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Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: United Kingdom
Front Camber Adjustment - Solved!
Yesterday, I took my 159 SW (2.2 JTS) for a full 4 wheel alignment. The car hadn't steered properly since I acquired it - it felt very vague and was significantly different, left to right, both in how it turned-in and with regard to how 'heavy' the steering felt through a bend.
I took the car to R&D Automotive in Manchester - they're primarily a Ferrari and Porsche specialist (and have looked after Porsches for me for some time) but are also very capable indeed where other marques are concerned. (More on R&D later). They also have the latest Beissbarth alignment equipment which allows for very accurate measurement of your suspension geo.
Once the Beissbarth gear was set up on the car, the initial readings showed the geometry to be all over the place. These were the initial readings:
Camber Left: -1 Degree and 10 Mins / Camber Right: -38 Mins
Toe Left: 8 Mins Toe-in / Toe Right: 7 Mins Toe-in
Camber Left: -1 Degree and 23 Mins / Camber Right: -54 Mins
Toe Left: 10 Mins Toe-in / Toe Right: 5 Mins Toe-in
To correct the rear was easy enough as there are adjusters for both camber and toe and the settings were easily brought into spec. The problem was at the front where there was a huge difference in cambers and no adjustment is provided.
After a thorough examination of the front suspension to make sure nothing was bent/loose/damaged we set to work on a solution. Two things came to mind. The first was a post by Old Engineer on this forum saying he thought it might be possible to change cambers by moving the subframe. Second was my recollection of there being significant 'play' available in the subframe on my old 164 from years ago.
So, off with the undertray and time to attack the problem. On each side of the subframe are 4 bolts that need to be loosened to allow the frame to move relative to the car. Once this is done, it's possible to get a lever between the frame and the chassis rails at various points and move the frame relative to the car (there is about 3-4 mm of 'play' as the bolt holes are larger than the bolts). Moving it towards the side with the least camber effectively moves the lower suspension arm outwards relative to the upper arm increasing the camber on that side. Camber is similarly reduced on the other side of the car. After a few minutes of moving the frame, we had the cambers fully equalised and it was possible to proceed with the rest of the geo. These are the results we obtained:
Camber Left: -51 Mins / Camber Right: -50 Mins
Toe Left: 2 Mins Toe-out / Toe Right: 2 Mins Toe-out
Camber Left: -46 Mins / Camber Right: -46 Mins
Toe Left: 10 Mins Toe-in / Toe Right: 10 Mins Toe-in
The car now steers and corners accurately and predictably, steering feel is in a different league and the difference in steering weight, left to right, has been eliminated. Doubtless tyre wear will be a lot better than before too.
So my thanks to Old Engineer for the idea and R&D for doing such a good job. R&D would be more than happy to assist any other members of this forum too if required as they're now familiar with what's required to get the front cambers sorted. Contact Nigel on 0161 789 3555. It's also a great place to visit as there are often some amazing cars in their workshop. The best day I can remember was when they had 3 Ferrari F40s lined up in various stages of rebuild!
Lastly I have no connection with R&D other than knowing the guys there and being a happy customer.
Ian from Manchester, UK
(Certifiable Car Nut)!
Current Alfa: 159 Sportwagon 2.2 JTS
Previous Alfas: 156 2.5, 164 3.0, 75 3.0
Other Current Cars: Porsche 997S Gen-2 PDK, BMW Z4 sDrive 23i