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Alignment and bumpy roads...

Maybe this belongs in another section...so I apologize if it does! But, something I've heard, and can't wrap my head around...is when people say bumpy roads (potholes, etc) will jack

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Old 08-09-2009, 11:05 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Alignment and bumpy roads...

Maybe this belongs in another section...so I apologize if it does!

But, something I've heard, and can't wrap my head around...is when people say bumpy roads (potholes, etc) will jack up your alignment.

How is this possible? I can understand if you bent or broke something, but, from what I understand of it, nothing like that should ever happen because if it did, something could go seriously wrong - so short of bend/break being a serious event, I can't see how running over potholes would screw a car's alignment...


So, how could this be true - maybe I'm missing something?
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Old 08-09-2009, 11:21 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Well you should avoid potholes at all times they can cause bend rims or damaged low profile tires and if the pothole is deep enough at a brisk speed will cause the tire and shock to rebound the second it hits the outer part of the hole causing most of the damage this all depends how big or deep it is the Impact also leads to damaging the tie rods that are connected to the rack and pinion. If your not used to a sports car with low profile tires and worrying about potholes then I understand why your asking this basic question
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Old 08-09-2009, 11:46 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I don’t care if your driving a hummer Pot holes and bumpy roads will cause problems for any car at some point. From what I understand... The suspension mechanics and components are all aligned a way to work and react with each others movements. Hitting a pot hole can (even though the bolts are tightened correctly) jolt one of the components a skew which does brake that alignment that what used to work like clock work now does not. You hit a bump or something, everything moves the right way but that one piece (or more if you hit it hard enough) and that component takes stress at the wrong angle or in the wrong part of the bar which is a weak point. That weak point bends, twists, or moves. That bend twist or off movement screws up the alignment. The screwed up alignment will cause your car to steer on its own while you are in fact holding that steering wheel properly. Or say your holding the steering wheel at an ever so light left, but the car continues to drive in a straight path. That will mess with anybody’s head. A messed head can make poor judgment at a wrong time. And if its not that poor judgment it can be one of the components ready to snap or fall apart. Ball joints, lower or upper control arm, bearings, etc.

If you hit a pot hole had enough you will feel it after that. Putting the car in reverse or first gear from a dead stop and you hear a tiny click or a pitch in one of the components. That means something is loose, bent, or about to fall apart. That needs to be checked.

Now I’m no suspension expert if anything I’m far from it. But all this to me seams like common sense. These parts are placed and tightened the way they are for a purpose and these cars are made to not be driven where jeeps can be driven. If the car hit’s a point or points where the car should not hit then it is obvious something that is not supposed to happen can or just has happened.

Correct me if I’m wrong.
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Old 08-09-2009, 11:56 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by SpawnAeroJohn View Post
I donít care if your driving a hummer Pot holes and bumpy roads will cause problems for any car at some point. From what I understand... The suspension mechanics and components are all aligned a way to work and react with each others movements. Hitting a pot hole can (even though the bolts are tightened correctly) jolt one of the components a skew which does brake that alignment that what used to work like clock work now does not. You hit a bump or something, everything moves the right way but that one piece (or more if you hit it hard enough) and that component takes stress at the wrong angle or in the wrong part of the bar which is a weak point. That weak point bends, twists, or moves. That bend twist or off movement screws up the alignment. The screwed up alignment will cause your car to steer on its own while you are in fact holding that steering wheel properly. Or say your holding the steering wheel at an ever so light left, but the car continues to drive in a straight path. That will mess with anybodyís head. A messed head can make poor judgment at a wrong time. And if its not that poor judgment it can be one of the components ready to snap or fall apart. Ball joints, lower or upper control arm, bearings, etc.

If you hit a pot hole had enough you will feel it after that. Putting the car in reverse or first gear from a dead stop and you hear a tiny click or a pitch in one of the components. That means something is loose, bent, or about to fall apart. That needs to be checked.

Now Iím no suspension expert if anything Iím far from it. But all this to me seams like common sense. These parts are placed and tightened the way they are for a purpose and these cars are made to not be driven where jeeps can be driven. If the car hitís a point or points where the car should not hit then it is obvious something that is not supposed to happen can or just has happened.

Correct me if Iím wrong.
you gave the detail response I was shooting for. Thanks
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Old 08-09-2009, 11:58 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Triple's View Post
you gave the detail response I was shooting for. Thanks

And thats "" the response I was hopeing for
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Old 08-10-2009, 01:38 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Uh its basicly like taking a sledge hammer to a piece of iron. What do you think is going to happen to that piece of iron after wacking it? Its gonna bend. A bend in your suspension is going to throw the geometery off....
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Old 08-10-2009, 07:45 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Triple's View Post
Well you should avoid potholes at all times they can cause bend rims or damaged low profile tires and if the pothole is deep enough at a brisk speed will cause the tire and shock to rebound the second it hits the outer part of the hole causing most of the damage this all depends how big or deep it is the Impact also leads to damaging the tie rods that are connected to the rack and pinion. If your not used to a sports car with low profile tires and worrying about potholes then I understand why your asking this basic question
No, I understand the whole idea behind avoiding potholes, etc...

However, I had the dealer check my alignment because I thought it was off (camber, actually) - and it was. They said
Quote:
Yep, those Tulsa roads will do that
- seriously? A new car, that has alignmnet issues on 3 of 4 wheels, could be attributed to a few bumps and not having driven over a single pothole?

I guess I'm trying to wrap my head around how a few bumps could knock the alignment off on a car, without bending or breaking something...
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Old 08-10-2009, 08:17 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by kannibul View Post
- seriously? A new car, that has alignmnet issues on 3 of 4 wheels, could be attributed to a few bumps and not having driven over a single pothole?

I guess I'm trying to wrap my head around how a few bumps could knock the alignment off on a car, without bending or breaking something...
Couple of things actually. First, assuming your alignment is spot on from the factory Makes you a very optimistic guy.. In reality they have but a few minutes on the assembly line to get all 4 wheels adjusted. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't. My New Corvette had 3 of the 4 wheels out of spec.

Secondly, most lower suspension arms are bolted to subframes, which are in turn bolted to the chassis. Taking a hit to a wheel can shift the subframe slightly therefore throwing the car out of alignment.
A shifted subframe will take 2 wheels out of alignment, not just the one that took the hit.

Consider Alignments a normal maintenance item. Good idea to get one done when new by a quality shop who specializes in alignments, then get it tweaked once a year if you live in an area plagued by bad roads. The money you save on tires will generally pay for the alignments ....
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Old 08-10-2009, 09:43 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Modshack View Post
Couple of things actually. First, assuming your alignment is spot on from the factory Makes you a very optimistic guy.. In reality they have but a few minutes on the assembly line to get all 4 wheels adjusted. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't. My New Corvette had 3 of the 4 wheels out of spec.

Secondly, most lower suspension arms are bolted to subframes, which are in turn bolted to the chassis. Taking a hit to a wheel can shift the subframe slightly therefore throwing the car out of alignment.
A shifted subframe will take 2 wheels out of alignment, not just the one that took the hit.

Consider Alignments a normal maintenance item. Good idea to get one done when new by a quality shop who specializes in alignments, then get it tweaked once a year if you live in an area plagued by bad roads. The money you save on tires will generally pay for the alignments ....

I guess my point of view is that nothing should shift, short of a failure (be it a bend, break, etc)...it's been something I've been wondering about for a while. I mean, how much force is needed to knock the wheel out 1deg - or cause the camber to move...

I just find it strange the dealer blamed it on roads, rather than it could be out of spec because Nissan didn't do it right at the factory - it just got me thinking about it again...
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Old 08-10-2009, 12:23 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Are there any alignment settings that anyone could recommend? Preferably something a little more aggressive than factory.
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Old 09-18-2009, 09:13 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Are there any alignment settings that anyone could recommend? Preferably something a little more aggressive than factory.
Yeah, i would recommend camber kits. A wide variety of them are for the Z.. I am liking the SPC camber kits, but I want to wait until they have the real camber kits as well as the front to make sure. These allow to adjust the camber and caster. Giving more negative camber will allow your car to stick to the road and give better handling, but camber is somewhat difficult to understand and you should learn about how to adjust camber. I can explain these three quite well (I hope). Camber is the one that most people have heard of.. Adjusting camber adjusts how close the top of the tire is to the car (simplest terms). Negative camber occurs when the top of the tire is closer to the car's body than the bottom. Positive camber occurs when the top of the tire is farther out than the bottom. See when a car goes into a corner, the body rolls and the camber goes more positive. To compensate, drivers will increase negative camber to stop the car becoming unbalanced and rolling too much. This increases the handling. However, as I said, you should be know and be prepared to test camber settings. Too much negative or positive camber can cause serious tire wear and handling issues. Caster is one of the more complicated adjustments and one that I really can't explain. If you really want more insight on caster angle, talk to RCZ or one of the experts in tuning. Adjusting the toe is adjusting how inward or outward the wheels are when the steering wheel is straight. Toe in occurs when the wheels are inward pointing towards each other. Toe in occurs when the wheels are outward pointing away from each other. This is also a complicated adjustment and not a favored one. Toe out gives more steering and cornering response, but reduces straight line stablity. Toe in is vice versa.
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Old 09-19-2009, 10:20 AM   #12 (permalink)
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I live in West Virgina and frequent old country roads, some of them are amazing, but many of them are filled with potholes, dips, etc.... Aren't the best driving roads. I had never had an issue with alignment, or anything else for that matter. I put my Z through its paces, the biggest concern that I have is going airborne on some hilly roads. It has only happened a couple times by mistake, but no problems so far...
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Old 09-19-2009, 10:40 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by 370zForever View Post
Yeah, i would recommend camber kits. A wide variety of them are for the Z.. I am liking the SPC camber kits, but I want to wait until they have the real camber kits as well as the front to make sure. These allow to adjust the camber and caster. Giving more negative camber will allow your car to stick to the road and give better handling, but camber is somewhat difficult to understand and you should learn about how to adjust camber. I can explain these three quite well (I hope). Camber is the one that most people have heard of.. Adjusting camber adjusts how close the top of the tire is to the car (simplest terms). Negative camber occurs when the top of the tire is closer to the car's body than the bottom. Positive camber occurs when the top of the tire is farther out than the bottom. See when a car goes into a corner, the body rolls and the camber goes more positive. To compensate, drivers will increase negative camber to stop the car becoming unbalanced and rolling too much. This increases the handling. However, as I said, you should be know and be prepared to test camber settings. Too much negative or positive camber can cause serious tire wear and handling issues. Caster is one of the more complicated adjustments and one that I really can't explain. If you really want more insight on caster angle, talk to RCZ or one of the experts in tuning. Adjusting the toe is adjusting how inward or outward the wheels are when the steering wheel is straight. Toe in occurs when the wheels are inward pointing towards each other. Toe in occurs when the wheels are outward pointing away from each other. This is also a complicated adjustment and not a favored one. Toe out gives more steering and cornering response, but reduces straight line stablity. Toe in is vice versa.

Posting a picture/sketch would really help your explanation.
Thanks for the post!
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Old 09-19-2009, 11:42 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Posting a picture/sketch would really help your explanation.
Thanks for the post!
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Old 09-19-2009, 12:47 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Perfect! Thanks
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