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Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: SF Bay Area, CA
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Diffcult alignment choices, need some help.
My car was in an accident last year and the front passenger side alignment was off even after alignment. (I replaced lower control arm and ball joint before alignment.) The camber was 1 degree too negative, i.e., the top of the wheel tilts toward the cabin for 1 degree more than the mid point of accepted range. Another consequence is that the caster on that wheel is 0.8 degree too straight. See the attached picture for details. At that time, the shop owner told me that either that strut or the knuckle was bent. He thought the more likely culprit is the strut. So I recent replaced all the 4 struts and 4 end links recently. I also replaced a slightly faulty wheel and balanced all 4 wheels at Costco.
Now I am debating whether and where I should bring my car to do another alignment. So first whether I should do it? I observed that all the bolts attaching the strut to knuckle was very strict. There seems to be no leeway for alignment shop to play with without adding a camber bolt. So should I do an alignment? And should I buy a camber bolt first and then go to alignment shop? How do they charge for installation of the camber bolt?
Second, Pepboys near me charges $130 for lifetime alignment ($180 minus $50 coupon). The shop I used to go to charges $70 each time. I am debating whether I should use the indy shop again. The pro and con is obvious. I am just not sure about chain store like Pepboy's quality of service. Any suggestions on where to go to get it done?
Finally, I am not sure that the symptom that bothers me the most is related to alignment. The car used to make a rhythmic sound once speed is over 40mph. The sound is hard to describe, sounds like one wheel is not balanced or something like it. After I replaced the struts, it is better, but it will still come back around 60-70 mph. So is it really related to alignment at all? I feel that this is the only time I need to find a REALLY good mechanic to take a listen. Noise and vibration related to suspension is VERY hard to track down. I probably finally need help from a very good mechanic. Anybody can recommend one in SF bay area? Thanks a lot.
2001 Toyota Camry 2.2L LE w/ Solara strut tower brace, Whiteline RSB, Moog links, KYB Strut Plus, Avalon 16'' wheels and 205 60 R16, 134k