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Old 12-21-2017, 07:04 PM   #1
rvamax
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Question Looking for help interpreting alignment needs

Hey All,

I've had a heck of a ride on the way to getting my T1N aligned. When I first took it in, the rear u-bolts were worn out, I had them replaced. The techs said my driver side front strut was on its way out as it was leaking, so I had to wait until I could install new struts (Koni) before again seeking alignment.

After installing the struts, an independent AAA repair spot said that something is off or bent in the rear of my van, and would need to be fixed before alignment. I took it to the dealership and they said that the rear is within spec, but the front is out in every measurement.

The dealership said there aren't any Mercedes parts available to fix camber, and thus they couldn't fix that issue. They recommended taking it to an independent shop to get that work done.

I know I can get camber shims to fix that issue, and then it would just be the caster and the toe. However, I've not heard of any fix for caster that is out of spec. My front transverse leaf spring has not worn out yet.

I've attached the measurements from the dealership's machine, as I'm not versed enough to read it and know exactly what I need to do.

Any advice is much appreciated!


Thanks,

Max
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Old 12-22-2017, 04:21 AM   #2
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Default Re: Looking for help interpreting alignment needs

Is your van by chance empty/unloaded? Weight affects camber.

My caster is off too, by .2 degrees on the left side -.5 degrees on the right side. Tech said my rear axle has shifted slightly and the locating pins on the rear leaf springs may have sheared off - something to look into. For the front, there's a thread here that has some weird special ghettorigged tool to basically pull the front crossmember forward to the correct spot. I don't know if that's actually your problem or if that would affect caster, just an idea.


Seeing as your van is a 2010, IIRC those have adjustable camber by where exactly you locate the bolts for the front struts/shocks. Ah here we go: " There are two lower mounting bolts on the front strut and the second bolt up from the bottom is a camber adjustment bolt. It is oval or cam shaped and allows you to reposition the bottom of the strut by turning it; this moves the top of the wheel in or out, thus changing the camber alignment on the front wheel." -https://sprinterupgrades.com/pages/sprinter-van-and-rv-suspension-101





Idk if the NVC3 sprinter has them or something similar, but I wonder if these rubber blocks that preload the transverse leaf spring have anything to do with caster?: https://sprinter-source.com/forum/sh...ad.php?t=24487

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Old 12-22-2017, 09:08 AM   #3
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Default Re: Looking for help interpreting alignment needs

Max.
This is an easy one to fix. If you vehicle has not been seriously damaged then the only thing that can cause your problem is the cross member moving back on the chassis. The cross member is held in place by eight large screws, its original alignment is obtained by a dowel welded to the cross member in the centre of each end. Many years of hitting bumps under brakes has pushed the cross member back and the dowel has bruised the metal at the back of the dowel hole. All you have to do to fix it is to loosen the eight screws and pull the cross member forward so the dowels are at the front of the original holes. Very easy, you best do it yourself as most most front end specialists will not understand the problem. To pull the member forward I use a turn buckle and two very short pieces of chain. If you mark the chassis with a pencil before you start you will see the movement. That will fix the caster and ready the cross member for the correct camber. The camber is dependent on the mounting tags being welded correctly to the struts only about 2 weeks ago we had a problem with Koni struts giving the wrong camber. Bilstien usually are spot on. When you have zero camber then you can set zero tow and you are done. Eric.
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Old 12-22-2017, 11:43 AM   #4
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Default Re: Looking for help interpreting alignment needs

Eric
I actually spoke to this bloke yesterdays and more or less reiterated your above post.
I also added that he should ideally replace the top strut mounts since the van has done more than 200,000 miles as well before submitting it for an alignment.

On the subject of K frame movement.
I/ we see about 1 in 8 alignment jobs needing a "move adjustment" to alter the recorded caster angle to a return spec.

Yes of the Konis we fit I always seem to see them needing wild adjustment to get them into alignment.
Cheers Dennis
& Merry Christmas
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Old 12-23-2017, 04:22 PM   #5
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Default Re: Looking for help interpreting alignment needs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric Experience View Post
Max.
This is an easy one to fix. If you vehicle has not been seriously damaged then the only thing that can cause your problem is the cross member moving back on the chassis. The cross member is held in place by eight large screws, its original alignment is obtained by a dowel welded to the cross member in the centre of each end. Many years of hitting bumps under brakes has pushed the cross member back and the dowel has bruised the metal at the back of the dowel hole. All you have to do to fix it is to loosen the eight screws and pull the cross member forward so the dowels are at the front of the original holes. Very easy, you best do it yourself as most most front end specialists will not understand the problem. To pull the member forward I use a turn buckle and two very short pieces of chain. If you mark the chassis with a pencil before you start you will see the movement. That will fix the caster and ready the cross member for the correct camber. The camber is dependent on the mounting tags being welded correctly to the struts only about 2 weeks ago we had a problem with Koni struts giving the wrong camber. Bilstien usually are spot on. When you have zero camber then you can set zero tow and you are done. Eric.
Thanks for the detailed response, any idea on the torque needed to retighten the crossmember bolts?
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Old 12-24-2017, 09:03 AM   #6
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Default Re: Looking for help interpreting alignment needs

Max.
I do not have a figure but I know it takes all my strength to crack them with a 600 mm bar so I just do them up as tight as I can with the same bar. I have done many vehicles and none have come back. Yes I know they have probably spun out of control over a cliff. Eric.
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Old 12-24-2017, 10:23 AM   #7
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Default Re: Looking for help interpreting alignment needs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric Experience View Post
... Yes I know they have probably spun out of control over a cliff. Eric.




Fortunately for you many cliffs in Australia lead to the ocean so any evidence was washed away or eaten by great white sharks.


vic

P.S. - 600 mm is a 2 foot breaker bar. Yes. I needed to look that up.
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Last edited by Aqua Puttana; 12-24-2017 at 10:27 AM.
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Old 12-24-2017, 08:16 PM   #8
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Default Re: Looking for help interpreting alignment needs

That the MB dealer cannot, or chooses not to employ the available shims, makes me wonder WTF! I must be missing something. Excuse my ignorance.

Thanks to all here every day for the unending education. This site is invaluable. I would not want to think where we would all be without this forum.
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Old 12-26-2017, 02:33 AM   #9
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Default Re: Looking for help interpreting alignment needs

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcmadeintheshade@gmail.com View Post
That the MB dealer cannot, or chooses not to employ the available shims, makes me wonder WTF! I must be missing something. Excuse my ignorance.

Thanks to all here every day for the unending education. This site is invaluable. I would not want to think where we would all be without this forum.
That is largely because the OP installed aftermarket struts.
It's a non factory install!
The dealer/factory counter argument would be that if genuine MB struts were installed it would NOT have an alignment compliance issue in the first place!

I have faced this many times as factory zone rep.
If I saw non factory stuff on a class 8 truck I (with one employer policy) I simply kicked the problem down the road for the owner to resolve.
This is not of our making, the book is closed!
Dennis
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Old 01-22-2018, 05:20 PM   #10
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric Experience View Post
Max.
I do not have a figure but I know it takes all my strength to crack them with a 600 mm bar so I just do them up as tight as I can with the same bar. I have done many vehicles and none have come back. Yes I know they have probably spun out of control over a cliff. Eric.

Hey Eric, thanks for the detail. Would you be able to describe where I can look to see these dowel holes and where they should line up?
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