Monthly Archives: April 2012

Help Us to Help You – Tell Us the Whole Story.

A regular customer brought her Peugeot 206 to Drury Lane Services this week requesting a 4 wheel alignment and Geometry check following a series of steering problems she had been experiencing recently.  During normal driving conditions she explained that the car felt very unstable and that the steering was pulling to the right and to the left and had become very unpredictable.  The customer was particularly concerned because her daughter had recently driven the car and had said she felt afraid as the car was ‘all over the road’.

One of our experienced technicians took the Peugeot 206 for a test drive to ascertain whether a four wheel alignment and geometry check was an appropriate course of action.  The technician confirmed that the vehicle was very difficult to handle and recommended the 4 wheel alignment and geometry check as the first stage in the diagnosis of this problem.

Prior to the 4 wheel alignment and geometry check, the technician briefly checked the suspension and reported no obvious problems.

The Hunter DSP600 produced a very clear printout during the four wheel alignment and geometry check allowing the technician to analyse each aspect in detail before making any relevant adjustments.  In the case of the Peugeot 206, although the 4 wheel alignment and geometry check revealed a slight misalignment in the front toe, it was apparent that the true cause of the steering wheel pulling to the left and right was the caster angles.  The image below clearly demonstrates the lack of caster in the front wheels of the Peugeot 206.

According to manufacturer’s recommendations, the caster angles should be between 3.45 and 2.45 degrees.  The four wheel alignment and geometry check demonstrated that the caster angles were 1.5 degrees – grossly inaccurate.  It was evident that this was the cause of the steering instability and the pulling from left to right.

The technician now proceeded to investigate the cause of the poor caster alignment in the front wheels and hence the poor handling of the car.  With the vehicle elevated on the ramp, the technician checked the springs and steering and took a more in depth look at the suspension and gave a full report to the customer liaison officer who contacted the customer.  In order to gain a better understanding of the cause of the problem, a few specific questions were asked of the customer.  During the discussion the customer informed us that she had in fact recently taken the Peugeot 206 to another garage to have the suspension changed and the pulling to the left and right had worsened since.

Once the technician had received this information, it was very easy to continue the investigation and get to the root of the problem.  Dissection of the newly altered suspension allowed us to identify that incorrect wishbone control arms had been fitted by the garage and although the difference in the geometry of the arms is very subtle the outcome was not.

The customer returned the vehicle to the garage and the correct wishbone arms were fitted.

In order to ensure that the work had been carried out correctly, the customer revisited us here at Drury Lane services for another four wheel alignment and geometry re-check.  After a little expert fine tuning, the vehicle was handling perfectly with no pulling from left to right.

It was clear that we could have dealt with this problem much more efficiently if the customer had given us the whole story to begin with.

Here at Drury Lane Services we understand that you might have taken your vehicle for repair at other garages and test centres and just ask that when you do visit us you give us the whole story and help us to better help you.

Using 4 Wheel Alignment and Geometry to get to the Root of the Problem

Situated on the border of Chadderton, Failsworth, Oldham and Hollinwood, Drury Lane Services was the perfect garage for the owner of an Audi TT who had recently moved into the area from Stockport.  The customer had taken the Audi TT for an M.O.T test in Failsworth and unfortunately the vehicle failed the test due to two worn rear tyres.  The Failsworth garage directed the customer to an Oldham tyre fitting centre where rear tyres were fitted.
Whilst driving the Audi TT away from the tyre fitting centre, the owner noticed that the steering was making an unusual noise.  Following a series of exchanges between the Failsworth M.O.T testing station and the Oldham tyre fitting centre, the customer concluded that the vehicle may have slipped off the jack causing suspension damage.
Panicking, the customer searched the internet for four wheel alignment and geometry specialists and discovered Drury Lane Services.  Upon hearing the series of events at the Oldham and Failsworth garages, our highly trained technicians proceeded to check the four wheel alignment and geometry angles using our state of the art equipment (Hunter DSP600 4 wheel alignment and geometry imaging system).  Our technician was able to analyse the images
produced by the DSP600 and concluded that the alignment/geometry of the Audi TT was slightly outside of the manufacturers recommendations.  We completed all of the adjustments as necessary and took the vehicle for a road test.
During the road test, the technician reported that the Audi TT was still drifting to the right hand side and the steering wheel was pulling to the right although the steering wheel itself was straight.  It was clear that we needed to investigate the problem further and so our customer liaison officer contacted the customer to confirm that the problem did not exist prior to the M.O.T test and rear tyre change – it did not.
Following a careful examination of the steering, suspension and antiroll bars revealing no obvious problems, it was suggested by our experienced technician that the drifting to the right and the pull of the
steering wheel was due to a problem with the tyres – possibly one of the rear tyres was heavier than the other.  We tried a series of configurations of the tyres and wheels on the Audi TT swapping  them from front to back and
side to side with various outcomes and results.  Analysis of the results allowed us to identify the cause of the problem, the off-side-front (Front right hand) tyre was much heavier causing the Audi TT to drift to the right.
Consultation with the owner clarified the situation: When the car was purchased by the current owner and before the recent tyre change and M.O.T, there was a degree of inconsistency in the tyre circumferences.  The Near-side-rear (back left hand) tyre had a greater circumference/weight than the Off-side-rear (back right hand) and the Off-side-front (front right hand) tyre had a greater circumference/weight than the Near-side-front (front left hand) hence two heavier tyres on different axels diagonally opposite one another effectively cancelling each other out.
No alignment or geometry issues existed on this Audi TT but the cause of the drifting and the pulling to the right of the steering wheel was the remaining Off-side-front tyre with a greater circumference and weight to the others.
We changed the Off-side-front tyre which was in perfect condition and the vehicle drove perfectly in the road test (no drifting to the right or pulling on the steering wheel).  Without checking the four wheel alignment and geometry using the Hunter DSP600 imaging system we may never have resolved this issue for the customer.
In conclusion, the noise the customer had heard was simply a power steering belt tension issue.