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Rusnak_322
Rusnak_322 New Reader
7/28/09 8:51 a.m.

How do you know what specs to set an alignment for a lowered car?

My wife has a 2004 Audi A4 that she bought used. It was lowered (not sure how much, but it was definitely lower than a friends same year S4 with the same wheels and same size tires). We had an alignment done when we got new tires, now the new tires are wearing badly. We took it to a tire chain store for the alignment, and took it back to them to see if they could fix the bad tire wear. The big tire store only has stock settings and another specialty shop didn’t what settings to put the car at. I kinda figured that they would be able to read the tires and adjust the alignment to cure the weird wear. The fronts are wearing the insides badly and the rear insides have a saw tooth wear pattern. I am completely not in the know when it comes to alignments. I had my Miata aligned to a setting that I got off of miata.net and it feels great. This Audi is a street car only. Mostly highway and we want the tires to last.

93celicaGT2
93celicaGT2 SuperDork
7/28/09 8:57 a.m.

If it's not SLAMMED, you should be able to get the alignment pretty close to stock, which will help the tire wear.

My car is lowered pretty dramatically. I run 1 degree of negative camber all the way around, with some toe to compensate, and i have no strange wear as of yet, 5000 miles laters on 200 rated tires.

Rusty_Rabbit84
Rusty_Rabbit84 HalfDork
7/28/09 9:00 a.m.

found these specs for a B6 A4 lowered on Audizine...

Front -1.5 rear -1.25 camber

Front & rear 0 toe in all four corners

Front caster ~+5

Paul_VR6
Paul_VR6 Reader
7/28/09 9:02 a.m.

Did the shop ever give you and idea on what it was aligned to? Usually they try and do stock specs, but sometimes they can't get there. I know sometimes on earlier Audi's you need adjustable control arms to be able to hit desired specs. Usually, though, when you align on the more aggressive side.

Rusnak_322
Rusnak_322 New Reader
7/28/09 9:12 a.m.

It is not slammed, and it was aligned to stock specs. We had an alignment done when we got new tires and the fronts wore on the insides so bad that we got a flat tire (it was wore to the cords). I had the alignment shop align it again to stock specs and the tires are still wearing badly (we got 2 new ones to replace the fronts).

Rusty_Rabbit84 - thanks, I will take those specs to the alignment shop. That isn't a performance alignment is it? This is my wife's daily driver and baby hauler.

Rusty_Rabbit84
Rusty_Rabbit84 HalfDork
7/28/09 9:22 a.m.

nope, the guy was saying he took it to a regular garage monkey shop and got these numbers to work best with tire wear and the suspension he has on it...

93celicaGT2
93celicaGT2 SuperDork
7/28/09 9:29 a.m.

I find it hard to believe that the car is truly at stock specs if it's wearing like that....

Hopefully the specs rustyrabbit gave will help you out, i got nothing else.

erohslc
erohslc Reader
7/28/09 1:14 p.m.

To wear that badly, the wheels should be visually mis-aligned. Maybe the lowered suspension is making them toe in/out at speed due to some funky bushing deflection?

Have someone take some video from a chase car.

Carter

Rusnak_322
Rusnak_322 New Reader
7/28/09 1:34 p.m.

In reply to 93celicaGT2:

wouldn't factory alignment numbers and a lowered car equal poor tire wear?

I don't know how much the car was lowered or even how it was done. We bought the car used - it was a little over a year old and someone had put some money into it. In addition to the lowering, it has a full body kit, exhaust and blow off valve (not to the atmosphere - I forget what that is called). it also has a two setting computer re-flash.

Rusnak_322
Rusnak_322 New Reader
7/28/09 1:41 p.m.

In reply to erohslc:

Thew car is too low front and back, and with the Audi, you have quite a bit of overhang, you can't really see the wheels unless you were to stick the camera under the chase car (which is more effort and risk then I want to do).

Rusty_Rabbit84
Rusty_Rabbit84 HalfDork
7/28/09 1:46 p.m.

what software are you running???

Keith
Keith SuperDork
7/28/09 2:03 p.m.

Bad toe settings will wear tires very quickly, and you don't need a huge amount to do it. Typically you'll gain negative camber when you lower a car, but you need a lot of negative camber over a long time before it becomes a wear factor.

Duke
Duke SuperDork
7/28/09 2:18 p.m.

And in fact, on a noseheavy car like the A4, a little negative camber will actually reduce tire wear. I second the idea that toe out is the real issue here, probably caused by wacky bump steer due to the lowering. But I would think toe would be easy to solve; you should at least be able to get zero static toe just by dialing the tie rod ends.

erohslc
erohslc Reader
7/28/09 3:58 p.m.

The point of the video is that you want to see the edges of the tires from the side, and note how they run in relation to some convenient reference feature, like a fender edge. Or get a couple of suction cups and a piece of coat hanger wire. Paint the wire tip white, attach the assembly at about the same level as the axle, and position the tip close to the tire edge. Or get a cheap ruler, and arrange it close to the tire edge. If you set the front wheels perfectly straight ahead, and then kneel down to axle level and sight along the edge of the car, position yourself until the front and rear sidewall edges just line up. You can then observe where that sightline intersects the fender. Do the same for the other side, and adjust the the wheel position until both sides are equal. (If the front and rear track is the same, the sightlines should also line up on the rear tires). It's possible that you are having issues with camber, although once again, that should be visually obvious.

Carter

Keith
Keith SuperDork
7/28/09 4:30 p.m.

Every GRMer should have a toe gauge in the garage. If you don't want to drop $57.95 on one from Summit Racing, then make your own out of a couple of pieces of flat plywood and two cheap tape measures from HF. Much more accurate than trying to eyeball.

xci_ed6
xci_ed6 Reader
7/28/09 4:44 p.m.

Camber causes uneven wear, toe causes excessive wear, so you likely have a toe problem.

Set the toe to 0 F&R, the car may be a bit twitchy with the front at 0 toe but it should solve the wear issue. If she complains, give it just a little bit of toe in.

JmfnB
JmfnB SuperDork
7/28/09 4:46 p.m.

I would use a similar year S4/RS4 by looking at that photo. That car is more ground effects lowered than spring lowered.

wbjones
wbjones New Reader
7/28/09 5:42 p.m.

typically when a car is lowered there are changes in toe and camber and wearing the inside edges are most likely toe problems....

if not lowered much there should be zero problems with the factory settings

(which will make the car "think" it's still at stock ride ht.)

all that said the zero toe setting should be good

Keith
Keith SuperDork
7/28/09 6:10 p.m.

A car without wacky bumpsteer curves shouldn't show a big change in toe. Since the curves tend to go a little nuts near the limits of suspension travel, it's possible that you're simply spending more time near the limit of compression.

If the car's wearing the inside edges of the tires, it's toed out. I'd simply find out what factory specs should be and get the car set to that. I think the problem here is simply a crap alignment job.

erohslc
erohslc Reader
7/28/09 6:33 p.m.

In reply to Keith: But the problem is this: multiple shops have checked and said that the static settings are correct. I agree that a toe guage is mighty handy, and far superior to eyeballs. The OP obviously does not have one. He's got eyeballs though. Have you figured out how to check dynamic toe? If not, then visual observation of the dynamic conditions via video recording technology seems like an inexpensive and useful investigative tool.

Carter

xci_ed6
xci_ed6 Reader
7/28/09 6:53 p.m.

Correct to the factory settings, though. That is most likely not correct after being lowered. IE: My Accord is lowered 2.5", I now have roughly -1.5 camber front and rear. If I have the car set to factory toe I get slightly quicker wear on the inside edges than when I have it set to 0 toe. I keep it at the factory setting because it is more stable on the highway.

What are the actual alignment readings?

Also, what type of front suspension, 1BA, 1BE, 1BV, 1BD, or 1BR? It's on the vehicle data plate somewhere.

xci_ed6
xci_ed6 Reader
7/28/09 6:55 p.m.
Keith wrote: If the car's wearing the inside edges of the tires, it's toed out. I'd simply find out what factory specs should be and get the car set to that. I think the problem here is simply a crap alignment job.

Inside edges can be toe in + negative camber.

Since it is lowered, I'd assume it has at least a little negative camber,

wbjones
wbjones New Reader
7/28/09 7:56 p.m.
xci_ed6 wrote:
Keith wrote: If the car's wearing the inside edges of the tires, it's toed out. I'd simply find out what factory specs should be and get the car set to that. I think the problem here is simply a crap alignment job.

Inside edges can be toe in + negative camber.

Since it is lowered, I'd assume it has at least a little negative camber,

keep in mind that it takes a long time for camber to wear the inside edges to be noticeable ..... ran 3° neg camber for 3 yrs with no noticeable wear

Keith
Keith SuperDork
7/28/09 10:26 p.m.
erohslc wrote: In reply to Keith: But the problem is this: multiple shops have checked and said that the static settings are correct. I agree that a toe guage is mighty handy, and far superior to eyeballs. The OP obviously does not have one. He's got eyeballs though. Have you figured out how to check dynamic toe? If not, then visual observation of the dynamic conditions via video recording technology seems like an inexpensive and useful investigative tool. Carter

Rusnak may not have a toe gauge, but it's so cheap to make one that there's no reason why he can't have one. Give me a circular saw and a 2' x 3' piece of plywood, and I'll have a toe gauge faster than it'll take me to write this reply.

Dynamic toe = toe from bushing deformation under acceleration? I'm guessing that's going to go toe in on a front-steer car, no? Or do Audis have such terrible bump steer curves that the movement of the front end over bumps causes wild toe changes? I'd start with the stock numbers. What are they, and how is this car different - including how much ride height has changed. Regardless, it needs more toe in.

Yeah, toe causes tire wear much, much faster than camber does. Camber will also wear more gradually across the tire, not chew up one shoulder or feather it.

MrJoshua
MrJoshua SuperDork
7/28/09 11:37 p.m.

Remember, tire shops have a range-and factory alignments have a range. A crappy job from a tire shop can be way off of a reasonable alignment. Did they give you a printout?

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