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- Alignment is not just for wheels - Science and Art of It-Business Alignment
- Tire Report: The Art & Science of Alignment - Maintenance - Trucking Info
- Kaunteya Pande
His tire supplier wound up adjusting only those tires. I assumed it had to be the tires. We found every truck in here had loose bearings. After we campaigned every truck and trailer to set the bearings properly, and then realigned the trucks to his specs, my steer tire life went from about 90, miles out to better than , miles.
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That suggests the specifications he used to align his trucks weren't correct for his application. Can you do custom alignment that's not to factory spec, but accounts for road geometry and various other operating conditions such as load, terrain and tire brand? Here's where we see a difference of opinion on vehicle alignment. The two major alignment equipment providers, Hunter and Bee Line, say they align to the recommendations of the truck manufacturer and the axle suppliers.
Alignment is not just for wheels - Science and Art of It-Business Alignment
That way, they say, the truck is set up to operate as it was designed. We do what truck makers say is best for their trucks, and they do extensive testing to determine what those specifications should be. For example, Beckett says feathered wear on steer tires is a good indicator of where alignment may need to be tweaked, and it's not necessarily anything wrong with the toe settings.
According to Beckett, if the drive axles are aimed perfectly straight ahead, exactly perpendicular with the centerline of the truck, the truck will go straight ahead - on flat road. But on a crowned road, the truck will drift to the right. It will naturally want to drift down the hill, or to the right," he says. By eliminating the need to counter-steer to keep the truck moving straight in the lane, the steer tires will wear more evenly.
Turnplates or ground? The other issue that divides the factory-spec guys and Beckett's "as-driven" philosophy is the use of turnplates to set steer axle toe. Hunter and Bee Line both use turnplates to measure and set toe. Beckett measures and sets with the truck sitting on the ground. According to Mike McCoy, national and special accounts manager at Bee Line, you might get a good reading if you measure it as driven, but adjusting it will be a different matter.
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Tire Report: The Art & Science of Alignment - Maintenance - Trucking Info
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Your car s parts are subjected to many strong forces as you encounter bumps and potholes, and perhaps brush against an occasional curb, which can cause suspension parts and even the body or frame to bend very slightly over time. Suspension joints can also wear, allowing wheel alignment to change with every bump or turn in the road.
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Symptoms of improper wheel alignment are uneven tire wear, usually more on one side of the tread than the other or you ll notice jagged tread edges as a hand is rubbed back and forth across the tread. The vehicle may also pull to one side or wander.
Performing a suspension inspection and wheel alignment at the time of tire replacement is a reasonable precaution to insure optimum tire life. On the other hand, since your original tires lasted so long and the car drives well, one could argue the suspension parts and alignment are OK as is.
I d always have the suspension parts inspected when purchasing tires, but be tempted to skip the alignment if the originals lasted a long time and the replacement tires are of moderate cost. In the case of short original tire life or irregular tread wear, or if purchasing exotic or expensive tires, I wouldn t think twice about have the alignment performed. Many vehicles now require all four wheels to be aligned rather than just the fronts, as was common in the past.
On many vehicles, some or most alignment angles are non-adjustable as the chassis was built to exacting specifications. Should an adjustment be needed, an aftermarket component such as an oblong bushing or shim is installed.