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Second-rate parts mean second-rate results

When it comes to diagnosing a problem, one of the biggest mistakes is thinking that the problem is gone after you’ve installed a new part. I’ve had vehicles brought in countless times with the same old story attached to them. The customer will say:...

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GearWrench Launches Street Team, a New Mobile Driver Program

GearWrench, a premier hand tool brand from Apex Tool Group, has announced Street Team, a new program that gives independent mobile distributors the support of an established tool brand without the restrictions of a franchise. "Response to the program...

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AUTO 7 Named Approved Vendor For Automotive Parts Associates

Steven Kruss, president of Auto 7, which supplies Korean-made, OEM-quality automotive parts to distributors across North America, announced that Auto 7 has been named an approved vendor of Automotive Parts Associates (APA), one of the nation’s...

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Internal Engine Oil Consumption Diagnostics

Due to the variables in engine design and ­operating conditions, internal engine oil ­consumption complaints are often the most difficult to solve. In some cases, oil consumption might be more severe under low-speed operation, in other cases, high-speed...

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Hyundai Fuel System, Emissions Diagnostics

Hyundai has done a good job of improving its ­offerings over the years from both an aesthetic and mechanical viewpoint. Complemented by a strong warranty and good value, the carmaker has been able to increase its market share year over year. If you aren’t...

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Curing Volvo Manual Transmission Rattle

In an effort to increase fuel efficiency, today’s engines produce more torque so they can be ­driven at extremely low rpm. ­Reduced viscosity engine and gearbox oils, less vehicle weight and improved aerodynamics also contribute to better fuel economy....

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AVI To Provide Technicians with $1 Million in Free Training

AVI (Automotive Video Innovations) is giving back to the automotive community that has given so much opportunity to the Florida-based video company. To carry out that mission, AVI reports that it is pledging to give away $1 million worth of training...

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GearWrench Launches Street Team, a New Mobile Driver Program

GearWrench, a premier hand tool brand from Apex Tool Group, has announced Street Team, a new program that gives independent mobile distributors the support of an established tool brand without the restrictions of a franchise. "Response to the program...

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Talk To All Available Modules With Autel's MaxiDiag Elite MD802

Derived from Autel’s Professional Series tool, the MaxiDAS DS708, the MaxiDiag Elite MD802 enables the user to not only get into the OE enhanced OBD II system with mode 6 access and live data graphing, but it also allows a technician to scan the...

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The Why, Where, When of TPMS Sensors

To understand any TPMS relearn procedure, you have to understand this: Sensors only transmit, they do not receive. No vehicle asks a sensor for information on how it is doing. I know you’re thinking a sensor does receive signals when the vehicle...

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Most Common Causes of Misfire Codes

A flashing check engine light and a P0301 to P0312 diagnostic trouble code (DTC) is a surefire indication that one or more cylinders are misfiring. Occasional misfires may pass unnoticed, but a steady misfire is hard to miss. The engine usually feels...

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Pattern Failures of MAF and MAP Sensors

Pattern failures are those failures that happen over and over again — and the same applies to how customers describe these failures. Customers might unknowingly give you the answer to their problem without needing to open the hood. In this article,...

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Home Chassis Suspension & Alignment Specs: Greatest Hits!

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The most difficult issue with some alignments is knowing what you are getting into before you start or your shop even quotes the job. For almost two years, Hunter Engineering has been sponsoring BRAKE & FRONT END’s Suspension & Alignment Specs where Editor Andrew Markel examines a common vehicle platform to figure out what are the service issues and how to make the adjustments.
Below are some of the top tips from the articles that can help you know what you are getting into even before the vehicle is pulled into the bay. If you are a service writer, these tips can help you sell more up front, so you do not have to make repeated phone calls to the customer for additional approvals.


2002-2006 Toyota Camry
July 2010, page 22

Replacement control arms are readily available for this vehicle do not hesitate selling them. Pay attention to the included angle or SAI. This diagnostic angle can help you determine if the control arm or knuckle has been damaged. The only significant TSBs listed for suspension system concerns noise coming from the upper strut mounts in the front and rear on 2002-2006 models.

2005-2010 Chevy Cobalt & Pontiac G5
July 2011, page 28

The rear suspension angles can be adjusted with the installation of a shim that is placed between the rear hub and axle mounting plate. A shim should be able to change toe or camber 1 to 1.5 degrees. It has been reported that on some rear disc brake vehicles, the introduction of a shim may cause the caliper to bind or the rotor to strike the caliper bracket.

 

 

 

 

1999-2005 Hyundai Sonata
March 2011, page 18

One of the most common failures on the Sonata are the rear springs. Make sure to check for cracked or broken coils at the top or bottom of the spring. If a rear spring is broken or weak, it can cause increased negative camber and the toe to be out of specification.

 

 

 

2005-2010 Ford Mustang
February 2011, page 14

The front lower control arms also use a “Hydro” or hydraulic rubber bushing in the rear mount. Also, bushings in the front control arms can change the camber and caster by ± 1.0º or more if they are worn. Visually inspect the bushing looking for any cracks or separation of the rubber from the shaft and shells.

 

2001-2009 Toyota Prius
April 2011, page 16

Most Prii came with HID headlights. This system has an sensor with an arm connected to the rear  axle that determines the angle of the headlights so that other drivers are not blinded. The linkage can become damaged due to road debris. Also, make sure the ride height is inspected.


2005-2011 Chevrolet Equinox
May 2011, page 20

The rear cams can have significant “cross talk,” so always recheck both camber and toe angles after any adjustment of either cam.

2007-2011 GM Lambda Full-Sized SUVs
December 2010, page 20

The lower ball joints and tie-rods require final tightening with a torque angle gauge. On the lower ball joints, tighten the mounting nut to 30 ft/lbs plus 120 degrees. It is almost impossible to get a socket and torque angle gauge over the nut and stud, but it can be done with a combination wrench and Allen wrench. Just remember, 120 degrees equals approximately two wrench flats. For tie-rod studs, tighten the nut to 22 ft/lbs and 120 degrees.

2006-2010 Chevrolet Impala
May 2010, page 18

Adjusting the camber requires some extra work. GM did not elongate the lower bolt holes that attach the strut to the knuckle on some vehicles or build adjustability into the upper strut mount. The 2010 documentation shows movement without requiring slotting.

Before performing the alignment, inspect any vehicle to find out if the alignment angles are adjustable or require extra parts, special procedures or kits.

2006-2010 Ford Fusion
February 2010, page 10

Be aware, to adjust the camber or caster in the front requires replacement of the upper ball joint with an aftermarket adjustable unit. Also, the caster can be adjusted with new upper “plus or minus” control arms from Ford.

 

 

 

 

 


2007-2010 Dodge Caliber
March 2010, page 20

Caster and camber are not adjustable angles with conventional methods. Chrysler recommends shifting the cradle to adjust the camber and caster. Camber is adjustable with a lower bolt kit for the strut. The kit will only give ±1º of camber. Aftermarket camber adjustment bolts are also available from various manufacturers.

 

 

 

 

2002-2010 Jeep Liberty
September 2010, page 22

On 2008-2010 KK models, the front knuckles are aluminum and the ball joints and tie-rod ends need to be torqued and turned an additional 90 degrees. The upper ball joint and tie-rod have a torque spec of 30 ft/lbs. Lower ball joints have a torque spec of 40 ft/lbs. Failure to follow the proper torque procedure will result in damage to the knuckle.

2003-2007 Cadillac CTS
January 2010, page 16

The CTS for years 2003-2007 came with two suspension packages­ – standard and sport. The packages have two different alignment specifications. The RPO codes for these packages can be found on the underside of the spare tire cover. Or, you can check the tire inflation sticker on the driver’s side door pillar for the original tire size. The standard or base model came with 16-inch tires; this is designated as RPO package FE1. But, 17-inch wheels were optional on some 2006-2007 FE1- equipped CTS models. These wheels were dealer installed options.

1997-2004 Chevrolet Corvette August 2010, page 20
Driving the C5 Corvette onto a drive-on lift that is not set up to handle low-slung cars can be difficult. This is one car that may make you realize the limitations of your lift; take your time.

The biggest problem in aligning a C5 Corvette is the owner in some cases. I hate to stereotype Corvette owners, but some the owners are suckers for some of the worse “bolt-on” modifications and advice ever created. But, they are also some of the best informed and enthusiastic  customers in the world. Ask them what they have put on the vehicle and what their expectations are from any alignment. n

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Andrew Markel

Andrew Markel is an ASE Certified Technician and former service writer, and he brings this practical knowledge to the Brake & Front End team as editor.
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