Springs and alignment: is there a connection? - Chevy Impala SS Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-19-2004, 12:04 PM
SDMF
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Do coil springs have anything to do with alignment? Here's why I ask.....

When I first bought my wagon last September, one of the first things I did was put my Moog idler arm on and take it to Raffield Tire Master for an alignment. They did the alignment, and the car felt good, no pulling to either side at any speed.

Withing the last couple of months, I've felt the car pulling to the right. I just purchased new shocks, so I had Raffield install them, as well as perform an alignment again (they warantee the alignment for 1 year, so it was free). They installed the shocks with no problem, but said my alignment was fine. However, they also said my rear springs were worn at the mounts, and they wouldn't stay in the proper position. Therefore, it was likely the "loose" springs were pushing the car out of alignment.

Hmmmmmmmmmm.............

So, not knowing too much about springs at the time, I bought a used pair of 9C1 rear springs from another forum member, researched installation (thanks Booth9C1SS), and then installed them yesterday evening.

I discovered that there's not too much to this whole mounting-of-the-springs thing. As y'all probably know, and as I now know, they just compress inbetween the axle and the frame. There's two rubber boots (for lack of a better word) that hold each end of the spring into its mount.

I didn't see anything worn out or out of place. Everything looked good in there, and the stock wagon springs were actually in better shape (visibly) than the 9C1 springs I replaced them with.

So, was Raffield just being lazy and lying to me? Can springs really affect my alignment? All being said and done, the car is still pulling to the right. I'm not upset about putting springs on that I may not have needed, I had planned on going with 9C1 springs sometime in the future anyway.
So......
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-19-2004, 12:27 PM
booth9c1ss
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I still think if anything is bad in the rear end, it would be your control arms, probably the lower ones.
post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-19-2004, 12:38 PM
SDMF
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Quote:
Originally posted by booth9c1ss:
I still think if anything is bad in the rear end, it would be your control arms, probably the lower ones.
I inspected my LCAs while I was under the car. Not that I know what I'm looking for, but they looked & felt secure. There was no rust, no loose movement, or anything. But then again, I didn't know what to look for, either.
 
post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-19-2004, 12:57 PM
AutocroSSer
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Yes, springs very much can affect your alignment.

That said, it is far more likely to be caused by your FRONT springs being out of spec or bad.

Anytime you touch the front springs, you need to re-check your alignment.

I know the place said your alignment is "in spec", but what are the actual numbers? It is VERY possible (hell, trivial really) to have an "in spec" or "fine" alignment that will still wear tires funny and pull like no tomorrow.

The stock alignment specs are, shall we say, REALLY loose (allowing a near-incompetent tech to do an "alignment" that is "in spec", thus relieving GM or the tech of responsibility, while it still is nowhere close to being RIGHT!).
post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-19-2004, 01:09 PM
SDMF
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Quote:
Originally posted by AutocroSSer:


I know the place said your alignment is "in spec", but what are the actual numbers?
Let me go out to my car when I get a chance and get the alignment receipt. It has the numbers on it......
post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-19-2004, 01:17 PM
SDMF
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OK, here's the numbers....I think the first set is the initial measurement, and the second set is what they adjusted it to.

FRONT..............Left...............Right
Camber...............-0.2...............-0.8
Cross Camber...................0.6
Caster................3.2................3.6
Cross Caster..................-0.3
Toe..................-0.09..............-0.18
Total Toe.....................-0.27
Set Back.......................0.19


FRONT................Left.............Right
Camber.................0.1..............0.1
Cross Camber..................-0.0
Caster.................3.6..............4.1
Cross Caster..................-0.5
Toe....................0.04.............0.07
Total Toe......................0.10
Set Back.......................0.08
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