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Discussion Starter #1
Well I changed my upper control arms, lower control arms, and strut rod bushings, unfortunately I do NOT have an alignment machine at my work so I had to stripe all of the adjustments with a paint pen and get it roughly back together to drive even half way decent.

Today I've been to 3 different so called "alignment" shops and "service centers" only to hear to my dismay that most of their techs "set the toe and go" or were completely unwilling to touch my car. "It's too low" "The tires are too wide" "There's no way we can hit those alignment marks" and not a single shop would even put it on an alignment rack. Probably in my best interest since these shops and/or their techs seem completely incompetent and/or lazy/unwilling to do the whole job. With the 1 1/4" drop kit and 255/50/17's I find that the tech article alignment specs would wear the tires best. I wish I still had access to a machine I'd do it my dang self.

Hopefully tomorrow goes better than today, I have a lead on a guy from a friend who's not afraid to do a real alignment and set it to almost anything the customer wants.
 

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I feel your pain. I also have had similar problems, although around here they are more than willing to just take your money and not do the job properly, so at least you got the no up front. My advise actually would be to go to a large body shop instead of a dealership or chain service center. The people who do alignments there are used to suspension being bent and tweaked in every way, so they are used to setting all the adjustments. Also, what I do when I have to pull my suspension apart is mark the adjusters to the frame in 2 places and make sure both of them line back up. With only 1 mark, it can be lined up and still be quite a bit off, but with 2 it gets it much closer.
 

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If you were closer I would do it for you... Sry to hear about that man... I work in this industry and I can tell you it gets worse by the month... Last week we had a guy call on the phone wanting his 95 Thunderbird suspension redone. They quoted him upper and lower control arms. Sway bar links. Inner and outer tie rods, plus the sway bar bushings as to what the guy asked for...1700 dollars I just about fell off my chair... The parts were so outrageous and over priced. 210 each just for the lower control arms no wonder the guy never came in...
 

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Yikes! I would guess that would be closer to $1k at our shop depending on what brand parts were used! My friend has lifetime alignments with Firestone for only $200 or so per car. Very nice! I took his corolla in two weeks in a row since they lined it after the struts and told me the inner tie rods were loose, which they were :) My local alignment guy set the toe and measured everything on the jag for only $40. I would use him for my bird soon, but I think lifetime from Firestone is how I'm going! That's also only because he is getting out of the game at the end of the year and my suspension won't be done by then.
 

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That sucks Chris. The only time I turn away alignments is with 22s or bigger. Good luck with finding competent tech.

Rob, Not sure about Texas firestoned but in Missouri most of the time you get toe and go treatment
 

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It took me forever to find someone that would do mine too, with the drop and wider tires. It took a little while longer to find one that would acknowledge that they could do the rear as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Well I finally found a place to do mine, it was what I would consider a failing sears service center on the other side of town. I was refered there by a friend and told to ask for a certain employee. Needless to say while he wasn't very thunderbird savy he was an alignment specialist and knew how to get the job done.

He wound up getting it right where I wanted it on the front but wasn't able to adjust the camber on the left/drivers side rear so he aligned my right/passenger side rear to compliment the unadjustable side, we believe that the eccentric bushing may be damaged in the drivers side rear because it just wouldn't adjust but since it was within limits he adjusted the passenger side rear to compliment/mimic the drivers side camber setting.

Regardless I'm satisfied. The alignment was done professionally with no adjustment left undone. The car tracks straight, the wheel is center, I got the front to the settings I wanted (slightly different the the tech article).

Finally someone who wasn't afraid to do there job.
 

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I am losing confidence in most shops. It seems hard to get anything done lately with lazy and shotty work. Then they complain about a little rust.. Quit whining, wear goggles and get to work! My money is vary, vary green!

I don't know if it would have helped, but I would have borrowed some wheels/tires from someone and swapped them in before getting the work done. I don't know if that is even possible for your car, but it came to mind as I read your post.
 

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I am losing confidence in most shops. It seems hard to get anything done lately with lazy and shotty work. Then they complain about rust.. Quit whining, wear goggles and get to work! My money is vary, vary green!

I don't know if it would have helped, but I would have borrowed some wheels/tires from someone and swapped them in before getting the work done. I don't know if that is even possible for your car, but it came to mind as I read your post.
My sister had a crank sensor replaced on her Hyundai in Maine, it was rusty, and the final bill was almost $800.00

The rust was bad and I tried to change it at first, but after two timing cover bolts broke off because of the rust, I told her to take it to a shop. I was working in the sand in her driveway, didn't have access to a lift or good tools or anything when I was up there. So don't underestimate the power of 'rust cancer' - it sucks to have to work on a rusty car. You can be assured you will be drilling out and re-tapping a few bolts!
 

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What is Rust ?? :tongue:


LOL I feel your pain on the alignment situation .. tried to get one locally and they wanted $800 to replace a couple tie rod ends / idler arm on my cousins Chevy pickup, they marked up the parts x2 and wanted $400 in labor. I changed the parts myself and just had them do the alignment. The guy behind the counter acted like he was the guy doing the actual alignment .. wheel works sucks.

On that note, I have a buddy who worked for the same company / different location .. he was a Wyo-tech trained, "certified" tire changer - they bumped him to the alignment machine and he didnt know anything about doing alignments. Needless to say I dont have much confidence in these type of individuals or the companies that employ them.

I know the alignment machine is so simple, it tells you exactly what bolts to adjust to get things in spec .. but it takes a bit more knowledge to set things up properly.
 
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