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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A year ago i had the Hotchkis lowering kit, along w/ springs, & sway bars installed locally at FLP and i didnt notice any major pulling issues but still brought the car in for the alignment. The 1st shop was not able to get the caster in the OEM range for some stupid reason. Seems like everyone likes to remind you the car is lowered duh!

Anyways, im going through tires every 8k miles now balding the inner tires and this has happened only once and cant again. I also noticed the steering binds and locks if making fast sharp turns which is very dangerous. This guy tells me at the stealer the car is "lowered" causing the idler arm to kink or something along them lines so once again it seems to be all related to this lowering kit.

I shouldnt be having this problem on a 1inch drop in the front i know this, I need to find a shop that can/will fix this once and for all. My concern is could there be something stopping the shops from getting this done right the 1st time or am i just getting played? I mean the tires are bald now so theres obviously a huge problem and the steering it binding up. Im hoping this is all related one way or another and once i find a GOOD shop it will all be resolved.

Please reassure me fellas.... I know the car wasnt in any major accidents or anything to cause this much of a headach! Anyone know a good shop in the Chicago SW-BURB area? I cant deal w/ BS anymore, and i wont keep a car that goes through tires like this. This lowering kit has made my life hell the last couple days and the sad thing is i cant imagine the car without it. Im not going back stock

Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Greetings Jim -

I feel your pain. I have the same story here. I had a fresh alignment done when I put new tires on 4-5 years ago. Everything was great and I had even tire wear. Two years ago I put in the Hotchkis front springs and did not have it aligned. My tires were thin anyway so I decided to wait till the next pair to have an alignment done. In one Summer (5K miles) the inside edge of the front tires were beginning to shred. AND I had experienced the 'steering lock' you mentioned once or twice in parking lots when cranking the wheel. (O.k., So I know I should have had it aligned when I did the drop springs.)

So last summer I took it into a (fast lube) place to get it aligned, they put it on the machine and said it would basically take them too much work to align. So they refused to do it. So I took it to the mechanic I use for my 'heavy lifting' who I, somewhat, trust and he spent 5-6 hours to get it right (so he says).

I drove it all last summer with no appreciable increase in inner tire shredding and no 'steering lock' so I'm hoping he in fact got it right. But I was busy building a house and driving my truck mostly so I won't really know until I get new tires on it this winter and drive it hard for a full summer.

I would say hang in there. But don't expect a Sears $69 alignment will 'fix' your issues. Someone in your area should chime in with a respected place to get it done.

Discussion Starter · #3 ·
If your control arms or the link on the upper arms are bent from being worn out you may need to get offset links. I have these on my car from when I installed some arms prepared by Bill Harper. They may just be way out of wack and the guy was not patient with them. They need to do alot of adjusting to get them right if you radically change the suspension like that.

Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Well whatever it is it cant be more in the long run then spending it on tires every so often. Im not glad to hear someone else been through this crap but its good to hear its just a matter of finding someone who isnt a lazy prick.

also when i said caster im pretty sure i ment chamber... i had a chamber problem.. in anycase it produced some nasty tire wear. I was really suprised when my brand new tires were balding... and now the steering issue being related after finding out it wasnt the steering pump it another reason to get it fixed already.

Im considering a complete MOG setup but i dont want to spend all this money for more stuff that doesnt really help. I have no problems with the way the car handles/steers when its not binding or wearing out tires...

Thanks again for the replys i already had a couple suggestions to bring the car locally on another board and im going to consider them all

Good luck Derik and i hope your issue is also resolved once and for all

Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I've hear it could be something to that degree which sounds like a lot of money. Im hoping to god its a matter of putting time in and getting it done. The 1st place i brought it to though for some reason couldnt using the OE specs. I pray the next place doesnt have the same problem and i find myself replacing parts with money i dont have...

How much can this really set me back i keep asking myself
and its always something new i got a few hundred in part suggestions and im sure a few hundred in labor for the alignment itself..

Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thailman's Aligment. 847-272-1810. If anyone can do it, he can. If there is something that had to be changed with the angles, he will tell you if it can be done. Give a call and ask for Tod, he's a great guy

Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hotchkis Spring Set,
Is about to be installed in my 94; I have the control arms off & GW Del-Alum bushings, just waiting for the control arm powdercoating to be finished. Also have a pair of GM offset upper control arm shafts and GW tie rod adjusters and color coded the original shim set.


1) Bill Harper's Upgraded Control Arm Set is a hell of good deal & cheap too, its the way to go if you do this work.

2) [IMHO] Don't replace all the bushings just for a set of lowering springs; if they are tight leave em; on a low miles car [>100k] maybe the ball joints, tie rods, idler arm...

3) Hopefully you have a good relationship with a local GM dealer. Find one that has an outstanding alignment bay and bring them your car for a [free]inspection & work estimate. Discuss your concerns with both the alignment technician & service manager before the work is scheduled; "Get it in Writing".

a) Recommend you remove the mud flaps on both fender wells before going to the dealer and show the alignment technician and service manager that the flaps are removed; it will make him more willing to wrench around on those upper shaft nuts.

b) To remove the mud flaps & save for re-use, remove the front wheels & clip off the plastic stubs inside the wheel well [tire side]. The plastic clips can then be pushed through & the mud flap removed & saved for re-use. Any auto parts store has the plastic clips.

4) Avoid the performance alignment specs; per 95Wagon ask for stock specs or this: "Minimal negative camber, lots of caster, and a smidge of positive toe will be just fine. No negative toe in for for better turn in."

IC it like this, the alignment tech will have to wrench a few times on the upper control arm bolts until the shims are right and wrench on the tie rod adjusters; this takes time & a willingness not to be a lazy azz. It is real work!
Be prepared for this much work to take time [at least 1/4 to 1/2 a day & maybe the whole damn day]? Pay the price but get it done right...

When they do the [Free] inspection ask them what other preparations you can do to help them besides having removed the fender mud flaps & installed the offset control arm shafts and Wrenchable tie rod adjusters...

GOOD LUCK & Happy Holidays

P.S. Remove the lower ball joint from the steering knuckle and not the two lower control arm bushing bolts to remove the front springs. Remove the ball joint nut cotter pin & loosen the nut; then, just smack the steering arm on the knuckle to break the ball joint by using a 2 1/2~3 lb hammer then finish removing the ball joint nut after your floor jack is under the arm & lower away. Use the pair of long bolt type spring compressors for installing the new springs BUT use only one compressor bolt. That way the spring is bent over like a letter "C" which helps greatly for reinstallation. This is more work because the tie rod & sway bar bolt must be removed too but it is better than fighting & cussing...

GOOD LUCK & Happy Holidays

Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Anyways, im going through tires every 8k miles now balding the inner tires and this has happened only once and cant again
try a camber kit.

If you lived in so cal i could tell you a really good alignment place that is inexpensive. but since you don't we won't go there...
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