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Alignment and steering wheel

Discussion in '3rd Gen. Tacomas (2016+)' started by ejewels, May 21, 2020.

  1. May 22, 2020 at 10:44 AM
    #41
    3JOH22A

    3JOH22A Large Member

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    If it drives fine, leave it alone.
     
  2. May 22, 2020 at 11:42 AM
    #42
    Winch

    Winch Well-Known Member

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    Last alignment I had, I specifically asked the tech to ensure that my steering wheel was straight and he took extra care, which I appreciated.
     
    ejewels [OP] likes this.
  3. May 22, 2020 at 12:18 PM
    #43
    krootz

    krootz Well-Known Member

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    I got tired of paying $100 for an alignment and then having to go back after realizing something was off. Happened every damn time on my 4Runner and Tacoma. Now I do it myself and get it slightly toe in (1/16 inch) and camber almost straight up slightly favoring negative with max caster. Drives like a go cart with the steering wheel straight enough to put a level on.

    I use the “string method” using jack stands. I wrap the steering wheel with the seat belt once it’s dead nuts straight before stringing.

    Also, alignment techs are notorious for bending the alignment tabs in order to get it “into spec” with lifted tacos. Happened to my brother in-law and wreaked havoc on his setup with SCS wheels and BFGs.

    DM me for more info if you wanna DIY next time

    AFF4848F-72EB-40C4-B96A-4E44105957A2.jpg
    30A0F27F-0F39-4C4A-A9AF-601EB4837452.jpg
    829A417D-CBBE-4AB9-9FE8-480D7FA029C9.jpg
     
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  4. May 22, 2020 at 2:46 PM
    #44
    ejewels

    ejewels [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Thanks. I went back and they straightened it out. If they bend them, why does it “wreak havoc?” What’s the fix if they do that and how do you know if they fkd it up?
     
  5. May 22, 2020 at 3:03 PM
    #45
    krootz

    krootz Well-Known Member

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    check post #43 3rd picture

    So if they bend the tab(s) they can move the bolts that aligns the LCA over farther and get the number they’re chasing on the alignment machine. Normally this is on lifted Tacoma’s (like mine) without aftermarket UCAs (like mine). If they tighten the bolts really well, even with the bent tabs it’ll stay in alignment, but only until something jars it loose. Since the tabs aren’t there to keep the alignment bolt located, the alignment runs out like crazy and will destroy your tires if you don’t catch it within a few hundred miles.

    Like I said, this happened to my wife’s brother and he had to order new (expensive) alignment tabs and weld all 4 of them on the LCAs to keeps everything in check. PITA
     
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  6. May 22, 2020 at 3:13 PM
    #46
    ejewels

    ejewels [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Oh ok. I have JBA UCAs and I don’t know how hard they had to work to get it all aligned. Now you got me paranoid as I don’t have a lot of faith in these guys. Easy way to see if mine are ok? Also other than feeling wobbles and bad tire wear would you know if you bent them the next time you tried to get an alignment?
     
  7. May 22, 2020 at 3:33 PM
    #47
    krootz

    krootz Well-Known Member

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    Yeah just check the metal tab against the bolt in post 43 3rd pic. You’ll know if it’s been bent over and flattened
     
  8. May 22, 2020 at 3:42 PM
    #48
    ejewels

    ejewels [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Any pics of what it’s supposed to look like? And how did your brother in law find out? Was it obviously out of alignment within those few hundred miles?
     
  9. May 22, 2020 at 4:04 PM
    #49
    krootz

    krootz Well-Known Member

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    Here ya go, found the original post from him a while back. @webdr posted this pic from his LCA bolt tabs after diagnosing alignment problems after taking it in to be re-aligned over and over.

    Might be hard to tell, but the tab on the right is flattened out. Left is good. Notice the bolt head isn’t touching the left tab (dead give-away) and the bolt is favoring the right side. The tabs are supposed to sandwich the bolt head so it can’t move.

    B40A9268-EE8D-47EE-B196-490902122C98.jpg
     
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  10. May 22, 2020 at 4:14 PM
    #50
    ejewels

    ejewels [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Thanks man. I’m wondering if I’m falling victim of TW paranoia, lol. But good to learn stuff.

    it had been a year since my last alignment and one thing the guy today said was my toe was out pretty good on one side when I came in. Other than the steering wheel thing and going back for them to fix, the numbers looked good.

    Edit. Read a few threads on this so I think I understand now. On one thread, someone said:
    “The tabs have nothing to do with holding alignment, torquing the bolts to proper spec does. The tabs just give the cam something to push against to move the bolt in and out.”

    still interested in hearing what the issues your bro in law was having out of curiosity where he even knew something was wrong? I just want to know what to look out for in case it happens to me
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2020
  11. May 22, 2020 at 6:19 PM
    #51
    krootz

    krootz Well-Known Member

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    Well, not to sling mud at anybody, but if tabs didn’t need to be there...they wouldn’t. It’s an “eccentric” bolt meaning it’s designed to push or pull the LCA into speck with small adjustments by turning the bolt. The tabs center the bolt head and allow the offset rod to move the joint. Listen, I get the idea about torquing the bolt enough and all that but one good pothole and it’ll move guaranteed. With the tabs in good shape the torque guarantees the bolt won’t have any lateral movement.

    Point is, yes you need them. Something to keep an eye on after any alignment work you paid for.
     
  12. May 22, 2020 at 6:25 PM
    #52
    Zersko

    Zersko Well-Known Member

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    Can we start a crooked steering wheel club?
     
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  13. May 22, 2020 at 6:30 PM
    #53
    krootz

    krootz Well-Known Member

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    Here’s his post:
    https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/whiteline-bushings-tc-alignment-tabs-spc-ucas-and-home-alignment.577386/#post-19154677

    He ended up doing a lot more than just burning in new tabs for alignment, truth be told he’s not one to half-ass anything. If you read through the post you’ll see he blames the bent tabs on wheeling but I suspect different knowing the whole story. Good post if you have an itch to beef up your 2nd gen front end. He’s the one who taught me how to do my own alignment.
     
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  14. May 22, 2020 at 6:32 PM
    #54
    krootz

    krootz Well-Known Member

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    Im wondering how crooked it needs to be to join your club o_O
     
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  15. May 22, 2020 at 6:50 PM
    #55
    Zersko

    Zersko Well-Known Member

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    More than a lil to the right
     
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  16. May 22, 2020 at 6:50 PM
    #56
    krootz

    krootz Well-Known Member

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    That’s what she said
     
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  17. May 22, 2020 at 6:50 PM
    #57
    ejewels

    ejewels [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Thanks guys. I’ll take a look tomorrow and hope for the best. I’m assuming things are fine but if I see bent tabs I’m going ape s$@t on these people. They are the type to say “it wasn’t us” too.
     
  18. May 22, 2020 at 6:57 PM
    #58
    ejewels

    ejewels [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Also, I’d imagine if the alignment kept going out you’d see quick tire wear and it wouldn’t track straight?
     
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  19. May 23, 2020 at 5:16 AM
    #59
    TacoSupremo19

    TacoSupremo19 Well-Known Member

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    I will respectfully disagree. The tabs are there for the round portions on the 2 ends of the cams to push against (and move the LCA forward and backward in a slot on the frame) when making adjustments. The bolts are offset in these circular pieces and when you turn them it changes caster and camber, which also changes toe. Once you lock down the the bolts (which are the "offset rods" in a sleeve between the two circular end pieces with the graduation marks) from the proper side (the head side NOT the threaded side) everything stays in place. If those bolts were not locked down properly, even with the tabs in position, your cams would most definitely move.


    My personal experience (on my 4Runner) with the flattened tabs came from a tech who didn't loosen up the cam bolt and tried to make an adjustment. I watched him do it. He had a big ass breaker bar and was turning from the threaded side which is what your supposed to do BUT WITH THE CAM BOLT LOOSE. The creaking noise from him wrenching on it is what caught my attention. With it still tight, he basically rotated the bolt/cam and LCA in same position and turned it against the tabs. If the bolt were loose, it would push against the tabs and move the LCA in the opposing direction but with it tight, it just flattened out the tabs when the offset portion of the circular piece came around. Also, since my LCAs were locked in a close to center position, as he went round and round with his breaker bar, creaking all the way, he flattened both tabs. I was freakin pissed. I alerted the manager who then went to the tech and we all had a "discussion". I asked a few questions about alignments I already knew the answers to and they were both wrong and I then knew I was dealing with amateurs. I told them I was going to let their Hunter rep know they had some training issues and I just asked for my keys and left. What a treacherous ride home and what a complete PITA it was to bend up those tabs back into position.

    TBH, I never thought about purposely flattening the tabs to allow further movement. The slots in the frame where the LCAs attach and the cams go through are only so wide. Now I am very curious about how much space is left in the slot when the cams are adjusted to their stock max range. Would have to remove the LCA and put the cam assembly in by themselves and put at the -10 and +10 positions and look from the inside (where the LCA bushing would be) to see how much of the slot end is left. Anybody?

    EDIT: I read some of these issues with the tabs and people putting on the heavier duty TC gussets on. I never saw these over on T4R. I guess if you have much larger tires, rims, extended travel suspension etc, and your wheeling hard and the bolts DO move you might need those heavier duty tabs, which will act like a backup, but those tabs primary function is NOT to hold the LCA in place. Proper torque (and you may need a lot more torque with the added weight and hard wheeling) on the bolts is what is holding the LCAs in place on the frame.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2020
  20. May 23, 2020 at 5:53 AM
    #60
    ejewels

    ejewels [OP] Well-Known Member

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    So if they do bend them, it’s not the end of the world? I’m gonna check later on but hoping they are ok.
     

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