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Old 03-10-2011, 05:38 PM
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Hey alignment techs, how often do you pull a wheel ?

say a 10 year old car comes in for an alignment. customer says he did tie rods recently and did a driveway alignment, but now it needs the professional deal because its starting to eat one of the front tires

do you:

A: put it on the rack, align it, kick it out the door
B: pull one or more wheels to look things over before even trying to do an alignment

source of this question is someone wants to argue that theres no reason a shop would have pulled a wheel off for a simple alignment.

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Old 03-10-2011, 06:11 PM
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i check over every car i put on a lift. do the requested repair, then advise to any additional repair needed. never try to sell unnecessary repair and usually the customers are very happy but sometimes you get the guy who's pissed you found a gas leak or bad brakes you know things that will kill someone.
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Old 03-10-2011, 06:20 PM
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I see no reason to pull a wheel off, none what so ever. Up on the lift you can see everything you need to see.

Brian
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Old 03-10-2011, 06:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MARTINSR
I see no reason to pull a wheel off, none what so ever. Up
on the lift you can see everything you need to see.

Brian
good point, but let me turn it back around on you. the lifts are all full with other
work, and your only option left is the alignment rack with its air bag lifts. do
you crawl around under the car to inspect everything or just pull wheels so your not on your hands and knees ?

ie: this is your only option

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Old 03-10-2011, 06:44 PM
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I personally like the wheels on to take advantage of the leverage. If I am checking for loose parts, I sure don't want to shake down the front end by grabbing the rotors. That is just my preference.
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Old 03-10-2011, 07:23 PM
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I never pull the wheels for a simple alignment. I do a thorough a shakedown and visual inspection. I might cross rotate the fronts for diagnostic/maintenance purposes.
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Old 03-10-2011, 07:35 PM
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Yep, there is no reason to pull the wheels, the control arms or any other part of the suspension unless there is a REAL reason to do so. For your typical alignment, there is absolutely no reason to pull the wheels.

This is leading to something, let me guess, a wheel fell off? Or a suspension or steering component fell apart because the guy didn't put it on right?

I do have to say I don't envy anyone who has to do alignments on a rack like that. We have a four post lift and I can't imagine doing alignments having to go under something like that rack, what on a creeper? The creeper is too low, what do you do? You break your back all to hell, that's what you do!

Man you are working hard using that rack, way too hard.

Brian
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Old 03-10-2011, 08:22 PM
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Huh?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lowROLLERchevy
good point, but let me turn it back around on you. the lifts are all full with other
work, and your only option left is the alignment rack with its air bag lifts. do
you crawl around under the car to inspect everything or just pull wheels so your not on your hands and knees ?

ie: this is your only option

Ignorance on my part, I've never aligned a front end. But why would you do a four wheel alignment with the rear end hanging instead of at ride height? I'm talking about the Camaro photo. olnolan
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Old 03-10-2011, 08:27 PM
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I have to assume that was to do the do the runout on the heads telling the computer "where the heads are" prior to lowering the car and doing the alignment.

I used to have to do same with our old Jim Bean system. With the Hunter we now have you roll the car back and forth about fifteen inches and it calibrates the computer to the heads and where they are at.

Brian
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Old 03-10-2011, 08:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OLNOLAN
Ignorance on my part, I've never aligned a front end. But why would you do a four wheel alignment with the rear end hanging instead of at ride height? I'm talking about the Camaro photo. olnolan
To calibrate the heads on that machine you need to rotate the tires. I Have never pulled a wheel prior to an alignment inspection. If i notice a master cylinder is low I will pull A wheel and check.
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Old 03-10-2011, 08:48 PM
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???

So, Is this done to find to the center of the axle travel or it is something about the alignment computer setup that I don't have a clue about? olnolan
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Old 03-10-2011, 08:56 PM
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It's simply telling the computer where the head is at on the wheel. By spinning the wheel it figures out where exactly center is. The head is adjustable up and down many inches. You could put it on a wheel and move it up on the wheel past the center and calibrate it, or you could move it to the bottom way below the center and calibrate it just as easy.

With a machine like that you rotate the wheel 80 degrees and push a button, you rotate it back 160 degrees then back up straight pushing a button at each of the three stops. This tells the computer where the head is at on the wheel.

Our new Hunter you simply roll the car back about 15 inches and it tells you to stop, you roll it forward watching the computer monitor and it tells you when to stop and it is doing the same thing.

Brian
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Old 03-10-2011, 09:02 PM
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ok

Thanks. Thats what I thought. Something about the machine calibration that I don't have a clue about. This is why a pay somebody to align my vehicles. HaHa olnolan
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Old 03-11-2011, 12:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MARTINSR
This is leading to something, let me guess, a wheel fell off? Or a suspension or steering component fell apart because the guy didn't put it on right?
almost, wheel started knocking on the ride home, 4 lug nuts were loose.So naturally dudes mad because its a stupid mistake for the shop to make. he made a thread on the local forum about it and all, and one of the other guys on said forum is trying to claim that it cant be the shops fault because theres no reason to pull a wheel for an alignment.

.... as if the original poster is trying to claim something ridiculous like "went for an alignment and somehow they burnt out the ECU in the car"
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Old 03-11-2011, 01:52 AM
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In a busy shop, any number of things MIGHT have happened. One scenario is the wheel was mistakenly loosened because the new guy thought this was the car getting the tires balanced.

But for a routine toe in check/adjustment there's no good reason to pull a wheel, IMHO. Same thing for a complete alignment unless something out of the ordinary was seen or suspected.

He may never know unless the shop were to admit they did it in the first place- and that would mean they're opening themselves up to liability down the road should the vehicle have anything from a flat tire to a major failure of some sort.

I'd want to confront the owner/manager of the shop and tell them exactly what happened and I would consider myself lucky it was caught in time (if it WAS caught in time) and no accident or other damage was caused by the loose wheel.
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