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Went to get alignment today and they couldn't do it because...

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Old 06-13-2007, 02:59 PM   #1
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Default Went to get alignment today and they couldn't do it because...

...I have a bent front lower control arm (actually called a lower a-arm).

http://www.trademotion.com/partlocat...12&catalogid=1

Click the image to open in full size.

That is the link to the GM schematic for the part. It is part # 9 on that figure.

I looked into UMI, BMR, and Spohn for a replacement. The pair runs about $369.99 from all of them. These are he ones I am looking at specifically:

http://www.umiperformance.com/2300?category_id=34

Click the image to open in full size.

Dealer replacements run $190/each so $380 per pair with my dad's discount so I would rather go the aftermarket route for the same price.

Anyone have experience with these a-arms. I wish I didn't have to replace them because the passenger side that is bent I can't even tell by looking at it. The guy that was going to do the alignment has been doing them for 40+ yrs. and he said when he went to measure things were off by a lot and he couldn't do the alingment. I may order them in a few weeks if I decide to replace them, which I most likely will.

Freaking suspension. $400 down the drain
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Old 06-13-2007, 03:57 PM   #2
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Lower a-arm doesn't ususally bend. I don't trust any alignment shop. If anything the knuckle is bent or they didn't feel like taking the time to get it right without some extra cash.
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Old 06-13-2007, 07:19 PM   #3
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a arms only bend from a hard wack. 9 out of 10 times the spindel bends wich is #2 on your diagram. now umi is top notch hands down products my car has everything umi makes for the 98 to 02 f body. i would get a second opinion.
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Old 06-13-2007, 10:08 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ls1pwrdss
a arms only bend from a hard wack. 9 out of 10 times the spindel bends wich is #2 on your diagram. now umi is top notch hands down products my car has everything umi makes for the 98 to 02 f body. i would get a second opinion.
Yeah I looked at it when I got home and was like WTF where is it bent? Will get a second opinion from my trusted mechanic who mounts and balances tires for me and does a lot of work on the family's daily drivers. I don't have the freaking cash for a $500 replacement job plus another $65 for the alignment. That's nearly $600 and that's a conservative estimate .
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Old 06-16-2007, 04:07 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ls1pwrdss
a arms only bend from a hard wack. 9 out of 10 times the spindel bends wich is #2 on your diagram. now umi is top notch hands down products my car has everything umi makes for the 98 to 02 f body. i would get a second opinion.
I will check that #2, the spindel, that might be what he is referring to. At first he said it was a front lower control arm, but I looked online and only saw rears so I assumed he was referring to the front lower a-arm. I will try to take it to my mechanic this week. It doesn't look like anything is bent to me, but I don't know how much of a bend would throw the machine off.
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Old 06-16-2007, 08:34 PM   #6
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I hit a curb a while ago in my formula and no one could seem to give me an answer as to what was wrong with it. I always wondered how they could tell something like an a arm or spindle is bent? Especially if it's something miniscule. My problem ended up being a bent whell. 3 different places, 6 times and the 2nd time at the 3rd place they get it figured out.
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Old 06-16-2007, 09:23 PM   #7
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Look real close at the front ear(bushing-end) and compare it to the other side. That's where it's most likely to bend. It doesn't take much of a bend to keep it from being able to align it to specs.
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Old 06-17-2007, 01:35 AM   #8
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When something is bent real bad it's easy to tell, but when a spindle, control arm, subframe,etc., is tweaked a little it's very hard to tell by looking at it. I like to use a tape measurer and find center points from which to compare the left and right sides. I actually aligned my T/A today and was surprised by how much you can swing the front camber and caster adjustments. There is actually a special tool that makes adjusting it much easier but of course I don't have one and had to adjust it with a prybar.
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Old 06-17-2007, 11:11 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YEV33
When something is bent real bad it's easy to tell, but when a spindle, control arm, subframe,etc., is tweaked a little it's very hard to tell by looking at it. I like to use a tape measurer and find center points from which to compare the left and right sides. I actually aligned my T/A today and was surprised by how much you can swing the front camber and caster adjustments. There is actually a special tool that makes adjusting it much easier but of course I don't have one and had to adjust it with a prybar.
I had so many people tell me that camber isn't adjustable on our cars. How did you go about doing it? I'm just going to try and find some specialty shop to take mine and get them to give it a real alignment / check everything out.
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Old 06-18-2007, 06:17 PM   #10
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The Camber certainly is adjustable.
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Old 06-18-2007, 09:48 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VIP1
The Camber certainly is adjustable.
I've had so many dumb ***** tell me that it isn't. I'm like, how is it not? Every car is camber adjustable. What specifically in our cars allows camber adjustments?
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Old 06-18-2007, 10:04 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beaflag VonRathburg
What specifically in our cars allows camber adjustments?
Sorry, but I don't know how/where the adjustment is.
I just know that the Camber is adjustable.
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Old 06-18-2007, 10:25 PM   #13
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Only adjustable pieces on our cars from the factory are the tie rod ends and the lower a-arms, where they bolt to the k-member. The bolts that go into the k-member go into slots, not holes, so that camber and caster can be adjusted by moving the bolts in the slots.
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Old 06-18-2007, 11:47 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beaflag VonRathburg
I had so many people tell me that camber isn't adjustable on our cars. How did you go about doing it? I'm just going to try and find some specialty shop to take mine and get them to give it a real alignment / check everything out.
As was already posted the lower control arm is bolted to the subframe and the holes on the subframe are slotted so you can adjust camber and caster. You can pry the control arm away from the subframe or towards it to achive the adjustment you need. Prying it away from the subrame is easy, prying towards the subframe requires a little creativity. GM does have a special tool to make this much easier, I am going to try to find one reasonably priced. I am a tech at an Audi dealer and we use a very similar tool to align the rear axles on the TT's. I tried using it on my T/A and it didn't work that well.
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Old 06-30-2007, 10:25 AM   #15
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Thanks, good information in this thread. I noticed the car sits lower in the right front (passenger) side. There is about 2.5" instead of 3" between the tire and top of the wheel well. Looks like something is amiss, but I haven't had time to get the wheels/tires off to check. Will keep you guys posted.
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Old 06-30-2007, 10:25 AM
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