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Alignment Advice

Discussion in '2nd Gen. Tacomas (2005-2015)' started by sbeau1960, Apr 5, 2009.

  1. Apr 5, 2009 at 8:02 PM
    #1
    sbeau1960

    sbeau1960 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Just returned from a 400 mile drive today, mostly 65-70mph interstate. Had a 10-20mph crosswind to deal with and my truck was a handful. Extremely twitchy, all over the lane, needed both hands to keep it pointed straight. It also follows irregular road surfaces and will try to change direction over bumps. Seems to track straight on perfectly smooth blacktop.

    Here's the setup...

    Bought it with 10k miles a few weeks ago. Hated the soft suspension and wanted bigger tires. Installed 265/75R16C Bridgestone Dueler A/T Revos on the stock rims. Stiff tires and soft suspension sucked so I then installed Bilstein 5100's all the way around with the fronts set at .85". Truck had directional issues on the highway after the new tires and shocks, was wandering badly. Had the rear spring TSB done and dealership alignment. Requested they set the alignment specs at Caster 2.4* , Camber 0*, Toe 0* , as I had read in a couple of the alignment threads here. Alignment definitely helped the wandering, it drove fine on city freeways.

    Didn't drive fine on less than perfect roads or with the slightest wind though, tiring to battle over a long distance.

    So, any suggestions? Anyone else have this trouble with my setup? I thought by not raising the front too much I wouldn't be messing up the suspension geometry and alignment specs. I guess it could be related to the tires as well, although I have the same C-rated Revos on my '94 4x4 and it tracks straight and true with 120k more miles. I realize the wind was an issue, but I still feel it should not have been wandering so badly.

    I've read others complaints about loose steering and front end wandering problems, is there a better alignment set up than what I used? Any other suggestions to make it more stable and track better? I'm wondering about dialing in some toe-in to make it more directionally stable.
     
  2. Apr 5, 2009 at 8:52 PM
    #2
    jrotts

    jrotts Member

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    I just posted the same question before I read your thread. I have exactly the same complaint and if I don't find a solution I will trade my truck off for something else. I was driving a 98 dodge ram sport 4X4 with buckshots and I never had the problem. I will be curious how people respond to us.
     
  3. Apr 5, 2009 at 9:01 PM
    #3
    sbeau1960

    sbeau1960 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Wandering seems to be a commonly discussed issue on all the Toyota forums, just haven't seen the definitive answer since there are many variables. I barely drove the truck before I replaced the tires, wish now I had a better baseline of how it felt with stock tires and suspension.

    I know that the wider the tire, the more it will follow grooves and road irregularities, have also experienced it on sports cars. I also don't think my slight lift and firmer shocks are the culprits, it handles 100% better than it did stock and it sounds like you're running a stock suspension and have the same problem.

    I'm still thinking that it can be dialed out with the right alignment settings, just a matter of figuring out what those should be and finding an alignment tech that will take the time to get it right.
     
  4. Apr 5, 2009 at 9:29 PM
    #4
    bajamoon

    bajamoon Well-Known Member

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    take it to a offroad shop that does installs and have them do the alignment, or go to a wheel shop or suspension shop, had to do mine twice.
     
  5. Apr 5, 2009 at 11:12 PM
    #5
    toku58

    toku58 Well-Known Member

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    Are you sure the alignment shop set it to your requested specs???

    Do you have documentation?

    They may have just brushed off your request and set the truck within factory specs.

    If they set it to those numbers?? Then your truck should drive good!
     
  6. Apr 6, 2009 at 2:13 AM
    #6
    4x4x4trd

    4x4x4trd My other ride weighs 200 tons

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    Running your exact set-up except still running the stock BFG rugged trails. Bilstein's 5100's set at .85" in front and the TSB and 5100's in rear. Caster set at 1.3*, which is bottom of the specified range of 1.3 to 2.8, and don't have issues?? Been on a couple trips both light and loaded. Maybe slight tracking problems part of one trip loaded, but it was very windy and the front was pointed up to the point of "Houston, we have a problem". :rolleyes:

    I plan on going up one size to the 265/75/16 tires when the time comes so hope it's not, and don't see how it could be, tire size being the problem???
     
  7. Apr 6, 2009 at 4:36 AM
    #7
    chris4x4

    chris4x4 With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine. Moderator

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    The Dodge you had, had alot more Caster built into the suspension geometry. About 6*. The Tacomas have about 2.5* from the factory, and it gets less if lifting unless an aftermarket UCA that adds caster is installed.
     
  8. Apr 6, 2009 at 4:56 AM
    #8
    Joe B

    Joe B Well-Known Member

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    I'm not happy reading this because next Monday(if my supercharger problem is fixed by then)I'm supposed to have 5100s installed and set at .85 and also am going up one size tire to 265/70-17.:eek:
     
  9. Apr 6, 2009 at 4:57 AM
    #9
    jrotts

    jrotts Member

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    The dealer installed a Revtek lift/leveling kit on the truck before I bought it. Has this changed the geometry in such a way that I need to change something else on the front end?
     
  10. Apr 6, 2009 at 5:24 AM
    #10
    sbeau1960

    sbeau1960 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I had never been to that dealership and they were very helpful. Turned out I knew the service manager back from my days as an import service manager and he had no problem ordering the TSB and performing the alignment as requested. I have before and after specs printed out from the alignment rack, will scan and post them later today. They got the caster on one side to 2.5*, the other to 2.4*, camber and toe were within factory specs.

    Like I said, I thought it was ok after the alignment because it had been really bad before. It's not noticeable on the smooth city freeway that I back and forth to work everyday, didn't realize there was an issue until I got out on the open road on a variety of surfaces. Rain grooved concrete is really bad, made it squirrely as hell, and the slightest wind gust would send me across the lane. Also noticed that it will change lanes a bit too sharply, the smallest steering input will send it jumping sideways.

    I do have my tires pumped up to 40psi, experimented after I got my suspension and alignment done with pressures set at 32, 35, 38, and 40, thought it rode and handled the best at the higher pressure. The heavy c-rated Revos didn't feel right with the lower pressure, clunky over bumps if that makes any sense.

    Still thinking of adding a small amount of toe-in, that's the traditional method along with the caster of stabilizing a wandering front end and adding stability.
     
  11. Apr 6, 2009 at 5:27 AM
    #11
    sbeau1960

    sbeau1960 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    So do you think the 1" lift from the 5100's is the problem Chris? I didn't think that would be enough to make a difference, especially since it's a just spring preload. I've seen the modified control arms for trucks with 3" lifts and higher, is that something I need to consider with my setup?
     
  12. Apr 6, 2009 at 6:02 AM
    #12
    Joe B

    Joe B Well-Known Member

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    Odd .85 and 1/2" taller would be so troublesome but it seems to be.
     
  13. Apr 6, 2009 at 9:09 AM
    #13
    sbeau1960

    sbeau1960 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Ok, here are the before and after alignment specs from the dealer. They said they couldn't dial in any more caster because it was at the adjustment limits. I'm going to try another alignment place and have them see if they can dial in any more caster up to a max of 2.8*, also get the camber set perfectly to zero and see if they can set the toe to the maximum allowable toe-in spec of + .07*
     

    Attached Files:

  14. Apr 6, 2009 at 9:23 AM
    #14
    sbeau1960

    sbeau1960 [OP] Well-Known Member

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  15. Apr 6, 2009 at 4:53 PM
    #15
    chris4x4

    chris4x4 With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine. Moderator

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    Im sure your lift is the issue. With only about 2.5* Caster stock, any lift is gonna take from that. New UCA's that have extra caster built into them will help (My caster is 2.6* to 3* with 3" lift). Still, its a light truck with less Caster than the Dodge. In high winds, the truck will want to move on ya. Looking at your alignment specs, looks like they got it as close as they could. 2.1 and 2.5* isnt too bad. the 2.5* is in spec.
     
  16. Apr 6, 2009 at 5:00 PM
    #16
    Joe B

    Joe B Well-Known Member

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    Chris,so you're saying even a .85" lift causes alignment problems.
    What numbers should be in the alignment?
    How will the highway ride be on a windless day with .85 and 70 series 17" tire than a stock 65 series?
     
  17. Apr 6, 2009 at 5:03 PM
    #17
    tacoma08MZ

    tacoma08MZ Well-Known Member

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    mine does the same thing, if im on a road that drops off a bit to one side or is rutted, off camber or anything my truck will pull to that side. the guy who did my allignment after the lift warned me it would be way different from stock and wouldnt correct itself because my caster couldnt be set perfect cause i didnt have ucas.
     
  18. Apr 6, 2009 at 5:05 PM
    #18
    chris4x4

    chris4x4 With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine. Moderator

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    On our trucks, I have found that the best alignment numbers are:
    Caster 2.4* to 3.1*
    Camber 0*
    Toe 0*

    Highway ride should be fine with that tire/lift combo.
     
  19. Apr 6, 2009 at 5:09 PM
    #19
    Joe B

    Joe B Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Chris,now I think I'll go with the combo.I was thinking of just going with the tires.I just don't want another headache.:)
     
  20. Apr 6, 2009 at 5:10 PM
    #20
    Phantom_X-SP

    Phantom_X-SP Rude Boy |><|

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