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  1. #1
    Veteran Member Three Rings goalieman24's Avatar
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    3 Alignments, 3 thousand miles.

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    To start, new alignment machines are pretty straightforward and self-calibrate, right? Would like to rule out user-error, but who knows.

    I've had the car on an alignment rack 3 times, about 1000 miles in between. It seems like it's not holding the alignment very well. Is there anything else besides the main suspension components that could be causing this? Control arms are from FCP with about 35k on them. All bushings appear to be in good shape and not ripped or cracking. Stock springs with Bilstein shocks that have about 25k on them.

    Pics are the following:
    1 & 2 - Final readouts from first alignment. Just took it in for an occasional check. The pre-alignment numbers were actually all in spec.

    3,4,5,6 - Alignment 2. Fixed a bad CV boot, took it back in for reassurance (I have Firestone lifetime alignments on the car). 3&4 are front before/after, 5&6 rear.

    7 - Alignment check 3. Had tires mounted and they offered a free alignment check (not Firestone).

    The more I think about it, seems like maybe technician error? Reason being, the first alignment was close before it was adjusted. The front right toe was adjusted a tenth of a degree and the rear toe was adjusted .05 degree on each side. Since then, it doesn't seem to be holding.

    1&2



    3-6





    7

  2. #2
    Senior Member Three Rings insomniacxp1's Avatar
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    May 10 2010
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    My Garage
    01.5 B5 S4
    Location
    Rochester, NY

    Could be tech error if they're adjusting rear toe/camber then not redoing the caster sweep before adjusting front toe. Where did you take it? 3 different places?
    Current : 01.5 Imola S4. Stage 3 F21's/To much to list

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  3. #3
    Established Member Two Rings dalazybastard's Avatar
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    Apr 08 2016
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    My Garage
    '01 A4 1.8tqm '01 A4 2.8qm
    Location
    Orange County, CA

    Willing to bet its tech error, unless you are hitting potholes between every alignment.

    I know both my A4's have ridiculously different readings within less than 1000 miles at firestone.

    Next time you go, ask for the master tech to do your alignment and it will be measured and done right.



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  4. #4
    Established Member Two Rings
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    Mar 12 2015
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    Maryland

    Well there's your problem: "Firestone lifetime alignments"

    You're dealing with a chain store that attracts bottom of the barrel techs who don't get paid enough to care.

    What part of MD are you in?

  5. #5
    Veteran Member Four Rings MacDaddy's Avatar
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    Canadia

    Its toed out too much, coupled with your negative camber (lowered it looks like) its no surprise its all over the road, it looks like they are aligning for uniform tread wear (no surprise). From what i was told our cars call for more toe in than most cars so its going to feel more ass than usual.

    If something was bent or loose (like your control arms) it would show up in your SAI (do you have it?)

    get someone who knows european cars and how to do the secondary adjustment, it requires setting the toe then raising the front end 30mm and doing a verticle adjustmwnt on the tie rods untill toe is equal on both sides again. Book time calls for about 2 hours to do a 4 wheel on the s4, if your tech gets it done anywhere under 1 hour hes a hack.

  6. #6
    Veteran Member Three Rings
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    I would have to agree that Firestone is not the best place to go for a proper alignment. If you have a car that doesn't have many adjustments and all you really need is a toe and go now and again they're fine but the only way you're going to get everything 100% is if you provide specs and watch the tech do it. Or if you get lucky and just happen to get a tech that cares.

    I just checked the labor guide used where I work and it says 2.1 hours to align. At Firestone, a lifetime alignment recheck pays .8 hours so... getting a tech that cares means someone who is okay with losing money to make your car perfect.
    I'm like a tree. I'm all root

  7. #7
    Senior Member Three Rings erykv1's Avatar
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    a proper alignment for quattro's require the subframe to be shifted. other than that, i bet you are only getting a toe-and-go type service at firestone.

  8. #8
    Veteran Member Three Rings goalieman24's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies.

    I will say, one of the printouts I got included all of the screenshots of the entire procedure for these cars. It does instruct the front subframe shift and also the 'raised toe procedure'. I guess that's no guarantee they're actually doing it, but it's reassuring that it's actually there.

    I guess what I'm questioning is even if they aren't doing it according to the book procedure from Audi, the end results have still been in spec. So if it's in spec when they finish, why does it seem to get out of spec relatively quickly? How would any shortcuts cause it to not hold the position it left the alignment rack in?

  9. #9
    Senior Member Three Rings erykv1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by goalieman24 View Post
    Thanks for the replies.

    I will say, one of the printouts I got included all of the screenshots of the entire procedure for these cars. It does instruct the front subframe shift and also the 'raised toe procedure'. I guess that's no guarantee they're actually doing it, but it's reassuring that it's actually there.

    I guess what I'm questioning is even if they aren't doing it according to the book procedure from Audi, the end results have still been in spec. So if it's in spec when they finish, why does it seem to get out of spec relatively quickly? How would any shortcuts cause it to not hold the position it left the alignment rack in?
    The only thing possible unless you are driving into giant potholes, is there is a tie rod or some rod end that is worn. While its on the rack everything is static and it doesnt show, but once the car is in motion it can throw the alignment off.

  10. #10
    Veteran Member Four Rings MacDaddy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by erykv1 View Post
    The only thing possible unless you are driving into giant potholes, is there is a tie rod or some rod end that is worn. While its on the rack everything is static and it doesnt show, but once the car is in motion it can throw the alignment off.
    No, it shows up on that thing called SAI, thats when the tech turns the strrering wheel Left to right.

    If you dont know dont pretend.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Three Rings erykv1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacDaddy View Post
    No, it shows up on that thing called SAI, thats when the tech turns the strrering wheel Left to right.

    If you dont know dont pretend.
    My bad, ya prick firestone checks SAI? lol. I was under the impression that SAI only confirmed a bent arm / ride height issues.

  12. #12
    Veteran Member Three Rings
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    I doubt they're looking at SAI but the measurement is automatically taken when they do the caster sweep

  13. #13
    Veteran Member Three Rings goalieman24's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by erykv1 View Post
    firestone checks SAI?
    That's what I was wondering. Maybe they don't print it since a lot of their customer base doesn't know/care what it is?

    Is the SAI reading spec'd to the particular car? Trying to figure out what numbers I'm looking for. I have an older alignment that I know recorded SAI that I'll look at for a starting point. Definitely want to get a current check on it though.

  14. #14
    Veteran Member Four Rings MacDaddy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mille Bornes View Post
    I doubt they're looking at SAI but the measurement is automatically taken when they do the caster sweep
    This.

    Without a sai measurement its impossible to twll you if something is bent or not. All i can suggest at this point if your lower rear control arm bushings have broken free from the outer sleeve and are moving back and forth (happened to me)

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