Friday, March 9, 2012

4-wheel Alignment

Earlier in the week I booked a time slot at John's North County Brake shop for a 4-wheel alignment.  My cow-orker Deb has all of her work done by John and highly recommended him.

Today is Solar Appreciation Day at my company REC Solar.  We get this day off every year to celebrate the end of winter and we're supposed to go out and enjoy the sun and the outdoors.  I took the opportunity to drive the 914 into town and get the wheels aligned to make sure I'm tracking correctly down the road and not wasting energy on excess friction.  I certainly enjoyed the sun on the drive in and out with the targa top off!

I pulled in and John wondered if the car was nuclear powered!  He has a tricked-out golf cart that shares a lot of the same technology so he was familiar with the overall design of the car.  John called his friend over from the Robb-A-Cart golf cart shop across the street to check out the car too.  I discussed an overcharging situation I was having with my Zivan charger and Robb suggested that I contact Elcon in Sacramento as they do repairs on Zivans there without having to ship back to Italy.  In fact several people came by the shop as the work was ongoing and were interested, so I explained the design several times.

First John adjusted the torsion bar bolts on the front suspension until the car was level side to side.

The rear wheels were pretty good, only 1/4" or so out of alignment.  It wasn't clear how to make the toe adjustment, so I Googled it on my phone and found that two bolts needed to be loosened at the front end of the trailing arm.  The arm is then adjusted with large tools, then the bolts are tightened back down.  The passenger side went easily, but the driver's side wouldn't budge until he put a big pry back farther back into the space between the hub and the shock tower, and it came loose.

Then he went back to the front wheels and found, to no surprise, that the wheels were badly out of toe due to my replacement of the tie-rod ends.  A quick adjustment brought them back into alignment.

The car now has all 4 wheels pointing in the right direction and the steering wheel is level!

On the way home, I stopped into the battery shop and showed Jim the car which was now full of his batteries.  He was impressed, as were two folks on motorcycles that were at the shop at the time.  I have a feeling I'm going to be explaining the car everywhere I go, but I'm looking forward to it!