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Alignment Shops Arghhhh!!!


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Here is the data with John Coffey's alignment targets in the left column:


The Sept-29 is the data for the car as assembled in stock form.

Oct 10 is after a front toe adjustment.

Oct 30 and Nov 4 are after two different shops adjusted new techno toys tension/compression and rear control arms.

Shouldn't the shops be able to dial in on John Coffey's numbers? Is this the ability of modern day mechanics who specialize in alignment or are the techno toy parts just too difficult to adjust (rolling eyes)?



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Given the Z's current data that Blue has referenced (and equipped with the techno toy parts as noted), and your reference to the number of hours it takes you to properly align a S30, what would you ask the tech to focus on the most if he/she has only one hour? What if he/she had two hours?


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Thanks, John

It's what I should have done in the beginning_if I had only know!! As is, Five (5) goes later (1 in NS, 3 in NB and 1 in Me.) and I think it's as close to your specs as it's going to get. I expect 'Blue' will post them.

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Finding a shop that will allow you to book several hours and lets you get under the car with them is priceless.

I have the TTT LCAs in both my street and race Z with AZ Z car RCAs in the street and TTT rears in the race car along with heim jointed outer tie-rods.

That said I am well aware of how much adjustment is there to play with.

The first shop visit lasted nearly 4 hours with the new front and rears. After that the next visit with the race car took under two because I pre-set everything based on the first visit.

After 10,000 miles the rears haven't needed adjustment while the fronts get tweaked twice a year on the street car. The race car is checked several times each year. The rears haven't been changed in two years (about 26 track days) but the fronts need adjustment depending on the track surface and/or our driving style (hitting those turtles).

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TTT T/C rods make caster adjustment FAST. If you have to disconnect everything to make the control arm length adjustment that's where the time is, because you need to settle the car in between adjustments. When I was doing alignments I did a GOOD job, and I could set my car up (and I'd jump in the car to make sure it was even with me in it) in about an hour, but I was adjusting camber with plates and rear toe with eccentrics. Customer cars were all Porsches with full adjustability and it didn't take me much more than an hour on those either. The shop charged $100 for the alignment and I believe it was $65 or $75 per hour at that time. If you're corner weighting too that will add a lot of time.

FWIW, I just paid $175 to have my Miata aligned for autoxing at the local race shop. Took 3 hours and based on the specs they got out of it I'm pretty sure there were some hydraulics involved. It was well worth it, the thing has way more neg camber than it should. For a simple recheck they'll still charge $175, but the labor isn't there after the first time. Next time they'll just be turning the eccentrics.

Blue, I found this shop by searching "Porsche race alignment Seattle". I would expect that you could do something similar and find a shop that knows what they're doing.

Edited by jmortensen
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Thanks Jon,

Sadly this place has very few "professionals" though there are many professions. Finding skilled technicians here for nearly anything is usually impossible. The only people I know who can properly align a car are racers and their tools are usually set up for their rides. I hope to buy alignment tools next year so that I do not have to rely on "the professionals" ....I'll still have to farm out machine work (at least there are two good engine shops in the province and a friendly general machine shop 1km from me)... digressing... but as you say setting caster is very quick with the TTT T/C'sss the problem was getting the tech to target 5 degrees rather than 3!!!

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Jon brought up an excellent point in regards to corner balancing. While no expert, I have done more than 6 vehicles with several being done several times due to changes in the set-up.

In essence here's my advice, unless you have a flat floor don't even start. If you don't but can get the scales level, expect the whole process to take a lot longer than you think it should. At the end of the day, you'll never get an S30 body to be perfectly balanced unless you can physically move or add weight (likely to the right front).

Want to know how they did it back in the day? Modify the motor mounts and move the engine to the right by 0.75-1.00 inches.

Edited by gnosez
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