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Old 03-23-2011, 01:05 PM   #1
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Wheel Alignment

I am about to buy new tires and noted a little unusual tire wear on the front tires. I thought I would get an alignment when I buy the new tires, however the price for alignment is all over the board. One place says $375, one says $150 and another says $90. The lower prices insist that all I need is toe in and a full alignment is not necessary, some have even claimed camber alignment can't be done. I need help with this so I hope you can shed some light on it. Thanks in advance.
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Old 03-23-2011, 01:24 PM   #2
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There are basically 3 levels of alignment.. The first is a "Front end alignment" and I truly do not recommend.. This alignment assumes the rear is perfect.

The next is a "power line" alignment.. in this one they align the front, to the back, so if the rear end is perfect you go down the road like this ----------
but if the back is not square you may (This is highly exagratted) be looking like this \\\\\\\ By the way, there are at least 3 airplanes that really do fly that way. They were made by Rockwell and they are test platforms.

The most expensive, (And best) is a 4-wheel alignment... You go down the road like this ------- when that's done. In this they make sure the rear end is square first.
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Old 03-24-2011, 07:31 AM   #3
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Look for a shop that deals in medium and heavy truck tires and alignment. They have specialized equipment for this application.

For the normal automotive and light truck guys, their equipment is not capable of camber adjustment. To make a camber adjustment on a large beam axle the axle must actually be bent. Only heavy truck alignment shops have these capabilities. They are also able to align the rear and front to the chassis so the vehicle tracks down the road straight and not sideways or "crabbing" as it's sometimes called. Most of the heavy truck shops use what is known as "Bee-Line" equipment, it's a name brand and other manufacturers are out there so it's not a must.

The large truck shops aren't cheap, but it's a case of getting what you pay for. They will give you a base line qoute which will vary according to what is needed up or down. Would you rather have the local car and p/u guy set the toe-in
, charge you $90 bucks and send you on or have a competent shop which is experienced in large trucks and beam axles check the camber, toe-in and 4 wheel alignment to make sure it's right. Alignment isn't something you have done often on a MH so the expense to get the job done right is well spent.

I owned and operated class 8 road tractors for 15 years so I do know a little about this in case you were wondering if I was talking from experience.
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Old 03-24-2011, 11:37 AM   #4
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Agree with above. Had a new 09 DS that was not aligned right from the start. The Cummings rep noted it when they were doing the State Inspection so that I could get the MH registred (dealer was from out of state). They took it to a local truck shop to have it aligned. They contacted Spartan - and as noted above, the rear end was not square and need adjusted first prior to aligning the front end. Work out fine.

In my old motor home I had it aligned at the Local Goodyear Truck Center with new tire purchase. The mechanic they had working there had worked for Greyhound x 20 years and was well familar with alignment in 40-45 ft buses. He did a nice job and never had any issues.
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Old 03-24-2011, 12:56 PM   #5
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I have used an alignment shop that specializes in school buses and delivery trucks. They also do many motorhomes, both gas and diesel. They do a 4-wheel laser alignment for $79.95, plus an extra charge if more work or parts are needed. And they let me watch and answer my questions while they work.
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Old 03-24-2011, 08:19 PM   #6
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MD Alignment

Alignment is a very sticky subject. It is not the equipment, it is the guy doing it. We use shops that have been trained by Mike Becket. Go to mdalign.com to find a competent shop. If you find a shop that says we have to bend the axle, well, look for another shop. If they have to bend the axle, you have a real problem.

Alignment can be done by anyone with a tape measure, a piece of string, and a protactor. Anything else is just something to make the job go faster or quickly train someone who knows nothing about alignment.

Mike Becket does seminars all over the United States and advises, truck manufacturers and tire manufacturers. I don't think anyone knows more than he does. He also wrote two books, one on tire wear and the other on alignment. Both available at his website, and great reading if you are into that sort of thing.
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Old 03-24-2011, 08:39 PM   #7
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I was quoted $150 for a front end alignment at a truck only shop. It ended up being $350 as they had to change the camber caster bushings to get in specs. It also took about 4-5 hours. Go to a facility that can handle the bigger trucks. I called the Ford dealerships and they would not touch my Ford E350 Super Duty.
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Old 03-25-2011, 08:57 AM   #8
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Thanks

Thank you for all your input. It was very informative. I did go to a facility that handles trucks and medium size trucks and RV's only. They wanted to check the MH tires before I bought the new tires so he could see how the tires were wearing. I did have a straight axle so camber alignment was not necessary. Checked the toe-in and toe-out and everything is fine. He said after 50,000 miles the wear was not significant enough to worry about it.
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