Tech Tip: Check your 101/105/115 toe alignment - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-15-2019, 03:13 PM Thread Starter
But Mad North-Northwest
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Tech Tip: Check your 101/105/115 toe alignment

I was driving the Spider today and reflecting on how much better it handles since I fixed the front alignment issues, and I hypothesized that many of these cars are similarly messed up in the same way mine was. The issue is that most alignment shops these days don't know how to properly align a car with a steering box. Instead they align it just using the outside tie rods, and if you do that on an earlier Alfa you can have the right numbers with the wheels straight but really messed up alignment when you turn the wheel.

It's easy to check and you don't even need to jack up the car. Get a ruler and measure the center-to-center difference on the left and right steering tie rods. On a 750/101 car they should be equal length, on a 105/115 car the right side should be 5mm shorter than the left.

If they're significantly off, some alignment guy fubar'd your toe setup in the past and you probably want to get it fixed, as it makes a big difference.

This doesn't apply to the 116 cars or 164. Those have a rack and pinion and anyone can align them.
ghnl and 61SS like this.

Tom

1963 Giulia Spider (1750 engine)
1974 GTV
1991 Spider
Former: 1987 Milano Gold

Last edited by Gubi; 09-16-2019 at 11:22 PM. Reason: Typo
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-15-2019, 04:19 PM
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Print this out (from the Alfa Shop Manual) and insist the technician follow the procedure.
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- - Eric
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-16-2019, 02:42 AM
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Caveat for RHD cars...

RHD cars should have equal length steering rods “except 2 litre models with a white marked steering arm” where LHD rules apply.
(Source: Autobooks manual)

I Really don’t understand why....maybe it’s inner fender location differences?
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-16-2019, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by ghnl View Post
Print this out (from the Alfa Shop Manual) and insist the technician follow the procedure.
This is really good poop.. I salute you.. Now can you tell me what measuring instrument i use to actually put this in practice... My tape measure is calibrated in .125" increments. ..06" is not even fathomable unless I am measuring the thickness of bond paper stacked..Uncle
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-16-2019, 04:22 PM
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A tiny change in length of the end link causes a significant change in toe, typically +/- 1/4 turn of the link for +/- 1/16" toe which is enough to change handling and tire wear. So you can fine tune the alignment without making those measurements provided that it was pretty close to start with. Then the only time you need to make measurements is after replacing tie rod ends.

Ed Prytherch
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76 Suzuki GT500
2011 Jaguar XKR

A little government and a little luck are necessary in life, but only a fool trusts either of them. - P.J. O'Rourke
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-16-2019, 04:36 PM
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A tiny change in length of the end link causes a significant change in toe, typically +/- 1/4 turn of the link for +/- 1/16" toe which is enough to change handling and tire wear. So you can fine tune the alignment without making those measurements provided that it was pretty close to start with. Then the only time you need to make measurements is after replacing tie rod ends.
That's where I am.. I flunked last year on a safety inspection for a tie rod end . I had a shop replace it and watched and "coached" him .. He's older than me. And wiser.. We counted threads and measured and now the wheel is off by 1/8' of a turn. So i suppose I have to replace all the tie rod ends to get it right or continue to "fudge it back" to get the steering wheel straight but the underpinnings are halve asstsed. It's easy to do that but the dammed road wheels might be wrong. Ya see what I mean. You can always get the steering wheel centered but if the dimeneions you site are not accurate at the steering links then it is all a waste of time and false security in having it right.. And if you can't measure the dimensions.. ah, what is the use.

Last edited by divotandtralee; 09-16-2019 at 04:41 PM.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-16-2019, 04:50 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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Print this out (from the Alfa Shop Manual) and insist the technician follow the procedure.
And stand there and watch them do it, 'cause most of 'em will ignore you otherwise. That's why I started doing my own alignments at home.

Tom

1963 Giulia Spider (1750 engine)
1974 GTV
1991 Spider
Former: 1987 Milano Gold
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-16-2019, 04:56 PM Thread Starter
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So i suppose I have to replace all the tie rod ends to get it right or continue to "fudge it back" to get the steering wheel straight but the underpinnings are halve asstsed. It's easy to do that but the dammed road wheels might be wrong. Ya see what I mean. You can always get the steering wheel centered but if the dimeneions you site are not accurate at the steering links then it is all a waste of time and false security in having it right.. And if you can't measure the dimensions.. ah, what is the use.
Every time I've done toe, the steering wheel has been slightly off-center at the end. I take it for a test drive, determine the direction to adjust the steering wheel, and then shorten the tie rod on one side and lengthen the one on the other to correct it. This keeps toe constant but in an iteration or two you can get the wheel centered. It's rather sensitive and typically only takes ~1/4 turn.

As I discussed in another thread, this *theoretically* throws your outside rod lengths out of spec. But the thread pitch is 1mm, so 1/4 turn on each outside rod only changes the length difference by 0.5mm.

If your measurement tolerances when you matched them are tighter than 0.5mm then you're a lot better than I am. You'll never notice it.

Tom

1963 Giulia Spider (1750 engine)
1974 GTV
1991 Spider
Former: 1987 Milano Gold
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-16-2019, 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Gubi View Post
Every time I've done toe, the steering wheel has been slightly off-center at the end. I take it for a test drive, determine the direction to adjust the steering wheel, and then shorten the tie rod on one side and lengthen the one on the other to correct it. This keeps toe constant but in an iteration or two you can get the wheel centered. It's rather sensitive and typically only takes ~1/4 turn.

As I discussed in another thread, this *theoretically* throws your outside rod lengths out of spec. But the thread pitch is 1mm, so 1/4 turn on each outside rod only changes the length difference by 0.5mm.

If your measurement tolerances when you matched them are tighter than 0.5mm then you're a lot better than I am. You'll never notice it.
Sounds reasonable.. Thanks.. I'll give it a go. i agree with your comments . The car was and steering was straight and true untie w futzed withe the outboard left tie rod end. We were eyeballing and counting threads but just didn't finish the job with a test drive. It just neds a tweak i am sure of somewher between 1/4 and 1/2 a turn . Thanks again
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