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Old 03-07-2004, 02:06 AM   #1
BurntJamb
Scooby Newbie
 
Member#: 13538
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Man Jose, CA
Have a Nice Day? alignment way off after tire rotation... now what?

I just did an oil change and tire rotation at the 35k mark this afternoon. When I took it for a spin I noticed that I had to turn the wheel approx to the 1 o'clock position in order for the car to drive straight. To complicate matters, I have a bit of history with my tires and alignment:

1) I'm running stock wheels.

2) I've got two stock RE92s, both have <50% tread left (I'm guessing). They are currently in the rear (after rotation)

3) My other tires are a pair of Goodyear RS-As at the front (after rotation). These have >75% tread. The reason why I have different tires: At 27k miles I got a flat in one of the RE92s which was not pluggable so I needed to replace the tire. Given that the car is AWD, I probably should have gotten 4 new tires but I went with the cheaper route. I couldn't justify a set of 4 new tires since the other two RE92s had a fair amount of life left at the time. The Goodyears were mounted in the front and RE92s in the back.

4) After I got the Goodyears I noticed that my steering wheel had to be slightly off center to the right in order to drive straight. I took it into Sears for an alignment TWO times and both times they claimed that it was to factory spec and everything should track straight. However, I still noticed that my wheel was not centered when driving straight

5) At the 30k mark I had my car serviced at the dealer and also requested an alignment. They swapped the tires (i.e. Goodyears now in rear, RE92s at front) and claimed to have fixed my alignment by putting my car back to factory spec. After picking up my car I noticed my wheel was still off center, but now slightly to the left.

6) At 32k or so I got Whiteline steering bushing installed. After this point and until the my tire rotation today, my car was driving straight with the steering wheel centered. I assumed that what I was suffering from before was memory steer.

7) Today I rotated my tires (RE92s to back, Goodyears to front--same side swap) today and now my wheel is way off center when driving straight.

8) Currently the wear on the RE92s is NOT even, i.e. the height of the outer treads on the left and right tires are slightly different. I can't really tell if the Goodyears are wearing even or not.

So what are my options here? I can't stand driving straight with an off center steering wheel. Is it possible that I didn't install my wheels properly after the rotation? I'm using the wrench included with the car and I'm approximating the required torque on each nut. Is my situation so screwed up that I should just get 4 new tires? Or would another alignment help. And if it did, would it be off again if I were to rotate the tire? Perhaps this is the perfect excuse to get new wheels But I'd rather take a more cost effective approach to rectify my problem at this time.

Thanks for any help/suggestions. And thanks for reading this lengthy post.
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Old 03-07-2004, 02:31 AM   #2
Uncle Scotty
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First of all...junk all 4 tires.
Get 4 all the same tires.
See what happens.
Torque on the lug bolts is 70ft-lbs.
Don't do an alignment untill you are sure your tires are good and your wheels aren't bent.

It is bad juju for your WRX to have different kinds of tires, and to have two different tread depth's of tires is doubly bad.
Both the RE-92's and the Goodyears are JUNK...buy good tires this time.

If you just can't live with junking all 4, get 2 more Goodyears and go from there.
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