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Alloy Gators and alignment problems

Discussion in 'Model S: Driving Dynamics' started by DrComputer, Feb 4, 2014.

  1. DrComputer

    DrComputer Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Sherman Oaks, CA
    I just wanted to make everyone aware of an issue I encountered with my car. I had Alloy Gators installed several months ago and loved the way they looked and helped protect my wheels from curb rashes. A few weeks ago I had to have my rear tires replaced because they were worn out. The LA service center installed two new tires, balanced all four wheels and did an alignment on the car. Ever since that was done my car started to handle very poorly at freeway speeds about 65mph. It was hard to keep it in a lane and it felt like a boat bobbing on the ocean when you would try to change lanes at high speeds or going around sweeping curves.

    The service center picked up my car last week and re-ran the alignment check on it and said it was just fine. I tried it again after they gave it back to me and it was still just as bad. I then explained to problem to their top tech and he suspected that since they have to attach the alignment blocks over the Alloy Gators that it could be throwing off the machine. I told them to (permanently) remove the Alloy Gators and re-run the alignment. Like we suspected the car was completely out of alignment when done without the Allow Gators installed. It now drives like it did before and is perfectly stable at high speeds. They did offer to re-install the Gators again, but I said that if they are going to cause problems in the future with aligning the car I'd rather keep them off.

    So this is just a word of caution to anyone with Alloy Gators installed. Do not try to have the alignment done with them on the car.
     
  2. gnelson

    gnelson Member

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    Location:
    Houston
    Thanks for posting this important information.
     
  3. Larry Chanin

    Larry Chanin Model S Perf Sig 1055

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    Location:
    Sarasota, Florida
    I appreciate your report, but this does not match my experience.

    I have had Alloy Gators installed on my wheels and under very hard accelaration I experienced a severe tendancy to swerve right and left.

    However, I don't attribute this to the Alloy Gators because when I took the car into the service center to correct the issue, they performed a four wheel alignment and the problem completely went away and has not returned.

    I took the car into the center recently on a minor unrelated issue and I asked the manager how the tires looked for wear and he said that they looked very good and that he expected them to last past the 12,500 mile recommended maintenance point. (I currently have about 9000 miles.)

    My wife has recently had a close encounter with a curb and seriously damaged the rim guard. Based on the my positive experiences with them I intend to replace the Alloy Gators with new ones.

    Larry
     
  4. Seven7

    Seven7 Member

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    I wonder if the SC's are useing different alignment racks?
     
  5. Larry Chanin

    Larry Chanin Model S Perf Sig 1055

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    Sarasota, Florida
    Hi Joe,

    I certainly don't know, but I would imagine how experienced the technician is also makes a difference. In my case the manager of the service center did the alignment.

    Larry
     
  6. Gizmotoy

    Gizmotoy Active Member

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    Most new alignment racks require the wheel sensors to be mounted to the very edge of the wheel, which, coincidently, is exactly where Alloy Gators sit. Just look at pictures of alignment racks. For lack of a better example, see this stock photo: Wheel Alignment Machine Clamp Stock Image - Image: 13351951

    That said, maybe there's some alternative method that can be used?
     
  7. XrstalLens

    XrstalLens Model S P1327 VIN P01867

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2011
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    Location:
    Kirkland, WA
    My service center had a spare set of 21's in their shop which they put on to do the alignment, and then put my wheels with the Alloy Gators back on. That technique seemed to work fine.
     
  8. ckessel

    ckessel Active Member

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    Hmm, I've got the alloy gators and I'd hoped to keep them when I got new tires. Though, a couple are pretty chewed up so maybe I'll tell the shop to toss them and I'll put new ones on.
     
  9. Gizmotoy

    Gizmotoy Active Member

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    Seems pretty reasonable. Didn't think of that. Not sure how many service centers have spares, though.
     
  10. jwolens

    jwolens Member

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    Location:
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    Just wanted to add my experience. I had to have 2 tires replaced after they had some damage done to them and they removed my Alloy Gators from all rims. I was told in order to do the alignment properly, they HAVE to remove all Alloy Gators from the car. I am not sure about doing the alignment with spare tire they might have laying around. May be worth asking the next time. Did not think to ask them about this until I just read this post. Thanks for the thought.
     
  11. RodF

    RodF Member

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    Location:
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    Also adding my experience, my service center outright said they couldn't do the alignment because of the Alloy Gators. They also said they could not remove them for me (even permanently) because they could not do work on after market products. Ended up paying a tire shop $150 to remove the Gators.
     
  12. ckessel

    ckessel Active Member

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    You got robbed. Deflate the tires and pull them out. It's not hard. Putting them on is hard, for that I might pay $150 (though even that is steep).
     
  13. artsci

    artsci Sponsor

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    I got rid of the Alloy Gators a few months ago. I hated the things. They look great when you first put them on but after some wear and tear they start to prove that they're made of cheap plastic. And they're a pain to install and remove.

    I developed my own DIY solution, which I call RRBs (Rubber Rim Bumpers). Scraped a curb today with the left rear rim and not only was there no damage to the rim but the RRB shows very little damage. With the Alloy Gators they would be a go ugly mar and likely a piece hanging loose.

    Not sure if these will present alignment issues like the Alloy Gators or any other rim protectors.
     
  14. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    It depends on the equipment. Yours don't stick out the way the Gators do, so there's a good chance it won't be a problem. Also they don't interfere with the mating of the tire and the rim flange.
     

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