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Old 06-14-2019, 04:27 AM   #1
Pizzachicken
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Heavy Steering After Alignment / Specs?

After an alignment my steering seems to have gotten quite awkwardly heavier, requiring more effort to turn corners or even at an intersection. I have to pull in the direction I want where it feels less precise/ more dull, almost needing a second hand for the last portion of the turn. The previous owner installed LCA's and camber bolts, and the reason I got an alignment in the first place was because the camber bolt became loose and was causing a clunking when turning.

I majority DD with slight canyon runs, so while I'm not nitpicky about minuscule performance changes, cornering does seem to be less precise. I'm moreso concerned that steering became significantly more difficult after tightening the camber bolt and alignment, and was wondering if I have unideal specs causing this. Or if I was just used to whatever the previous owner's specs were and that this is how the car naturally should feel.

It seems the consensus is more camber up front than in back. I should've done my research beforehand but instead decided to trust a reputable shop, which decided to give me 0 camber and toe up front, -2 camber rear and .15 toe. What do you guys think, is this the cause? I know there is a wealth of alignment recommendations here, but feel free to suggest anything given my situation. Here's my spec sheet, note that the front camber isn't accurate as I tightened the camber bolt before bringing it in. Don't know what it was originally at.
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Old 06-14-2019, 04:35 AM   #2
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Alignment and feel is very personal.

In saying that mine is -2.5° on the front with 0 toe, -2.0° rear with 0 toe.

Hankook RS4, 215/45 17, handles well, tyre wear is even.

Toe settings is where you get turn in or stablilty, but the more toe the more wear.

How much is the front tyre pushing up on the sidewall with 0 camber?

Is it understeering more?

Tyre pressure?

Tyres?
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Old 06-14-2019, 04:41 AM   #3
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Alignment and feel is very personal.

In saying that mine is -2.5° on the front with 0 toe, -2.0° rear with 0 toe.

Hankook RS4, 215/45 17, handles well, tyre wear is even.

Toe settings is where you get turn in or stablilty, but the more toe the more wear.

How much is the front tyre pushing up on the sidewall with 0 camber?

Is it understeering more?

Tyre pressure?

Tyres?
Hancook Ventus V12 215/45 17, tire pressure even 35 around. Stock wheels and height otherwise.
Sorry I don't know enough to answer what exactly is happening about the sidewall, which is why i'm seeking advice. I want to say yes it is understeering more, but I'm no track expert. It simply can be just the discomfort of requiring more steering effort I'm feeling.
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Old 06-14-2019, 04:47 AM   #4
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0 camber front, -2 rear? Looks like even more understeery then stock. And as to me front pushing too much was one of biggest dislikes, it's front camber that i'd wish to up, not rear one.
As for some extra stability in rear, better get that with slight toe-in (which is there even in stock alignment, and is common for RWD cars), eg. +0.1 to +0.2 degrees total rear toe-in. Yes, toe extra wears tires most, but slight toe in rear imho is beneficial and at slight values extra wear is not that much to care.
Negative camber is more to get tire contact patch even to compensate for tire sidewall flex during higher speed/side-Gs cornering. Turning up rear negative camber will add a bit grip for fast corners .. but front that stayed at stock alignment 0 camber will plow same as before, so what the use in extra rear camber, if you won't use it due car understeering.
Many for twins up front camber, to even a bit more then rear. For only daily driven twin i'd probably go for -1.5dg front camber, and leave -1 (or was it -1.2?) rear camber as stock. More track oriented would be increasing overall negative camber, but still - more camber at front, as outer front tire gets most loaded. Eg. for track -3.2F, -2.5R, for something interim, -2.5F, -2R.
That won't answer to OP's heavier steering issue though. Often reason for it might be increased scrub radius from different offset or wheel spacers, but OP wrote - stock wheels. No front toe-in too as it looks from printout.
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Old 06-14-2019, 04:59 AM   #5
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My 2 cents

Wind in some front camber, try -2.0 to -2.5 at the front with -0.5 less at the rear and zero out your toe.

If your happy with that then good, if not, and you want faster turn in, go a little toe out at the front.

1mm total toe out will help, and not cause to much extra tyre wear daily driving.

Pic attached of a tyre pushing up on the sidewall, see how far over the tyre wear is, I would throw a degree or 2 of camber at it.

If your tyres look like this, and your at 35 psi, you need more camber.

The little treadwear indicator triangle are a good guide for judging how much camber you need.
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Old 06-14-2019, 06:09 AM   #6
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You zeroed the previously -1 degree front camber which gives you more contact patch and heavy steering.
I did the opposite and have lighten my steering.
IMHO if you drive on good roads follow the previous suggestions for much more camber front and slightly less rear, if you drive on slippery and bumpy roads as I do don’t add more than -1.5 degrees camber front/rear, I added 1mm/wheel toe out front and 0 rear cause I have more camber rear that I can’t adjust as I wanted!
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Old 06-14-2019, 06:24 AM   #7
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You zeroed the previously -1 degree front camber which gives you more contact patch and heavy steering.
I did the opposite and have lighten my steering.
!
Hypothetically I was suspicious if this was how it works (in terms of contact patch) and wanted to see if anyone would suggest that. I'm assuming previous to tightening the camber bolt it was at least another degree more negative.

Being new to all this, is it reasonable that ~2 degree camber difference is enough to make me notice such changes in steering effort? The guy who did my alignment was seemingly knowledgeable and honest, although convincingly certain that camber doesn't affect steering weight. Sent me off saying all was fine.

Thanks to all other responses too btw.
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Old 06-14-2019, 06:59 AM   #8
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It depends how sensitive you are in such camber changes but yes it's enough especially when you move from -2 degrees to 0 camber!
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Old 06-14-2019, 08:43 AM   #9
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When I went to stock struts and alignment over the winter (had to get coils rebuilt) I was surprised it was less effort... And I didn't like it. I'd attribute that to the caster change and tire change all at once though. Still super quick and responsive, just... No effort required. Of course, the car pushed like a pig.

I think increased contact patch may be a thing when not moving. Less so under way, but still possible. But your description sounds more like you're pushing the car and finding under steer. Also expected with no negative camber up front.
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Old 06-14-2019, 09:38 AM   #10
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Any reason they didn’t swing for caster? While it may not be adjustable, performing the measurement is part of an alignment.

They set your car to the specs the program kicked out. Les Schwab can set the alignment to spec, a good shop will set it where you want, or better yet, where they know an FRS needs to be for its intended purpose.
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