Getting Alignment Checked - Pontiac GTO Forum
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-28-2006, 10:05 AM Thread Starter
 
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Getting Alignment Checked

I've got my Goat at the dealer today for a number of little things, but I'm asking them to do an alignment check while the car's there. All this talk of strut rub and tire wear has me nervous.

When I last had my oil changed, I also had the tires rotated. I mentioned in another thread that the tire that's now on the right rear (formerly on the right front) shows some wear on the inner rib. It may be nothing more than what you'd expect from an independent suspension, but it's the only tire of the four that looks that way.

My service writer and I have a decent working relationship, so I've e-mailed him links to GTO Forum discussions about strut rub and alignment issues people have had. He forwarded them on to the service manager.

One thing bugged me: He told me that having a tech render an opinion is free, but an actual alignment ($99) is only free up to 7,500 miles. I'm just over 10,000. Naturally, I argued that the wear on my tire didn't occur only over the last 3,000 miles--it's a condition that likely came with the car. So we'll see how that goes.

Anyhow, I'll post later when I hear how things are going at the dealer.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-28-2006, 11:00 AM
 
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Yeah I got a little freaked myself about this strut rub on our cars. I checked both my fronts last night and so far I am good. Granted I only have 870 miles on my car.

Does anyone know if this can be corrected or prevented... Or is it something I should just periodically check at every oil change?

Justin
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-28-2006, 12:13 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Kilboy
Yeah I got a little freaked myself about this strut rub on our cars. I checked both my fronts last night and so far I am good. Granted I only have 870 miles on my car.

Does anyone know if this can be corrected or prevented... Or is it something I should just periodically check at every oil change?
Justin
If you have 17" wheels I would keep checking it. This is not a problem with the 18" wheels.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-28-2006, 05:31 PM Thread Starter
 
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Well, looks like it'll be tomorrow at the soonest before I learn anything. In a twist of irony, the dealer happens to be getting a new alignment rack today and it's not installed yet! They got some of the piddly things done that I'd asked about, but no news on the alignment.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-28-2006, 05:42 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kilboy
Yeah I got a little freaked myself about this strut rub on our cars. I checked both my fronts last night and so far I am good. Granted I only have 870 miles on my car.

Does anyone know if this can be corrected or prevented... Or is it something I should just periodically check at every oil change?

Justin

shoulda got the 18s beeyatch...or you shoulda bought a neon
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-28-2006, 06:31 PM Thread Starter
 
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I've had a subsequent call from my service writer. Evidently they put my car on a lift, removed the right front wheel and confirmed that I do, indeed, have a little bit of strut rub going on. My guy says there's a TSB (I asked him to get me the number) on this issue. The recommended fix is to "change the camber from a negative five or six to negative one," which ought to take the top of the tire away from the strut. There's no recommended change in toe-in, so that won't change. I asked if the strut was significantly damaged, but it wasn't.

More later.

Last edited by GM Kid; 03-29-2006 at 09:07 AM.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-28-2006, 08:24 PM
 
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My goat has the 17" wheels with 11,000+ miles, no sign of strut rub and tire wear front and rear is normal all across the tread width.

Got a friend in a neighboring town with an '04 and he had all four tires blow out (yes front and REAR he said- personally I have not seen his goat) over a two week period from uneven tire wear. He has 15,000 miles on his goat and it is driven mostly by his wife. My friend also said that the tread on both front tires were worn to the cord on the inside and the outside tread edge was fine. No specific info on how the wear was on the back tires. Wonder why the back tires wore unevenly like the front tires? That doesn't make sense to me.

I am suspecting these cars are easily knocked out of alignment from potholes, curbs, etc. and that a religous check on unusual tire wear needs to be made at regular intervals.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-29-2006, 09:30 AM Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Cottonfarmer
Wonder why the back tires wore unevenly like the front tires? That doesn't make sense to me. I am suspecting these cars are easily knocked out of alignment from potholes, curbs, etc. and that a religous check on unusual tire wear needs to be made at regular intervals.
I'm throwing a few things into the blender in figuring out what's going on. First, the Monaro was never meant to have this much tire. If I remember right, they were originally designed to have 215s. The 17-inch rims are shod with 245s, which pretty much max out the wheel wells. Up front, that fat tire--even when aligned properly--is darned close to the strut, even when the car's sitting still. No telling what happens under compression or in cornering.

Second, these cars are heavy. 3,700 pounds will do a nice job of compressing an independent suspension. If you look down the side of your GTO, you'll see noticeable negative camber (tip-in at the top) on both front and back wheels. Negative camber equals more wear on the inner tread rib. That could be why your friend's rear tires also exhibited such wear, but assuming he's had his tires rotated at least once, I'd bet that a good portion of that wear came when the rear tires were up front.

Third, hard acceleration and cornering (which of course we never do in our GTOs) take their toll.

As for the alignment being easily knocked out of whack, I don't know. That certainly could be part of it.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-29-2006, 08:02 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Cottonfarmer
...
I am suspecting these cars are easily knocked out of alignment from potholes, curbs, etc. and that a religous check on unusual tire wear needs to be made at regular intervals.
I would have to emphatically agree. Each time I drive from Miami to Tampa and back I have to go in for an alignment. Not from hitting potholes or anything, just from the rain slope on the interstate and the wheel being held left to compensate too long. Mentioned it numerous times, I know.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-30-2006, 09:34 AM Thread Starter
 
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I picked up my car last night. Walking around it in the dealer's driveway, I noticed right away that the front wheels were more upright--nearly straight up-and-down now. If my eyes don't deceive me, the tops of the wheels may tip in just a bit, but not much. It's obvious that the front wheels now have less negative camber than the rears. Before, the fronts and rears sat nearly the same; now, they're no longer parallel.

On my 18-mile drive to work today, I tried to determine if the change made any difference in handling. Seemed to me that turn-in was a bit less eager, but it wasn't a problem. The car certainly tracked straighter than before.

My service writer told me that my strut rub was very minor--probably intermittent. The part of the strut the tire was contacting was the flange up top--not the tube of the strut itself. That's why my tire wear was on the face of the tread, not the sidewall. Turns out the tires themselves (the one riding up front now and the one in back that used to be up front before a recent rotation) are fine to keep driving on.

My guy also told me that they'd made the same camber adjustment on several other GTOs, some of which had problems worse than mine. Bottom line, anybody with 17-inch rims should have this checked out ASAP. It's an easy enough fix for the dealer to make, seeing as how Pontiac's TSB tells them exactly what to do.
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