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Old 04-14-2021, 11:41 AM   #1
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How to interpret alignment printout

Can anyone translate this alignment printout for me? I just had it aligned at the local M-B dealer, which does a lot of Sprinter work including small Class Cs and conversion vans, but I don't know what I'm looking at here.

I do know that it's not wandering around the lane any more, from the 10 mile ride home on highways. I had also dropped the tire pressure before this, to the pressures shown in the tire tables for 110% of the actual scaled axle loads. It used to ride like it was on wooden wagon wheels at 61 psi all around. It also has an air suspension in the rear, though I don't think that matters if the ride height is correct. And lastly, I was getting some slight feathering on the outside edges of the steer tires, which are the original Continental Vancos with 17,000 miles on them.

While I used to drive in a former life, I was never a mechanic, and I know even less about alignment. I can, and have, done internet research on this stuff, but Sprinters seem to be peculiar animals.

I'm guessing the pink regions are out of spec, blue is in spec, and gray is non-adjustable, given that it has leaf springs in the rear. But how close is this to where it should be, based on experience and what M-B thinks it should be, which from reading, isn't always the same thing? I don't know if this van has adjustable camber bolts either, which a topic I see a lot of discussion.

Any input would be appreciated.
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Old 04-14-2021, 06:34 PM   #2
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Black arrows on the top of the scale bar indicate the direction the adjustment is out of specs. Center of the bar is optimum point .

Different alignment machines have different print outs and 13 years retired this printout is Greek to me too .

I'll download and blow the printout up some more, to see if anything troubling pops out.

But if control on the road has improved , I'm thinking your good to go.

EDIT: Camber damn near equal and toe in, bang on spec .
Toe in , was the outer edge feathering, cause .
Were the tires rotated ?
If I'd done this alignment, on my own vehicle , I'd be happy .
Particularly given the handling improvement.
Sprinter was brand new to Dodge the year I retired , so I never aligned one , so can't comment on caster adjustment , but on strut front suspension , no caster adjustment is normal.
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Old 04-14-2021, 07:46 PM   #3
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The modern alignment machines have switched from degrees angles for everything, where as the older machines used degrees = for caster & camber, and inches for toe.

Looking at your print out. The front camber (lean in and out of the tire) was a bit out of spec. Negative camber is the top of the tire leaning towards to middle of the vehicle. Positive camber is the top of the tire leaning out towards the fender.

Camber: (medium cause of wear on tires)
They went from -1.1 (left side) & -0.9 (right side) to +0.8 (left side) & +0.6 (right side). Basically they changed the inward lean of both tires to a outward lean.

Caster: (does not cause tire wear)
Here they made no adjustment. It was in-spec. and you did not complain about the vehicle pulling to one side or the other.
Positive Caster (which is indicated) is the angle measured between the lower and upper ball joint. Positive is the lean a bicycle has. It helps in stability at speed and wheel centering after making corners.

Toe: (the biggest and fastest cause of tire wear)
The Toe-In was significant on both tires. 0.30 (Left side) & 0.35 (Right side), with a total toe in on both tires reading 0.65
They adjusted the toe close to zero toe. 0.09 (Left side) & 0.09 (Right side), with a total toe in on both tires reading 0.18

The steer ahead reading is the direction the front tires were leaning towards. Both are virtually zero.

Thrust is the angle measured from dead center to which way the vehicle (crabs) down the road. Your is negligible.

As you said the rear suspension is a solid axle with leaf springs. All they can check for is if the is bent or the thrust angle is out, indicating worn spring bushings.
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Old 04-15-2021, 06:01 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skip426 View Post
Black arrows on the top of the scale bar indicate the direction the adjustment is out of specs. Center of the bar is optimum point .

Different alignment machines have different print outs and 13 years retired this printout is Greek to me too .

I'll download and blow the printout up some more, to see if anything troubling pops out.

But if control on the road has improved , I'm thinking your good to go.

EDIT: Camber damn near equal and toe in, bang on spec .
Toe in , was the outer edge feathering, cause .
Were the tires rotated ?
If I'd done this alignment, on my own vehicle , I'd be happy .
Particularly given the handling improvement.
Sprinter was brand new to Dodge the year I retired , so I never aligned one , so can't comment on caster adjustment , but on strut front suspension , no caster adjustment is normal.
This one might be easier to read. I think I reduced the original too much making it a bit fuzzy.

Thanks for the insights. As I said earlier, I was a driver, and turned a wrench on simple stuff (parts changes), but alignments are totally alien to me other than 'getting an alignment'. This has been a bit of an education.
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Old 04-15-2021, 06:14 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D Gardiner View Post
Looking at your print out. The front camber (lean in and out of the tire) was a bit out of spec. Negative camber is the top of the tire leaning towards to middle of the vehicle. Positive camber is the top of the tire leaning out towards the fender.

Camber: (medium cause of wear on tires)
They went from -1.1 (left side) & -0.9 (right side) to +0.8 (left side) & +0.6 (right side). Basically they changed the inward lean of both tires to a outward lean.
That makes me wonder if camber changes with load. I've heard (here) that M-B aligns these vans at the factory, empty, and it now weighs 3500 lb more than the published empty curb weight. And I'm still about a ton light, and also about 1000 lb light on the front axle and 2000 lb light on the rear, according to published GAWRs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by D Gardiner View Post
Toe: (the biggest and fastest cause of tire wear)
The Toe-In was significant on both tires. 0.30 (Left side) & 0.35 (Right side), with a total toe in on both tires reading 0.65
They adjusted the toe close to zero toe. 0.09 (Left side) & 0.09 (Right side), with a total toe in on both tires reading 0.18
Does that change with loading, too. If it's far out, it's hard to believe it left the factory that way.

In the end, it seems to track straight now without twitching back and forth. Tire wear I won't know about for some time, but I'm not as worried about that as about handling. These Vancos don't have a good reputation for long life, so I'm just planning on them wearing out soon. Maybe I'll rotate the fronts, just for fun.

The steering wheel is also straight now. It was a little off-center before. The "Steer Ahead" angle I assume is the wheel, which reads 0.00 deg. after alignment. That alone wasn't enough for me to take any action, but the twitchiness certainly was, and the steer tire feathering on the outside edges started me thinking it wasn't just me, since I read (here) that it's an indication of alignment issues.

Thanks all for shining some light on this. It's been an education.
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Old 04-15-2021, 09:32 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KanzKran View Post
That makes me wonder if camber changes with load. I've heard (here) that M-B aligns these vans at the factory, empty, and it now weighs 3500 lb more than the published empty curb weight. And I'm still about a ton light, and also about 1000 lb light on the front axle and 2000 lb light on the rear, according to published GAWRs.
Yes, you are correct. As the vehicle is loaded with more weight, the suspension compresses, gaining negative camber. Which is what the alignment print out indicated.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KanzKran View Post
Does that change with loading, too. If it's far out, it's hard to believe it left the factory that way.
Yes, correct again. Loading, be it what the coach builder added in cabinets, furniture, amenities, or what you add in weight with camping gear/supplies.

With that said, I'm sure you are pretty well loaded as the coach sits now, and the alignment should stay in-spec for some time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KanzKran View Post
In the end, it seems to track straight now without twitching back and forth. Tire wear I won't know about for some time, but I'm not as worried about that as about handling. These Vancos don't have a good reputation for long life, so I'm just planning on them wearing out soon. Maybe I'll rotate the fronts, just for fun.

The steering wheel is also straight now. It was a little off-center before. The "Steer Ahead" angle I assume is the wheel, which reads 0.00 deg. after alignment. That alone wasn't enough for me to take any action, but the twitchiness certainly was, and the steer tire feathering on the outside edges started me thinking it wasn't just me, since I read (here) that it's an indication of alignment issues.
The outer tire wear and the twichiness you felt was mostly coming from the toe in condition. If you want to play with a toe degree to inches calculator, there is one here.
https://robrobinette.com/ConvertToeDegreesToInches.htm

Assuming your tires are 245 75R16s, with a toe-in of .30 & .35 totaling 0.65, we can calculate a total toe-in of 11/16". Quite a bit. More than enough to cause what you felt.
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Old 04-15-2021, 09:41 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D Gardiner View Post
Assuming your tires are 245 75R16s, with a toe-in of .30 & .35 totaling 0.65, we can calculate a total toe-in of 11/16". Quite a bit. More than enough to cause what you felt.
LT215/85R16 tires all around, actually. But point taken.

That's why I came here, for interpretation and opinion.
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