The Alignment Specifications of Vehiclesby Contributing WriterUpdated June 12, 2017
Wheel alignment specifications vary from one car to another depending upon each car's purpose and normal operating conditions. Someone who uses his car primarily to commute in the city would likely drive a car with different alignment specifications than those of a car driven by someone who races off-road in rough conditions. Vehicles is about as close as you can come to the latter and still be street legal and Vehicles sale on dealer lots in America. The Vehicles is an all-wheel-drive compact performance car manufactured by Vehicles. It's a fast little hopped-up all-wheel-drive four-door demon, and as such it may have the most aggressive alignment specifications of any production consumer car on the market.
Under The Hood:
- The Alignment Specifications of a 1994 "Silverado"
- Alignment Specifications for a Ford Mustang
- The Alignment Specifications for a WRX
- Alignment Specifications for a Mercedes Benz
The ideal caster specification for the 1994 K1500/2500 Chevrolet pickup is 3.0 degrees. However, the manufacturer indicates an acceptable variance of up to 1.0 degree per wheel, meaning that caster may be set anywhere between 2.0 to 4.0 degrees. Caster is defined as the angle of the steering pivot, and improper caster adjustments may lead to difficulty in steering the vehicle.
Camber measurements affect the angle of the wheel. Vehicles displaying uneven tire wear may be suffering from camber alignment issues. The camber on '94 K1500/2500 should be adjusted to 0.65 degrees, plus or minus 0.5 degrees per wheel.
Toe measurements determine the parallel angle between the front wheels of the K1500/2500 pickup. Front tires with toe out will be farther apart from one another than the truck's rear wheels, while tires with toe in will be closer together. Ideally, toe should be adjusted to 0.24 degrees, with an acceptable variance of 0.2 degrees per wheel.
The Camber is defined as the wheel's vertical angle when looking at the wheels through a perspective from the front of the vehicle. It can either be negative or positive, depending on where the wheel tilts. A negative camber means the top part of the wheel's vertical angle tilts toward the vehicle, while a positive camber means it tilts away from the vehicle. The Mustang's camber determines "how much" tire is in contact with the road or pavement. For a Mustang, an ideal Camber should be about half a degree negative. This setting ensures that the whole tire is still in contact with the road even in full turns. A Mustang's Camber allowance ranges from -3.2 degrees to 0.75 degrees.
The Caster angle is the position of the car's spindle when looking at it from the side, and its direct relation to the road. It can also be either negative or positive. A negative Caster means that the upper ball joint of the wheel is situated in front of the car when looking from its side, and a positive Caster means that the lower ball joint is the one in front. For a Mustang, an ideal Caster setting is a "little positive" caster, which means that the lower ball joint of the spindle should be the one closest to the front of the car. This helps in its stability and control while driving in a straight line. A Mustang's Caster allowance ranges from negative .50 degrees to .75 degrees.
Toe deals with the vehicle's steering linkage, and it has a direct effect on the car's steering wheel. Toe determines the amount of time that your steering wheel returns to its center after a turn. Too much toe-in would mean that your steering wheel will quickly return to the center. Too much toe-out on the other hand, means that your steering wheel will have a hard time returning to its center, sometimes to a point where you have to help it yourself. This has a direct effect on your wheels as well. Too much toe-in or toe-out will result into an easily worn out tire. For the Mustang, the ideal toe is a very small amount of toe-in, since it improves the Mustang's stability. For Mustang Racers, a small amount of toe-out is ideal since it improves the vehicle's response when turning. A Mustang's toe allowance is .25 degrees for toe-in, and .25 degrees for toe-out.
Factory Recommended Tire Alignment Specifications
The factory recommended wheel alignment specifications for the Subaru WRX is as follow. The front right and left tire toe should be at zero and +/- 3mm. The front right and left tire camber should be set at zero, +/- zero degrees at three minutes. The rear right and left tire toe should be at zero and +/- 3 mm. The rear right and left tire camber should be -1.0 degrees and +/- zero degrees for 45 minutes. The WRX stock caster setting is approximately 3.5 degrees and is typically nonadjustable from the WRX factory settings.
Overview of WRX Factory Recommendations
The slight negative camber setting for only the rear is optimal for providing even tire wear during normal driving conditions. With the front and rear toe set at zero degrees it helps ensure solid, reliable handling as well as straight and even tracking. The zero front and rear toe setting is especially important for firm and straight driving at highway cruising speeds.
Adjusting Tire Alignment
How aggressively you drive your WRX and what kind of roads and conditions you typically encounter can help you to determine proper alignment settings. More extreme or irregular driving conditions may call for slight alignment adjustments. For instance, for touring use, the WRX front right and left camber may be set at -1.0 degrees, and rear right and left toe may be set at 1mm toe-out. More significant alignment adjustments may call for aftermarket parts installation. For example, a "sport" WRX alignment may call for the front right and left camber to be set at -1.5 degrees and rear right and left camber to be set at -1.0 to -1.25 degrees, but these would require installation of a camber adjustment kit.
Tire Alignment Adjustment Effects
Adding a slight negative camber will help the tire tread stay flat and fully engaged with the ground; this also can improve handling capabilities at higher speeds. However, too much camber will reduce braking traction and acceleration traction, increase tramline (tire wandering in cracks and grooves) and crown sensitivity (tire wandering on road contour), and negatively influence tire wear, especially inner tire tread. Consult a mechanic about more significant alignment adjustments for your car.
Overview of Alignment Terms
Camber refers to the positive or negative degree a tire slants when viewed from the front or back of a tire. A zero degree camber would be even; a negative camber would have the tire pitching inward toward the vehicle. Toe refers to the angle of a tire being viewed from above. A negative toe will pitch inward toward the vehicle.
SLK 230 Specifications
For the 2000 SLK 230 Mercedes Benz model, the wheelbase is 94.5 inches. The tread width of the front is 58.5 inches, and in the rear it is 58.5 inches. For alignment specifications, the caster should be 5.96 degrees with a margin of error of 0.50 degrees. The camber in the front should be -1.27 degrees with a margin of error of 0.33 degrees. In the rear, the camber should be -1.25 degrees with a margin of error of 0.50 degrees. In addition, the toe-in of the front end of the SLK 230 should be 0.16 inches with a margin of error of 0.08 inches, or 0.33 degrees with a margin of error of 0.16 degrees. The rear end's toe-in should be 0.28 inches with a margin of error of 0.06 inches, or 0.55 degrees with a margin of error of 0.12. The turning angle of the outside wheel should be 18.58, and 20 for the inside wheel.
ML320 and ML430 Model Specifications
The ML320 and ML430 Mercedes Benz models both have a wheelbase of 111 inches. The tread width in the front and rear is 62 inches. The caster should be 6.10 degrees with a margin of error of 0.50 degrees. For the front of the vehicle, the camber should be 0.60 degrees with a margin of error of 0.30. For the rear, a camber of -0.90 degrees with margin of error of 0.30 is necessary. The toe-in should be 0.10 inches with a margin of error of 0.04 inches, or 0.20 degrees with a margin of error of 0.08 degrees in the front. In the rear, the toe-in should be 0.09 inches with a margin of error of 0.04 inches, or 0.18 degrees with a margin of error of 0.08.
E300, E320, E420, E430 Model Specifications
For the E300, E320, E420, and E430 Mercedes Benz models, the wheelbase is 111.5 inches, and the tread width is roughly 61 inches in the front and 60 inches in the rear. The caster should be 5.33 degrees with a margin of error of 0.50 degrees. The camber should be -0.60 degrees with a margin of error of 0.33. The toe-in should be -0.60 inches with a margin of error of 0.16. In terms of degrees, the toe-in should be 0.33 degrees with a margin of error of 0.33 degrees. The turning angle should be 18.50 for the outside wheel, and 20 for the inside wheel.