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Beware of out calibration alignment machines and idiot techs.....

Discussion in 'Model S: Driving Dynamics' started by sorka, May 18, 2016.

  1. sorka

    sorka Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2015
    Messages:
    3,255
    Location:
    Merced, CA
    Went to Firestone Complete Auto Care to have my alignment checked. I hit a pothole about a month ago and noticed my steering wheel off center but not pulling so it still tracked straight. Also no decline in wh / mile.

    [​IMG]

    So right rear toe was off pretty bad. The front left caster was off a little and the tech adjusted it all the way to 4.5 from 3.3. I asked him why he moved it so far forward when the right side was only 3.6. I told him that it would cause the car to pull to the right but it was already off the alignment machine.

    Then he warned me that when he printed it out, the caster would show what it did before the alignment because their system has been having some weird issue that they haven't been able to resolve. Giving me lots of confidence. Sure enough, when he printed it out, it was still showing what it did before despite him saying he adjusted it forward ALL the way. I was skeptical....that was until I noticed that the left front tire now rubs against the front wheel wheel liner when turned to the right. So now I have to be super careful to not turn too far to the right when pulling out because the tread could catch rip apart my entire wheel well.

    And then of course it was pulling to the right just as I predicted. The wheel was now straight.

    Then there is the left rear camber at -2.2. How could it be that far off when I've had perfectly even tire wear on my 19's. I mean perfectly even. The inside is not 1 mm less or more than the outside.

    So then I get home to discover the rear underside cowl handing down almost to the ground.

    The stupid idiot but the clip screws into the machine screw holes on 2 of them. He cross thread 2 more machine screens because he didn't hand start them first. He used the short black clips in the long holes and the long black clips in the short holes so that the short ones had nothing to crab onto. Two of the machine screws were screwed into the clips.

    So now I had to order a special spiral tap used for recutting existing holes on the hopes that there's enough thread strength left for the holes that were cross threaded which there probably will be. Otherwise I'll have to cut them to M7s and get an odd sized machine screw.

    I call Firestone back and tell the store manage what happened. He's obviously aghast and very apologetic. He offers to get me back in immediately and redo the alignment. But then later he calls and redirects me to a wheel works in Saratoga(one I haven't been to in over 18 years). Apparently Firestone and Wheelworks are the same company. Anyways, he tells me that they do tons of Teslas and that they have a tech who only does Teslas. So I get there yesterday and sure enough there were 3 other Teslas in the parking lot.

    Anyways, they put the car up and the current alignment readings are WAY different than the AFTER readings on my previous alignment a few days earlier.


    [​IMG]

    Wheelworks claims they just had their alignment machine calibrated a few days before and that they calibrate it frequently and that Firestone is known for not calibrating their machines.

    Now notice the left rear camber. It's nearly identical to the right rear now. This better explains my even tire wear. All the measurements are different first alignment post vs second alignment pre. Some measurements are REALLY far off first post vs second pre.

    I drove in with the under cowl off. Even though this tech seemed to know what he was doing, I'll never again get an alignment without first removing this myself.
     
  2. Rockster

    Rockster Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2013
    Messages:
    1,005
    Location:
    McKinney, TX
    After a series of similar events, and painfully aggressive upselling, I swore off Firestone decades ago.
     
    • Like x 1
  3. sorka

    sorka Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2015
    Messages:
    3,255
    Location:
    Merced, CA
    Nice to know I can take my lifetime alignments on my other cars to Wheelworks instead.
     

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