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I don't seem to get my car aligned good. It's been in different shops three times after lowering with Evolve, and it's still pulling to the right. The alignment should be now in Volvo spec. The steering has strong self centering force, but it centers a tiny bit to the right, so that I have to counterhold to make it go straight. That's even on a level road, so it's not just the road camber.

Also, turning left requires more force than turning right, and when the wheel is all the way to the left, the right corner of the car raises by half an inch. So the camber does not seem to be symmetric, even though the machine says it is. There's pretty strong rub in left turn but not on right turn.

What to try next? Compensate with rear wheels, which probably will cause other problems, or play more with the camber? Dropping front pressure to 32 psi helps a bit making the steering feel muddier, but it also causes understeer as the tires start rolling on the sidewalls. With 35psi the handling is very neutral.

Friggin lowering, should've gone for sways instead.
 

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Re: Help with Alignment (Mika)

<It's been in different shops three times after lowering with Evolve, and it's still pulling to the right. The alignment should be now in Volvo spec.>

If you've gone to the trouble of putting in stiffer springs why set the alignement back to factory specs? Set the front toe to zero or if you really want to improve turn in at the expense of tire wear and a little dartiness (is that a word?) put just a pinch of toe out in the front. When you lowered the car with the springs it added negative camber. For normal street use one degree negative would be plently unless again you don't mind replacing tires more often then you could go 1 1/2 or so. Depending upon how much it lowered the car they may not be able to get the alignment back to just 1 degree negative camber without slotting the struts or using crash bolts. I don't know if Volvo provides crash bolts but maybe someone else here will know. Crash bolts are smaller diameter than the standard bolts used on the front strut and allow for more camber adjustment. Normally used when cars have been wrecked and they can't get the alignment back in spec.

I don't know what the rear factory specs are but I'm guessing a little negative camber and a pinch of toe in to keep the car stable at higher speeds would be a good start.

<The steering has strong self centering force, but it centers a tiny bit to the right, so that I have to counterhold to make it go straight. That's even on a level road, so it's not just the road camber. >

The self center action is a function of caster. Make absolutely certain both sides of the front are set with the same caster.

<What to try next? >

Find a shop that knows what they are doing. Check with the local chapter of SCCA or PCA and find out who they use. Racers are picky about alignments as it makes a big difference.

<Compensate with rear wheels, which probably will cause other problems, or play more with the camber? Dropping front pressure to 32 psi helps a bit making the steering feel muddier, but it also causes understeer as the tires start rolling on the sidewalls. With 35psi the handling is very neutral.>

No don't compensate with the rear wheels but make certain you get a four wheel alignment. If the front is set independent from the rear it can dog track down the road. I think the term for making certain the rear wheels are pointing consistent with the front wheels is called thrust angle.

<Friggin lowering, should've gone for sways instead.>

Don't give up. Getting the alignement right with new springs shouldn't be a big deal.
 

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Re: Help with Alignment (Mika)

You almost never have the front toe and camber perfectly even.
A GOOD alignment tech wll compensate a bit for the natural crown of the road.
If you're dead even, side to side, most cars WILL pull a bit to the right because of the road and I agree with the above alignment theory
 

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Re: Help with Alignment (JRL)

Quote, originally posted by JRL »
You almost never have the front toe and camber perfectly even. A GOOD alignment tech wll compensate a bit for the natural crown of the road. If you're dead even, side to side, most cars WILL pull a bit to the right because of the road and I agree with the above alignment theory

I notice this as well, not a big deal. As long as you don't have severely uneven tire wear, you should be ok...
 
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