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  1. #1
    Senior Member Four Rings b7_Andy's Avatar
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    The DIY Subframe Alignment!

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    So I've seen a lot of guys on here saying their wheel offsets are not the same on both sides after lowering their car, and I've worked on a few Audi's that also seem to have this problem. Basically this is what I'm talking about:
    Some of you may notice this after lowering your car and it bugged me for the longest time. The difference in wheel gap/offset is entirely due to the alignment of the subframe. Now a standard wheel alignment won't fix this, and most shops don't even want to touch the subframes. The good news is that aligning the car's subframes is not a very difficult project and can be done in under 2 hours. So for those of you that have uneven wheel offsets and want to know how to realign your subframes, you stumbled across the right thread! lets get started!

    First lets learn the location of the bolts that will need to be loosened.

    The rear subframe bolts are easy to find because they have big washers that look like saucers.
    The fronts don't have the big washers, but if you follow the subframe to each corner you can find the bolts (they're 18mm, same as the rear). On the front of the front subframe you'll want to loosen the 18mm subframe bolt on each side and also the two bolts that hold the motor mount.
    On the rear of the front subframe you'll loosen just the 18mm subframe bolts, not the bolts for the transmission crossmember.
    So now we know where everything is, lets get these sloppy subframes aligned.

    Get the car up on jack stands. You don't need to have all 4 wheels off the ground, you can do the front and rear separately, but please use jack stands! Going underneath the car with just a jack holding it would be a really dumb way to get smushed by a car. DON'T LOOSEN ANY BOLTS UNTIL YOU TAKE YOUR MEASUREMENTS AND WRITE THEM DOWN! Keep all 4 wheels on the car while you perform the alignment. We will be needing the wheels on the car to take the measurements. Now this is the important part, the more measurements the better. I took two measurements per wheel and that's really all you need, but if it makes you feel more comfortable you can take more. For the rear I measured the distance between the edge of the wheel and the fender closest to the front of the car.
    And for the front I measured the distance between the edge of the wheel and fender closer to the back of the car.
    (both pictures taken on driver side).
    I then measured the gap between the wheel and the fender by lining a wooden stick up against the wheel and measuring the distance between the stick and the fender like so:
    Also if you don't perform this measurement with the wheel in the same position on both sides, you will get an inaccurate measurement:
    Take all these measurements with the car in the air and the wheels off the ground.

    Starting with the rear subframe
    Use that handy dandy jack to place securely under your subframe. loosen all 4 subframe bolts. Here's a very important step: you only need to loosen these bolts less than half an inch! This way the subframe can shift around but it is still being held to the car. Lower the jack so that the subframe can now be shifted. How you shift the subframe is up to you, but what I did was put my feet on one wheel and give it some strong pushes. If you're paying close attention you can feel the subframe move. Then you pretty much play guess and check. Push one wheel, take some measurements, maybe go around to the other side, push on that wheel. Be really patient because this part can take a while. By shifting the subframe you can not only correct the wheel offsets, but also correct the position of the wheels from a side view. That measurement you took from the edge of the side of the wheel to the fender can be adjusted (just make sure it ends up being the same on both sides). Some Audi's have the back wheels sitting really far forward and you can actually kick the subframe back to make the wheels sit more centered in the wheel well. Once you've played around and have the subframe centered, make sure that AFTER the subframe is jacked back up and tightened down a bit that all the measurements are the same on both sides. I noticed when doing mine that I had all the measurements set but when I snugged the subframe back up to the car the numbers changed a bit. This is why you have to be really patient with this part. When the subframe is sitting pretty snug up against the car, you want your offset measurements and side of wheel to fender measurements to be exactly the same on both sides. Once you have accomplished this the bolts can be torqued to spec. Here's another thing to think about: these are stretch bolts so they are recommended to be replaced every time you loosen them. I replaced my rear bolts a while ago, but have probably loosened and retightened them 15 times since then and have not had a problem. My front ones have not been replaced at all and I have zero problems. So proceed at your own risk and do not hold me responsible for any mistake you make by not taking caution with these bolts. Now that we understand that, the torque specs for the rear subframe bolts are 81 Ft-lbs + a 1/4 turn. Hurray! The rear subframe is done! (The front is a lot easier)

    And now the front subframe
    The front subframe actually has alignment holes, but I still took measurements. Again put the jack under your subframe and loosen all 8 bolts shown above (only loosen them a 1/2"). Now lower the jack so the subframe can shift around. You'll want a tool to stick in the alignment holes and I found this cheap harbor freight tool to work perfectly: http://www.harborfreight.com/11-3-4-...ator-1740.html (you'll want 2 of these). I used jack stands to hold them both in the alignment holes at the same time like so:
    After aligning it check your measurements and see how it came out. Also make sure the steering wheel is still straight when measuring the side of the wheel to fender. It took me forever to figure out why those measurements were different on both sides and that was why lol. Once you're happy with the measurements tighten the subframe back to the car and check again to make sure the measurements are still the same. The torque specs for the 4 18mm subframe bolts (red bolts in the first picture) are 81 Ft-lbs + a 1/4 turn (same as the rear). The torque specs for the motor mount bolts (orange ones in the first picture) are 55 Ft-lbs.

    For reference these are the measurements I had


    Now lower your car back to the ground and congratulate yourself because you are all done! It is recommended that you get a wheel alignment after messing with any suspension components, but I didn't get a wheel alignment done afterward and my car drives fine. I may be going through my tires faster, but it isn't necessary to get a wheel alignment done right away.
    I hope this DIY helps for anyone interested in performing this themselves and like always, please ask me any questions you have!
    Last edited by b7_Andy; 04-26-2018 at 01:40 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Four Rings Okedokey's Avatar
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  3. #3
    Veteran Member Four Rings papadelogan's Avatar
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    Well done!! I don't plan to lower mine ever, but that's still great info for anyone!
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  4. #4
    Veteran Member Four Rings Denio24's Avatar
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    Eh, I probably wouldn't retorque those bolts to the same spec, but that's just me. Instead of taking those measurements before which is kind of inaccurate I would take a framing square and take measurements of camber on a level surface. Then depending on that just shift the subframe in the appropriate direction and measure camber again.
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  5. #5
    Veteran Member Four Rings yeoj112689's Avatar
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    Thank you for the write up, I didn't follow it exactly.... I just kind of unbolted the rear and kicked the shit out of it until it lined up :D Still helped though!

    Now my 265 wides in the rear don't rub every three seconds on the one side.
    || 2006 Audi A4 Quattro 2.0T || Mods and stuff

  6. #6
    Senior Member Four Rings b7_Andy's Avatar
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    The DIY Subframe Alignment!

    Quote Originally Posted by yeoj112689 View Post
    Thank you for the write up, I didn't follow it exactly.... I just kind of unbolted the rear and kicked the shit out of it until it lined up :D Still helped though!

    Now my 265 wides in the rear don't rub every three seconds on the one side.
    Glad it helped! I'm thinking of running 265s in the future... Do you have them on all 4? What are your wheel specs?

  7. #7
    Senior Member Four Rings b7_Andy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Denio24 View Post
    Eh, I probably wouldn't retorque those bolts to the same spec, but that's just me. Instead of taking those measurements before which is kind of inaccurate I would take a framing square and take measurements of camber on a level surface. Then depending on that just shift the subframe in the appropriate direction and measure camber again.
    Getting new bolts is a safe choice. And I wrote this thinking more about how the subframe lines up on the car and spacing between the wheels and fenders. You could measure camber and adjust it to have the same camber all around, but it risks having a wheel stick out too much on one side. If I wanted my camber dialed in I would probably adjust the subframe so that the wheel offset is good and then get adjustable control arms...

  8. #8
    Veteran Member Four Rings Denio24's Avatar
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    So why didnt you use a spacer then?

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  9. #9
    Senior Member Four Rings b7_Andy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Denio24 View Post
    So why didnt you use a spacer then?

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    I didn't want to just put a spacer on one side. I feel like the car would drive weird. The subframe has about 5mm of movement each way. I looked in the screw holes when I was underneath it the last time I took the bolts all the way out and I could see that it wasn't aligned in the center. All I know is it looks right now and it definitely helped the car drive straighter. My car always pulled a little to the right even after a wheel alignment. My rear subframe was sitting about 4 mm to the left. So if you think about it, you have the rear subframe sitting left of the front subframe... It's going to want to push the car right. I didn't even get a wheel alignment after I aligned the subframe and my car tracks dead straight now. It confirms that the subframe definitely wasn't where it should have been before. Visually my camber all looks the same (stock control arms), but next time I get an alignment I'll share my camber specs so we can see how well everything came out.

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    Veteran Member Four Rings Denio24's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by b7_Andy View Post
    I didn't want to just put a spacer on one side. I feel like the car would drive weird. The subframe has about 5mm of movement each way. I looked in the screw holes when I was underneath it the last time I took the bolts all the way out and I could see that it wasn't aligned in the center. All I know is it looks right now and it definitely helped the car drive straighter. My car always pulled a little to the right even after a wheel alignment. My rear subframe was sitting about 4 mm to the left. So if you think about it, you have the rear subframe sitting left of the front subframe... It's going to want to push the car right. I didn't even get a wheel alignment after I aligned the subframe and my car tracks dead straight now. It confirms that the subframe definitely wasn't where it should have been before. Visually my camber all looks the same (stock control arms), but next time I get an alignment I'll share my camber specs so we can see how well everything came out.
    Makes me wonder why the rear subframe was shifted to the left then. Have you ever loosened it before?
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  11. #11
    Senior Member Four Rings b7_Andy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Denio24 View Post
    Makes me wonder why the rear subframe was shifted to the left then. Have you ever loosened it before?
    I've loosened it many times installing and adjusting coilovers, but I only loosen 2 of the 4 bolts at a time. It would make sense that I could have adjusted it on accident like that, but way back in my notes I have a list of wheel to fender clearances for when I was going to get wheel spacers long before I had coilovers or even knew what a subframe was. Those measurements show the same irregularities as the ones a took right before a did the alignment and they were taken probably 2 years ago. I remember it stumped me way back when and I kept wondering why I was getting different wheel gaps on each side. So either the previous owner messed with the subframe (doubt it), or it came misaligned from Audi (which I think is the likely case).

  12. #12
    Senior Member Four Rings b7_Andy's Avatar
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    Another case I see is the rear wheels sitting really far forward. A lot of people have this problem and they keep getting wheel alignments to no avail. My friend's car was like this (we also think it came from the factory like that), so we pushed the subframe towards the back of the car and it lined his wheels up right in the center of the wheel well like they should be.


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  13. #13
    Veteran Member Four Rings Denio24's Avatar
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    I guess thats another thing audi is sloppy with when assembling the car. It is an a4 after all.

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  14. #14
    Veteran Member Four Rings yeoj112689's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by b7_Andy View Post
    Glad it helped! I'm thinking of running 265s in the future... Do you have them on all 4? What are your wheel specs?
    I am running 245/30R19 in the front and 265/30r19 in the rear with 10mm spacers and extended lugs in the rear only. Makes it look flush. I may add 5mm in the front in the future I haven't decided yet.

    I hope you have stuff suspension if you plan on running 265 rear or rolling your fenders because rub central if you're not centered! I am not sure of the offset as they came off an AMG c63 benz for free :D
    || 2006 Audi A4 Quattro 2.0T || Mods and stuff

  15. #15
    Senior Member Four Rings b7_Andy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yeoj112689 View Post
    I am running 245/30R19 in the front and 265/30r19 in the rear with 10mm spacers and extended lugs in the rear only. Makes it look flush. I may add 5mm in the front in the future I haven't decided yet.

    I hope you have stuff suspension if you plan on running 265 rear or rolling your fenders because rub central if you're not centered! I am not sure of the offset as they came off an AMG c63 benz for free :D
    Sweet, my fenders are already rolled, I was thinking of having them pulled a bit too. I want to run the same size all around so that would mean 265s in the front too Do you notice a difference in handling having such a wide tire? Some people say it doesn't help.

  16. #16
    Veteran Member Four Rings yeoj112689's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by b7_Andy View Post
    Sweet, my fenders are already rolled, I was thinking of having them pulled a bit too. I want to run the same size all around so that would mean 265s in the front too Do you notice a difference in handling having such a wide tire? Some people say it doesn't help.
    I honestly do not think 265 in the front would be a good idea lol I doubt it would even fit without rubbing hard. Pending wheel size and tire height I guess.

    I haven't noticed much of a handling difference but I will say it digs harder... or that could be the JHM tune... and all other mods I did at the same time haha.
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  17. #17
    Senior Member Four Rings b7_Andy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yeoj112689 View Post
    I honestly do not think 265 in the front would be a good idea lol I doubt it would even fit without rubbing hard. Pending wheel size and tire height I guess.

    I haven't noticed much of a handling difference but I will say it digs harder... or that could be the JHM tune... and all other mods I did at the same time haha.
    Ya I'll probably either do 245 all around or 265 all around. My guy that does fender work is pretty good so I feel like with the right wheel, offset, and how far he could pull the fenders it could be done. Might need some adjustable control arms too. But if the handling wouldn't be noticeably better then it's not worth all the work haha

  18. #18
    Senior Member Four Rings Okedokey's Avatar
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    Les about handling more about grip i think.
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    Senior Member Four Rings b7_Andy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Okedokey View Post
    Les about handling more about grip i think.
    Hmmm, I can tell where this is going, and I think I need to make a new thread! At least I'm thread jacking my own thread haha

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    Senior Member Four Rings Okedokey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by b7_Andy View Post
    Hmmm, I can tell where this is going, and I think I need to make a new thread! At least I'm thread jacking my own thread haha
    No need for another thread, I guess grip and handling are interrelated. All good.
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    Veteran Member Four Rings yeoj112689's Avatar
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    Yeah I mean technically I guess more grip = more handle but I am not sure if it would make much of a difference between 265 and 245 for steering.
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    Veteran Member Four Rings MarcusDubya77's Avatar
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    Thread revival, but this is extremely helpful info. Thanks!
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    Senior Member Four Rings b7_Andy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarcusDubya77 View Post
    Thread revival, but this is extremely helpful info. Thanks!

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    Fk PB for ruining bunch of awesome topics like this one

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    Senior Member Four Rings b7_Andy's Avatar
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    Tits, I forgot I used photobucket for my DIYs... I'll get the pictures back up when I get the chance. I'll also edit the original post and add some extra thoughts that might be helpful. Thanks for reminding me


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    Active Member Two Rings
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    Hi, during my wheel aligment inspection I found some discrapencies (picture).
    Is it possible to correct it by the subframe adjustment?


  29. #29
    Senior Member Four Rings b7_Andy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silv3r View Post
    Hi, during my wheel aligment inspection I found some discrapencies (picture).
    Is it possible to correct it by the subframe adjustment?

    It is possible that a subframe alignment could fix that. Most of our alignment machines in the states donít make measurements like that so we look at the distance between the wheel and the fender itself and measure it so that everything is centered visibly. You might want to take a tape measure and measure the distances from the top of the wheel to the fender and from the side of the wheel horizontally to the fender on each side and compare those with what the machine measured during the alignment. If your wheel to body spacing actually is off, Iím not sure if the B8 A5 subframe can adjust the same way as the B7 platform. The B8 platform uses tubular subframes and I donít know how much movement they have side to side so adjusting them could be different. But I would first check all the measurements by hand like I have in the pictures and see if everything is off... not sure how the machine measured it.

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    Senior Member Four Rings b7_Andy's Avatar
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    I updated the original post with links that will fix the pictures taken down by photobucket.

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    Active Member Two Rings
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    Without measuring I can see that the distance between the wheel and the fender is slightly different (~10mm)
    Where to find the original aligment holes (front and rear) in the S5 4.2l V8 2009?

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    Senior Member Four Rings b7_Andy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silv3r View Post
    Without measuring I can see that the distance between the wheel and the fender is slightly different (~10mm)
    Where to find the original aligment holes (front and rear) in the S5 4.2l V8 2009?

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    I remember seeing them a couple times when I was working under my dadís S5... Iíll try and find a picture of the underside of the car and mark them for you.

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    Would be great!
    Thanks :)

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    Senior Member Four Rings b7_Andy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silv3r View Post
    Would be great!
    Thanks :)

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    Iím having a hard time finding pictures of the underside of an S5, but hereís pictures of what the subframes look like:
    Front:


    Rear:


    The rear one is similar to the pictures in this thread having four mounting points on all the corners. The front one is a tubular subframe and mounts a bit different. Thereís 2 mounting points on each side towards the front and then 3 mounting points on each side of the rear. Hope this helps.

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    Active Member Two Rings
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    Where are the aligment holes in case od rear subrame?

    Should I base od them (AH) or wheel proper position?

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    Senior Member Four Rings b7_Andy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silv3r View Post
    Where are the aligment holes in case od rear subrame?

    Should I base od them (AH) or wheel proper position?

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    Thereís no alignment holes for the rear subframes. You just have to try and center it by measuring the wheel to fender distances. And with the front one Iím not sure how accurate the alignment holes are. After lining all 3 holes up I would also measure the distances from the edge of the wheels.

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    Last question, do you know the original dimensions + tolerances?

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    Senior Member Four Rings b7_Andy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silv3r View Post
    Last question, do you know the original dimensions + tolerances?

    Wysłane z mojego SM-G950F przy użyciu Tapatalka
    Sorry I do not, but if you look at the subframe where the bolt holes are when the bolts are taken out youíll see that thereís a lot of room left there for adjustment which I was kind of surprised by. The subframe can definitely move a lot each way.

  39. #39
    Active Member Two Rings
    Join Date
    Dec 28 2017
    AZ Member #
    411678
    Location
    Poland

    Untightened almost everything but still was not able to move the front subframe :(
    I did it on both sides, it moved slightly down but still could not move it to front or rear...

    My frame looks like the one below (Audi S5 4.2 V8 2009)

    Did you lift the subframe? Are there any bolts that may block it?

    Wysłane z mojego SM-G950F przy użyciu Tapatalka
    Last edited by Silv3r; 05-27-2018 at 04:53 AM.

  40. #40
    Active Member Two Rings
    Join Date
    Dec 28 2017
    AZ Member #
    411678
    Location
    Poland

    Is it possible that the enginee is supported by the subframe? Should it be lifted in order to move the subframe?

    Wysłane z mojego SM-G950F przy użyciu Tapatalka



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