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2010 Subaru Impreza 2.5i Premium 5-door, *old* 2009 Kia Rondo LX 4cyl 2.4L
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492 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Since I have had such great luck with Firestone's alignment services, I have decided to start doing my own alignments from now on. I will be posting steps in the next couple weeks about how I am doing this procedure. For now, here are the specs from KGIS as to what the alignment numbers should be:




Front
Toe-in
Total: 0°±0.2°
Individual: 0°±0.1°

Camber
-0.5°±0.5°

Rear
Toe-in
Total: 0.2°±0.2°
Individual: 0.1°±0.1°

Camber
-1°±0.5°

I haven't measured the camber yet, but if it is out of spec, I will be purchasing a pair of camber bolts. Rockauto carries some from Raybestos for under $18 including shipping. If I am on a time crunch, I may just get a set from the local Napa for $20.
 

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'07 rondo ex V6
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47 Posts
My advice is to avoid shops that sell lots of other services and other things you don't need. Go to a shop that does alignments such as a body or frame repair facility. Go to a shop that does only a/c repairs. Go to a transmission shop to have a trans repaired. Buy tires at a tire store.

General repair are good at maintenance items like timing belts, axle replacements oil changes and the like. All i'm saying is, whenever possible, get a specialist....
 

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2010 Subaru Impreza 2.5i Premium 5-door, *old* 2009 Kia Rondo LX 4cyl 2.4L
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492 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Heh, I had purchased lifetime alignment from Firestone for my Rondo pretty soon after I got it. They have aligned it twice and it has been ok, but on my other car (and other cars I have previously owned), they have not had a good track record.

My advice, do it yourself. If I had room, I would have a tire balancer and a mounter so I could mount my own. Heck, the no-name mexican tire store at the corner has done a better job at mounting and balancing tires than Firestone! This stuff isn't rocket science. Just because a shop has "specialized" tools and equipment for this stuff doesn't mean it works any better than what you can do yourself.
 

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2010 Subaru Impreza 2.5i Premium 5-door, *old* 2009 Kia Rondo LX 4cyl 2.4L
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492 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Well, was able to get to aligning the Rondo this weekend and I can say it was a success! Checked the camber on the front to see what the measurements were (and why Firestone wanted $200 in shop labor to slot my strut mounts). Camber on FL was -0.5° and FR was -0.7°. Ok, so the FR is slightly out of spec by .2°, I don't think that is going to kill it. As I suspected, the FR and FL toe was off exactly the same on both sides, so technically, there was 0° of toe... except the steering wheel was nowhere near being centered. Adjusted that out and MUCH better now. Checking the locknut on the tie rod, you could tell that only the driver's side had been broken loose and adjusted, passenger's side has never been touched. What does that tell you? Firestone has only been adjusting ONE side to match the other...

Anyway, have some pics I will be posting shortly of the process, just wanted to let you know the results. Total time was ~2.5hrs to measure and level the garage floor, make the tool to measure camber, go to Home Depot to get commercial floor tiles (level the floor and use as slip plates for the front), pull all the lugs off and pull wheel covers then pull lugs and put them all back on when I finished, setup toe measurement, adjust tie rods, and put everything back. Now that I know how many tiles I need to level the garage and have the tools made, the next time should be less than an hour.
 

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2010 Subaru Impreza 2.5i Premium 5-door, *old* 2009 Kia Rondo LX 4cyl 2.4L
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492 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Lol, the floor tiles are used to "level" the garage floor. Basically, measure the floor for level, then use commercial vinyl floor tiles (they are exactly 1/8" thick) to build up the floor where the wheels are so the car is perfectly level at all 4 corners.

Also, for the front wheels, if you put two floor tiles face to face with a little salt sprinkled between, it acts like slip plates to allow the tires to rotate on the ground as you adjust the toe.

I have pictures, I just need to get them off the camera and post them!
 

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2010 Subaru Impreza 2.5i Premium 5-door, *old* 2009 Kia Rondo LX 4cyl 2.4L
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492 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Ok, finally got the pictures off the camera!

To measure the toe, I made a tool from a piece of square 3/4" aluminum tube (length is just slightly over the measurement of the outside of the rim, about 17.25") with a Craftsman digital level from Sears attached. I also drilled holes near the outer edge and attached bolts through the holes where they sit just inside the lip of the rim so the aluminum tube and level sit away from the rubber of the tire. This way you get an accurate reading of the wheel itself.



The first thing I did was to mark the spots in the garage where the wheels are on the Rondo. This way, you can measure the exact spot where you park it so you can level the car exactly to the spot on the floor. I just marked with pencil, then went back later and marked the exact spot with the amount of floor tiles it took to level it. You can search how to make a water level if you want to see what I'm talking about. Basically, take a bucket, ~10ft of clear tubing, and some kind of measuring stick (I used a 4ft plastic level with measurements on one side). Fill the bucket with water and elevate it above the ground, siphon the water into the tube making sure there are no bubbles, then tape the end of the tube to the measuring stick. Now go to each of the 4 spots you marked on the floor and take measurements, using 1/8" commercial floor tiles to build up the low spots until all are the same height. I ended up not having enough floor tiles on hand for the rear, so I used a couple 3/4" plywood pieces combined with the floor tiles to bring it to the level of the front. On the front tiles, sprinkle a little salt on the surface of the next to last tile. This will help the wheels rotate easier when you adjust the toe later.

Front


Rear


Once you pull the car up on the stack of tiles, it it now sitting perfectly level so you can take your measurements. Make sure that your steering wheel is centered exactly where you want it, otherwise you will end up with a crooked wheel, like Firestone's alignments. Since the toe is not adjustable on the Rondo unless you buy some camber bolts for the front or an adjustable link for the rear, I mostly just wanted to check the camber to see if it was really as "bad" as Firestone said.

To check the camber, just press the tool you made up against the rim and get a reading. These were my measurements:

Front DS: -0.5°
Front PS: -0.7°
Rear DS: -1.0°
Rear PS: -1.1°

VERY close to spec limits, definitely not enough to change, imho. A little negative camber just makes turns better.

Next, to check the toe, you need a couple jackstands, some string, and a good tape measure (metric is MUCH easier). Set up the jackstands at the front and rear of the car, tie some string between them, then adjust each stand so the string is exactly in the middle of the wheel hub in the front and rear. Also, make sure the string is equidistant from the front and rear hubs.



Once this is done, you can measure from the front lip of the front wheel to the string, then from the back lip of the front wheel to the string, making sure you measure to the exact same point on the string. I used the inside edge of the string to make sure I always measured to the exact same spot. On my measurements, the DS and PS rims were off exactly the same amount on opposite edges of the wheel, which means my toe was 0°, but I had a crooked wheel. All you do then it reach under, break the lock nut free, then adjust the tie rod in small increments until the distance to the string from the front of the rim is exactly the same as the distance from the rear of the rim. Make sure you measure after each change. Turning the tie rod 1/4 turn is plenty for adjustment at a time. Also, after you make changes, shake the wheel/rim a little so it can adjust out right. Once you get both sides so the front and rear of the rim is the same distance from the string, tighten the locknut down and you are all set to go!
 

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