Wheel alignment

adam1

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I have been putting up with a pull to the left with the car but when the chap at dealer collected car today i asked him to see if it's me or the car when he drives 20 plus miles back to the dealership.

Unfortunately it wasn't my imagination...he confirmed my suspicion and says its pulling quite a bit to left. So they will do wheel alignment. Cost about 200 quid. oouch.....anyone had a cheaper quote.....a diff dealer not Mbz has quoted me 65 quid plus VAT and says they will offer it on any car....is wheel alignment a standard test procedure that i can risk a main brand non-mbz dealer. The saving is considerable.
 

230K

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Hi

£200 is about right including vat, although with negotiation i got my last one down to £150. The reason they say about £200 is because if your camber or castor need adjustment they need new bolts in the wishbones and from memory they are about £7 or £8 each plus the vat. Two each side at the front can be required.

Most people can check your alignment but only (from my experience) a few can adjust properly.

Also the MB system does not check your alignment using your rims they actually check against the hubs, (notice the small hole in between each bolt hole on your wheel) this is a more accurate way.

Ask for a print out of your before and after readings, they usually give that anyway.

I managed to get good mileage from currently 28K from my tyres partly due to keeping alignment correct

230K
 
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adam1

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The price is 170-200 plus vat and is non-negotiable. I spoke to him about bolts and he said the computer diagnoses and resets and then the tech does it manually. Not sure about bolts etc...

However they do not guarantee it since if you hit a kerb it may be out again..so another 200 quid.

The non-Mbz dealer wants only 65 plus vat. I'll see if that cures it..if it does then will renew warranty for another year and keep car,f not I'm probably changing to the new ML(7 seats) or something else and trade it in come sept.
 

rees_A

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I thought wheel alignment at quick fit etc was about £20...Thats what I paid last time I had it done....
 

splang

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I went to quick fit and they said they can't do mercedes alignment because they require some specialist equipment that only mercedes use...

:confused:
 

jgevers

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Hi,

You don't have to go to Mercedes to get alignment done. What you need is a garage that has the correct wheel aligner. Because they are about £17K, there are not many. The machines you are looking for are mainly made by Beisbarth, John Bean or Hunter/ProAlign. You should get a print with before and after settings.

In my garage we charge approximately £60. This pays for the 1st hour. Normally the alignment can be done within this time. After the 1st hour we change to normal hourly rate of £35. Sometimes we need to use wishbone/camber-caster bolts. These are extra.

The machine we use is a John Bean 901 (the dog's danglies).

I would expect that there will be garages in your area that use the proper equipment charging similar amounts?

Just stay away from garages that still use the old laser, string or light aligners, e.g. the likes of kwik fit.

regards,

Job
 
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adam1

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Very good and useful info Job.

I knew that it could be done at a non-Mbz garage. I did ask kwik-fit and they quoted 20 quid so i thought that was probably using wrong equipment.

However the dealer i was thinking of is a main independent HONDA dealer where my Civic gets all the work done. They do a good job if they know you'll expect nothing less. I know they do wheel alignments for Accords, CRVs and will charge 65 plus vat for 1-2hours.

I've told them that the car pulls to left...so they will do wheel alignment to sort it. The car is back today and the Mbz garage has told me that the settings are well off and need correcting...they were surprised my tyres were OK. When i told them i've done 6000 miles in 18 months they knew why.

I am a bit reluctant to take it to a non-main dealer garage like kwiK fit etc as i'm not a regular there....so will see if Honda can sort it.

The guy quoted me 65 plus vat plus parts so i guess that will be for camber/caster bolts....i will ask about the equipment and get before/after readings. When are bolts needed and why? I;ve been reading that this adjustment is more of an art than a procedure and requires an experienced tech. Also the W211 is very sensitive to alignment problems and 03 cars have more issues than later ones.

So apart from it driving straight would the after readings confirm it has been done correctly?
 

230K

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Adam1

Our local MB dealer uses a Beisbarth machine see pics, ask them if the car has been bolted before, if she has then she will not need them this time also ask them to explain what needs adjusted, if the camber and castor are out on both whhels she possibly need 4 bolts, 2 on each side. (If not previously bolted). Hope this makes sense.

Sometimes in order to reduce the pulling to the left they will set the castor slightly less on the passenger wheel.

I would try MB this time if it is a reputable dealer, if not i would use a recommended independant.

Check out the pics below taken while i had my car aligned at MB also checked bill was £126 inc vat that was with my Mercedes Benz Owners Club card. Also pic of a clean '98 200K mile E300TD. :D :D

230K
 

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jgevers

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adam1 said:
Very good and useful info Job.

I knew that it could be done at a non-Mbz garage. I did ask kwik-fit and they quoted 20 quid so i thought that was probably using wrong equipment.

However the dealer i was thinking of is a main independent HONDA dealer where my Civic gets all the work done. They do a good job if they know you'll expect nothing less. I know they do wheel alignments for Accords, CRVs and will charge 65 plus vat for 1-2hours.

I've told them that the car pulls to left...so they will do wheel alignment to sort it. The car is back today and the Mbz garage has told me that the settings are well off and need correcting...they were surprised my tyres were OK. When i told them i've done 6000 miles in 18 months they knew why.

I am a bit reluctant to take it to a non-main dealer garage like kwiK fit etc as i'm not a regular there....so will see if Honda can sort it.

The guy quoted me 65 plus vat plus parts so i guess that will be for camber/caster bolts....i will ask about the equipment and get before/after readings. When are bolts needed and why? I;ve been reading that this adjustment is more of an art than a procedure and requires an experienced tech. Also the W211 is very sensitive to alignment problems and 03 cars have more issues than later ones.

So apart from it driving straight would the after readings confirm it has been done correctly?

The bolts are needed if the camber and/or caster measurements are out of spec. or different side to side. The adjustment is done by changing the angle of the bottom wishbone. In order to change the angle different wishbone bolts have to fitted.

Settings vehicle geometry is not an art. It is common sense.
If a vehicle pulls slightly but all measurements are correct, the technician would dial in a bit of extra caster on one side to make the vehicle drive straight. If the vehicle wears the inside front tyres and all measurements are within spec. the technician would reduce the front camber or increase toe-in/reduce toe-out. These remedies are simple but do require a technician that thinks as well rather then just look at the measurements and specifications.

regards,

Job
 
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adam1

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The Honda dealer uses the Proalign equipment. The Mbz dealer has the Besibarth. I assume they're both as good.
 

jgevers

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adam1 said:
The Honda dealer uses the Proalign equipment. The Mbz dealer has the Besibarth. I assume they're both as good.

Yes, very similar machines.

regards,

Job
 
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adam1

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Just had the alignment done.

The dealer has set the camber to spec but has left caster alone since they both were similar. The car is improved but there is still a tendency for the steering to go left ....tested the car on middle lane motorway but not as pronouced as before.

The before and after values are listed...can't make any sense of the values.


F Axle

Nominal Diagnosis LH><RH AdjustmentLH><RH
total toe 0 +010 +020 + 034 +010
partial toe 0 +005 + 010 +016 +018 +010 +000

camber -123 -103 -043 020 -132 -116 016 +105L -116R 011

caster +508 +538 +608 030 +10'06" +9'42" 0'24" not adjusted

Key Where +010= 0 Degrees 10'



Toes out turns +102 132 202



Rear Axle

nominal diagnosisLH>Ctr<RH adjustLH>ctr<RH
Total toe +026 +033 +040 +019(ctr) +034(ctr)

p toe +013 +017 +020 +008 +011 016 018

camber ------------------------- -151 134 017 -151 -134 017




I guess the above means the camber is set on front axle but not rear.

The caster is left alone on front axle.


Job if you can makes sense of the above let us know.
 

jgevers

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adam1 said:
Just had the alignment done.

The dealer has set the camber to spec but has left caster alone since they both were similar. The car is improved but there is still a tendency for the steering to go left ....tested the car on middle lane motorway but not as pronouced as before.

The before and after values are listed...can't make any sense of the values.


F Axle

Nominal Diagnosis LH><RH AdjustmentLH><RH
total toe 0 +010 +020 + 034 +010
partial toe 0 +005 + 010 +016 +018 +010 +000

camber -123 -103 -043 020 -132 -116 016 +105L -116R 011

caster +508 +538 +608 030 +10'06" +9'42" 0'24" not adjusted

Key Where +010= 0 Degrees 10'



Toes out turns +102 132 202



Rear Axle

nominal diagnosisLH>Ctr<RH adjustLH>ctr<RH
Total toe +026 +033 +040 +019(ctr) +034(ctr)

p toe +013 +017 +020 +008 +011 016 018

camber ------------------------- -151 134 017 -151 -134 017




I guess the above means the camber is set on front axle but not rear.

The caster is left alone on front axle.


Job if you can makes sense of the above let us know.

Hi,

I would expect the vehicle to pull to much with a caster difference of almost half a degree. I would expect that the technician couldn't be bothered to adjust the caster as he has to go through the measurement program again (turning steering wheel etc.).

In my book 24 minutes caster difference is to much and will increase tyre wear because you are constantly steering when going straight ahead.

Looking at the figures I would be trying to set the r/h front wishbone rear bolt slightly further out to increase caster on this side. If this is not possible I would try to set the l/h front wishbone rear bolt further in. Of course camber and toe will need to be corrected after this. Hence technician didn't do it.

regards,

Job
 
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adam1

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Thanks Job,

I will speak to them again in morning. I suppose their is no need for bolts.

Looking at the adjustment made the diff was 24 mins before at diagnosis and now is 34 mins diff after adjustment. So diff is larger now.
 
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jgevers

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adam1 said:
Thanks Job,

I will speak to them again in morning. I suppose their is no need for bolts.

Looking at the adjustment made the diff was 24 mins before at diagnosis and now is 34 mins diff after adjustment. So diff is larger now.

I would expect that it will need bolts. If the standard bolts are still in than there won't be enough adjustment.

If a car is square (not crabbing), I normally aim for a maximum of 10 minutes difference in caster and 10 minutes diffrence in camber. If a car is slightly crabbing (f.i. if the rear axle is slightly off set and not adjustable) I go for the trial & error routine. A bit more caster on one side and try........ Yes, I can bodge if absolutely required).

Just a word of warning. I have seen a fair few modern cars with slighly bent hubs, allowing caster & camber to be about half a degree out. And pulling to one side on the road. It happened to my own Golf. Landing a bit harsh over a bridge did it.... Couldn't see damage to the hub but a new one sorted it.

regards,

Job
 
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adam1

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Spoke to dealer today.

Seems they have set it to wrong model year car a w210 SW(station wagon).Thats after i told them...my suspicion...
Anyway they had the machine at their Mitsubishi dealership. They tried to BS but i spoke to ProAlign and they gave me settings for the W211 which are different camber settings and toe to the w210.

However the diagnosis shows caster to be within W211 limits, and the camber optimum for a w211 is supposed to be set at -0' 12" mine is set at -1' 05LH and -1'16RH. Thats more neg camber on mine.
ProAlign said they did not set caster since 5'08 was for a w210 and to change from my setting of 10'16 would be a hard job. Just as well they didn't.

The toe should be 020 030 010 mine is now set at 0'10" after it was diagnosed at 0'34".


I'm assuming when they set the angles correctly if will not pull.

However from what i read cross camber is when for a RHD car the right is aligned with a little more neg camber about 15 mins and little more positive caster (15mins) to help vehicle resist the influence of crowned roads that would cause it to drift downhill to the right gutter. In a LHD vehicle would the left need more neg camber?
 

jgevers

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adam1 said:
Spoke to dealer today.

Seems they have set it to wrong model year car a w210 SW(station wagon).Thats after i told them...my suspicion...
Anyway they had the machine at their Mitsubishi dealership. They tried to BS but i spoke to ProAlign and they gave me settings for the W211 which are different camber settings and toe to the w210.

However the diagnosis shows caster to be within W211 limits, and the camber optimum for a w211 is supposed to be set at -0' 12" mine is set at -1' 05LH and -1'16RH. Thats more neg camber on mine.
ProAlign said they did not set caster since 5'08 was for a w210 and to change from my setting of 10'16 would be a hard job. Just as well they didn't.

The toe should be 020 030 010 mine is now set at 0'10" after it was diagnosed at 0'34".


I'm assuming when they set the angles correctly if will not pull.

However from what i read cross camber is when for a RHD car the right is aligned with a little more neg camber about 15 mins and little more positive caster (15mins) to help vehicle resist the influence of crowned roads that would cause it to drift downhill to the right gutter. In a LHD vehicle would the left need more neg camber?

I didn't check the specified figures but I am sure that ProAlign's figures will be correct. The dealer probably hadn't invested in the latest software updates.

The negative camber out of spec. towards more negative by almost a degree will wear the inside of the tyres. I would not put any different settings from left to right unless absolutely needed. I would expect the car to drive straight if the caster angles are within 10 minutes left to right. The same goes for the camber angles. Although the settings might be within tolerance, if f.i. left caster is at the minimum tolerance and the right caster is at the maximum, the vehicle will probably pull to one side. Camber and caster tolerances are fine as long as left and right are almost the same.

I hope your car will finally be driving straight.
b.t.w. was this a MB dealership. I thought that within their contract they should have the correct machine, the latest software and decent people to operate it?

regards,

Job
 
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adam1

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The dealership was part of the Honda group. It seems they software is 03data which does not have w211 in it. The Mbz dealership have their own version of the beisbarth machine of a high spec a similar one BMW uses. Beisbarth makes service and alignment machines for Mbz/BMW which in the Harrogate dealership are up to date. The thing is the tech at Mbz told me that Mbz do not give out spec readings for the machines for cars....ie the machine determines what the adjustment is and it corrects it. The tech never know what the actual readings were.

I will have 2 alloys changed due to corrosion FOC under warranty..in 2 weeks..will it be wiser to leave alignment till then or have it changed now?
 

jgevers

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adam1 said:
The thing is the tech at Mbz told me that Mbz do not give out spec readings for the machines for cars....ie the machine determines what the adjustment is and it corrects it. The tech never know what the actual readings were.

I will have 2 alloys changed due to corrosion FOC under warranty..in 2 weeks..will it be wiser to leave alignment till then or have it changed now?

As far as I know this is not true. The tech adjusts whatever is needed. This in turn is indicated by the machine (whatever the dealer decided to purchase from the MB tool list. Normally a choice of 3 makes). At this point the figures are on the screen. At any point after measuring the tech can go to the total view screen. This indicates all measurements and how far they are out.

regards,

Job
 

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