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Hello. I am sorry that you are having this problem. Perhaps I can help you out on this.
Quaetion: You replaced the wheel due to an impact. How badly damaged was the wheel?
It sounds to me (and I am hesitant to say this) that whoever is lookign at your alignment might have a calibration problem wtih their machine. Is the car available?
On these cars, there is no "push and pull" needed to obtain an alignment. The only thing an alignment technician can do on these cars is to adjust the toe-in. The caster and camber angles are determined by the front struts. Predetermined, actually. If somebody pushed and pulled, they moved the strut's relationship with the inner structure of the inner fender, where the strut mounts onto.
A pull, a hard pull, caused by an alignment condition, is easy to spot on the readout of the alignment machine.
You start bending the inner fender area, where the strut bolts onto, you can obtain a "correct" alignment, "On Paper", but, that does not rectify the issue.
I would be interested in seeing the following measurements, these you can do with a tape measure:
The clearance between the rear of the front tire and the front of the fender.
If this is the case, you either have a bent strut, a bent spindle, of they bent something to obtain the alignment
Both sides should be identical.
Yes; the struts could be bad. ,,,,but not bad enough where you could "see" the issue.
it does not take much to bend a strut; a hard impact into a curb, at 15-20 mph can harm the strut.
They should NOT have bent anything to obtain the alignment. If they did, they 'compensated; for a bent part. That is never a good idea. The popping sound you are hearing is most likely coming form the bearing support at the top of the strut.
Yes. You should always replace the struts as a set, and yes, you should have another alignment performed. You need to ensure that your toe in (which can be adjusted) is correct, or you could ruin a new set of tires in a few thousand miles.
I recently had an xB in the shop that hit a concrete block in a parking lot. 15 mph hit. Needed the strut and the spindle, plus a rim.
I would strongly suggest you avoid the guy who bent things to obtain the alignment.
the spindle. That is what turns the tire when you turn the wheel.
steering wheel sorry
I always recommend the dealers. They install parts with an unbeatable warranty, 12 months/unlimited mileage.
Frame guys tend to bend things, and they rarely do alignments onsite.
the spindle is what moves the tires left and right when you turn the steering wheel.
The tires bolt to the lugs, the lugs are part of the wheel bearing, and the wheel bearing fits into the spindle. The spindle moves left and right when turning is desired.
A good alignment machine is needed after you replace the stuts. Only then can you tell if the spindle is damaged. The good thing here is you only need to replace one side; they are not replaced in pairs like struts.
I also recommend you replace the strut bearing supports, or, more commonly termed the "strut caps". Well worth the investment, especially when there is a noise issue; which is probably a compromised support due to the bending actions
Yes, but they bent things to make it work. That is unacceptable.
Please remember that an accurate alignment is only provided by a machine that is calibrated.
Drop one alignement head onto the floor, by accident, the head goes out of calibration instantly.
Calibration is expensive; some shops do not care to have their machines calibrated every few months, or after somebody drops a alignment head.
I think they performed an action that is not recommended by the factory. This would account for the noise.
That is exactly what I would be doing if your car was in my shop. Yes.
Toyota has an awesome site....I am not sure what the URL is...but you can Google techinfo.toyota.com
This is a site, hosted by Toyota, they allow subscriptions. What you get is access to the factory shop manuals. Well worth the money.
I would replace both struts and caps.
Perform the alignment
If it still pulled hard
replace the right spindle
if that does not work out, you need a frame guy who can measure and restore the factory specs (if the guy bent the inner fender strut area)
That would be the strut cap causing the issue.
Or damage to the area where the strut mounts into the inner fender by bending it
Unibodys can be straightened by a frame shop with a good machine. This is common these days, We should call them Unibody machines, instead of frame machines.,
Most frame guys do not have an alignment machine. I do all the alignments for the frame shops in my area.
I cannot comment on dealers and their calibrations. I am hesitant to recommend specific dealers if I do not have any direct interaction with them. Sorry.
You could call them and state your case, ask them flat out how old the machineis and when was the most recent calibration. That is what I would do,
Just Answer is markedly better than yelp. Trust me. I have 30 years in the auto business, there are Toyota/Lexus/Scion techs here with years of experience and thousands of satisfied customers
The JA techs are verified. What goes on at Yelp, and places like that are not quite as stringent as this site is.
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I would really like to hear back from you after you get this issue sorted out, if you could do that, that would be awesome.
Adjusting the cradle? I disagree with that action. I'll bet they elongated the bolt holes on the bottom of the struts. That is a common practice; not recommended, but unfortunatly, they do it. If so, you def need new struts
The cradle would have to take a significent whack to merit any kind of attention.
I would look into the strut caps as the cause of the creak .
The Toyota site offers a subscription that is not a year, I am pretty sure of that. Stay away from the aftermarket manuals. They have been found to be inaccuate at times.
Always replace the caps when you replace the struts.
I always recommend that.
If you are going to spend the money for the labor to replace the caps, replace the struts; it is cost effective to do that; the labor is the same....why pay them to take the strut apart and not replace it whilst they have it apart? Saves you money.
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