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View Full Version : lowered 1.8t quattro with excessive inner tire wear



Beemer832
04-23-2007, 01:42 PM
I was told that I would need adjustable control arms for the car now. After changing the oil this passed weekend i noticed excessive trear wear on the very inner side of the tire, maybe 3 inches from the side. There was barely any tread there left at all. It seems this may need more than just a wheel alignment. Any thoughts or ideas would be greatly appreciated. Cheapest alignment around is $180....

Josh

AudiA4_20T
04-23-2007, 01:46 PM
lol you pay $180 for alignment? I pay $70

Beemer832
04-23-2007, 01:49 PM
i didn pay... but might have to. I also now live in KC MO... use to live in CT. There it was cheap like your paying in NJ. Damn midwest people have a "hard time" getting those wheels aligned...

josh

docurley
04-23-2007, 01:49 PM
Looks like you need to go to another wheel garage.

Militant-Grunt
04-23-2007, 01:57 PM
Yeah sounds like you're being ripped off and not aligned properly. Are you on race or sport springs? I can tell you off the bat that no one has adjustable control arms here (correct me if I'm mistaken).

MultiAudis
04-23-2007, 02:04 PM
Yeah sounds like you're being ripped off and not aligned properly. Are you on race or sport springs? I can tell you off the bat that no one has adjustable control arms here (correct me if I'm mistaken).

Agreed, wouldn't even know where to look for them. And I bought lifetime alignment for $165, and it has paid for itself 9867597023465978253 times. Sounds like you need a new shop to me.

onemoremile
04-23-2007, 02:22 PM
There are a few that have the CPP adjustable arms. They really aren't worth it on a street car since they are loud and harsh.

I'd bet good money that you need the toe and pressed-toe adjusted. The camber alone puts the weight on 1/3 of the tire but it doesn't increase wear that much. When that third is also constantly being scrubbed due to a bad toe setting those tires will wear away in no time. Toe should really be dead straight or really close to it.

If the rest of the tires are still usable you can have them dismounted, flipped, and remounted. This puts the good outer edges on the inside. This is a fairly common autocross thing but there it is because the outer edge wears so much faster.

loustylez
04-23-2007, 02:31 PM
heh, i was about to say "i was just talking to josh about this!"

i noticed the same problem as well. i'm on Bilstein PSS9 coilovers, not sure about him. i noticed the wear on the inner part on just the fronts when rotating my tires last week.

BHR (local shop) told me that i'd need adjustable control arms to solve that issue so that's what i told you.

make sure and let me know if/when you find a cheaper alignment, i may be looking for another shop as well. i'd be pretty dissapointed if i was given that kind of misinformation considering i've given them quite a bit of business and a good reputation to anyone that's asked.

i want to make sure i've got accurate information before i call up and ask them to fix it. considering i've already called once and was told i need ajustable control arms, i want to know how to approach that situation first before i call again.

Ewok_Fetus
04-23-2007, 02:36 PM
Hahaha, I live in the midwest and only pay $60 for an all wheel alignment!

onemoremile
04-23-2007, 02:44 PM
I pay between 60 and 120 for an alignment at the dealership depending on how much work is done and how busy they are.

One nice bonus to getting that toe setting corrected is that your gas mileage will go up. When I was running aggressive toe settings I would see a 6-10 mpg difference between long wearing skinny all season tires and fat sticky Pilots Sports. The car felt different too. Your car probably hunts and tramlines or feels a little twitchy at times.

Insel Fohrer
04-23-2007, 03:13 PM
How low are you?

98a4
04-23-2007, 03:18 PM
I get 7k miles out of 360rated treadware tires @ 23.25" . But I'm stupid.

blackaudia4tk
04-23-2007, 03:26 PM
wow that elimates rotations ha just new tires ever other oil change....

dualaudi
04-23-2007, 03:41 PM
Doesn't a camber kit fix this inner wear for lowered cars?

ONEMORE MILE... ah, did you install those camber kits from K-mac?

K-Mac 140916 camber kit (http://audizine.com/forum/showthread.php?t=93889&highlight=camber+kit)

Anyway, that's how jap cars fix their lowered inner wear's...

$220 at shox.com (http://www.shox.com)

onemoremile
04-23-2007, 05:05 PM
If you use a camber kit but don't fix the toe problem the gas mileage gets even worse because the tire's are fighting each other with larger contact patches.

I sold my K-Mac eccentric camber bushings without installing them. I may pick up a set this summer and give it another try. I got them so I could run more camber at the track with the car closer to sport height. I've run the car quite low to get more camber and it wasn't any quicker than when it was higher. The B5 chassis doesn't like to be lowered more than about an inch below stock sport height. Any lower and they suffer from bump steer and a really wierd toe curve. Lower may be better for looks but not for performance without altering suspension pickup points. I followed the recommendations on Stasis' site and didn't have the results I expected.

You can run -2 degrees of camber with almost normal tire wear if the toe setting is neutral. Toe in or toe out will both accelerate tire wear. I run tires with a 160 tread wear (Sumitomo HTR Z) that look like new with over 10k miles. I also put 35k miles on a set of Pilot Sports and could have run them for another season but had a torn sidewall.

The real lesson to be learned here is that if you run a correctly aligned car at a reasonable height you get better handling, better gas mileage, longer tire life, and a more comfortable ride than with it dumped. Not bad at all compared to the alternatives.

My camber with the car at it's lowest (that I ran) is below. The driveway is flat and the white trim on the garage door opening is vertical. You can easily see that there is a lot of negative camber there.
http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b397/onemoremile/camber.jpg

brlukosk
04-23-2007, 05:30 PM
Nice...

onemoremile...

Your posts kick ass. Some of the most informative I have come across on this forum.

I need to get my toe settings in order.

I have about -1.5 degrees of camber up front but my toe is not even. At the time of my last alignment I didn't know any better. Next time I will specify dead even toe settings.

Have you noticed anything interesting on rear camber settings?

Beemer832
04-23-2007, 06:59 PM
haha ur dead on.. my car feels like it is tracking or pulling all the time. The second I put my BBS's on when it got warm, they have a much larger contact patch and I jsut figured it was the cheap tire on them. But this makes sense. I will have to get some pictures up here on lowness. It doesn't look that low on the street, but in the garage where its flat, the car sits very low, I am confused how I don't hit more low shit on the road ~knock on wood~ I was quoted $180 from the stealership today and than $300 from a very reputable shop in town. I would have either do it because I trust them both, but being a college student and all, I just don't have that kind of money to get my tires aligned. I will have to keep shopping around...

Josh

seank
04-23-2007, 08:16 PM
damn i thought it was common sense to get an alignment anytime you change something in the suspension, o well. good luck with your search in finding someone not trying to rip you off.

brlukosk
04-23-2007, 08:46 PM
Try your local VW dealer.

Also go to the hunter website and check out to see who has the best hunter alignment machine in town..

Those prices are crazy..

This is straight from my local VW dealers website:

- We use the Hunter GSP 9700, the most accurate tire balancing
system in the world
-Match wheel and tire assembly to proper position for
smoothest ride possible
-Simulated road test to insure excellent ride qualtiy
4 Wheel Alignment Special = $59.95
Road Force Balance Special = $29.95

Ride Control Special = $79.95
(includes both specials)

vincere
04-23-2007, 09:17 PM
I currently have CPP adjustable control arms that I bought to replace the Kmac bushings. The Kmacs are very difficult to adjust at a track although they are great at reducing or increasing camber. You need something to measure the camber with them as it is very difficult to change them in precise increments. If your car is lowered a lot, they work great to reduce the camber to something that won't destroy tires. I use the CPP arms because I autocross my car a lot and I want the adjustability at different courses and surfaces and the CPP arms are much easier to adjust incrementally. In the winter, I can set my camber to stock and not have any driveability issues on ice and snow. The newer CPP arms have boots on the joints and are much better maintenance wise than older ones. They have not been noisy at all in my car after about 5,000 miles but are more direct with steering inputs than stock arms. BHR in Kansas City also makes their own adjustable upper control arms that cost about the same as CPP arms so they probably try to push them when they get a chance. I get my car aligned in Omaha for $40 to $60 and they will do whatever settings I ask them to do. Beemer, there is a pretty active Audi club in KC that may be able to steer you to other places that might not charge as much and still do a good job. 98A4 you might be money ahead to get some adjustability in your upper control arms to get your tires to last longer.

loustylez
04-24-2007, 07:00 AM
vincere: beemer and i are both in kansas city and both in the club ;)

BHR actually installed my coilovers and aligned it as well. after mentioning that i had inner tire wear, the first response was "oh, well you need adjustable control arms to fix that."

i, and beemer as well i'm assuming, would like to know if this is the case or if we just need to get it aligned again. if i totally don't need adjustable control arms, then unfortunately i have to assume i'm being given misinformation and that effects my decision on who to take my car back to in the future.

i've been questioning my gas mileage as well lately, so perhaps this could be part of the problem.

Beemer832
04-24-2007, 07:05 AM
yea we need to do some more shopping Lou. I will stop at a few places on the way home from work today. Those prices are ridiculous when you see what other people are paying. I honestly think I just need an alignment. I am pretty sure the toe setting on my front tires are way off. They actually are almost visibly off. I thought it was my eyes buy I think thats what the problem is. I need to get this done ASAP as I can't afford new tires right now!! LOL I could always just throw on another one of my 3 sets of rims!!! : )......

Josh

loustylez
04-24-2007, 07:20 AM
what's his name from Imagine Auto (porschephd or somethin right?) mentioned they had the hunter alignment machine on the yahoo group, is that who you got the $300 quote from?

i think the toe settings on mine are off too if i remember looking at them a while ago. i just thought that was part of being lowered.

Beemer832
04-24-2007, 07:39 AM
yea that was Imagine. That place is freakin awesome. Great guys, easy to work with, can fix just about anything. A bit pricey but you are guaranteed everything done with skill and craftsmanship. They did quote me the $300 but they also rent space for the machine, so they have to pay for that, plus they get their normal labor rate. I am going to check some places up north. I am sure you can find somewhere down here. There is a place in liberty I am gonna check with today, should be pretty cheap..

JOsh

onemoremile
04-24-2007, 08:09 AM
You can check for alignment issues without tools. Toe problems usually lead to feathering. This is where one edge of the tread block is rounded and the other is peaked. It will look like the tread is being smushed over in one direction. This is because the tread is constantly being pushed over and all the wear occurs on the leading edges of the tread blocks.

http://www.toyo.com.au/img/Feathering2.jpg http://www.toyo.com.au/img/Feathering1.jpg

http://www.toyo.com.au/img/convsipe.jpg

loustylez
04-24-2007, 08:39 AM
omm, you're awesome man.

although i'm pretty sure my toe is off considering my tires are doing this ;)

http://i72.photobucket.com/albums/i199/euro-tuner/combover.jpg

loustylez
04-24-2007, 10:04 AM
josh, i got a quote for ~$120 or $130 i forget, from European Motorsports off 75th and I-35. i had my timing belt job done there. the owner Gary is a super nice guy, if that counts for anything ;)

i mentioned our little situation with him and he pretty much said that it's to be expected when the camber is changed by lowerng the car.

i value the information people give on here quite a bit, so now i'm at the usual battle between shops saying message board people don't know shit, and message board people saying shops don't know shit. i got reputable shops saying it's to be expected and i got people like onemoremile on here saying otherwise - someone who obviously knows their shit.

i'm not going to pay to have it aligned again if that's not the problem.

so nobody else is noticing excessive (or much at all) tire wear who's lower with either shocks/springs or coilovers? would rather frequent "spirited" driving put a lot more wear on the insides than if i were to drive, say... normal? :)

12Vpawa
04-24-2007, 10:09 AM
Tire wear would happen equally as much if driving slower or "spirited", the difference being only how fast it would wear out. I guess the only thing that could happen if you are driving too fat would be to eat out the outer part of tires if taking too many turns at too high speeds.

As for my experience my car is lowered on Koni's and have about maybe as much as a finger gap tire to fender and no inner or uneven tire wear after i did the allignment. My shop (very reputable IT in Toronto) said that as long as you're not completely slammed, coilovers or shocks/springs should not alter the toe or chamber in such a way that you would get uneven tire wear.

Adjustable control arms would be useful if you have a track/daily driver in which you might want or need to adjust the suspension/steering dynamics of the car for the given conditions.

onemoremile
04-24-2007, 10:23 AM
Shop owners know what they know. They have a financial motivation to sell you parts and then charge you to install them. Ask them to humor you with a proper alignment. Tell them that if that doesn't solve the problem you'll consider the next step. Always go with the cheap and easy treatment first if it has even a chance of eliminating the symptoms.

If you have bad toe settings the worst thing you can do is a nice long road trip. The tires will be fighting each other the whole way. They'll get warmer and softer and then start feathering out.

I've done a lot of track days and a lot of autocrosses before that and have seen a lot of feathered tires. Mine were always feathered on the outsides from scrubbing the turns. The inside edges were so nice that I've had tires flipped on the wheels and prolonged their usable lives.

If anyone has been skiing and has done the snowplow move they have experienced firsthand what the tires are going through. The skis are harder than the snow so the snow gives way. The asphalt is harder than the tires so the tires give way. There really isn't any more to it than that.

When the car has a lot of negative camber it just means that it puts more weight on the inner edges of the tires. That is roughly the equivalent of running skinnier tires. That is why braking and acceleration are worse with more negative camber. It does not affect tire wear much unless you are constantly braking hard (heavy abuse on a smaller area equals shorter tread life) or have a toe setting issue (light but constant abuse adds up over time).

FWIW, if I had a set of adjustable control arms in my hands and was desperate for money I'd still advise you to get the alignment checked first. Shops tend to skip simple diagnoses and look in the parts catalog for a product that will solve the problem.

loustylez
04-24-2007, 10:45 AM
once again, excellent advise. i went on a 8 hour (4 there, 4 back) road trip about 5k miles ago, maybe that did a lot of it.

i'm going to hold out until i get my tax return. i'm most likely getting a bunch of stuff done at once. i'd really like to be able to go back to BHR where i had it aligned last and say that it obviously wasn't aligned correctly the first time and request to have it fixed, if anything, at a discount. if it was, in fact, not done correctly and they're unwilling to do it, then i'll find a new shop. nothing personal, but that's just how it goes.

the only problem is i don't want to take that stance and be wrong myself and ruin a good relationship with a shop that's so far treated me very well, and one that i planned on going back to. i hate acting on something that i'm not 100% knowledgable of.

surely the fact that i plan on having them replace a hood/paint, install a new bumper/paint, install sideskirts and fix a wheel bearing would convince them to perhaps align it again. the guy who will be detailing my car works out of the same shop too, it's just way too convenient.

12Vpawa
04-24-2007, 10:56 AM
Honestly I cannot advise you on what the best thing for you to do is since I cannot see your car to make a decision. For refernce how long (km/mi) has it taken for the inners to become bald? From what you have posted I gather it is more than about 6k miles right? In that case for the amount of mileage you put of them the negative chamber is not off too much but definately just out of the safety limits.

onemoremile
04-24-2007, 11:30 AM
the only problem is i don't want to take that stance and be wrong myself and ruin a good relationship with a shop that's so far treated me very well, and one that i planned on going back to. i hate acting on something that i'm not 100% knowledgable of.




Your script:

Hey guys, it feels off, a little twitchy or something. Can you put it up on the rack and check the settings? Any chance I could get a printout of that so I can compare it to my friend's Audi? His has a similar setup but feels different. Thanks, you guys are the best.

Beemer832
04-24-2007, 12:23 PM
haha we have both been there before. Just I won't go back.......mmmmmmmmmmm.......

Josh

vincere
04-24-2007, 01:09 PM
If you are lowered enough, you will wear your tires on the inside edge even with toe set at 0 or slightly in. When I lowered my car to 24.5" to the fender lips, I experienced inside edge wear with slight toe in. I look at my tires every week in the summer so I now exactly when it started as I was experimenting with different settings to see how it affected the handling. If you have excessive camber, there are only two ways to reduce it. You can raise the car or get some type of upper control arm adjustment to do it. Toe is very easy to check for almost any kind of decent alignment equipment. What most alignment shops don't do is check the raised toe setting and they don't always equalize the camber. I would not go to a shop if they didn't give me a before and after printout. BHR and Imagine are pretty focused on high end cars and they have high end prices. Another place to check is with some of the SCCA guys there to see who they use that is reasonably priced. If you have toe out, your car will be very darty, will follow road imperfections and will turn in very quick. This will also cause very quick inside edge wear when accompanied by lots of negative camber. Sprited driving should almost always cause outside edge wear if you are really going hard. I don't think there is any conflict in what everyone is saying, you first have to eliminate improper toe settings from the equation and then look at the camber issue after that is fixed. Once your tires start to wear on the insides, even if you fix the toe problem (assuming there is one) the insides will still wear out first since they were already partly worn unless you flip the tires on the rims.

loustylez
04-25-2007, 06:59 AM
yah, i rotated my tires so now i got pretty much full tread on the fronts.

you guys have all been very helpful, i really appreciate it.

i'm right around 24.5" or 25" to the fender (in the front at least) as well.

and yah, sometimes grooves in the road will pull it around a little. i've grown accustom to a few streets on the way home and which lane to be in for this very reason.

sounds like i need to just take it back and have them make sure it's correct. if they don't want to be reasonable, then that just made a whole bunch of other decisions a lot easier.

vincere
04-25-2007, 07:27 AM
Keep us posted on your progress. I would definitely get things checked out before your tires wear out the other edge now that they are rotated around. I'll do some checking around from my end to see if there is anyone I can recommend that is lower cost but still does good work.

loustylez
04-26-2007, 11:11 AM
Josh: FYI

http://mokanmotorsports.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=1782

sounds like i need a realignment or to check my control arm bushings and such. just had tie rod ends replaced with S4's so those should be quite solid. i can't remember if BHR said my control arm/s were on their way out or not. here's some snips from that thread that were most helpful.


You can contact Tim Herron(Independnce Honda), or 18Gwagon(Todd W, Mollie Toyota truck) Both of them have a good rep for doing good alignments, and I think neither one of their shops charge more than 90.00, I don't know if you can get it down to 70.00, but definitally not 120.00.


Depending on how much the car is lowered, you might not be able to get the camber back into alighnment with out some adjustable control arms/camber plates/crash bolts ect.


Nope, it's a toe problem combined with the camber that chews the edge of the tire. With less (or zero) camber the wear gets moved across the tire. Negative camber gets blamed as the sole cause of inner-edge tire wear when the fact is, it is an aggravant, not the primary cause. Fix the toe problem (or the problem with controlling toe dynamically, e.g. weak control arm bushings allowing toe-out at speed) and the problem will be virtually cured. Addressing the camber without addressing toe/toe-control problems only masks the underlying problem.

loustylez
04-26-2007, 12:12 PM
Josh: i'm going to Tim @ Independance Honda today. he's giving me a great deal since i was referred by the SCCA guys @ the MoKan board (hint hint). he comes pretty well recommended and i gotta think you'd be hard pressed to find a cheaper place so i'd definately check him out.

Tim Herron
Independence Honda
(816) 985-4772 cell

i'll get this done and keep a close eye on it over the next couple k miles. if i see it come back, then it's probably control arm time.

Beemer832
04-26-2007, 12:45 PM
im gogin to Hunt car care in liberty for $60... ill let you know how it turns out.. my car keeps wanting to follow road imperfections also.. it sure is a pain

Daft
04-26-2007, 12:47 PM
I agree with Jim about the toe being a direct cause of tire wear but, I can personally say that my car eats tires every 10-12K miles due to excessive negative camber.

I lowered my car in June/July of 2003 and since then I've never had less than -1.24 degrees of camber in the front at any point. (H&R Sport w/Bilstein Sport)

I've had the dealership do the resting and raised toe settings and still, my front tires take a major beating. Also bear in mind that I always get a printout. Those guys hate me with a passion. I've even had to bust out my laptop and fire up the Bentley to prove to them that there's the raised toe setting and that you can balance out the front camber by shifting the subframe left or right (see my alignment FAQ)

http://www.audizine.com/forum/showthread.php?t=17622

I've always wanted to do the KMAC bushings but, the people who do the alignments are not even close to understanding it. So I can't be bothered with fighting with them every 6-12mos.

Jim: when your car is all aligned properly, what are your front camber specs? Just curious to see where they sit in relation to factory spec.

onemoremile
04-26-2007, 01:05 PM
I haven't had an alignment in about 3 years so I can't be certain. The last alignment was when I put the coilovers on for the first time. I ran them for a summer, the stock sport springs with S4 struts for a winter, the coilovers for a summer, and then stock sport for a year and a half. It hasn't been aligned in that time and really hasn't needed it. I had it checked once but it was still within spec. The only thing I ever cared about was that the camber was even and the toe was within spec and even side to side. I get great wear on my tires even though they carry a 160 rating. If I don't run them on the track I'm on pace for 20-25k miles.

When the car was on coilovers it ran the Pilot Sports and there was never an appreciable difference in tread depths between the inside and outside edges. The car was autocrossed and tracked with these tires so that may have helped the outside wear equally with the inside. I do know that there was a bit of toe out (I prefer this for autocrossing) but it was minor. With all season tires it tracked dead straight on the freeway but with the Pilot Sports it would hunt and tramline a bit. Not to an annoying level but it was there.

loustylez
04-26-2007, 10:13 PM
i'll post my printout tomorrow, but for the most part, the steering feels a lot better. my toe was out of spec going in. need sleep, more tomorrow...

loustylez
04-30-2007, 07:33 AM
fwiw, here's my printout. i'm on PSS9's with about 25" ground to fender in the front (not sure about the back) on 17" celebration RS4's or whatever.

i forget, but i think the guy mentioned something along the lines that my toe was almost 3/4" off before and now it's within 1/8" or something. either way, it was definately off before. now i'm just wondering if it was because the shop before set it up wrong or if maybe i hit one too many potholes... which doesn't really happen that often necessarily.

question: my steering wheel is slightly a few degrees to the right. it's enough to bug me going straight and seeing it in the lower field of my vision crooked. is that hard to adjust? when i left the shop after getting it aligned the first time getting my coilovers put on, it was crooked. i took it back to have them fix it and it was much better but just barely barely still off, not enough to bother me though. will fixing this need to have everything adjusted all over again or is it an easy fix or what.

http://www.diandata.com/temp/alignment.jpg

00black1.8t
04-30-2007, 08:08 AM
I have not read all the posts but you cant be lower then I am and you can still get the car in OEM spec where I am at. 24" all around. Sounds like you need a alignment bad. Mine did that until I did so. Its your toe out that is off. Make sure you get a before and after print.

00black1.8t
04-30-2007, 08:18 AM
fwiw, here's my printout. i'm on PSS9's with about 25" ground to fender in the front (not sure about the back) on 17" celebration RS4's or whatever.

i forget, but i think the guy mentioned something along the lines that my toe was almost 3/4" off before and now it's within 1/8" or something. either way, it was definately off before. now i'm just wondering if it was because the shop before set it up wrong or if maybe i hit one too many potholes... which doesn't really happen that often necessarily.

question: my steering wheel is slightly a few degrees to the right. it's enough to bug me going straight and seeing it in the lower field of my vision crooked. is that hard to adjust? when i left the shop after getting it aligned the first time getting my coilovers put on, it was crooked. i took it back to have them fix it and it was much better but just barely barely still off, not enough to bother me though. will fixing this need to have everything adjusted all over again or is it an easy fix or what.


The suspension guys should not have messed with those bolts but most likly its from pot holes or the wear over time loosening up. The steering wheel can be fixed with adjustment at the alignshop. They will do it for free if you complain that its off. It should be right. They are supposed to use a steering wheel holder to keep it straight when doing the alignment.

Daft
04-30-2007, 12:44 PM
They are supposed to use a steering wheel holder to keep it straight when doing the alignment.

That's exactly what I was going to say.

I'll bet that the steering shifted a tad during the toe setting and now it's off kilter.

Beemer832
05-05-2007, 01:57 PM
i finally got my alignment done. this shop told me they could not adjust the camber at all... i guess they are correct? front camber was -1.4 on the left, and -1.8 on the right, rear camber was fine, and front and rear toe were good to go. my tires were way off balance, the car feels 100% better now...

josh