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Advanced Suspension, Chassis, and Braking Talk about suspension geometry, advanced handling/chassis setup, custom brakes, etc. NOT your basic brake pads and "best drop" Information.

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Old 02-06-2010, 06:33 PM   #1
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Question Alignment experts...SAI and Included angle off...points to?

I recently made a thread regarding my ride height appearing odd. So I got an alignment just for kicks (and since I had replaced by rack boots a couple weeks ago & had knocked the alignment out a bit).

Results:
Click the image to open in full size.

Text-only version:
Front SAI: 10.6 deg L, 18.5 deg R (in-spec: 13.5 - 15)
Front toe: 0.9 deg L, 0.37 deg R (in-spec: 0.00 - 0.10)

Not surprised about toe but am about the SAI. I've done some research & pretty much all I read is that if your SAI is out, something's bent.

This page reports:
Quote:
SAI is a built-in nonadjustable angle and is used with camber and the included angle to diagnose bent spindles, struts and mislocated crossmembers.
As well as this page saying:
Quote:
if the SAI is different from side to side, it will cause a pull at very slow speeds. [...] The most likely cause for SAI being out is bent parts which must be replaced to correct the condition.
Is it a 100% chance that something's bent? Could it be possible that installing 16" wheels where stock was 17" could cause SAI to go out (even if the OD is the same)?

I have practically a new suspension in there...struts & mounts, fstb, control arms, swaybar end-links, steering rack & tie rods. Assuming all of those are [still] good, only other thing is the knuckle/wheel bearings, but I don't have any movement of the wheel at 12 & 6 to make me believe those are bad.

Any ideas to explain my SAI/Included angle being out given the info above? Can someone decode those numbers & possibly explain what could be amiss?
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Old 02-09-2010, 05:43 PM   #2
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What's really strange is one SAI is low and the other is high. And by 8% which is huge. That's too much for just play in bolts or bj's or solved by this.MacPherson Strut Troubleshooting Chart

I'm no expert but wonder if the rack got shifted too far to the left.
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Old 02-10-2010, 10:41 AM   #3
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does the car pull though?
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Old 02-10-2010, 04:12 PM   #4
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Did you ever pull your steering wheel or steering rack off the car?

Crawl back under the car and measure/count the number of threads showing on each outer tie rod end. You might have a whole bunch of thread on one and not much on the other. That would basically be where Bejay is going with his train of thought.

You might have to turn the whole thing a bit to center the tie rods up and see if that changes things. If that gets SAI back into spec, then remove the steering wheel and replace it pointing straight up.
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Old 02-12-2010, 05:59 AM   #5
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Yes, the car does pull (mainly to the left).

Also, the steering rack was just replaced (Christmas weekend, 2009), though I don't think they removed the steering wheel (went to a shop).

Thing is, after the new rack was put in & I got an alignment, I don't remember seeing red for SAI/Included-Angle; I just remember the toe was out by about a full degree on both sides.

It wasn't until after I replaced my steering rack boots (couple weeks ago) & got another alignment that you see the numbers in my first post. And the reason I had to replace the boots so soon after getting the rack installed was because I guess the shop who put the new rack in didn't grease the tie rod/boot connection & so when I got the alignment and they had to twist the inner tie rod so much, left my driver side boot like this:
Click the image to open in full size.
...and my passenger side boot completely torn:
Click the image to open in full size.
...which looks like a rotational tear.

So basically you guys are saying if the rack housing hasn't physically shifted, centering the rods a bit & realigning the steering wheel might resolve this? I'll give it a try. I have Lifetime Alignments - they just hate seeing me so much.

PS: New stuff put on this car (starting 2009) [I did everything except the rack]:
- Tires (Kumho Ecsta ASX)
- Swaybar end-links (Moog)
- Swaybar bushings (Moog)
- PS fluid drain/fill (Mobil-1 Synth ATF)
- Inner & outer tie rods (Moog)
- Struts/Shocks & all mounts/bearings (KYB GR2, Monroe mounts)
- Both control arms
- Rack & pinion
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Last edited by ridinwitha35; 02-12-2010 at 06:03 AM..
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Old 02-12-2010, 10:12 AM   #6
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why did they replace the rack, but not the boots?? that makes absolutely no sense.
I got a reman rack from AutoZone, came with boots, inner tie rod, etc. all I had to do was purchase outer tie rod ends, and swap the jam nuts (forgot to take them off the old one so I had to buy new ones ).
I say that because most shops get their stuff from AZ, napa, etc...
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Old 02-12-2010, 08:00 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BenStoked View Post
why did they replace the rack, but not the boots?? that makes absolutely no sense.
I got a reman rack from AutoZone, came with boots, inner tie rod, etc. all I had to do was purchase outer tie rod ends, and swap the jam nuts (forgot to take them off the old one so I had to buy new ones ).
I say that because most shops get their stuff from AZ, napa, etc...
The rack was a loaded (re-manufactured) rack - inner & outer tie rods and boots were included. So new boots were on the rack at the time of install. At the time of alignment is when the boots were destroyed (alignment was so far out that it required a lot of twisting of the inner tie rods - and due to the boot not being greased on the inner tie rod, this caused the boot to seize and twist with the tie rod).

I purchased the rack myself off eBay & had it installed at a shop.
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Old 02-15-2010, 08:40 PM   #8
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I adjusted the tie rods - as mentioned, the driver's side had noticeably less thread than the passenger side:

Driver:
Click the image to open in full size.

Passenger:
Click the image to open in full size.

So I adjusted by 4 equal turns (driver's side unscrewed 4, passenger side screwed-in 4). So now my steering wheel is off center, as Matt said it would be.
Click the image to open in full size.

Tried to take the wheel off but it looks like I need a steering wheel puller.
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Old 02-16-2010, 05:17 AM   #9
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Quote:
Tried to take the wheel off but it looks like I need a steering wheel puller.
I think there's a pin you remove from under the dash, recenter, and reconnect.
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Old 02-16-2010, 08:52 PM   #10
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Looking at your print out yes your SAI is out its possible your lower control arm is bent or your bushing on the control arm are worn, but is no big deal. Unless your camber was out then U would be concern. The print out does look fine, it really up to you if you want to spend the cash over nothing really, and yes I do alignments everyday trust me nothing to be worried about..
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Old 02-20-2010, 07:57 AM   #11
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You'll have to pull the wheel to get it lined back up. or you can get under the car and disconnect the rack while the wheels are centered, then center the steering wheel and reconnect the linkage. it'll be easier to pull the steering wheel and recenter there though.

Sounds to me like you need to go to a different shop if they can't even align the car without tearing the steering rack boots. that's a pretty effin simple thing to do, and they were just too damn careless about their work. Lifetime alignment or not, I'd find a different shop if those guys don't pay for the parts to replace the boots and whatnot. that's just **** poor work, IMO.
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Old 02-21-2010, 05:30 PM   #12
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agreed, I do many alignments and thats just so fcukin lazy right there...smh.
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Old 02-22-2010, 06:12 PM   #13
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Yeah, see I thought about that too, going back & complaining. But sometimes you just gotta do things yourself to get it done to your satisfaction.

But, in other news, I sold the car, so no longer chasing this issue. I apologize to any future readers who were looking to see if adjusting the tie rods really fixed the SAI.
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Old 02-22-2010, 09:03 PM   #14
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LOL! Now that's a way to fix the problem. just sell the SOB!
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Old 02-23-2010, 05:05 AM   #15
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So if you just don't like the Maxima steering/suspension, just change cars...
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Old 02-23-2010, 05:05 AM
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