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Thread: Alignment knocked out of whack...

  1. #1
    Senior Member wiztecy's Avatar
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    Alignment knocked out of whack... Great! Now have an Awesome Adjustable Suspension

    So I've been waiting for the day for my alignment to get knocked out of whack and it happened yesterday.... I've hit imperfections on bridges, pot holes and such but this pot hole yesterday really did it... odd thing was that it wasn't an unusual hard hit... and the pot hole was on the right but threw the steering wheel favored to the left. I'm figuring that the back right rear wheel got shifted somehow... My Roadster has had its pack swapped out by Tesla recently so I don't know if something shifted when they dropped the rear suspension and had some slack in it...

    Was one of those days... people driving like zombies on hwy 17, putting cars in very dangerous locks between cars... got a space to pass and a jump to safety and bump bump.... you just know alignment specs got whammied after that...

    Anyways... going to need to take it in. I'm thinking to drop it off to the alignment shop across from the Menlo Park store since they're familiar and most likely set up all the Roadster's alignment from the get-go.

    Any other shops that are good with aligning the roadsters in the south bay? I don't trust a regular tire shop... even though they say they have the specs.
    Last edited by wiztecy; 2013-09-26 at 08:45 PM.

  2. #2
    S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13 jerry33's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wiztecy View Post
    Any other shops that are good with aligning the roadsters in the south bay? I don't trust a regular tire shop... even though they say they have the specs.
    The problem is not the specs, the problem is the date of their equipment's last calibration. A further problem is the knowledge of alignment (rather than knowledge of button pressing).
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    Senior Member wiztecy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jerry33 View Post
    The problem is not the specs, the problem is the date of their equipment's last calibration. A further problem is the knowledge of alignment (rather than knowledge of button pressing).
    I see... also I think another part of it is the test drive... though I could be wrong. Had my truck aligned recently, steering wheel was off... took it back and they said their insurance only allows them to drive 2 blocks. Pretty shabby. Shouldn't the machine be able to align everything correctly off the machine? Its all fixed angles. So I took my truck back, they had to re-align it 3 more times to get the steering wheel aligned properly. Lame.

    Also what's the latest with alignment / technology and what should we all be looking for when we go for an alignment. At $80 a pop I think we should get our moneys worth... I remember when alignments were $35.

    I vote we should push for alignments to be tax deductible.... Its the poor maintenance of roads that passes on the buck to us.

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    Is the MS suseptible to alignment issues? My car has it at 8000 miles. Cousins has an alignment issue at 800.

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    S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13 jerry33's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wiztecy View Post
    I see... also I think another part of it is the test drive... though I could be wrong. Had my truck aligned recently, steering wheel was off... took it back and they said their insurance only allows them to drive 2 blocks. Pretty shabby. Shouldn't the machine be able to align everything correctly off the machine? Its all fixed angles. So I took my truck back, they had to re-align it 3 more times to get the steering wheel aligned properly. Lame.
    Often the second most junior person is the one doing the alignments (most junior mounts tires).

    Quote Originally Posted by wiztecy View Post
    Also what's the latest with alignment / technology and what should we all be looking for when we go for an alignment. At $80 a pop I think we should get our moneys worth... I remember when alignments were $35.
    Well, I actually look for a place that does it with toe bars and levels. The reason is that there is no calibration required, and the person using them has to understand alignment basics. Another good choice is a frame shop (with a good reputation) because they have to measure everything and so their equipment is likely to be better calibrated. I expect a quality alignment to cost around $250. I expect an $80 alignment to be no better than it ought to be.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by bhuwan View Post
    Is the MS suseptible to alignment issues? My car has it at 8000 miles. Cousins has an alignment issue at 800.
    Doesn't appear to be more susceptible than any other car. Many cars of all makes are out of alignment when delivered to the owner.
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    Senior Member wiztecy's Avatar
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    Thanks, I've also read/confirmed that the frame shops are better equipped to give the best alignment. In the case of my truck the 1st vs. the 4th alignment they did was off... so it showed they got it wrong on the 1st shot!

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    Long ago I received a recommendation from Martin Eberhard to go to Custom Alignment in Mountain View. I've had the Roadster aligned there twice and have been happy with the results. In particular, the original alignment resulted in too much wear on the inside of the rears, but that has not been a problem with the second set of tires after the adjusted alignment.

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    Senior Member wiztecy's Avatar
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    Talked to a friend who races, has a fun Lamborghini, nice Maserati, and other exoitc cars about alignments... he recommended Dietschwerks in San Jose, CA.

    Dietsch Motorsports - Lotus Repair and Upgrade Specialist in San Jose CA BMW Mini Porsche

    Checked out their webpage and recognized they mostly specialize in Lotus Elises. They one they use (of many) pictured on their webpage. They also rent out the Elises if you don't want to track your car and have one dialed and ready to go from the start. Sounds fun!

    Called them today.... asked if they could dial in the alignment on the Roadster. they said that they'll have Roadster aligned and dialed in better than what Tesla would be able to do. He asked questions about the tire wear, how many miles on the car, etc... So nice he was interested from the start and wanted to know a little history of the car. What's nice too is that they have a Miata Loaner car, so I can just drop the Roadster off.... goto work, then drive back to pick up the car. Have to ask why its not an Elise Nice having that option though, especially for something that's not major in repair like an aliment.

    Will let you guys know how the Roadster is setup after its done and the pricing... The Roadster does feel like its "crabbing"... its pulling the right rear wheel out to the right, so the front's compensating and the steering wheel is favored more to the left. On Highway 17 I don't trust it in the turns... its just "off" that changes the whole handling and dynamics. Can't wait to feel it after its aligned... I may ask to have it setup better for highway 17, twists and turns, where I really feel that Roadster gives me full control and safety when I travel that windy and hilly corridor. One thing, I feel way more comfortable having people who race and passionate about cars (especially the Elise) setting things up on my baby rather than your regular Joe mechanic....
    Last edited by wiztecy; 2013-09-23 at 10:41 PM.

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    I've had my CPO Roadster about 7 weeks now. I've only put about 400 miles on it. I just noticed the alignment is already off. It's not pulling or anything, but the steering wheel is off center. It seems rotated about 5-10 degrees to the right when the car is going straight. I'm honestly not sure if it came from Tesla like that since I haven't been driving it much. There were 8200 miles on the car when I took delivery. There are 8600 miles now. Annoying...

    Oh, and a side note - and I'm getting my windshield replaced, too. A rock was nice enough to strike and chip the center of the windshield. Tesla was just out trying to repair it with the resin. When the resin set, about a 1-foot horizontal crack settled into the windshield. Good times.

    The ranger who attempted the repair actually confirmed the off center alignment. Here in Phoenix, they actually said something about going to Mercedes for an alignment, but I'll keep you posted. One thing at a time...
    2011 LEAF (Sold) | 2012 Volt (Sold) | 2012 LEAF(Lease Ended) | 2010 Tesla Roadster #501 | 2013 Tesla Model S 85 kWh #9001 | 6.827 kW SunPower PV System

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    Senior Member wiztecy's Avatar
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    I paid a visit to Dietsch Motorsports today and talked to Rob the owner... my appointment is tomorrow but I wanted to talk and see the shop. Wow... lots of Lotus Elises... Everywhere! Rob spent over 1.5 hours talking to me, about the suspension, about the tires, and yes... about electric cars. He's a great person and the visit there was pleasant and fun to say the least. Discovered he has worked on many Roadsters in the past which was awesome to hear. He can do double din radio installations, interior work (if you want the sound deadening kit installed), performance upgrades, etc. on the Roadsters and backs up his work. He typically puts in parts that have a lifetime warranty such as the bushings. So if they fail he'll order another set and fix them back up for you again. Sounds pretty good.

    Here's something I like... He also showed me an adjustable suspension that I just may try out on my Roadster. When I drop the Roadster off tomorrow he's going to line up the shocks to see if they fit. He said it should be around $2500-2700 ($2,500 for a group discount) for both the front and back shocks and then just labor for installation. Its the same shocks / springs they use on the track with the Elise (pic at bottom of page of front/rear shocks). May have to order tighter springs to help compensate for the heavier load of the battery pack. Looks like a great possibility on the horizon. Rob also looked at the swaybars to see if we can run the Elise's, he said the front looks identical so that should work... however the Elise never came with a rear swaybar so we're out of luck there. That looks like a Tesla specific thing, and who knows if they'll sell you just that! ....or a custom job where there's discounts in many. One issue is that there are two versions due to the two different fans. I guess you could run a "dual fan" swaybar on the early "single fan" setup and it will still work. We're also looking in fitting a 5 lug slotted brake rotor on the Roadster as well. Would be sweet to ditch the stupid drilled rotors and goto something that really works on getting rid of brake gasses/heat and dust such as slots!

    He also noted that the Lotus Elises break a bushing on the rear control arm... he looked at mine and what did we find, a worn out broken bushing on the rear control arm... so what happens from having a worn out bushing is that the control arm now hits the subframe and will begin wearing and damaging that whenever you brake. I'll try to get pics of that. He's going to upgrade my bushings to the poly bushings so I won't have that issue again. The bushing wears from braking (the way that the leverage and force are being applied), and just gets over stressed and worn out pre-maturely.

    He also has roll cages / roll bars for the Roadster and can install them.... They're removable which is nice so if your car is a daily driver you can remove the cage and put your sills back on to cover up the mounting holes/bracket. Also doesn't cut or hack the CF parts to make it fit, so it looks great and not scabbed out!

    As a treat... Rob said to walk over to the side of the garage..... we go into a separate bay of his garage and low and behold, its Tesla Roadster Mule 1!!! Mule 1 is the 1st Tesla Roadster built by the early Tesla Crew. It was their 1st concept car. Martin Eberhard had the fun took a sawzall to the Lotus Elise in order to make changes to the frame/structure to support the battery pack and mounted the electronics! So its really cool that Rob, the shop owner has it and owns it now Unfortunately the electronics and motor are pulled... Rob would like to build Mule 1 back up, so if anyone has connections let me/him know!

    So what awesome luck through a friend... to end up at the best shop I could imagine to do alignment and work and performance modifications on the Roadster.

    Below are some pics of Mule 1. There are better pics on the web... But this pic is just for proof that Rob's shop has some true Tesla Roots inside!

    Thread and history on Mule 1 & Mule 2:
    The drivable "mule" (modified Elise))




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    Last edited by wiztecy; 2013-09-26 at 01:40 PM.

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