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Wheel Alignment / Geo - Surrey


Pcooper1982

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Pcooper1982

Hi All,

 

So - I am two weeks into the ownership of my first Westfield.

 

SEIW - 1.8 Zetec - 45's and red.. :-) Love it!

 

However, ownership is not running as smoothly as I would like!

 

I am experiencing a somewhat hard ride and "twitchy" handling when driving on normal roads. It just doesn't feel particularly planted and feels quite nervous.

 

As a newbee I have taken the time to search and read the previous posts within the forum. from what I understand this could be down to the following :

 

- Alignment ( Camber, toe in etc )

- Damper settings

- ARB

- PSI

 

Everything else on the car is great - Engine is sweet..

 

So - as a first step, I would like to get the alignment checked - can anyone recommend a garage who can assist in the surrey Area - closest to Egham would be helpful!

 

Also - may be a silly question, but is every garage who offer laser wheel alignment able to do this setup?

 

Also Also - do you have any tips regarding the above which would assist?

 

Thanks Lots!

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Hi Pcooper1982 and welcome to the club.

 

Someone with local knowledge of the area will be along soon but to answer your question you will be able to get basic wheel alignment done at most independents that sell tyres and offer wheel alignment. It will only be basic though and they are likely to be limited to what they can or are willing to adjust (probably just the track rod ends on your steering to sort out your toe). I have used that service in the past (the guy I bought my tin top tyres off builds kit cars) to give me the confidence to drive further afield to get a proper geo setup (but if you have someone local you can skip this step).

 

Blink seem to be a popular choice in the North West (I've used them) and some people will travel nationally to used NMS in Northampton as they are recognised to be excellent for geo setup. I'm sure there will be other places closer though that members local to you can recommend.

 

As the geo is going to cost you around £200, you want to make sure that all the suspension components are in good condition first. You don't mention the age of your car, but I would check that the shocks aren't leaking and that everything is adjustable, i.e. not seized.

 

Finally, the twitchy handling might be steering related, so make sure there is no slop in the rack/UJs and consider replacing the ball joints (cheap service items from a local motor factors) if they have seen better days.

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CraigHew

To get back to the points mentioned in your original post,

 

 

Assuming your tyres are suitable for the car and in reasonable nick;

 

By far the easiest, and cheapest, thing to check is the PSI (tyre pressures)  most people advocate around 18 PSI but some run as low as 16

 

the ARB would be next,  Just disconnect it and try without, then (if it is adjustable) research how to adjust it.

 

Then Damper settings.  Although trial and error will work, it may take some time to research, then find the correct settings for your car (and your particular damper type)

 

Then the alignment. Again this can be done in a DIY manner, quite sucessfully if you know what you're doing.  I took my car to Blink (as they're on the doorstep) and the Hunter laser kit they use combined with their knowledge of Westfields was very impressive.

 

 

So, my advice....start simple and work "upwards" as your budget allows.

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Tyre pressure is definitely the first port of call, as even a couple of psi can make a huge difference, then follow the advice above and get the front of the car jacked up and check wheel bearings for play, if the front is all OK then repeat with the back.what make of shocks and springs do you have, as I had old Spax shocks that were passed there prime and like concrete, changing them to procomps with a lower spring rate with more compliant damping made a huge difference

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Mark (smokey mow)

As well as all of the above advice, if the front upper wishbones have been installed the wrong way up then that also can result in very twitchy and nervous handling characteristics.

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Terry Everall - WSCC Competition Secretary

Start with tyres at max of 20psi and I think 17psi is better. Soften off all your shock absorbers and apply only 2 or 3 clickstops from start position.

Check top wishbones are installed correct way round. On a flat surface its easy to check that front wheel camber is the same on both sides of car and for road use no more than 2deg.To do this us a long spirit level up against the tyres vertically and measure distance to bottom of wheel rim and top of wheel rim to check camber. Toe in is also very easy to do a basic check by using straight edges up against the tyre walls( I put mine on bricks to get straight edge onto the tyre wall). The straight edges need to be about 2m long and project in front of the car. You then measure the track width just in front of tyres and then 1m or more away and see what the toe in is like . You should not have toe out and I like cars to have zero toe in but thats up to you if you want a bit of toe in. Hope that helps a little

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Nick Mace

If you want to try to check the settings yourself, there are various methods you can find online which involve making a string "box" around the car which you take measurements from. I did that to get a set up which passed the giggle test ahead of my IVA, but I'm actually pretty happy with how it feels on the road (although I'm no expert about these things).

It's very fiddly to do and requires a fair amount of patience. The front wheels are quite easy (if you have camber adjusters on the top wish bones). The rears are a pain because you have to jack up, take the wheel off and take stuff apart to make the adjustments. You've then got to reassemble and take new measurements.

Like you, I do intend to get it done properly once everything is bedded in but I'm new at this lark too so can't recommend anywhere.

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Pcooper1982

Hi guys

Firstly - thank you for all the guidance and advise! It's much appreciated!

So - the mornings update

It would seem the previous owner had incorrectly set the damper settings! Clockwise v anti clockwise seems to have confused them!

Off side dampers set to 18!

Near side dampers set to 2!

Reset the fronts to 3 clicks

Reset the rears to 4 clicks

The improvement is unbelievable!

Tyre pressure was 22 all round - this has now been dropped to 20 all round

Again - major improvements and just driving the car now feels so much more confident

I would still like to get the alignment checked over - but finding a local garage locally who is willing to do it on a Saturday is fruitless at the moment

ARB front and rear still connect at the moment

Time to start replacing some of the chrome trim for black now!

It's funny - since I got the car two weeks ago - I haven't seen the wife to much ;-)

Thanks for the support again - I doubt this will be last time I have a newbee question!

Many thanks

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CraigHew

Good news.  You should try the pressures at 18 and note any further difference

 

 

Clearly, replacing the chrome trim for black will improve the handling tremendously too.

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You're in Egham??

I'm in a Englefield Green!!

Can't help with set up really, I went to a place at Longcross which was OK. If doing it again I think I would go up to Northwmpton Motorsport as you hear nothing but good about them and it is not too far really

You are welcome to pop up here anytime to have a look at my setup. I am really pleased with my current Westy

Ian

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It's funny - since I got the car two weeks ago - I haven't seen the wife to much ;-)

 

Don't let her know you're enjoying it too much ....... the tactics of "I need to get some new wishbones as the old ones are rusty....." can work two ways  :o  :oops:  best just to mumble about correct alignment, sticking rosejoints and how she'll really enjoy a run out in it once you've "sorted out a few things" (that last one has lasted me nearly 15 years now :d :d)

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