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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey Friends,

Long story short, I changed inner NSF CV boot and obviously needed tracking done. The steering wheel was about 15 degrees CCW to line up straight, and ESP was kicking in on "spirited corners".

Took it to local 4-wheel alignment garage. Having told them that they COULD adjust the camber (they swore it was not possible!), they have made it worse - it now about 30 degrees CCW to straighten. I saw for myself on the alignment that the tow was 4 degrees bang on each side, but the couldn't quite get the negative camber quite right from the NSF (off by about 2,0).

So despite them setting this up, it got worse and they have left me with a car worse than it was and said there was nothing more they could do!!! I am so annoyed!!!

Could there be anything that I am missing?! I know there are steering angle sensors, pedal sensors and all sorts. It was bang on before I changed the boot, but all I did was take the d/shaft nut out, ball joint and the 6 inner bolts. What could have gone wrong?!

Do I have a pop at the garage, or should I be looking at something else?! Thanks so much in advance...

Matt
 

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For starters front toe should be zero or a very slight toe out. The bottom ball joints are on slots so they want both sides adjusting the same. If when they are set and the front tracking is done the steering wheel is still off centre then the rear is out causing a thrust angle (crabbing the car).
Just take it to a 4 wheel alignment shop that knows what they are doing. The rear toe is adjusted with the trailing bracket having slotted fixing holes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you so much Dave.

The garage had + 0,04 both sides at the front, so pretty close. The alignment showed that the rears were more or less spot on.

The NSF camber was 2,40 or so off compared to the 0,00 on the OSF. Would this cause issues? The operator said that he could move the assembly any closer to match the other. How and why I don't know.

What I don't understand is how the steering wheel can be locked in place, the wheels aligned on a hunter, yet still be THAT far out on the road. If the steering wheel is dead centre and the wheels are (apparently) aligned to within 4 minutes, then it should be very close?!

The garage didn't charge me, and just said there was nothing more they could do.
 

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If they can't get the front camber the same both sides then there is a problem.
Are all the bushes good? One could be moving or badly worn and throwing things out.
When i got mine i replaced all the bushes and had the tracking done and the wheel was out like yours and ESP kicking in. The rear toe/tracking was a mile out.
I did my own 4 wheel alignment with string lines and it drove spot on after. Just had 4 new tyres fitted and all 4 removed had perfect even wear, so must have got it somewhere near.


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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks again Dave.

So if I hear you right, the 2'47' (2 degrees 47 minutes) camber that the NSF is out relative to the OSF, would be sufficient to be putting the this all out of whack? The steering wheel issue AND the ESP stuff?

I am just trying to think what on earth I could have possibly done in doing a simply driveshaft boot change to have thrown it out this much? If was more or less spot on beforehand.

And if the mechanic is correct in that he could not pull the strut ass'y in further to align the camber with the OSF, then that will be an issue, unless I put the OSF out to match the NSF?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
According to the following;


Due to my wheels hugging the arches, the 2'47' is about right - so the OSF which was nearer to zero is the culprit? This need to be set to 2'47' odd to match, right?

Question is, could this be throwing off the toe and causing the ESP? I really wish I knew more about this.... I am willing to learn as much as I can.
 

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When i changed my front bottom ball joints i set them both about the middle of the slot. I put a 7mm drill bit in the slot and pulled the stud up to it and nipped up. Setting them both the same. I checked the camber with an angle finder app on my phone and they were -1.8 and -1.7 degree so near enough.
Could be the uneven camber causing the wheel to be off when driving, but if the tracking was set and the car drives straight but the steering wheel is off and not pulling to one side i would say there is a thrust angle on the rear causing it to crab
 

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Every thing is in that post you linked to, but i don't agree with the numbers. I settled for camber around -1.8 at the front and rear -1.5 (adjustable lower arms) slight front toe out (forgot the setting) and rear very slight toe in. Stable at speed turns and handles mint with no uneven tyre wear.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
If I let the car coast (not holding the wheel), it will pull to the left.

Getting the car to drive straight, I need to hold the steering wheel around 15 degrees (or 11 o'clock if you like).

Therefore, holding the steering wheel absolutely central, I will drift off to the right relative to the amount that it pulls to the left if I don't hold the wheel.

So what would your take on that being?

Also you said -1.8 and -1.5 - what is that relative to in the chart? In terms of ride height?
 

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If it's pulling then it could be the uneven front camber.
The ride height chart shows what the rear camber will be at a given height if all the bushes are good and nothing is bent.
It's not what is best for handling, grip and tyre wear.
Mine was around -2.5 degree and the rear would skip on bumps and let go. I decided -1.5 was best for it and it's prooved to be the case for how i use it. If it was a track car i would increase that a bit.
My ride height is 350mm
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I think you are right Dave.

I am going to check the position of the 16mm's on the ball joint later today to see where they are positioned. The operator said yesterday that he couldn't get it any closer than the 2'47' on the NSF. If that is the case, then the ball joint will be right up to the inside of the wishbone slots. I can't believe that for one minute.

If that is the case then there is something very wrong with the geometry - to the point that it would involved very bad bushes (which it isn't as they are poly'd) or chassis misaligned. Its just not possible.

I am fortunate that I have a very reputable Audi specialist with 4-wheel alignment right on my doorstep, but there is a 2-3 week waiting list. But I have bitten the bullet and booked in there. But I will report back on findings.

In the meantime, what with my TT being my baby, I get anxiety and am very upset. I cannot stand it being not right :(
 

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Could his machine be out? Been dropped maybe. Downoad and angle finder app for your phone and park some where level ish and put phone on the rim. Thats how i set mine and it's been fine. It did take me about 4 hours to do all 4 wheels with the string line though, but it was worth it for the improvement.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The mechanic came back into the waiting area and said "it's all done, but your camber is off and I cannot change this"... as I said. "Sorry mate, but you are wrong". "No... I am not. I have an S3 I know what I am talking about". "Can I see my car please?"

Got to the ramp. "Can I have a 16mm please". Undid one of the nuts on the ball-joint. Ta-da! I think he felt a bit of a tit - as he should.

I checked the steering wheel and is was dead straight. Then I stood there and watched him do the whole job. The machine indeed showed the fronts as 0'04' and 0'05 toe in (NS/OS respectively). Perfectly within tolerance.

Took it out and steering wheel was still so far out. So this is my question - can the camber being 2 degrees out cause that, because I cannot see how it can be? If not it HAS to be the machine?
 

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So you have just had it done again today and this time he was able to move the ball joint?? Have a rough check with a phone app. I set mine both the same using a drill bit to set them in the same position when i fitted new ball joints and they were very close 0.1 degree difference. Are both ball joints the same? is something bent?
One tyre running flat 0 degree and 1 at -2.4 degree will cause a slight pull i would think. Or it could be from the rear inducing a crab.
Take it somewhere else that does 4 wheel alignment and know what they are doing
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thank you so much for going through this with me Dave. I appreciate your time and knowledge very much.

Yes - the tracking has now been done 3 times. The last time having moved the ball joint, but as I said, according to the mechanic, he could only move it from 2'50 to 2'47 and "couldn't get it any closer?! Can't be right.

I would say the rear is unlikely as the whole set up was running perfectly prior to my changing the inner boot on the NSF. I obviously noted the pull then. So it should have just been a case of moving the ball joint back in line and adjusting the tow after.

How difficult can that be?

I am booked in to the Audi specialist on 15th. I just have to be patient.... sigh
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Automotive tire Wood Motor vehicle Automotive lighting Automotive wheel system
ic"

OK - so the "mechanic" has moved the balljoint all the way in and the machine is still telling that it is 2.5degrees negative camber... so yes - according to this image, it can't go further....

That CANNOT be right.... unless it is a dud balljoint - but is always a febi....

I'm lost on this one. The only way to correct this would be to get some adjustable top mounts. I can accept it could be a way off as it is lowered by around 50mm at the front, but why then is the OSF buts bang in the centre and reading around 0'40?!?

More hair being pulled out here!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
Valid point - the lot, but when the car gets treated on equal ground to the mrs (!), I can assure you that the subframe and arms are damage-free (checked last night) and all bushes are poly items from the wishbone, ARB and top mounts. Leaves only the balljoint - but as you will see from the photo, this is a febi-bilstein item.

The specialist that it is booked into has said - being that it is a "new car" to them, they will be giving it the once over - assume nothing and check everything. I admire their ethos.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
UPDATE: Took the car to the Audi Specialist locally. In his own words said he could see the issue as soon as he put in up on the ramp. The report reads;

"The last person to do the tracking has done all the adjustment on the N/S which is why the steering is not straight. The ESP light comes on as the wheel need to be aligned"

They didn't insist or do the hard sell on a 4 wheel alignment at their premises, but I am choosing to give them the chance as they were so adamant of the fault. Booked in Thursday.

To be continued...
 
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