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Old 04-14-2021, 12:41 PM   #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, 07:34 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, 08:46 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, 07:01 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, 07:14 AM   #5
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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, 10:32 AM   #6
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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, 10:41 AM   #7
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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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Old 10-14-2021, 03:57 PM   #8
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Updated

After driving 7500 miles since the alignment, almost all of which was sedate highway driving, I'm getting what I'd call severe tire wear of the front tires. The outside edge is wearing fast, where before the alignment wear seemed to be uniform across the tread, or at least I couldn't see any wear at all (17,500 miles on original tires).

The driver side tire is wearing faster than the passenger side, by about 2:1. It's basically bald along the outside edge. The passenger side tire has tread, but it's definitely more worn than the inside edge. I can only guess there is too much positive camber.

Before the alignment: DS -1.1 deg, and PS -0.9.

After the alignment, DS +0.8 deg, PS +0.6 deg. (see report posted above)

I've heard that the factory sets alignment on the empty van. Is it possible that the settings used by the dealer are factory settings which assume an empty van, and that when loaded it 'squats' a bit, reducing the positive camber? I'm debating with myself whether to bring this up to the dealer, as they do what they can to shield their techs from the unwashed bottomless wallets known as customers (at least my dealer) and I don't want to spend more money for them to tell me it's correctly aligned. Got a taste of that when I complained about the blind spot monitor indicating empty space half the time.
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Old 10-18-2021, 05:42 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KanzKran View Post
After driving 7500 miles since the alignment, almost all of which was sedate highway driving, I'm getting what I'd call severe tire wear of the front tires. The outside edge is wearing fast, where before the alignment wear seemed to be uniform across the tread, or at least I couldn't see any wear at all (17,500 miles on original tires).

The driver side tire is wearing faster than the passenger side, by about 2:1. It's basically bald along the outside edge. The passenger side tire has tread, but it's definitely more worn than the inside edge. I can only guess there is too much positive camber.

Before the alignment: DS -1.1 deg, and PS -0.9.

After the alignment, DS +0.8 deg, PS +0.6 deg. (see report posted above)

I've heard that the factory sets alignment on the empty van. Is it possible that the settings used by the dealer are factory settings which assume an empty van, and that when loaded it 'squats' a bit, reducing the positive camber? I'm debating with myself whether to bring this up to the dealer, as they do what they can to shield their techs from the unwashed bottomless wallets known as customers (at least my dealer) and I don't want to spend more money for them to tell me it's correctly aligned. Got a taste of that when I complained about the blind spot monitor indicating empty space half the time.
I'd take it back and have them redo the alignment. Either your toe-in or camber are off to cause that type of wear. I had the same issue on my coach. They did the alignment and corrected the toe-in setting. I moved the tires side-to-side and they've worn normally since. Note that you can't just "rotate" the wheels with the tires on them, you have to dismount the tires and remount them on the opposite wheels.
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Old 10-25-2021, 10:40 AM   #10
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I'd take it back and have them redo the alignment. Either your toe-in or camber are off to cause that type of wear. I had the same issue on my coach. They did the alignment and corrected the toe-in setting.
Well, I adjusted the camber myself, from +0.8 and +0.6 deg to -0.3. I used a magnetic camber level, but only to change each side by the desired angle difference, not as an absolute target angle, so I'm relying on the printout above for the base line angles. For each side, I set the gauge to the angle on the printout, then adjusted the camber to what I wanted. I did not check the toe, as I don't yet have the tools, but I'll get to it.

It handles much better, and drives straight and true with zero wander and only two-finger steering effort required for small corrections. It's not as much negative camber as before M-B aligned it, which had no perceptible tire wear in 17k miles, so I'll see how it does after I rotate the front tires to the rear. I can always change it again if I have to, but I'd be reluctant to do that since it handles so sweetly now. It even seems to react much less to the bow and stern wave from passing trucks, which I wasn't expecting but couldn't not notice as this van got pushed away hard by bow waves and pulled the other way as they passed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by f14av8r View Post
I moved the tires side-to-side and they've worn normally since. Note that you can't just "rotate" the wheels with the tires on them, you have to dismount the tires and remount them on the opposite wheels.
I'm having the fronts moved to the inside rear, since the drive tires have no visible wear, and the inners are on steel wheels and I need longer valve stems on them anyway. The photos I posted above don't show it that clearly, but most of the tread is full depth and only the outer shoulder is worn, so I'm not concerned about rear tire circumference mismatch.

And besides, I want to put better tires on it, but want to get the wear issue resolved before investing in some new rubber.
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Old 01-13-2022, 04:06 PM   #11
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Well, I adjusted the camber myself, from +0.8 and +0.6 deg to -0.3. I used a magnetic camber level, but only to change each side by the desired angle difference, not as an absolute target angle, so I'm relying on the printout above for the base line angles. For each side, I set the gauge to the angle on the printout, then adjusted the camber to what I wanted. I did not check the toe, as I don't yet have the tools, but I'll get to it.
NOTE... When you change Camber, Toe will also change!
Toe is always the last adjustment made when doing an alignment.
You can do your own alignments at home, I do. Also I agree with the Camber change you made.
To much Toe-in will cause the rapid outside edge wear that you described earlier.
Checking Toe with a tape measure might not be a bad idea at this point.

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Old 01-15-2022, 01:43 PM   #12
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After driving 7500 miles since the alignment, almost all of which was sedate highway driving, I'm getting what I'd call severe tire wear of the front tires. The outside edge is wearing fast, where before the alignment wear seemed to be uniform across the tread, or at least I couldn't see any wear at all (17,500 miles on original tires).
I read your thread on lowering your tire air pressure for a better ride... https://www.irv2.com/forums/f259/exc...es-503792.html
Your weight carrying calculations are probably correct for supporting the weight , but will exacerbate edge wear on the front tires. Outer edge wear from cornering and/or any mis-alignment will be much worse at lower pressures.

Might try going back to 61psi on the front tires, shouldn't hurt the ride very much.

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Old 01-15-2022, 01:53 PM   #13
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I read your thread on lowering your tire air pressure for a better ride... https://www.irv2.com/forums/f259/exc...es-503792.html
Your weight carrying calculations are probably correct for supporting the weight , but will exacerbate edge wear on the front tires. Outer edge wear from cornering and/or any mis-alignment will be much worse at lower pressures.

Might try going back to 61psi on the front tires, shouldn't hurt the ride very much.

Bill.
Yes, I have brought the fronts up to 58, which is +14% over table values for the scaled axle load when loaded for travel with the two of us in the seats. But I havent taken it on a long trip yet, though thats coming up soon.

I almost certainly do need to open the toe angle though, as increasing camber pulls the front of the tires closer together. But its too snowy and crappy out (and in the single digits) right now to mess with that. Ill probably fiddle with it when Im in Houston, as Ill have the time and the weather to make more adjustments.

I dont mind wearing the existing tires more to get it right, after swapping the fronts for the inside drive axle, as I want to upgrade all the tires but dont want to wipe out new ones in the process. Fronts are in very good condition now, so well see how this trip goes given the almost fresh start.
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Old 01-15-2022, 05:38 PM   #14
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Yes, I have brought the fronts up to 58...

I almost certainly do need to open the toe angle though...

...swapping the fronts for the inside drive axle...
Great, you have the rear inners up front now? Last I read you were having trouble finding someone capable of working with your wheels.

58 psi should be fine up front and will definitely help edge wear.

I agree with you probably just need a little less toe-in and you will be good to go. I wouldn't mess with it in that kind of weather either.

I did 26 years (1975 to 01) in retail tire and automotive repair. It's been 20years since I left Bidgestone/Firestone as a store manager. I do the alignment on all my cars in the driveway at home. Never had someone else do an alignment on anything I own, don't trust the tech, equipment or calibration. I worked in that industry, I know what goes on in the back

Good luck, let me know if you have a question. I was ASE certified in Front end suspension and Brakes. Although mine is a Roadtrek, I believe our B's are very similar.

Bill.
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