Alignment Query - Caster & drifting to one side

VtecPaul

Advanced Member
Messages
165
Hi folks,

Thought I‘d ask in here as the Facebook post didn‘t get quite the responses I was looking for, potentially due to having multiple questions on the same post.

My DC5 has a tendency to drift to the right constantly (ie not just under acceleration, on all road surfaces). I recently had the alignment redone at TGM and I‘ve attached the results to this post.
The issue is much better now, but it still drifts to the right which isn‘t ideal. I‘d like to understand what else I can do to combat/rectify this, as well as understand my latest alignment results.

I'm most confused by the front left and the caster measurements. Before alignment it was 2.07, and after it is 5.77. The after cross-caster result is now much worse than it was previously (if I understand the results correctly)

Questions:
I didn‘t believe caster was adjustable. I understand it changes slightly with camber changes, but this seems pretty drastic?
Cross-caster can cause the car to pull to the side, and in this case the numbers could explain why the car pulls to the right?
Could it be that my subframe alignment is out? Would the subframe lockout kit help to straighten this and reduce cross-caster, potentially helping with the drifting issue?
Apparently my car has hard race LCA bushes, although I have no receipts to prove this (it was on the spec list from previous owner) but don‘t think this would be relevant here? Not sure if it‘s easy to visually identify these if the car is jacked up?

Thanks in advance.

 

Vteccin_teg

Advanced Member
Messages
163
I had a similar issue when I bought my teg. My steering wheel would sit slightly off set.
When straight it would drift to 1 side.
Got tracking and alignment done, helped but still didn't totally fix it.

I had to change my track rod ends as they was perished, i got the wheels straight even though steering wheel was slightly off, whilst they was off I made sure my steering wheel was straight, then twisted the new ones on until they fitted into suspension.

Then went back and got the alignment and tracking done again. Been fine ever since.

This may not be your issue but could be worth knowing/ trying ?


Sent from my SM-G986B using Tapatalk
 

VtecPaul

Advanced Member
Messages
165
Thanks for the reply.
Track rod ends were only changed last year - running MeisterR coilovers and EP3 track rod ends. This was all fitted by TGT for the previous owner, so not sure if there is much I need to do there?
 

Vteccin_teg

Advanced Member
Messages
163
VtecPaul said:
Thanks for the reply.
Track rod ends were only changed last year - running MeisterR coilovers and EP3 track rod ends. This was all fitted by TGT for the previous owner, so not sure if there is much I need to do there?
Have you checked too see if any wheel weights may have fallen off?

Sent from my SM-G986B using Tapatalk
 

VtecPaul

Advanced Member
Messages
165
Yes, wheels are all fine and balanced.
I‘m curious as to the alignment results and whether or not that big caster difference is something that can/should be rectified.
 

Vteccin_teg

Advanced Member
Messages
163
You spoke to TGM about it drifting to the side?
Try swapping nearside and offside wheels around, see if it drifts to otherside?
If it don't then you've eliminated the wheels being an issue.

Could a brake pad be slightly seized on maybe?
Does the car feel sluggish?


Sent from my SM-G986B using Tapatalk
 

ATC

Active Member
Messages
87
Very surprised to see such a big castor change - usually you only see that much castor after the castor increase bushes or similar. Judging from your build thread and the orientation of the top-mounts I wouldn't expect a huge dependence on camber either, as the adjustment slots appear to run laterally.

As above, perished bushes/joints can lead to dodgy alignment readings - everything will be setup in the static condition, then as soon as you drive off, something shifts and effectively means your alignment is out.
Edit: Just because new rod ends were fitted last year doesn't necessarily mean they'll still be okay. I've seen cheap parts fail in a matter of months - so still worth checking.

Only other things to consider:
  • Tyre pressures - check those - I've seen these cause pulling in friends cars - simply inflating to equalise pressures solved the problem
  • Wheel buckles - are the wheels completely round and true (hard to tell without spinning them fairly quickly and watching ) - as the alignment references everything off the wheels, any bend or buckle could throw things off

It's also possible that the steering wasn't perfectly straight when the alignment done (I've had this before) but seems unlikely. A simple re-alignment fixed it (this was free cos I took it back straight away)
 

VtecPaul

Advanced Member
Messages
165
Cheers for taking the time to reply.

Wheels refurbed very recently. Mint condition; well balanced.
Tyre pressures all checked and set to 32/33psi all round before the most recent alignment.

How would I know if a component had failed? (Eg track rod ends) The car has done less than 3k miles since they were fitted, so it‘s unlikely in my opinion.

Whilst I have no receipts regarding bushes being changed for Hard Race, at the same time as Hard Race drop links were installed, checking the car visually shows drop links that certainly look to be hard race items (blue colour bushes) so I have no reason to doubt they were changed. I don‘t think it‘s possible to visually ID a hard race LCA bush though (whilst fitted?)

I was surprised to see such a big caster value tbh, which is why I posted this to gather some intel from you clever folk :)

I don‘t want to keep taking it to alignment places without a plan - so need to gather as many ideas as poss to get them to investigate.
 

VtecPaul

Advanced Member
Messages
165
Oh and the car has AD08R tyres on meaning they are directional - swapping L to R isn‘t an option unfortunately.
 

carl hammond

Advanced Member
Messages
3,244
Annoyingly on my work PC images if loaded certain ways are blocks so I cannot see the image to confirm. But Caster bushes will give you from memory 2 degree caster increase, meister Coilovers will be camber but not caster adjustable and so you should be running oem caster + the 2 degrees as max (unless there is another way to add caster) which I am not aware of unless you have the Area Motorsport caster gain topmounts like I run on my car.

The bushed if they have done will be a purple colour as that's the normal Superpro bushing colour mate.

The main things I would do and check are:

Remove front pads and check for uneven wear
Swap tyres front to back on the same side as you have AD08R's and cannot do left to right (this will help see if it's a wheel or tyre issue)
Tyre Pressures (but you have confirmed this and the balancing seems spot on)

These are the main things aside from maybe the geo being bad and needing to be re-done and/or checked again or worn bushes and suspension parts.

I know this may sound silly but I have heard of it with Meister suspension, ccheck the camber adjustability on the top and that none of the bolts have come loose (the allen key ones) I know two people who ran Meister and they kept loosening up when driving and this would also cause similar issues to what you are experiencing as it's moving off alignment constantly.
 

20Drift

Members
Staff member
Messages
243
VtecPaul said:
How would I know if a component had failed? (Eg track rod ends) The car has done less than 3k miles since they were fitted, so it‘s unlikely in my opinion.
You'd be surprised - I popped a droplink after 2000 miles on my Corsa VXR which was a brand new one. If you separate it from your suspension and try to deflect the threaded rod it shouldn't move easily
 

VtecPaul

Advanced Member
Messages
165
carl hammond said:
Annoyingly on my work PC images if loaded certain ways are blocks so I cannot see the image to confirm. But Caster bushes will give you from memory 2 degree caster increase, meister Coilovers will be camber but not caster adjustable and so you should be running oem caster + the 2 degrees as max (unless there is another way to add caster) which I am not aware of unless you have the Area Motorsport caster gain topmounts like I run on my car.

The bushed if they have done will be a purple colour as that's the normal Superpro bushing colour mate.

The main things I would do and check are:

Remove front pads and check for uneven wear
Swap tyres front to back on the same side as you have AD08R's and cannot do left to right (this will help see if it's a wheel or tyre issue)
Tyre Pressures (but you have confirmed this and the balancing seems spot on)

These are the main things aside from maybe the geo being bad and needing to be re-done and/or checked again or worn bushes and suspension parts.

I know this may sound silly but I have heard of it with Meister suspension, ccheck the camber adjustability on the top and that none of the bolts have come loose (the allen key ones) I know two people who ran Meister and they kept loosening up when driving and this would also cause similar issues to what you are experiencing as it's moving off alignment constantly.
According to the alignment, I have over 5 degrees of caster on the front left vs 1.7 on the front right...
 

ATC

Active Member
Messages
87
VtecPaul said:
According to the alignment, I have over 5 degrees of caster on the front left vs 1.7 on the front right...
Yeh - stock caster is at most about 2 degrees.

If genuinely everything is new and not broken, the only possible explanation is that something went wrong during the geo on the measurement boards (e.g. they might have got knocked or not been set properly) - this would lead to car being setup to read correct toe/camber according the alignment machine, when in reality the suspension is being set to something completely different.

If the base numbers are anything to go on, it's not surprising it was pulling to one side to begin with, but my advice would be take it straight back for them to recheck if it's not right immediately after an alignment.

Someone else might be able to confirm, but as far as I know it's virtually impossible to get almost 6 degrees of castor on a dc5 (without castor top mounts or similar), and even more impossible that you could go gain 4 degrees of caster from a basic wheel alignment - all points to the wheel alignment itself being the culprit
 

VtecPaul

Advanced Member
Messages
165
Thanks - that‘s sort of what I thought. I‘m not convinced I‘ll be able to take it back now given it was a week ago, and tbh I‘d probably rather take it somewhere else with a hunter setup perhaps.

Don‘t get me wrong, it‘s a very gentle pull to the right, given the camber of the road etc I‘d always expect a car to track slightly left. The car drives very well so I‘m inclined to believe it‘s just a misprint or mis-calc, but with the drifting it‘s something I‘d like to confirm.

When you say you‘re not surprised it was pulling right initially, what makes you think that? Which measurements are you referring to?
 

VtecPaul

Advanced Member
Messages
165
Worth noting that they did snap an Allen bolt in one of the meisterR adjustments. This was apparently whilst they tried to remove it, said it had been overtightened previously. It‘s not causing any issues currently as bolts are using other holes, but it does worry me that someone felt the need to tighten them more than necessary previously. Although that may align to Carl‘s comments about them slipping...
 

ATC

Active Member
Messages
87
VtecPaul said:
Thanks - that‘s sort of what I thought. I‘m not convinced I‘ll be able to take it back now given it was a week ago, and tbh I‘d probably rather take it somewhere else with a hunter setup perhaps.
Generally alignment shops are pretty good, especially if you've not put many miles on it - TGM are probably better than most, and given your other business and likely future trips I would hazard a guess they'd be happy to look into it, especially given the dodgy readings you've got on the print out.

VtecPaul said:
When you say you‘re not surprised it was pulling right initially, what makes you think that? Which measurements are you referring to?
By "not surprised" I think I meant more that I could believe it was - you'll notice the toe is not symmetrical from left to right suggesting that with the wheels straight the car as an effective steering input from the wheels. The numbers suggest the left wheel is angled towards the right more than the right wheel is angled towards the left, so it's as if you've always a small amount of right steering input all the time.

VtecPaul said:
Worth noting that they did snap an Allen bolt in one of the meisterR adjustments. This was apparently whilst they tried to remove it, said it had been overtightened previously. It‘s not causing any issues currently as bolts are using other holes, but it does worry me that someone felt the need to tighten them more than necessary previously. Although that may align to Carl‘s comments about them slipping...
That's just lots of garages - they overtighten everything, which is particularly problematic with small bolts like these. Overtightening + age (corrosion) lead to snappage - I would highly doubt that it's anything untoward or inherently wrong with the car.
 

carl hammond

Advanced Member
Messages
3,244
Thanks again for replying!
i have emailed TGM so will see what they say.
Worse case pm me, a very good friend of mine does all of mine, he uses the proper string method and is mobile, he has worked on and done this for many years on race cars from you're normal tin tops up to Ferrari and even Formula race series mate.

He is based near me in Kent so not that far and would highly recommend, if you see my build thread there are many pics of him doing it and the car drives better than it ever has and I don't use anyone lese now for geo's
 

VtecPaul

Advanced Member
Messages
165
carl hammond said:
Worse case pm me, a very good friend of mine does all of mine, he uses the proper string method and is mobile, he has worked on and done this for many years on race cars from you're normal tin tops up to Ferrari and even Formula race series mate.

He is based near me in Kent so not that far and would highly recommend, if you see my build thread there are many pics of him doing it and the car drives better than it ever has and I don't use anyone lese now for geo's
Thanks bud!
 
Top