Feathered tire - got an alignment

Newish tires were recently rotated for the first time after 6000 miles. I noticed feathering on the outside of a single tire.

Paranoid, I decided to get the alignment checked (see results). The before/after numbers look almost the same to me.

Could you interpret these results for me? Did anything actually change in a meaningful way?
Could the before results have caused outer feathering on any of the tires?
Can rotating the tires even out the feathered tire over time?

I would not be happy with the toe on the right rear but perhaps an actual mechanic will have a more informed opinion.

The car was in spec before they started. The front toe was slightly adjusted. That seems to be about all that I can see. The net affect was to make thrust angle worse. It is still in spec after the alignment, however.

The rear can’t be adjusted, it is a solid axle.

Basically they adjusted the tie rod ends and not enough on the right front, in my opinion. The right front camber should be adjusted. It is in spec but the opposite of the left and that isn’t so good.

If the tire (I assume it was a right front, you didn’t say) was feathered on the inside, this alignment won’t fix it entirely. Rotation to the rear will help clean that up.

If you only paid $50 you got your moneys worth. Finding a shop that will spend the time to get it right, rather than just in spec, will cost you more.

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There’s a lot wrong with this alignment.

First, the vehicle was out of spec BEFORE, and it still is. Look at the cross camber.

Second, there are indeed specs for the rear (They aren’t listed!), and it looks like the rear toe would be out.

Based on what I see here, you need to find another place. They should have told you they couldn’t bring the alignment into spec unless you got additional parts - like a camber plate (or however Lexuses are adjusted.) If you left the place without anyone telling you the alignment was still out and them not telling you what additional parts would be needed to bring it into spec, then they didn’t do the job completely!

And EVERYTHING can be adjusted. But it might take bending something, or a camber pate or a shim, or an eccentric bolt,. but it can be done!

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What is ‘cross camber ‘?

Good catch. I missed that. Commented on the difference, though.

It is the difference between right and left camber. By individual spec, the right could be - 0.8 and the left could be + 0.8. Both technically in spec just looking at that side but would make the SUV lead left. The cross camber would then be 1.6 degrees which is out of the +/- 0.5 degrees allowed.

Same for cross caster. If the left was 3.8 and the right was 2.3 degrees it would lead right and be out of the +/1- 0.5 degree spec.

If these out of spec values were combined it would make the SUV drive fairly straight down the road but the tire wear would be pretty bad.

Thanks guys,
I’ll call the dealership today to complain.

Is the biggest issue the front cross camber?

This was done at the lexus dealership. :frowning:

That is sad… The alignment tech needs a little more training, perhaps.

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Biggest, on raw numbers, yes. But other things will need some adjustment when that is fixed as it will change toe and caster when the camber adjusted.

It’s a little hard to determine the issue without knowing where the feathered tire was before the rotation. Did you notice the feathering before or after the rotation? Can you say for sure where that tire was before the rotation.

If you don’t know, then you will have to monitor the tires for the feathering to appear on a different tire. BTW, if the tire had lower air pressure than the other tires, that could agrivate the feathering from a mis-alignment. If the place that did the rotation checked all the tires for proper pressure and set them to spec, it could take longer for the feathering to appear.

The dealer is getting defensive. He says that “without replacing components, he can’t fix the cross camber.” Is this total bs?

I’ve only rotated them for about 200 miles…I didn’t bother checking whether there was feathering until after the rotation…

At this point I might try and find a really good alignment shop. You might also post this on a Landcruiser forum, they’re the same basic vehicle, some folks might know about the specifics of the front end suspension adjustability. Sometimes added parts are needed to adjust camber (camber plates, as mentioned above).

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The LX470 has camber/caster adjustment cams on the upper control arms.

With an older vehicle the control arm bushings tend to “sag” and become off-center. With ageing suspension bushings it is possible for the adjustment cams to reach the end of their travel limit and to correct the wheel alignment the control arm bushings need to be replaced. That means a front suspension rebuild and the customers response may be “you’re ripping me off, my vehicle drives just fine”.

And the goal here is to save $3 worth of tire wear…

The goal is a perfectly smooth ride for the next 40,000 miles.

thanks for the info regarding sagging control arm bushings. I’ll see if this was the case

Don’t ask the dealer if the problem is sagging control arm bushings. An unscrupulous service writer might just say of course it is. Instead, ask for an explanation of what needs to replaced and why. Keep asking questions to see if the explanation holds water. If it starts to fall apart, you might need to talk to a mechanic or go somewhere else. Service writers might have been mechanics, but that is not a requirement of the job. You might already plan to do this, of course. I don’t know you and thought you might like the information if you didn’t know it.

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Agreed. One way that’s worked for me is to ask a couple body shops where they send cars that need alignment work. I found a very crummy looking place. They did a good job with used parts I sourced for my crashed 1999 Civic. When I later needed help undoing the big nut on the end of an axle they had worked on, they got me in and out in minutes despite being busy, and at no charge.

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