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Front end alignment problem 98 Suburban K1500

Discussion in 'Chevy Suburban Forum (GMC Yukon XL)' started by cbr900racer77, Sep 10, 2010.

  1. cbr900racer77

    cbr900racer77 New Member

    While getting my Suburban ready for vacation last week, I took it in for a frontend alignment (was pulling to the right). The shop called me and said it need both bottom balljoints, idler arm, and new pitman arm. I told them to go ahead and do what's needed. It ended up being a 738 dollar bill. Should also note it has brand new tires on it as well. Went and picked it up last Saturday and immediately noticed steering wheel doesn't return to center. Also noticed the front wheels seemed like they were wandering while going down the road ( Sorry, that's the best way I know to describe it). We were leaving on Monday and the shop closed at noon, so we went ahead and loaded it. As soon as we got on interstate and got up to 70-75 mph I noticed it would weave from side to side after making a lane change. It wasn't just a little either, it would scare the holy crap outta you. After about 3 hours of driving I finally got the hang of it and it did okay. I let wife drive it and she pulled to side of interstate after about 15 minutes of fighting to keep it in one lane. Any ideas on what would cause it to weave so badly? I noticed they didn't change the caster adjustment. I've read that caster affects the steering wheel returning to center. It drove great before having work done. She was solid as a rock on interstate. Only problem was it pulling to the right. I apologize for the long post, but wanted to explain problem as best I could. I'm taking it back to shop Monday, just looking for ideas on what could be the problem. Thanks in advance.
  2. FergusonT

    FergusonT New Member

    Sounds like one of those times I would march back into that shop and they might not like the tone in my voice....
  3. cbr900racer77

    cbr900racer77 New Member

    Oh, it's definitely one of THOSE times LOL. Just trying to get more information on what might be wrong before I take it in. I'm gonna let the manager take it out for a spin and get it up to 70 then do a lane change.
  4. DAREDEVIL

    DAREDEVIL New Member 1000 Posts

    100% agree, and if he takes it for a spin..sit next to him...most of the times they tell ya , i did not feel a thing !
    Its 100% wrong aligned and the almost 800 is way to much !!!!!!!!
  5. murdog94

    murdog94 New Member 1000 Posts

    They wouldnt have liked the tone in my voice to begin with.... I would take a look at how much they charged you for the parts (labor is harder to account for) and then find out what your prefered parts store charges, and ask them why they charged you so much more.
  6. GMGUY

    GMGUY New Member

    Any shop worth it's salt will provide you with a before and after alignment sheet. This is in the best interest of all parties involved. If they cannot provide this I would recommend having another shop inspecting their work. It may be difficult, but try to find a shop where they make money because they enjoy fixing vehicles, instead of fixing vehicles to get money.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2010
  7. murdog94

    murdog94 New Member 1000 Posts

    X2!!! There are a few out there but not as many as there used to be.
  8. cbr900racer77

    cbr900racer77 New Member

    I've had these guys do work for me before and they did great work. Labor was reasonable, 300 bucks for alignment, replace both lower balljoints, pitman arm, and idler arm. Parts were pricey but they only use quality stuff (Moog or something to that effect). I think I found out part of the problem. There is zero freeplay in steering wheel. It's either trying to turn left or right. I guess when they replaced the worn parts it tightened up. I loosened the set screw on gearbox and got some freeplay out of it last night. Now just waiting for opportunity to get out on interstate and get it up to speed. It feels better, but I'm used to it by now so I need my wife or someone else to drive it and see what they think. I did get a before and after sheet on the alignment but according to the sheet, settings are the same after parts replacement. I'll update soon as I can get her up to speed and do some high speed lane changes. Thanks for the opinions and replies.
  9. stephan

    stephan New Member 1000 Posts

    CBR900,
    This vehicle sounds like it does not have enough toe in and not enough positive caster. Positive caster is what helps your steering to return to neutral position. The more positive caster you have the better it returns to the neutral position.
    Toe in keeps your car/truck from wandering all over the road. When it is toed in the fronts of both tires are pushing towards the center of the veh. and keep your veh. from wandering. When it is toed out the tires pick and choose where they want to go based on the side slope of the road, surface grip, road grooves, etc. Both of these problems are magnified with speed.

    Note: caster should not be confused with camber.
    Caster (or KPI) is the difference in angle through the upper & lower ball joints/steering knuckles per side. Standing at the side of your veh. and looking at the upper and lower ball joints (with the tire off) you would be able to see that the upper ball joint is farther towards the rear of the veh. than the lower ball joint. This is positive caster This is what your veh. does not have enough of. When viewed from the front of the tire, camber is the lean/tilt of the tire either in or out at the top.

    Your steering being tighter now, than it was before all the parts were replaced, is normal and is a good thing.
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2010

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