Some say, those who do alignments are just firestone workers. But I say nay! These alignment workers from firestone are silent assassins of death. With brimstones and sticks, these works conduct the best alignments you’ve ever seen. As they drive up the alignment rack scraping every piece of your lip off, they ninja their way under your car and make adjustments that make you go left when you mean to turn right. It’s like the movie “Cars” made by pixar/Disney…but instead, it actually works.
Therefore, I opted to do my own alignment. PERFECT TIMING TOO since I changed my manual steering rack to a (bear with me folks) de-powered power-steering rack. A good friend of mine, Wred joined me in installing the steering rack, and a little later, so did Bench, another good friend. In the midst of the steering rack install we encountered some problems…as instructed per interwebz, we attempted to remove the outer-tie rods so we can remove the rack as a whole instead of separating the steering pieces. We started on the passenger side, and as you can see below, that didn’t turn out so well:
After taking a sledge hammer to the rounded part of the knuckle for three hours, the ball joint finally dropped. Okay, so we weren’t really hammering the knuckle three hours straight, but after taking brakes, soaking the threads with WD40, and after 3 hours, it finally came un-done with the whack of a hammer.
Next up was to install the de-powered rack. It took some finessing, but the brackets I had weren’t meant for a powered rack, so we had to do some bending and slotting to line up the bolts properly. After that was all said and done, it was the fun part…aligning the toe.
Initially after install, we did a quick and dirty job for the toe. We didn’t roll the car after each adjustment, and we didn’t evenly measure the tie rods. So the next day, I made it a point to contact a good friend (GF Suspension) who is a wiz when it comes to suspension to help me make the appropriate adjustments. Since he’s out in corona doing impressive work with Massimo Power, we communicated through facebook.
The first step was to measure the tie rods, and make sure they’re at equal lengths from the lock nut to the start of the thread on the inner tie rods. It didn’t matter if the toe was off since we were just getting base measurements.
Once we have that set, we made adjustments by putting more of the inner tie rod into the outer tie rod (otherwise lengthening or shortening the threads on the inner tie rod). After making even adjustments by turning the tie rod the same number of times on both sides, we rolled the car and re-took measurements. We did this a few times and even made small adjustments to get the steering wheel position correctly centered.
At the end of the day….I must say, I absolutely, POSITIVELY, HATE the de-powered power steering rack. Yes the steering ratio is smaller (15:1 vs 18:1), yes a smaller steering wheel helps with the feels, but the stiffness…and the work entailed to get everything working correct just wasn’t worth it. In the end, I ended up breaking my clock-spring because of seized rusted shafts that didn’t want to let go of each other. Also…because I didn’t do enough research apparently, I have about 1cm of steering wheel play because I didn’t weld the input shaft of the rack like I was supposed to.
Needless to say, I will be going through this whole ordeal again as I swap back the manual rack before the next Dreamer Soul track event.
That’s all for now…HAPPY HOLIDAYS!