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Discussion Starter #1
Thanks to the help from regular contributors on this site, my Alfa is finally running like its supposed to. I just put on 4 new tires, replaced the bent tie rods and got a 4 wheel allignment. I took it for a little ride and was pretty disapointed. It pulls to the right, which the mechanic that did the allignment mentioned, but said there wasn't really anything they could do about it??? When I took it on the highway, it felt very sloppy as speed increased. Aside from having to compensate for the pull to the right, it felt like a small bump was going to send the car spinning into a ditch.

From searching the archives, all I found is that some people have replaced all kinds of suspension components and spent tons of money trying to remedy similar problems. Should I take it somewhere else to see if they can straighten out the steering/allignment? Any ideas what else I can try that doesn't cost thousands of dollars?

Thanks as always for the help.
 

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Sounds like a BS story to me. If alignment shop can't make it go straight at least a good shop can figure out what is wrong.

Define bent tie rods, front inner or outer? What else has been replaced in suspension system?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I replaced the rear adjustable tie rods, they were very, very bent (from towing?) that's it. Since I bought it, the car has only been to one "real" mechanic. He said everything looked pretty good and couldn't identify anything that needed immediate attention. He doesn't do allignment work and recomended the Goodyear shop I took it to for that.

Should I take it to a respected Alfa mechanic in the area that does allignment work?
 

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yes right away unless

You are comfortable putting it up and doing a suspension/steering checkout
Possible causes
1. Worn out A frame bushing
2. Worn out ball joints
3. Loose steering rack
4. Tie rod ends worn

The car should not jump, jitter or jerk when being driven. Does the steering wheel jerk in your hands when this happens?
 

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You didn't mention what alignment you ended up with. It is important to know the settings it was finally set to, as this can make a big difference. I think that most shops have no clue with these cars. Did the shop give you a readout print?

Also, what tires do you have, their condition, and what are the pressures?
 

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Not a Goodyear store no never never nor Firestone either. Rant off. The only thing that saved you from their shopping list of every part in the suspension system is it was an Alfa and it scared them that they might have to work on it.

Did they set front toe correct at close to O degrees and rear toe in at 4 to 6 mm? Is steering wheel straight when driving? What was camber and caster final readings for both front and rear wheels. Was it a four wheel thrust alignment they used?

As Bob says you need to verify steering rack rubber mounts are good and rack it tight in sub frame. Next you need to be sure with steering wheel centered steering rack is in neutral so steering damper centering spring assembly is in neutral (nulled) position (springs in balance). This is important on S or L model with large oval boot on passenger side of rack which hides centering spring.

If somebody changed a rack and got steering wheel off center from center point of rack and they tried to align it with wheel centered you will have centering spring force working against you.

So many variables along with setting toe in correctly to consider.

I have an L right now with passenger side fixed rubber mount shot and rack moving up and down in loose mount play havoc with alignment and torque steer.

I am sure you can get it straightened out with a little patience and good eyeballing.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
This shop didn't give me any information as to the settings. I don't think I took it to the right place.

The tires are brand new Kumho Ecsta ASXs, V rated 205/60/15s on stock S rims.

The steering wheel does dance around a little bit when the speed gets higher and the terrain gets rough Aside from pulling to the right, the car drives fine around the city, its only when I start going highway speeds that it gets sloppy.

The guy who did the allignment said that the front suspension on these cars "wasn't really adjustable." Is that complete, total, utter bs?
 

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Find a shop with a Hunter rack. This will make sure that you get a good alignment. Make sure that they do a four wheel alignment. This will include adjusting the rear also.
I don't know about there but the Goodyear shops here are full of monkeys that don't know there head from their @sses.

Find a good import shop. They shoud be able to align it right. As steve said that is BS that a car has a pull and they cant explain it to you.

Paul
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the info guys. The steering wheel is definitely not straight, and I'm guessing neither is the allignment. I was a little skeptical of the Goodyear thing but they came recomended. I'm going to get my money back and spend it somewhere that actually knows what they're doing.
 

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This shop didn't give me any information as to the settings. I don't think I took it to the right place.

The tires are brand new Kumho Ecsta ASXs, V rated 205/60/15s on stock S rims.

The steering wheel does dance around a little bit when the speed gets higher and the terrain gets rough Aside from pulling to the right, the car drives fine around the city, its only when I start going highway speeds that it gets sloppy.

The guy who did the allignment said that the front suspension on these cars "wasn't really adjustable." Is that complete, total, utter bs?
Partly true - toe is adjustable caster and camber are not unless you oblong holes for upper/lower strut mounting holes or adding some shims to lower suspension arms front mount points which takes somebody knowing steering geometry to do correctly. Same for rear, toe is adjustable, caster very hard to change but not a real problem in rear, camber can be modified by oblonging holes in lower strut mounting holes.
 

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The Goodyear a few miles down the road from my house has been able to align my car just fine, and does good wheel balancing too (CAN'T say the same for a Firestone store). I gave them the specs and talked to the guy doing the work and we were able to communicate well (at least the second time). Do ask for the printout and look it over yourself to make sure that all four wheels are aligned satisfactory for you (at least on paper). I had issue the first time when they decided to skip the rear wheel alignment even though the printout showed it was out. :rolleyes: It will be important to do a thorough inspection yourself to be sure of the condition of the various parts, if you are so inclined to spend some time under the car prying on things with a crowbar (carefully and maybe NOT while you are directly laying under it mind you!) pry on the large rear A arm bushings specifically and make sure they do not move a lot. You can determine a lot on your own and you really will not spend thousands but maybe hundreds. No use having an alignment done if you have a bad balljoint, tierod or shot A arm bushings. The A arm bushings, struts and the rack itself are the biggies here, it is NOT a complicated frontend arrangement actually so don't let it scare you. The front and rear toe are the only practical alignment adjustments and when you reassure the alignment man that that is all you expect him to do really, he may relax a little bit and do a good job for you on those specific specs. You should get a printout of all the angles though and you should look them all over. What I hate, is when an alignment man comes out to talk to you and says, "Has this car been in a wreck?" and you know dang well the history of the car and it never has been wrecked, that's when I start to get worried. One thing that caused my car to pull a bit at one time, was a bad upper strut mount on one of the rear struts that could only be found by dissembling it. The car drove straighter and tighter after replacing it, the rubber had separated in the mount causing a sag and sloppiness.
Charles
 

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Definitely get it checked at another shop, if the rear tie rods were bent, maybe the rear A-arms are too. A good shop should tell you this right off the bat. If set up well, a 164 should track nice and true and be extremely stable at high speeds. These cars are notable for having great stability even when driving through a bumpy turn, they just soak it up and keep sticking to the ground. My Nissan truck however, loves to hop and skip around on bumpy turns thanks to its live rear axle. How I miss the 164 when this starts to happen....
 

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>When I took it on the highway, it felt very sloppy as speed increased.
Worst than before you took the car in for alignment?

>Aside from having to compensate for the pull to the right,
Poor job or they don't know what they are doing!

>it felt like a small bump was going to send the car spinning into a ditch.
Perhaps one of your strut (shock) is going bad and has lost the damping ability.

>Should I take it somewhere else to see if they can straighten out the steering/allignment?
Accel (an Alfa shop) in Waltham does alignment.
 

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Sometimes even with an alignment the car will want to pull. Best to rotate the tires as there might be wear patterns in the tires. I have in the past when a car pulled after an alignment, swapped the two front tires side to side. Then the car drove like it was supposed to.
If you don't get a print out with your alignment, something is amiss here. It should show you a thrust angle and alignment of all four wheels and if they are in spec.
Find a good reputable shop that does alot of foreign car alignments. If you give them the specs from what we are sharing here, he can dial those in on the machine. Part of any alignment is an inspection of all the parts before even putting the alignment machines on the rims. Why do all that alignment only to have the results not work?
The 164 should be rock stable all the way up to red line in 5th gear. If it isn't then you need to investigate further. You shouldn't have to worry about the car wanting to jump in to the nearest ditch.
 

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I would highly suggest some one with the Hunter Winalign system. It has all the specs built into the PC. Mine at work has all sorts of strange stuff in it. It has all the alignment info for a 76 Midget I did a bunch of work on. It has all settings for my Alfetta Sedan, etc..

It's so sensitive that I sometimes have to close the bay door if the wind is blowing a little strong. It moves the car ever so slightly and causes the readings to fluctuate.

Paul
 

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Geoff: Call John Tartarglia at Motorsports Garage in Allston. Ask for him specifically. While he might not be able to fit you in in the next two weeks (he's going on vacation next week) he is a very good bet for precise information. Armed with Steve's post regarding neutral steering wheel and getting a 4-wheel thrust alignmnent, John will help you find the right alignment shop if he can't do it at a time convenient for you.

On a hunch, I used Fahey Tire in Wakefield and was very pleased with the results. The technician set up the car perfectly and even asked whether I was willing to sacrifice some tire wear in order to reduce the 164's tendency to understeer or push through corners.

Here is the Factory Alignment specs that were amended in the mid 90s to cover all US 164s regardless of model year: I understand these to be the specs for the 94-95 LS but now apply to all 164s per Alfa amendment.

Front:

Toe-In = Zero mm
Camber = -1.1 to -2.4 degrees
Caster = 1.0 to 2.5 degrees

Rear

Toe-In = 4 to 6 mm
Camber = 0.1 to -1.8 degrees
Caster = not applicable

Hope this helps.

-Dan
 
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