Charmant’s long needed ‘upgrade’!

I’ll admit, aside from maintaining my Charmant in a running and healthy state/condition, I absolutely hadn’t done anything to make it run or perform better for like… more than a year? Except for a while ago when I replaced my p*ssy rims, other than that, none.

So as I’ve already mentioned in my previous post, I’ve got myself a tie rod stopper ‘extension’ thingy, or as the seller called it, the ‘steering angle kit’, tee hee!  I handed my Charmant over to my trusted mechanic to do some routine services on the 4AGE, the LSD and my steering, and most importantly, fitting the angle kit on my inner tie rod.  According to my best go-to guy Johnny, both the inner and outer tie rods need to be cut for like 1/2 to 1 inch so that alignment can be properly tuned later on, it worked fine on his AE86 Trueno, but it seemed like it doesn’t for my Charmant.

After the cutting of the tie rods were done and the angle kit fitted on, my toe setting were way off as expected, I took a half day leave from work the next day just to drive it to a service center to give it a proper alignment job, the place I went to is actually a Hyundai’s certified service workshop, however they also serve cars of other makes, so it’s cool.

Charmant setting up for alignment

Charmant setting up for alignment

Charmant setting up for alignment

Here’s a picture of my f*cked up settings before the tune:

Before alignment tune

The mechanic was very helpful and followed my instructions willingly, I told him the degrees I desired, and off he went with the adjustments.

First thing to adjust was my Camber, since everything was still very stock, not much can be done at the bottom side, so the adjustments were made on my Pillow Ball mount, I’ve set it to maximum -2 degrees on both wheels.  Next was the Caster which was set to +3 degrees.  When it came to the Toe, that was when we discovered something’s ain’t right…

It appeared that my right tie rod wasn’t cut short enough, with all the thread screwed to the max. my right wheel was still having toe in of 1.1 degrees, that ain’t good, since the service center couldn’t do much, I asked the fella to also set my left wheel to toe in at 1.1 degrees as well, then I proceed to pay the bills, despite with all that quality service, it costs RM25 only!  What a bargain!

After alignment tuned (Toe setting was still f*cked up!)

I drove my Charmant out for a test drive and immediately felt the problem with that much toe in from both wheels, I’ve decided to drive straight to my mechanic’s shop again and asked for his help, he was kind enough to help me do the dirty job again free of charge on the spot, and when he took off my right wheel, that was when I spotted this:

Inner side wall

You see that? No wonder I couldn’t feel the increase in steering angle at first, because my current wheel was actually hitting my inner sidewall, I was really excited as this just proves that the kit worked as expected.  But we had more important matters at hand at that moment, tie rod cutting!  The mechanic only cut out the outer tie rod for like 1/2 inch, and told me to go visit his recommended tire shop instead as his friend (the shop owner) has the proper tools to do more cutting in case it is required, sounds fine to me.  So after he fitted everything on, I swapped my current 14″ wheels with the same one as my rear, 13″ JRD (mangkuk style) with much better offset and immediately turn my steering to full lock, and then…. no more hitting the inner sidewall, SWEEEET!

It was getting pretty late so I drove my Charmant straight to the other tire shop for another re-alignment in a hurry.

Charmant preparing for another re-alignment in a different shop

Previous shop already tuned both the Camber and Caster just fine, and all that was left was the Toe, surprisingly, the right tie rods still couldn’t make it past under 1 degree, the shop owner then took out his electric saw and started cutting, ghetto style!

Tie rod cutting, like a BOSS!

I think he cut off at least another 1/2 inch off my inner tie rod, and fitted back in, started the re-alignment… and whalla! both wheels finally back to the targeted 0.3 degree toe in!  A short test drive and I was HAPPY as f*ck!  The steering feels great again and most importantly, I now also have MORE angles to play with, my Charmant’s U-turn radius decreased drastically, and to be honest I couldn’t wait to do some proper drift runs with the added angles!  … reliability issues aside, let’s hope nothing bad happens, fingers crossed! *gulp*

To end the post, here’s a couple more pics of my Charmant after the alignment:

Charmant after proper alignment

Negative camber b*tches! (I know I know... -2 is the best I could do... LOL!)

Till next year!  Oh and one more thing… HAPPY NEW YEAR 2012!!! WOOOO HOOOOOH!!!!

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