Suspension Brakes 1st Gen Troubles with allignment after suspension mods

Discussion in 'Tuning and Performance' started by 00zero, Aug 19, 2010.

  1. 00zero

    00zero New Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Ok i recently installed Pro-flex Front control arm brushing, trailing arm brushing, ireland fixed camber plates, koni yellows and dinan springs.

    all the installs went fine and i haven't had a squeek, creek or rattle out of any thing.

    The rear does seem about 1/2" to 3/4" lower than the front.

    I went to get it aligned earlier in the week and i have run into a few issues. I did not get it aligned.

    First, i have -1.5 camber on the drivers side and -2.0 on the passengers side. i know this is in spec but can i even it our a bit?

    I do think that my pass strut mount was a bit bent (very small amount) and i did have the sub frame out.

    Do i need to loosen the subframe and push it toward the drivers side to even it out?

    What is proper procedure for "adjusting" the strut tower?

    Second, is i have about -2 camber on the rear. i was under it impression that the 1/2" drop i should get with the dinan springs wasn't enough to throw camber this out of wack (their spec is -1.3). I went with the small drop so i didn't have to bother with lower control arms.

    could i have installed anything wrong to cause the extra drop or effect the camber?

    any advice would be appreciated. i am getting antsy because all this extra toe-in is cramping my style and i understand that suspension mods are infinitely better after an alignment.

    thanks in advance.

    Jonathan
     
  2. KC Jr 54

    KC Jr 54 New Member

    Jun 3, 2009
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    How many miles do you have on your car currently ? For the rear, you could be dealing with worn out control arm bushings.

    For the front, i think -.5 is with in reason of the pass strut tower being out of spec. There is a decent thread on NAM (sorry) that illustrates and "non-violent mushroom repair). Personally, i used a 2x4 and a small sledge (2lb) to knock (SLOWLY w/ easy "taps") it back down. I then installed some Craven Strut tower defenders, which IMO are the only ones worth getting. I am on stock upper bushings atm, and both sides i am at -.3 camber, so i did something right.

    As far as pushing the subframe over, it certainly cant hurt IMO. You are only dealing with a -.25 swing, and that is not much of anything, and a simple nudge could solve it.

    Keep in mind the rear wheel arch is lower then the front, so dont use that to compare front to rear. The jack points would be better for that.

    Only thing in the rear, did you drill out the stock bushing spacer and re-use it ? If not, this could be causing the extra low, and the extra Camber.
     
  3. BThayer23

    BThayer23 Well-Known Member

    Jun 12, 2009
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    The front camber isn't adjustable, so there's no way to fine tune each side with fixed camber plates. There is no procedure for adjusting the strut tower. If the front camber is out of spec, the dealer will send the car to a body shop and have them adjust the car that way.

    Camber, toe, and to a lesser degree caster will be affected by mushroomed strut towers. However, it's not unusual to see the right and left side off by a couple tenths of a degree, so some of the problem may be due to manufacturing tolerances. If you took the stock upper strut mounts off and replaced them with the IE fixed plates, compare the two old stock mounts. You'll see any sign of mushrooming in the stock plate very clearly - all three mounting bolts should point in the same direction. If they're spread apart, you had some mushrooming.

    I'm pretty sure you're gonna have to pick up a set of rear lower control arms to get the rear back within spec. There's only about 0.4-0.5 degrees of adjustability in the rear. There's an eccentric-sleeved bolt that secures the stock lower control arm, and if you rotate the eccentric sleeve you can adjust the camber. But the lowering springs are gonna give you at least another half degree of camber, so to get them back within spec the adjustable control arms are useful.
     
  4. Crashton

    Crashton Club Coordinator

    Jun 4, 2009
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    I don't know what year the OP's MINI is, but I believe it is only 05 & 06 MINI's that have a bit of rear camber adjustability.
     
  5. k-huevo

    k-huevo Club Coordinator

    May 6, 2009
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    The sub frame has indexing dowels up front, so no way to adjust that orientation. Be sure the front shocks are inserted all the way in the knuckle, and the upper washer is above the spring plate on both sides. The studs on IE fixed plates are a slightly smaller diameter than stock, so the plate can be pulled or pushed a minor distance to improve camber disparity. In your case, standing in front facing the car, loosen the nuts and push the shocks toward left, that's driver side inward and passenger side outward. Of course as mentioned, before trying adjustment be sure there is no deformation to begin with.

    I don't know where you would locate these, but I know they exist, and that's spring shims. They are made of stiff material and are placed above the rear lower spring perch. Try an additional 3/8ths shim on the rears and see what you get.
     
  6. 00zero

    00zero New Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    thanks for all the info / help

    I have a 2004 so no stock rear camber adj.

    ok, i just looked at the old plates and i have a bit of mushrooming. i guess i will have to get out the bfh and 2x4".

    i have 50k on the car and installed the proflex rear brushing inserts which should tighten them up, i didn't feel any play in the stockers when installing

    i don't need the exact same front camber spec but i figured if i have the time i might as well try and get it close.

    i did drill out all the appropriate parts on the rear (washer and spring seat). I just wanted to make sure before i started bugging dinan.

    -Jonathan
     
  7. BThayer23

    BThayer23 Well-Known Member

    Jun 12, 2009
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    Honestly you probably won't feel half a degree difference between sides. On the track with sticky tires, you might be able to feel it. I had the opportunity to assist my mechanic with an alignment one time. I swear if you breathe on the car, it'll change camber by 0.1 degree. It's really a very small distance.

    I'm not sure what the actual number is, but if the distance from the ground to the top of the strut is 36", the horizontal distance equivalent to 0.1 degrees at the top of the strut is 0.06", or 1/16". That's very small. 0.5 degrees is 0.31", or 5/16".
     
  8. KC Jr 54

    KC Jr 54 New Member

    Jun 3, 2009
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    Were you in the car when the alignment specs were gathered, or any weight in the drivers seat ? If not, once you sit in the car you will gain some camber on the drivers side.
     
  9. 00zero

    00zero New Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    That is a good point, i was not it the car.

    So i talked to the dinan tech. The rear thing isn't unusual (so i didn't install anything wrong. YAY!). They told me to use the camber adjustment i told them i have an 04 and no adj, so there response was there is enough play in the early wishbones to get some of the camber out. Not confidence inspiring.

    So i guess ill get rear control arms. Any recommendations on a brand? i was thinking the old TSW ones as the brushing on my rsb haven't made a peep and i figure their control arms would be just as quite and maintenance free. My second choice was helix. (i like to minimize additional maintenance :D)

    For the front ill just fix the strut tower and slide the subframe as far to the drivers side as i can. I'm only looking for a few .1 of a degree.

    Thanks for everything.

    -Jonathan
     
  10. k-huevo

    k-huevo Club Coordinator

    May 6, 2009
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    SPC control arms.

    The sub frame cannot be moved because of the dowel cones.
     
  11. Rally

    Rally New Member
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    May 5, 2009
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    Keep in mind that our rear arches are in fact smaller than our front arches and thus you will look lower in the rear than the front even if you aren't. The visual trick becomes more apparent as the tire closes the wheelgap and gets closer to the arch.
     
  12. BThayer23

    BThayer23 Well-Known Member

    Jun 12, 2009
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    H-sports look nice on a blue car. Not much difference in control arms across brands. Just make sure to check the lock nuts once a month. Mine backed out a couple times.
     
  13. 00zero

    00zero New Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    i am going to take the weekend to pound out my passenger side mushroom, wiggle the camber plated towards the drivers side, install tsw rear control arms, cabrio braces, serpentine belt, proflex driver side engine bushings, and put the ss brake lines i have had since October.

    Here is to hoping i get it all done. Thanks for everyone's help

    -Jonathan
     
  14. 00zero

    00zero New Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    i got everything done and aligned.

    both towers were mushroomed it is a bit troubling how easy it is to pound out.

    After the alignment i still have a .5deg difference in camber side to side. I guess ill live with it until i get adj plates, in hind sight i should have just gotten the vorshalg plates to begin with.

    Car handles well, smooth on the highway turn in is near instant. It is very point and hang on.

    -Jonathan
     

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