On Mon, 7 Dec 2015 17:49:28 -0000 (UTC), "Danny D."
I go to Sears for Craftsman tools, but I rarely buy anything else. I
dont let Sears or any of those big chain stores work on my cars. I go to
a small local mechanic if I cant fix something myself.
Many years ago, I took a car to one of those large chain stores for an
alignment. It was an old car, so they probably did not want to work on
it. They wrote an estimate to replace half the steering parts, and it
was a large amount of money. I left, and took the car home and checked
all the parts they said needed to be replaced. None showed excessive
wear, but the idler arm was a bit sloppy. I replaced the idler arm. Then
I took the car to a small tire shop that also did alignments and some
other work. They charged about $20 more than the chain store for the
alignment, but they did the work and said all the parts were fine.
I will never take another car to Sears, K-Mart, or any of the chain
stores for any repairs.
I once tried to do an alignment myself. Forget it.... I'll never try
Paintedcow wrote, on Mon, 07 Dec 2015 13:34:59 -0600:
I am the same. I "do" buy Craftsman tools, although, lately, Harbor
Frieght tools work fine - but - maybe because I already have all the
basic tools, so, what I need are things like tire changers and
static balancers nowadays (not wrenches and screwdrivers).
Remind me to tell you the story of when I want to AAmco (again, as
a stupid kid) when they wanted to charge me $400 for a new transmission
when the real problem turned out to be bad motor mounts (causing a
screeching of the belts).
I found this out ONLY because I didn't have the money to pay $400
to Aamco. They were "professionals" so I believed them, but, when
I went to a mechanic, he said the only problem was the motor mounts,
which, after I replaced them (pretty easy job) *was* the problem!
So, AAmco is either incompetent, or crooks.
And, we all know they're not *that* incompetant.
The end result is that you can only trust yourself, and the guys
here who aren't making any money off of you and me.
Thanks you guys! (PS: Where the hell is Oren & Chris?)
Don't get me started on the actions of Midas Muffler last I went there!
Alignment is one of the last bastions that a shade-tree mechanic
I *bought* all the tools (e.g., digital levels) and made a toe measurement
tool. While toe is the easiest of all, it's not easy to measure nor to
even UNDERSTAND alignment. I think I understand it better than most, but,
even so, we need about $500 to $1,000 in tools to do the job easily.
Notice, we do NOT need the $50K to $100K tool that the shops use. They
have VASTLY different requirements than we have. We just need a level
garage floor, decent measurement tools, a decent lift system, and
the knowledge of how to convert inches to degrees and vice versa.
On Mon, 7 Dec 2015 19:51:10 -0000 (UTC), "Danny D."
Harbor Freight is the LAST place I'd buy tools. I have been dissatisfied
with almost everything from them. If I want cheaper tools, I usually buy
the "Toolshop" branded stuff from Menards. Most of their tools have been
fairly decent. Otherwise I'll pay the higher price and get Craftsman or
at least the middle of the road brands like Stanley or Black & Decker.
Paintedcow wrote, on Mon, 07 Dec 2015 15:15:16 -0600:
I know. I know. I know.
When I was looking for balancers and tire changing tools, I found better
ones (Northern?) but they also cost more.
If I were to do the job once a month or so, it would pay to get the better
tools. I agree.
But, how often do you really change all your tires?
I do it once every couple of years at most.
So, in the next 20 years, I'll change tires about 10 times.
For that, the HF tire-changing tool works just fine.
PS: I had to bolt it to a pallet though, as there's no way you can use
it without mounting it to something sturdy.
Hey. Good t' hear from ya!
How'z them huckleberries?
PS: If/when I decide to get a gun (when I get rid of all my sister's
children living with me and the grandchildren don't visit me n'mo'),
I'll have to ask you which one.
I'm kind'a thinking I'd like a 9mm, maybe Ruger?
Or a revolver (fewer screwups when you're shooting scared?).
I kind'a like the 9mm though (for home protection).
Yes, I know a shotgun is the best way to go for home defense, but, I
like the pistol better for some reason better.
We had a few robberies up here, so that's what got me thinkin'.
CY: I had mixed results with HF. Most of the tools have worked fine.
CY: And the Aamco that finished rebuilding
my TX. Problem was, it would not stay in
park. I'd stop, put the shift in park, take
my foot off the brake, and the vehicle rolls
away. I took it back, and they gave me a
story about how badly stretched was the
linkage. I took it home, and find the two
rods connect with a loop and bolt. Loosen
the bolt, shift the loop about 3/8 inch,
and the problem is solved. The Aamco shop
could not do that? Nonsense.
CY: I wonder.
CY: Oh, sorry the hell for not commenting sooner
CY: Myself and many others have endured the
Midas three level pricing.
1) phone. Oh, it sounds like $75
2) quote at the counter, double the
phone quote. Gonna be $150.
3) Out the door price. Double the
counter price. We had to replace some
other parts, and the total came to $300.
CY: I can do toe sets, using either a long board and
magic marker. Or if I have second worker, a tape
Stormin Mormon wrote, on Mon, 07 Dec 2015 18:54:17 -0500:
I made a toe measurement tool out of pipe.
One long pipe to go parallel to the axle and two side pipes
that are perpendicular and which slide along the pipe and
clamp in place.
Then I just measure the distance from the center of the tread
to the center of the tread.
Some alignment numbers are defined from the center of the
vehicle, which means I have a bit of slop since mine only
measures total toe and not center-out toe.
Toe is as easy as twisting the tie rod ends equally on
both sides in opposite directions.
The hardest part is making a toe plate that spins freely
while the car's weight is sitting on each wheel.
Camber isn't too hard because you can make a faceplate for
the wheels bolted onto the lug bolt holes (Bimmers have lug
bolts, not lug nuts). The faceplate pushes out further than
the tire so that you can measure the camber angle to a tenth
of a degree with a level.
Caster is a bit too difficult, but, in the case of the bimmer,
only front toe and rear toe & camber are adjustable anyway.
One problem is that you have to set a bimmer to something called
"normal ride height" which is anything but normal. It's a height
that happens only when you add over 500 pounds of weight,
evenly distributed throughout the front & back seats and the
trunk (in addition to 18 gallons of gas).
Most bimmer alignments are done wrong, that is, without first setting
ride height, so the camber is off by a few degrees (and it's supposed
to be negative 2 degrees in the rear, which is a hellova lot).
The problem here is similar to the changing tire problem. Most
people don't *know* how to do the job, so, the mechanics almost
always skimp (I mean, how many even *have* 500 pounds of weight
They know better.
They just know their customer doesn't know any better.
So, they cheat.
The customer loses.
On Tue, 8 Dec 2015 01:20:18 -0000 (UTC), "Danny D."
Doesn't need any weight. All he needs is a few ratchet straps - one
on each side at the front and one at the center rear. Draw the
suspension down by pulling the body down to the alignment rack to the
prescribed level, and do the adjustments. No rocket science involved.
There are some intelligent mechanics around, you know.
This is a very clever idea, and, it fits the idea, which is to "set"
the car at the stipulated "normal ride height" (which we all agree
is nothing close to "normal") *before* you start the alignment.
Strapping the car down until the distance between the wheel well
center and the center of the wheel is the defined distance will
I have never seen anyone *do* that; but I can't disagree.
It will work.
So will about 500 pounds (in addition to 18 gallons of fuel).
But, most alignment shops don't do either (from my experience calling
around). And, most bimmer owners don't even know what I'm talking
But most don't.
On Mon, 7 Dec 2015 17:49:28 -0000 (UTC), "Danny D."
You can put just about any "chain tire shop" name in place of Sears
and be just as accurate. There are a few good ones of every brand -
but more bad ones.
Independents and to some extent automotive dealers are significantly
I've had issues with Firestomne. BF Goodrich, and in the old days
Uniroyal tire centers all doing the rip-off - either attempting it on
me, or doing it to my customers.
I must agree that *shipping* on tires from Tire Rack, even when it
just ships by UPS from Nevada to California, still costs about $25
So, at $100 per tire times five, the tires cost $500 but shipping alone
is $125 which is huge compared to the sales tax on $500 which is only about
$50 (roughly) if bought at a tire store.
So, the way to go, if you can find it, is to find a place that *matches*
tire rack prices for the tires, and then it only charges the 10% (or whatever)
sales tax, and then you have no shipping costs.
Tires are odd that way, because they cost a *lot* to ship.
Usually shipping and tax cancel each other out; but not with tires.
Places around me beat tire rack prices any day of the week. I inquired about
their installation places. 4 of 4 were more expensive than the regular
dealers, just for fitting. The fourth I knew and had the reputation of
crappy work, which I observed on several occasions. No thanks.
If you don't make any money on the tire sale you have to keep the lights
on doing the mounting.
Saving a few bucks is good, but it can be false economy at times. Our
town is fortunate to have a good family owned tire dealer that has fair
prices and incredible service. I know many customers that won't go
anyplace else and have a story about how Dennis helped them out with a
Ed Pawlowski wrote, on Thu, 10 Dec 2015 20:51:09 -0500:
Just to let folks know, Wheel Works, here in California, will patch the
tires properly and rebalance the wheel and even remount it on the car,
So, if the tire had not been ruined, that's the most cost effective
way to go.
You get a perfectly safe patch for free.
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