel. See if the rear toe "after" readings are where you want them to be. If it's not, then perhaps the mechanic was saying that it was adjusted as far as it could go. In this regard, we can't answer your question ("Should I be concerned for my brand new tires") without knowing the final setting.

Also, perhaps ask the mechanic what the note means. It might just be a "waiver" because it was set to where you wanted it and not to the shop's data for the car.

Most computerized alignment machines should have up-to-date alignment specifications. I seem to recall that in 2008, or perhaps iit was 2009, the rear suspension parts were changed slightly so that it shouldn't be necessary to "offset" the alignment with the additional load in the cargo area. Were you experiencing the symptoms that the linked thread is about?

Thanks,
I think I will follow up with the tire shop to get some answers. I did not receive the before/ after data. I was experiencing the the symptoms in the linked thread.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Okay,

I brought the car back and asked the tire shop to re-check the alignment and provide me with the current specs. They provided a hand written report with the following info:

FRONT

Caster
+5.7 +5.3

Camber
0.2 0.2

Toe
0.05 0.05


REAR

Camber
-0.3 -0.9

Toe
0.15 0.05



What do you guys think? Thanks for the feedback.
 

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Okay,

I brought the car back and asked the tire shop to re-check the alignment and provide me with the current specs. They provided a hand written report with the following info:

FRONT

Caster
+5.7 +5.3

Camber
0.2 0.2

Toe
0.05 0.05


REAR

Camber
-0.3 -0.9

Toe
0.15 0.05



What do you guys think? Thanks for the feedback.
I think the rear of your car is tracking to the right due to the toe setting on the left rear wheel. Probably also vibrating a bit.

All the wheels need to be set the same or the tires tend to fight the odd set one. They need to redo the alignment.

0.0 is the best setting. Even loaded, the slight camber change will not effect the steering angle of the wheels.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks cardoc.

I may bring it to another shop as i think the alignment guys a Frisby Tire in Kanata are not competent. I don't understand why they didn't check the measurements vs. the standards and make the necessary adjustments yesterday. Any recommendations for a good alignment shop?
 

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The specs are based on curb weight, that is, full tank, but not 220 lbs added in the cargo area.

Posts in the "ghost-walking" thread suggest that as the rear is loaded down, the rear toe moves in a positive direction. If the car is driven extensively with this condition, tire wear and, allegedly, the subject symptom, might be experienced. Consequently, some tried to compensate for this (because they often carry loads) by setting the toe with some weight in the rear.

The problem stems in part from the fact that the original 2005-7 spec was +/-3mm. If the unloaded toe was set to the positive side to begin with, it is already positive and would only become more so under load, and go beyond the +3mm limit.

The 2005-7 unloaded spec was changed to -3mm to 0mm in the TCB, so that under load it should fall within the positive toe limit of +3mm. The TCB also calls for increasing tire pressure with loads in excess of 220 lbs (other than passengers).

The problem with setting the toe with a load is that the degree of change due to the added cargo isn't known or necessarily constant. There could be differences in downward deflection due to variations in spring strength, bushing stiffness etc, that could cause the toe to change more than should be.

The technician surely checked the specs, especially if a computerized alignment frame was used. However, you wanted the toe adjusted with the car loaded down. The technician tried to adjust it to the specs, and noted the inability to do so, probably in regard to that 0.15 figure. It's not unusual for alignment reports to show an out of spec "after" reading, often due to damaged suspension components. Where the technician or manager might have slipped up is if they didn't provide a report and explain the result. I'd go back and discuss it. Perhaps if the car is unloaded, the toe will be well within the proper setting range. If the toe then changes so much that one side (but not the other) cannot be adjusted, then that side is probably weak and needs more work. But take it step-by-step.

As noted earlier, the TSB applied to 2005-7 models. I believe that the suspension was modified somewhat later to reduce the effect of loading on rear wheel toe.

If you want to find out about alignment shops the locals use, go to the National Capital Subaru Club site and look at the open forums (that is, if you're not already a member).
 

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Dito. BMW and Mercedes specs call for weighting the cars prior to alignment as if passengers were in the car and have at least 3/4 tank of gas. Problem is, the cars were designed for touring and many people use them for commuting. So, I align the car for the driver weight only if the driver is the only one in the car majority of the time and add weight if the driver carries kids or carpools most of the time.

Works every time. No tire wear issues and all the owners were happy with the handling.

I do the same for work trucks. I tell them to keep the truck loaded with what they carry all the time and then some guessing at what is added on average daily in supplies or equipment. This way I can adjust the camber, caster and toe accordingly.

So, align the vehicle for what it is primarily used for.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for the feedback plain OMK and cardoc. It sounds like I should just get another alignment done with no load.

Perhaps if the car is unloaded, the toe will be well within the proper setting range.
To clarify the above alignment measurements are with the car unloaded and a full tank of fuel. Are the measurements 'out of spec" enough to dramatically increase tire-wear? I have not noted any abnormal handling characteristics.
 

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I brought the car back and asked the tire shop to re-check the alignment and provide me with the current specs.
I misunderstood. I had thought the "current measurements" were the results of the alignment with the 220 lbs added but realize now they are actually after the car was remeasured with no additional load, when you went back. So they actually put it on the alignment machine again. That's good.

Those alignment machine readings appear to be in degrees, rather than the mm used by Subaru in its specs. The spec is between 0 and -3mm.

According to the alignment machine reports I have from my dealer, the rear toe should be between 0 and -0.13 degrees, which I imagine reflects the conversion from mm to degrees. (There's a complex calculation to translate alignment "mm" to "degrees" that depends on the wheel diameter.)

If this is correct, then both rear toe measurements are out of spec. Even if the absolute converted value of 0.13 isn't correct, the rear toe should be 0 or negative, not positive, when the car is not additionally loaded.

Incidentally, I'm surprised, and disappointed, that the shop didn't provide you with a printed report of the alignment readings, both times.
 
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