Prime Alignment?

Discussion in 'Prime Main Forum (2017-Current)' started by thefranchise713, Apr 25, 2019.

  1. thefranchise713

    thefranchise713 Junior Member

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    Since I got the Prime, the steering wheel has seemed to enjoy a zero position that's slightly right of center--and seems to be nicely opposite the road crown (if the road hooks up left, a bit right is the only way to keep it moving straight.)

    When I complained to the dealer, they checked the alignment and found it off in three(!) places. So, they corrected, but they said they still felt a pull, and when rotating the front tires about, the pull moved. So, they then ordered a new tire.

    Tire was put on, alignment re-checked, and all was fine according to them. Steering wheel still seems off and no better than when I started. I went back some days later to have the alignment re-checked as I found the front right tire low on air (well, that would throw off an alignment wouldn't it!). I mentioned this, they said, no problem, we'll check again.

    They gave me a printout of the alignment--all was in spec. So, question is, sparing me the usual lecture about road crown, is this just how the Prius goes or can more be done on the wheel? They said they were not inclined to mess with it more, as to correct the wheel position, they'd have to manipulate the toe and possibly knock it back out of spec.
     
    #1 thefranchise713, Apr 25, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2019
  2. bruceha_2000

    bruceha_2000 Senior Member

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    I haven't noticed anything similar in my Prime.
     
  3. Rob43

    Rob43 Active Member

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    Set all tires to 38 PSI yourself using a quality gauge (not a pencil gauge), then reassess it.


    Rob43
     
  4. jb in NE

    jb in NE Senior Member

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    This is a total load of crap from the dealer. To get a steering wheel straight, they only have to adjust the tie rod ends on each side the same amount. This should have been done during the first alignment they did - along with making all the wheels point in the correct direction, they should have made the steering wheel straight as well. This is basic alignment and nothing fancy. Any competent shop knows how to do this.

    Since your current dealer does not appear to have the skills to properly align a car, I would either take it to another dealer (if in warranty), or bite the bullet and find a good independent shop that can properly align the car. Where I live, that's typically in the $80-$90 range.

    I had a VW that had a slight pull to the right. An independent shop spent a good 45 minutes checking and adjusting, followed by a 15 minute road test. I took the car on a 3,000 mile trip immediately after and it drove perfectly straight the entire time.

    Tire pressure has very little effect on alignment.
     
  5. thefranchise713

    thefranchise713 Junior Member

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    There's a local Toyota dealer that's much closer than the one who serviced it (the selling dealer), so I'll have to see if I can get a nice warranty hit there to get this adjusted. I thought this had to do more with the tie rod ends than anything, but I'm the last person who needs to argue with a mechanic.
     
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  6. Rob43

    Rob43 Active Member

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    What inconsistent tire pressure does accomplish is it makes the chassis feel like there's an alignment issue.

    ******************************************
    OP,

    Again, set all tires perfectly to one set value like 38 PSI, then reassess. If this does not help, you then cross this off & move
    on to other possible variables.


    Rob43
     
  7. thefranchise713

    thefranchise713 Junior Member

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    IIRC, and I might not be so recalling--I believe the car runs 37 in the front, 36 in the rear per the placard (or 36/35, I can't remember, but it's a one pound difference in any event F/R). Is 38 PSI a sweet spot for this car?
     
  8. smyles

    smyles Member

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    I have a similar issue; when checked, dealer found alignment was way out of specs, really wondered if I had managed to hit something, and then seemed to manage to bring it within the specs (according to printout), but the car still seems to be too sensitive to crowning, and struggles to keep it straight.

    Since I drive a lot, next service is not to far away and I'll request to check it again. Going to an Indy is next option .
     
  9. Rob43

    Rob43 Active Member

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    The door says 36/35 PSI.

    It's not that "38" PSI is the magic sweet spot, you're just trying to absolutely remove a variable. By setting the chassis with one Exact
    tire PSI, you will see a result; the result will be that you fixed it or you did not.

    At the end of the day it might just be an alignment issue, but removing a possible tire PSI issue is always a good starting point.


    Rob43
     
  10. PT Guy

    PT Guy Active Member

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    "In spec" can be a terrible alignment. If one side was at the maximum allowable setting, and the other side at the maximum the other way, it is "in spec" and really wrong.

    You want the settings at the middle of the spec. Nothing else. They can do it...if you so inspire them.

    On your print out--will you give us the adjustments that can be made on our cars? I'm assuming front & rear toe in, probably not camber, unlikely to include caster. And the center setting of each adjustment.

    I agree with jb. The wheel centering is set by the tie rod ends, and the toe-in is set at the same points. There is nothing they can "knock" out of spec. They can do a sloppy job and get it out of spec, but that's on them. Always remember the job of the service writer...sell you more service so he gets a commission check...and minimize unpaid service like correcting their previous sloppy work.
     
  11. jb in NE

    jb in NE Senior Member

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    [QUOTE="PT Guy, post: 2881027, member: 149781" They can do it...if you so inspire them..[/QUOTE]

    The good shop that I went to took my car on a test drive to be sure that with the new alignment settings the car drove well. That's not something a dealer will do - you typically get the color printout and that's it. Wheel alignment is not a dealer specialty and in my experience the best alignments are at independent shops. Find a good shop for alignment, keep coming back there and tell all your friends.

    When you take your car to a shop and tell them it pulls and the steering wheel is not centered, that is the problem to be solved. Alignment is typically the first tool, but even if they tell you the alignment is "correct", if the problem is not solved then the job is not done. That's where a good shop will do the road test and adjust alignment as necessary or find another source for the problem you reported.
     
    #11 jb in NE, Apr 26, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2019
  12. thefranchise713

    thefranchise713 Junior Member

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    Good feedback, all--will keep you posted. Thanks!
     
  13. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sidewalk Supervisor

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    I was thinking along those lines. Something you could even DIY.

    Do you mean during pre-delivery inspection? I doubt they would do any kind of alignment check; a lot of new owners here even report finding their tires at max sidewall psi, how they ship from factory.
     
  14. jb in NE

    jb in NE Senior Member

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    Ideally, the factory would get it right. But, I was referring to the alignment done by the dealer. They should have centered the wheel at the same time as correcting the alignment.

    My last VW was delivered with the steering wheel about 5 degrees to the right off center. That was the first thing I had my dealer correct, and they got it right the first time.

    This is tough to DIY. There are methods when you replace components yourself to get the alignment close enough that you can drive it to a shop to get the final settings. But without the correct tools, doing alignment yourself is a non-starter.

    Plus, the warranty period exists to correct problems from the factory. This was one, and should be properly corrected under warranty.

    I suspect the alignment on my Prime (with 4K miles) is not perfect from the factory. It tracks fine, but is cross-wind sensitive. But, given that the OEM tires are crap anyway, I'll see if they have obvious wear problems. If they do, that may actually be to my favor, so I can get better tires sooner. In anv event, when new tires go on, I'll get a good alignment done to protect that investment.
     
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  15. thefranchise713

    thefranchise713 Junior Member

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    Visited a second dealer too, and after bragging about their all digital magical alignment machine, their perspective was "well, if it's all green (on the printout), there's nothing we can do." The SA didn't inspire much confidence when I mentioned, "aren't we talking a fairly simple adjustment on the tie rod ends?"

    So, that's two dealers in the "just enough camp," or the "we got it good enough so Toyota won't pay off the claim anymore." That said, I'm sure as it stood, the first dealer put in 2 hours for a half hour job anyway, thanks to service labor time standards. Doesn't make it right, but that's the world we live in.

    I'll find an independent shop to perform the alignment again at some point and get it to where it should be all along. Frustrating, but there are great battles in this world to fight, like Toyota's wonderful data mining from the Prime Advance's telematics. :)
     
  16. Rob43

    Rob43 Active Member

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    When you go to some non-Toyota alignment shop, consider a shop that is known for car racing*. Shops that setup race cars typically have an excellent ability to give a great stock alignment, especially when you tell them you're experiencing an issue.


    Rob43

    * SCCA / NASA
     
    #16 Rob43, Apr 29, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2019
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  17. thefranchise713

    thefranchise713 Junior Member

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    So, an update on this with a happy ending.

    The Prime went down to the selling dealer (a good distance away) for it's first ToyotaCare complimentary maintenance--a simple tire rotation. I also mentioned that I still wasn't happy with the alignment. No argument, no fuss, no excuses. Car came back with, "it's all in spec, but the tech reset the adjustments further." And, the technician nailed it.

    Total mileage is 4700ish now, including a recent 1,200 mile roadtrip that I should proabably do a write-up on.
     
  18. Rob43

    Rob43 Active Member

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    That's what I'd call a Good Outcome.... :cool:


    Rob43
     
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  19. lextoy

    lextoy Active Member

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    did they give you an alignment sheet with the before and after specs ?? i would be curious to see, as mine is also out of whack. they adjusted once and still doesnt feel right. i have my sheet from the dealer first attempt at about 450 miles... could compare the two to see what they did different on yours.
     
  20. thefranchise713

    thefranchise713 Junior Member

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    I didn't get a new printout, but I was told that front toe was adjusted to make it right.

    I took it for another spin today. Feels just about how it should.

    Now, with this car, i will say that it has never felt perfect for alignment and never will. It's almost like there's a very slight 'reverse' torque steer when the re-gen kicks in. But that much I can live with if the steering angle is where I want it.
     
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