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Rear wheel alignment?

Discussion in 'Gen II Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by bwilson4web, Dec 22, 2006.

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  1. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web 03 and 10 Prius

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    I have an NHW11 03 Prius and the alignment results from the local Toyota service center shows the driver side wheel is out of alignment. Asking to have it fixed resulted in 'eyes rolling' and being 'blown off.' So I consulted my maintenance manuals but found no procedure for fixing the alignment beyond 'fix the damage.'

    Near as I can tell, the rear wheels are held on by four bolts to a beam crosses over to the other wheel. To my way of thinking, a set of small shim washers would do the trick. Certainly it would make more sense than trying to "rebend" the solid beam or replacing the wheel support beam.

    It looks like I can do this without having to fully remove the wheel. I'm thinking just loosen the wheel support bolts and then put shims in one at a time to adjust the geometry. Then re-tighten the bolts and have it tested once more. I haven't found a source of shim washers but if not available in a set, a grinder and micrometer will do quite nicely

    Any other ideas?

    Thanks,
    Bob Wilson
  2. grasshopper

    grasshopper Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(bwilson4web @ Dec 22 2006, 01:00 PM) [snapback]365710[/snapback]</div>


    Bob,

    I sent you a message with info.

    Grasshopper
  3. galaxee

    galaxee mostly benevolent

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    don't know if he's ever done a classic, but DH makes shims for the 2g prius.

    they do not make shim kits for prius at all, unfortunately.
  4. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web 03 and 10 Prius

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(galaxee @ Dec 22 2006, 01:20 PM) [snapback]365745[/snapback]</div>

    My left rear wheel measures "0.30" degrees. The right measures "-0.01" degrees and is listed as OK. So when you say you need specifications, I'm assuming you want the thicknesses of the shims based upon the geometry of the bolts?

    I should be able to measure the bolt centers this weekend and 'do the math.' What I'll specify are:

    2 - rear shims at the thickness

    If there is a minimum thickness of the shims, just add a base and supply four shims:

    2 - front, minimum width
    2 - rear shims at the base plus the full thickness

    I guess what has me scratching my head is the absence of a shim washer kit. I'm not sure of the bolt size but they are torqued to 38 ft-lbs.

    Bob Wilson
  5. galaxee

    galaxee mostly benevolent

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(bwilson4web @ Dec 22 2006, 08:56 PM) [snapback]365878[/snapback]</div>

    bob, just send us your alignment numbers from your printout (and factory spec numbers, which should be on there as well, since we don't know em offhand). we've got the rest. ;)

    he likes to see all the alignment readings before doing shims.
  6. tumbleweed

    tumbleweed Senior Member

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    I had very good luck adding shims to my '05 using the one Galaxee and DH provided as a pattern. I think it worked better than just adding thin washers because the shim is a bit longer on the top which I suspect lets it change the toe without changing the camber. This is needed because the bolts are not lined up vertically. I was able to move mine about .15 degrees using a .010 inch shim.

    Having the rear toe toward the center of its range (.03 to .28 degrees on the '05) helped the tracking (how well it stays pointed where you aim it) a tremendous amount. My car went from being difficult to drive and requiring constant corrections to being very stable.

    I ended up with .2 degrees of toe in on each rear wheel and had the front adjusted to .05 degrees on each side.

    Hobbit suggested putting the shim template on line so people could copy it but I could never figure a way to make the size come out right when people printed it. So I haven't done anything with that idea yet. I have provided several copies to other PC people by mail, as has Galaxee I believe, and as far as I know they have had good luck using them also.
  7. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web 03 and 10 Prius

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(tumbleweed @ Dec 23 2006, 10:59 AM) [snapback]366013[/snapback]</div>

    I have an NHW11 so the geometry is likely to be different. But I would be interested in the overall design. I would like to see what the part looks like. In the meanwhile, I've ordered a 'shim kit'.

    I have been looking at the maintenance manual and there is a discussion of how to replace a "toe control link" in the rear beam axle. It takes a special tool and is quite involved. If the shims work out, it will be a much more affordable solution.

    Bob Wilson
  8. grasshopper

    grasshopper Member

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    [attachmentid=6016][attachmentid=6015]

    Attached Files:

  9. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web 03 and 10 Prius

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(grasshopper @ Dec 26 2006, 08:00 AM) [snapback]366665[/snapback]</div>

    That looks perfect! How much correction did you get with the .005" shim?

    Bob Wilson
  10. tumbleweed

    tumbleweed Senior Member

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    I had mine checked with a .005 shim, just like grasshopper's, and it changed about .08 degrees or so. I replaced the .005 with a .010 and it just about doubled to approximately .17 degrees, just what you would expect. The camber didn't change noticeably.

    I use brass shim stock that I bought at ACE Hardware, I think grasshopper used the same stuff. It cuts easily with a good pair of scissors but don't let your wife catch you.
  11. galaxee

    galaxee mostly benevolent

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    let us know how the kit works out. would be nice if there was *something* out there to refer at least owners of the classic prius to. and i'm glad to see the 2g prius shims have helped more people than we thought! :)
  12. tomi

    tomi New Member

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    Interesting reading here for someone who just spent a morning in despair thinking I will need a new set of tires every 24,000 miles. I'm reviving this slightly old thread to ask a few basic questions:

    1) Are these homemade shims working out for everybody? Rear wheel alignment problems gone?

    2) Would shims have to re-jiggered every time an alignment is done, i.e. would it pay to keep a bunch on hand of various thicknesses?

    3) [Possible ignorant question warning]: Why do the shims I see in the picture span two bolts? Wouldn't it be easier to use individual shims on each bolt?

    At the suggestion of my local repair guy, I encourage everybody who has had rear wheel alignment problems to contact Toyota and complain about the lack of shim kits for the Prius. It's not exactly rocket science: They could have them on the shelves in a matter of weeks.
  13. thundermustard

    thundermustard New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(tomi @ Jul 6 2007, 09:49 PM) [snapback]474390[/snapback]</div>

    OK, check this out.
    I went to the dealer with a print out showing my rear alignment was off.
    They agreed to check under warranty and thought if it was off, it would have to be because I hit something. That would cost to fix.
    The tech told the adviser that on the Prius if you go in reverse to forward quickly three times, it is self adjusting.
    Now that sounds like totally hogwash, but, the printout shows it is now aligned.

    Mike
  14. thundermustard

    thundermustard New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(tomi @ Jul 6 2007, 09:49 PM) [snapback]474390[/snapback]</div>

    OK, check this out.
    I went to the dealer with a print out showing my rear alignment was off.
    They agreed to check under warranty and thought if it was off, it would have to be because I hit something. That would cost to fix.
    The tech told the adviser that on the Prius if you go in reverse to forward quickly three times, it is self adjusting.
    Now that sounds like totally hogwash, but, the printout shows it is now aligned.

    Mike
  15. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web 03 and 10 Prius

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(thundermustard @ Sep 13 2007, 09:08 AM) [snapback]511890[/snapback]</div>

    I'm interested in the before and after values for toe and camber.

    Bob Wilson
  16. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web 03 and 10 Prius

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(thundermustard @ Sep 13 2007, 09:08 AM) [snapback]511890[/snapback]</div>

    I'm interested in the before and after values for toe and camber.

    Bob Wilson
  17. jk450

    jk450 New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(bwilson4web @ Sep 13 2007, 08:33 PM) [snapback]512231[/snapback]</div>

    I'm betting they didn't provide them. And the values from the first place aren't relevant unless one can show that those values existed when the car arrived at the dealership. Different tire pressures, different alignment racks, and many other factors can lead to varying values on a single car.
  18. tochatihu

    tochatihu Senior Member

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    Over many years, there have been a few Prius that have greatly disappointed their owners in terms of tracking and highway wind stability. What I'd like to know is whether those cases have very poor rear alignments, and whether shimming might be the fix.

    The more common small errors might be shim-fixable or they might only seem so. After all, this rear suspension does do a bit of free-castoring by design.

    With all due respect for this DIY effort, I think its greatest value will be when applied to the few 'problem' rear ends that Toyota has seemed to take very little interest in setting right.
  19. dogfriend

    dogfriend Human - Animal Hybrid

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(tochatihu @ Sep 14 2007, 08:37 AM) [snapback]512520[/snapback]</div>

    Bingo. My 2007 had really weird highway handling characteristics from the very beginning. I was able to correct the rear using shims (from Galaxee and her DH) and it made a huge difference.

    My dealer wouldn't do anything to correct the rear; they actually fabricated an alignment printout to show they corrected the problem, but they didn't do anything except screw up the front camber. Details here.

    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(thundermustard @ Sep 13 2007, 07:08 AM) [snapback]511890[/snapback]</div>

    They can fake the alignment printout.

    There is nothing in the Toyota factory manual that indicates that the rear toe is "self-aligning".

    I think your dealer is bullshitting you. You could verify with an independent alignment check.
  20. tochatihu

    tochatihu Senior Member

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    All I want is that the maximum number of drivers be extremely satisfied with Prius in the long term. If in any case Toyota does not step up to the plate, then we might all have to depend on PriusChat and other internet group recources.

    It is great in this instance that Galaxee et al. have devised rear suspension solutions. In all instances, our first best option is from Toyota. Lacking that, let the best minds in the user community speak!
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