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Old 09-12-2018, 12:12 PM   #1
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Alignment

How often should you do the 4 wheel alignment? My indie did one today on my 04 Boxster and said if you autocross it should be done yearly. $260 bucks for a one hour job. I was getting a lot of wear on my front RE-11ís on the outside of the tire. Thoughts?
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Old 09-12-2018, 12:36 PM   #2
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you can buy the tools to do camber and toe for under $260 and do it yourself if mechanically inclined?
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Old 09-12-2018, 01:27 PM   #3
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For most of us, the professional alignment will be much more accurate. And, it takes an hour, as opposed to several hours if you try doing it yourself.

When I raced a Spec Miata, I painstakingly found as level a spot as possible in my garage, but still had to use floor tiles to shim the wheels where everything was truly level. Then I used my string alignment jigs and camber gauges and went to work. Eventually, I got good enough at it where it would only take me about 2 to 3 hours to do an alignment, but by that time, I'd probably spent around 10 to 15 hours getting good at it.
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Old 09-12-2018, 01:59 PM   #4
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Yearly for a car that goes to the race track sounds reasonable. If you go off course into the weeds/gravel or hit something, then it might be time to have it re-checked.

Heavy wear on the outside 1/3 of the tire might also mean that you need more negative camber to keep the tire flat when the shocks compress in turns. The tradeoff is that with more negative camber the inside 1/3 of the tire will wear faster on the street.
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Old 09-12-2018, 03:12 PM   #5
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I usually get mine done after tire changes
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Old 09-12-2018, 05:47 PM   #6
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I recently changed my suspension out and had an alignment done at our local independent. When I walked in they immediately showed me their brand new Hunter alignment system. I understood their excitement once they went to work. This thing has the ability to blow up the angles as they are being set that the degree of accuracy is astonishing. Setup time is so quick they actually lowered their alignment cost by $50.00. Very impressive machine.
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Old 09-12-2018, 06:26 PM   #7
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Which indie is that? I'm on the central coast as well.
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Old 09-12-2018, 06:54 PM   #8
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Which indie is that? I'm on the central coast as well.
SGS. Highly recommend their alignment. They will ask you how, where and what you drive and tailor the alignment to your preference.
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Old 09-12-2018, 09:43 PM   #9
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I have too much wear on the inside rear tires, and it is not even on both sides....driver is much worse. I have new rear tires on the way and new rear control arms to install.....then a 4 wheel alignment
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Old 09-13-2018, 06:01 AM   #10
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Jamesp did a DIY alignment and documented much of it in this thread: DIY Alignment
I picked up a kit for toe rather than building from parts. Simple and effective: "Longacre LON52-79501 Toe-In Plate"
That and a good digital inclinometer (mounted for camber) can get you pretty far if you are 'mechanically inclined and detail oriented'.

https://www.pelicanparts.com/techarticles/home_toe_in/home_toe_in.htm

***My local tire and alignment shop said that Porsches were too complicated and they wouldn't even attempt it. Being told that, I wouldn't want them to try on ANY of my cars***
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Last edited by 78F350; 09-13-2018 at 06:03 AM.
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Old 09-13-2018, 06:59 AM   #11
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caster is not adjustable on these cars, so it's just camber and toe. front camber adjustment is the three bolts at the strut top, at the rear it's an eccentric bolt on the lower control arm. toe is just turnbuckles on the toe control arms.

fyi, pulling strut top in = pushing lower control arm out = more negative camber = better for turning.

not a lot of camber adjustment on the front, so just slam the tops in as far as they will go; if lucky you will get -1.5; outside of spec but better performing and not noticeable on the street (will help with the tire wear you are experiencing). a camber gauge ($100 on ebay) will let you check and, if so inclined, set the two sides equal to each other. changing camber will affect toe, so a $100 set of toe plates off ebay will let you adjust to your liking (factory toe recommendations are good until you are well down the slippery slope of suspension mods).

at the rear, folks like to run camber about .5 less than the front, so if you are getting -1.5 at the front, try to get -1 at the back. again, camber change affects toe, so you will have to reset your toe once you mess with camber.

don't worry to much about uneven surface, as with a digital camber gauge you can zero the gauge to the floor surface. regardless, the stresses of autocross, potholes, etc., will cause drift in the alignment that outstrip any deviation in your work surface. what i have noticed, however, is that any change in camber requires that the car 're-settle', so roll it around, take it for a drive, etc.; professional alignment rigs are better for this. toe is more forgiving and a quicker adjustment, however insure that you do equal toe adjustments to each side (toe plates just measure overall toe, not toe on each side) otherwise your steering wheel will go off-centre.

Last edited by The Radium King; 09-13-2018 at 07:12 AM. Reason: clarity
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Old 09-13-2018, 07:43 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 78F350 View Post
***My local tire and alignment shop said that Porsches were too complicated and they wouldn't even attempt it. Being told that, I wouldn't want them to try on ANY of my cars***
My local Tire Kingdom says this which is aggravating because the Boxster is simple to align compared with something like a Miata, where the Camber and Caster settings affect each other and require fiddling...
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Old 09-13-2018, 08:15 AM   #13
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I just want to toss in here that what you guys are suggesting is just a very simplistic alignment addressing camber and toe only without addressing thrust angles, yaw and steering angles which are part of a true four wheel alignment . If only addressing camber and toe it is possible to have tire wear acceptable but not in line with the direction of travel of the car body which can introduce yaw where the car looks to be "crabbing" down the road. Not even mentioning steering and thrust angle changes due to acceleration and braking forces.

Last edited by 911monty; 09-13-2018 at 08:20 AM.
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Old 09-13-2018, 12:15 PM   #14
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Thanks to all for responding. I last had the 4 wheel alignment done two years ago (I think). I will consider it more frequently. My indie, who is an award winning gold level Porsche mechanic suggested to do it yearly if tracking, or auto crossing. Be well. If you are near the eye of the storm this weekend, be safe. Thanks. Mitch
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