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Old 07-25-2007, 11:30 AM   #1
joe-6STi
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Default Where to get Alignement in SE Houston ? Clear Lake area...

Apperently my STi Pink springs exclude my car from being aligned by the machine at McRee because "it wont fit the machine." . ( How would it fit cars of varying heights / wheel sizes that Subaru produces? I'm thinking that it's an insurance liability issue of some kind...but that's just speculation. Lowered cars get aligned too...)

Anyway I need an alignment and thusly recommendations for a shop that will set the numbers to what I request (or as close as they can get) in the area that wont shy away from my springs . If i have to drive a bit I will...
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Last edited by joe-6STi; 07-25-2007 at 02:37 PM. Reason: one post with out a massive spelling error...just one, all I'm asking...
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Old 07-25-2007, 12:33 PM   #2
rjacobs
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Southwest alignment on richmond semi-close to downtown. I havent gone, but I have only heard good things about them. I think an alignment is like 75 bucks.
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Old 07-25-2007, 12:34 PM   #3
Yoo Shin
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Firestone on El Camino down by Gatti's pizza does an aswesome job and takes all my requests with no problem (MAX NEG CAMBER FTMFW). They're fast also. I usually have lunch in the time they do it.
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Old 07-25-2007, 12:40 PM   #4
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yeah McRee has done that to two of my customers also. They told one of them that his wheels where too big. What do they do about the Tribeca then? He only had 18s
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Old 07-25-2007, 12:57 PM   #5
joe-6STi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robsontuning View Post
yeah McRee has done that to two of my customers also. They told one of them that his wheels where too big. What do they do about the Tribeca then? He only had 18s
Right? Apparently there is an individual machine for aligning the imprezas, legacys, tribeccas, foresters...hope they have one for the justys (both of them floating around)

And just out of curiosity - where do you get your car aligned after they install the "STi pink" (USDM pink) spings they sold ya? Don't those mess with ride heigth too?
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Old 07-25-2007, 12:59 PM   #6
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I think unless you have specific configurations for your alignement then I'm sure just about anywhere will do a decent job...
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Old 07-25-2007, 02:03 PM   #7
The Head
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I use Benson's on hwy 3 in Webster. They just did my coilovers and I was able to have input on where to set things.
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Old 07-25-2007, 07:55 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Head View Post
I use Benson's on hwy 3 in Webster. They just did my coilovers and I was able to have input on where to set things.
+100000000
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Old 07-25-2007, 08:01 PM   #9
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brake check? my brothers truck didnt fit on their machine so they strapped it onto the machine. maybe they can do the same for you
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Old 07-26-2007, 12:16 AM   #10
Daniel's05WRX
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word on Benson's, best shop around
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Old 07-26-2007, 01:22 AM   #11
ScubieDoobieDoo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joe-6STi View Post
Apperently my STi Pink springs exclude my car from being aligned by the machine at McRee because "it wont fit the machine." . ( How would it fit cars of varying heights / wheel sizes that Subaru produces? I'm thinking that it's an insurance liability issue of some kind...but that's just speculation. Lowered cars get aligned too...)
Quote:
Originally Posted by robsontuning View Post
yeah McRee has done that to two of my customers also. They told one of them that his wheels where too big. What do they do about the Tribeca then? He only had 18s
what was different about those 2 vs the others you've sent over the years that had no problems?? there's also a thing called 'factory spec' that comes into play

Quote:
Originally Posted by joe-6STi View Post
Right? Apparently there is an individual machine for aligning the imprezas, legacys, tribeccas, foresters...hope they have one for the justys (both of them floating around) And just out of curiosity - where do you get your car aligned after they install the "STi pink" (USDM pink) spings they sold ya? Don't those mess with ride heigth too?
why ask nasioc? they weren't there to hear and see the conversation. did you ask the service manager? and if so, did he say they were'n't able to do ANY cars with pinks, or just yours. and if just yours, why specifically were other cars fine, and not yours? oh, and you forgot baja's and outbacks

our alignment machine was adapted onto a previously existing drive-on lift. it's an afterthought, i guess you can say. the lift wasn't born and built to be for alignments of all types. also, there are simply some vehicles that will scrape if they are too low just driving onto it. anyone that's been to our shop days should be familiar with this. those same vehicles would have an oil change using the regular 2 post adjustable leg lift. maybe it's literally that some vehicles can and some can't fit...i don't know either, but considering the variables on different springs, lowering heights, wheel sizes, body kits, etc, it's pretty vague to generalize like you are. if they can't do it, well then, by-gones. at least they're telling you instead of screwing up the job and/or the car . specialty alignment or performance shops are equipped specifically for these issues. mcree never claimed to be a performance shop from the get-go. it's not a liability issue, either. i think mcree has clearly proven, repeatedly, that we know how to do deal with liabilities and waivers. robsontuning sells springs, but they don't do full service installs and alignments either does Danz have the equipment to do any and every kind of alignment?? if so, i'd use him. he's got a great rep for the work he's done. and his clock time is considerably cheaper than any dealer or shop around as for why STi pinks would make a difference i really don't know. too many variables. my suggestion, bring it to a place that says "sure, we can do it" heck, they may even sell a/m products for less too!(unless you still have your side performance biz, as well...minus the full service installs and alignments)
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Old 07-26-2007, 10:52 AM   #12
joe-6STi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScubieDoobieDoo View Post
what was different about those 2 vs the others you've sent over the years that had no problems?? there's also a thing called 'factory spec' that comes into play

why ask nasioc? they weren't there to hear and see the conversation. did you ask the service manager? and if so, did he say they were'n't able to do ANY cars with pinks, or just yours. and if just yours, why specifically were other cars fine, and not yours? oh, and you forgot baja's and outbacks

our alignment machine was adapted onto a previously existing drive-on lift. it's an afterthought, i guess you can say. the lift wasn't born and built to be for alignments of all types. also, there are simply some vehicles that will scrape if they are too low just driving onto it. anyone that's been to our shop days should be familiar with this. those same vehicles would have an oil change using the regular 2 post adjustable leg lift. maybe it's literally that some vehicles can and some can't fit...i don't know either, but considering the variables on different springs, lowering heights, wheel sizes, body kits, etc, it's pretty vague to generalize like you are. if they can't do it, well then, by-gones. at least they're telling you instead of screwing up the job and/or the car . specialty alignment or performance shops are equipped specifically for these issues. mcree never claimed to be a performance shop from the get-go. it's not a liability issue, either. i think mcree has clearly proven, repeatedly, that we know how to do deal with liabilities and waivers. robsontuning sells springs, but they don't do full service installs and alignments either does Danz have the equipment to do any and every kind of alignment?? if so, i'd use him. he's got a great rep for the work he's done. and his clock time is considerably cheaper than any dealer or shop around as for why STi pinks would make a difference i really don't know. too many variables. my suggestion, bring it to a place that says "sure, we can do it" heck, they may even sell a/m products for less too!(unless you still have your side performance biz, as well...minus the full service installs and alignments)
Actually it was a flat refusal on the phone - NOTHING that is not on stock suspension. Asked twice to re-iterate. Why would other cars be fine? Not sure, but nothing concerning ride height, current camber settings, wheels etc...was even inquired about. I was kinda taken aback - I have used you guys once to get my brakes done and the process was as painless as possible. Totally different reaction to this. My lack of detail in the description was a side effect of the actual conversation - short. The gist is actually in the origional post, and while I didn't prod as to why, the man on the phone was adamant that STOCK vechicles only would be aligned.

Cost isn't the issue here, the time is. With an impending trip to austin this weekend and a demanding work load at the moment time is at a premium it simply doesnt exist to shop around for places - word of mouth from people i have met and trust comes close to my own research. You guys were the 1st and 2nd recommendation ( as usual ) and so i rang you up.

After getting the camber setting as close as I could with Trig, ruler, plumb, calculator, board, homebrew setup, I was honestly more curious about how close it had come to what the machince could read The more research that I did (as much as i read, Camber was the only spec played with - nothing else was touched intentionally, although i understand that some specs do change after strut removal / re- installation.). Cursory check of how the machines opperate led me to believe that ride heigth made little differance in the process. If the car could drive up on the ramps - and mine setteld 7/8ths lower than stock - it could be aligned.

Why ask NASIOC ? Asking TXIC was a way to get other recommendations from people in the area that may have had the same issue. Seeing as most on the board have tinkered with their cars a bit (and I'm not questioning McRee's enthusiasm for enhancing Subaru performance), they may have fough this battle, encountered shops that are clean on the front and dodgy in the bays. Their reccomendations / solutions may save me exactly the scenario that you describe in which my car is damaged or just poorly attended to by someone that may even claim to know what they are doing.

No ill will was intended here, just a bit of frustration+time cruch. Sorry Barry - the baja and outback, while fine cars in their own right, may have been consious ommissions You cannot do what you cant do and i understand that fully, but you cant know that you cant do something unless you fully understsnd the problem at hand. This explanation helps a bit, and it seems that I got the desired result that led to the recommendation of McRee for this task in the first place, shops that Can align my car with lowered (albeit a tiny bit ) springs, which was your recommendation too...

Last edited by joe-6STi; 07-26-2007 at 10:53 AM. Reason: i swear to the spell check gods...
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Old 07-26-2007, 03:17 PM   #13
Robson
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Barry, I don't want to give info on my customers that were refused, other than the fact that they had nothing special except for wheel and suspension changes.
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Old 07-26-2007, 07:41 PM   #14
ScubieDoobieDoo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robsontuning View Post
Barry, I don't want to give info on my customers that were refused, other than the fact that they had nothing special except for wheel and suspension changes.
i understand. i wasn't asking for names. i was asking for their situations.

anywho, i think i've got the answer. the machine that we have uses some pods(don't know what the heck they're called) that attach directly to the wheel lip(18" is absolute max and difficult to attach as is). there is an arm that reaches in front of the wheel several inches. at the end of the arm is a sensor. the sensor points a laser to the opposing wheel/arm/sensor, which then helps measure the specs. likewise with these sensors fore/aft.

this is a typical purpose-built alignment lift. it uses reflectors/mirrors that are clearly unobstructed by the vehicle itself.


this is ours(notice the arms)


look at the arm/sensor, compared to the body on this truck, and you can see where a lowered body can block the sensors on the front of the arm.


2 issues here:
1)putting pinks on a wrx makes it roughly the same ride height of a stock sti. the bottom of a stock STi front bumper barely clears the laser lines by less than a half inch. by dropping an sti, the machine can't be used.

2)we DO have a second alignment machine at our ford building. however, fords, across the model lines, have considerably higher body/ground heights, which allows them to be easily driven onto the ramps. a lowered sti, and even sometimes a wrx can easily scrape bottom. sometimes we use 2x4s to help get cars onto the lifts, but it doesn't always work. it's usually moreso the crest angle than the approach angle on the lift that is the problem. there literally have been vehicles that bottomed out before. it's hard to explain how it looks over there, but the actually ground level is a steep declining angle that meets up to the ramps themselves. in the pic below, notice the ramps. they are hinged and have little wheels so they properly adjust as the lift itself moves up/down. the deeper the angle up, the deeper the angle at the crest to level off. if the ground angle and ramp angle are similar, then the approach angle isn't that bad, but the crest still is.

this, at least, explains more than before. there IS a reason it can't be done on some vehicles. subaru's with higher clearance can easily be done on the machine at the ford building, but often there is a long long wait just to use the machine.
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Old 07-26-2007, 07:50 PM   #15
FaisalT
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this thread made me

Go to firestone, pay $140 for lifetime alignment.
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Old 07-26-2007, 08:37 PM   #16
ScubieDoobieDoo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FaisalT View Post
this thread made me

Go to firestone, pay $140 for lifetime alignment.
if it'll fit my mr-s doesn't fit here either. we did ours at NTB.
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Old 07-27-2007, 10:54 AM   #17
joe-6STi
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Originally Posted by ScubieDoobieDoo View Post
if it'll fit my mr-s doesn't fit here either. we did ours at NTB.
^^^^ Why i was solicitng recomendations here - to aviod this hassle. If Firestone uses the same machine McRee does then it's a bust too FaisalT...

BTW Barry - Thanks for the Explanation and Pics - the body/laser interference issue was unknown, and the "pods" machine was the one i found =ing mass confusion.
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Old 07-27-2007, 01:12 PM   #18
ScubieDoobieDoo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joe-6STi View Post
^^^^ Why i was solicitng recomendations here - to aviod this hassle. If Firestone uses the same machine McRee does then it's a bust too FaisalT...

BTW Barry - Thanks for the Explanation and Pics - the body/laser interference issue was unknown, and the "pods" machine was the one i found =ing mass confusion.
no worries man. there's always a reason for things to be what they are ...especially if it's not supported with facts. most folks don't know the diff's bet/ the systems, let alone who uses what systems. i'm glad you gave me the chance to find the answers and explain it. sorry we couldn't help. another thing that i learned is that if the software isn't up to date and there are any changes to specs, an alignment also can't be performed(unless you aren't going factory spec, which i suppose the software wouldn't matter then).

JDM pinks are not sold and backed in the U.S. by SoA AT ALL. in fact, currently STi pinks that ARE sold in the U.S. are not applicable for the STi.

according to SPT.subaru.com:
STi Springs-Front(B2010FE500/510) are applicable only for 04-06 WRX, 04-05 2.5RS, AND 06 2.5i.

the only officially offered suspension via SoA for the STi is the STi Inverted Adjustable Struts and Springs (203004S240/250) good for 05-06 STi.

just a heads up in case anyone didn't know this info. yes, you can buy the JDM pinks, but no, they are not backed by SoA, it's distributors, dealers, or associates.

Last edited by ScubieDoobieDoo; 07-27-2007 at 01:51 PM.
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