I've Bent Something.... - Alfa Romeo Forum
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(Post Link) post #1 of 12 Old 02-09-16 Thread Starter
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Unhappy I've Bent Something....

Reversing into a parking space this morning I failed to notice a post which I clouted with the front offside wheel. Hard. At first I thought the damage was limited to my pride and a small dent in the wheel arch but driving it home tonight all is not well.
The steering wheel is now off centre, I have to steer with a slight "right hand down" to achieve a straight run down the road which means that the right wheel is now pointing more left than it ought. I also had a warning light come on "VDC Unavailable"

So, this evening I got it home for a slightly more careful look with the wheel off and found the following:
1. No damage to the alloy wheel itself. I suspect I caught the post with the back edge of the tyre.
2. The front half of the plastic inner arch liner shows signs that the tyre may have rubbed it on both the inner arch surface and infront of the tyre.
3. The upper and lower wishbones look fine with no signs of distortion on the chassis or subframe mounts.
4. Steering arm and ball joint also look okay.

So, apart from the off centre steering wheel and VDC warning light the car drove fine.

Whilst everything was apart this evening I took the chance to try to straighten the steering wheel geometry. This involved loosening the steering arm off and shortening the arm be screwing the rack arm further into the outer steering arm end. Then going for a drive. Now the VDC light no longer comes on but the wheel is still off centre so I need to wind the arm in a little more which I'll do once I can get the car on the lift with the tracking gauge on it.

Question is, can anyone point me at a likely culprit that's going to show the damage and needs replacing? (Apart from me as the idiot who wasn't watching where he was going!!)

Cheers

Guy
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The steering rack contol arms have a colapsable mechanism in them, you'll need to pull back the steering rack gaitor to check.
Good news is they are less than 20 quid and easy to change
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/EXCEL-FRON...AAAOSw6n5XvKHT
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So something has moved. The symptoms show the off side wheel is tracking left but has enough movement to hit the wheel arch. So you are looking for a bent item. The alloy parts will be ok (if not cracked!). I'd be looking at the subframe for distortion. Has the steering rack moved?
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I would take both front wheels off and compare all the components on each side to each other, if nothing jumps out at you, like a post , use a tape measure to check alignment.

Good luck
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JON156VELOCE View Post
The steering rack contol arms have a colapsable mechanism in them, you'll need to pull back the steering rack gaitor to check.
Good news is they are less than 20 quid and easy to change
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/EXCEL-FRON...AAAOSw6n5XvKHT
Thanks for the diagnosis, I'll have another look at it tomorrow and hope that the damage is there! However, if the wheel managed to hit the plastic liner I'd suspect stretch rather than collapse? Can they do that?

Cheers

Guy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Engineer View Post
So something has moved. The symptoms show the off side wheel is tracking left but has enough movement to hit the wheel arch. So you are looking for a bent item. The alloy parts will be ok (if not cracked!). I'd be looking at the subframe for distortion. Has the steering rack moved?
I had a really close look at the subframe for distortion as that's what I was half expecting to see but there was no indication of anything having any damage (it's the one time I think I might have been better off with rubber bushes!). Tomorrow I'll be checking the left and right sides to make sure they are the same.

Cheers

Guy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Verbout View Post
I would take both front wheels off and compare all the components on each side to each other, if nothing jumps out at you, like a post , use a tape measure to check alignment.

Good luck
Post didn't jump out at me... Hands held up - my bad!

Tape measure is fine for a first set up but not the best way - I've used a but of angle iron full width under the car with vertical uprights each end to half wheel height where there's a M6 threaded bar each side that you set to the track width at the back of the wheel, move it to the front and compare, adjust track rod length until they're the same.
Then one of these to set toe in.
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Trackace-L...wAAOSwawpXwJCZ

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Quote:
Originally Posted by SanRemo78 View Post
Post didn't jump out at me... Hands held up - my bad!

Tape measure is fine for a first set up but not the best way - I've used a but of angle iron full width under the car with vertical uprights each end to half wheel height where there's a M6 threaded bar each side that you set to the track width at the back of the wheel, move it to the front and compare, adjust track rod length until they're the same.
Then one of these to set toe in.
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Trackace-L...wAAOSwawpXwJCZ

Guy
Post "jumping out"....nevermind.

I wasn't suggesting you set the car up using a tape measure, I was suggesting measuring to find if components were shifted to such a degree that using a tape would show misalignment.

But heyho I'll get my coat and go bother someone else.
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(Post Link) post #9 of 12 Old 02-09-16 Thread Starter
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Please don't take offence! Nothing derogatory meant by you suggesting I use of a tape measure, it's a valid thing to try and any suggestions are gratefully received!


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I run a piece of string each side front to back at wheel centreline level and measure from wheel edges to find any misalignment that would justify going for a proper setup, fiddly but surprisingly accurate. MES can tell you front wheel zero angle. I also have a camber gauge for vertical
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(Post Link) post #11 of 12 Old 03-09-16 Thread Starter
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That's how I set the Stratos up initially. Dropped plumb bob lines from the inner suspension pivot points front and back to find the centre line, set the rear wheels parallel to that (and therefore parallel to each other) and checked the diagonals to make sure they were also same position fore and aft. Then ran the strings through the centre line of the wheels front to back to set the front wheels in line with the back ones, checked they were also parallel and equidistant from the centre line and the same distance each side from the back wheels and finally wound a little toe in on each side. The thing with the Stratos is that there's load of ground clearance and everything is fully adjustable. And it's easy to remove the front and rear bodywork!

Back to the Alfa. 90 minutes on it this morning and I've got the steering wheel centred again when driving straight down the road. Chucked the Track Ace on it and first measurement gave me 20 minutes toe out. So, I adjusted the steering arm out a little more and that should be better. It's raining now so it'll be a while before I can get back to it and it'll be easier to work on it in the dark with a torch, the laser light isn't east to spot in daylight.

I've taken Jon156Veloce's advice and bought a pair of rack ends (37.48 delivered from shop4parts) and will swap the offside one out when they arrive. The other goes into the growing spares boxes! On a plus side I've found I can adjust the toe in/out without needing to remove the wheel. But it's a tight working space under there. On the down side the garage isn't wide enough to put the car on the ramps and use the tracking gauge.

Guy
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Update, it stopped raining around 6 and the driveway was dry enough by 8 when it went dark, the laser spot could be seen more easily then. The tracking is set 15 minutes toe in again but there's still a very slight offset on the steering wheel that I'll fix tomorrow by shortening one sides steering arm length and lengthening the other.

Forgot to mention that the tyres are 245*40*19s so they're going to be closer to inner arches on full lock. wouldn't take as much movement to cause contact. I think I'm going to replace both steering arms next week, inner and outer just to be sure!

Guy
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