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Thread: Sante Fe thoughts and wheel alignment

  1. #1

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    Default Sante Fe thoughts and wheel alignment

    Some might remember my post regarding looking at a new car to replace our fatally flawed Hyundai i40 and the decision to go with a Santa Fe highlander diesel?

    All pretty good so far:

    Diesel is a cracker with 436nm and 145kw. Using a little oil in first 10000km but evidently common and settles down. Average 7.5l 100 km over 50:50 highway, commuting.

    Build quality is excellent, especially the interior which was what put us off the Subarus we looked at (all hard plastics).

    Ride is a little firm and not helped by the 18 inch wheels in the highlander. I'm going to swap to the base model's 16 inch wheels, high profile tyres.

    From 8000km the car has tended to want to track with the camber of the road (to the left). This is nothing like as severe as the i40 but our 380 tracks straight unless the camber is excessive. I've had it aligned and rotated the tyres. Still a bit excessive for my preference. Does anyone know how this should be corrected by an alignment place? The last place I went didn't seem at all interested.

  2. #2

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    Firstly, have you checked the obvious - equal tyre pressures? Then you face the problem - is the camber adjustable on this vehicle? The following is my experience with wheel aligners.

    Tracking following the road camber can be corrected by getting the right wheel set to less negative or even more positive camber. You have had the front wheels done, what about the rear wheels? I assume that the I40 has adjustable rear wheel settings. Most independant suspensions do. For what it is worth, my old Pajero was aligned by the dealer and it pulled strongly to the left. I returned it, they did it again, it still pulled strongly. Eventually I took it to a private guy and he set it up so that it tracked straight unless there was a lot of road camber.

    Castor can affect the tracking as well, especially if the castor is different from one wheel to the other. Find a good wheel aligner (if that is possible) and it should eb able to be fixed.
    Last edited by erad; 17-01-2015 at 02:09 PM.

  3. #3

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    Thanks Erad,

    Yes they did front and rear, apparently the car had too much negative camber at the front.

    I check and adjust my pressures every few weeks so that is not the issue.

    I did book the car for an alignment and rotation and they didn't bother doing the rotation so I did it myself. They didn't seem that bothered. Most places seem like that around here. Good service is rare where I live.

    Steve

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    One way off field... We bought a new Sigma many years ago, and it pulled strongly to the right. Because alignment was not included as part of warranty, I took it back straight away and reported it. They said they would fix it. When I picked it up, it was pulling to the left. I complained again and they pointed out to me a difference in tyre size. Dunlops - nominally the same size (165 x 13), but one tyre was 10 mm wider.

    Took it to the local Dunlop man and he got the Dunlop rep to approve a new set. Whilst they were at it, he explained how they tyre quality control system worked. They measure each tyre for lateral and radial runout as it comes off the production line. If any tyre is out of tolerance, it gets a yellow squirt of paint in the middle of the tread and this is picked up later on the line and diverted to a reject bin. The rejects are then buffed where they exceed the runout and if they come within tolerance, are sent off as new tyres. The Dunlop rep showed me this on the offending tyre, and offered to replace it. He then dragged put the spare and in the middle of the tread was a large yellow dollop of paint. Tread depth where they had buffed it was 7.5 mm, the rest 9mm. The Dunlop rep offered to replace the whole set of tyres with a new set (Dunlops), but the price differential was such that I could have bought a whole new set of proper tyres for less price, so I left them there. Never had any more Dunlops for 36 years until my wife's new Outlander, and I checked those tyres out before I took delivery. They seemed OK - made in Japan - but they have probably changed their quality systems by now. These tyres look as if they will last about 60000 km, which I am not happy, but I can then put some proper tyre on it.

    As I said, a way off field check, but run a set of calipers over the tyre casings and check the width of each tyre. Your problem is probably a simple misalignment and it can be done by someone who understands how things work. They have a tolerance on alignment - plus or minus a certain amount. If they get within plus tolerance on one side and minus on the other, as far as they are concerned it is within tolerance. Hope you have some luck with it.
    Last edited by erad; 18-01-2015 at 11:57 AM.

  5. #5

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    Thanks. I'll have a look at the tyres although the problem only started at 8000km.

    Hyundai seem to have issues with holding alignment. Our Magna and 380 seem to remain rock solid in their alignments over many 10s of thousands of kms. Drove my Ralliart today and marveled how well it drives compared to the 55k Santa Fe. These older Mitsubishi cars were well engineered!

  6. #6

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    Steve:
    If the problem started then, it is not tyre size.

    Not sure of the tolerances specified by Hyundai, but maybe they are fairly wide. For example, the TF Magna had from memory + or Minus 2.5 mm toe-in tolerance. At thos levels, why bother - just look at them ands are they straight? If so, then it is OK. It oculd be that Hyundai tolerances are fairly generous as well, and they need to get wheels running in alignments closer to each other.

    If the suspension is MacPherson struts, then as the springs sag, the camber goes out of whack. This is OK if they sag equally because there will be no difference in camber, but if one sags more than the other, it will start pulling.
    Last edited by erad; 19-01-2015 at 05:43 AM.

  7. #7

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    Just discussed with alignment guy whilst car on the machine. Santa Fe has no camber or caster adjustment on the front, only toe. Says makes it hard to compensate for any ongoing issues. Is going to adjust the toe a little which has full adjustment. See what happens.
    Last edited by steve_bunkle; 20-01-2015 at 07:20 AM.

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    The other option is to change over to the base model 16 inch wheels with higher profile tyres. Wheel alignment guy thinks this will help and besides the 19 inch wheels on the Highlander make no sense for a vehicle we take off road.

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    Steve:
    Higher profile tyres may help, but the original problem is obviously mis-alignment of the suspension components. Eventually, the tyres will wear unevenly as the tread gets low. I would check suspension height each side. If different, that is likely a cause of your problems.

    Assuming you have McPherson struts (common these days), the situation is as follows:

    A McPherson strut is a simple arrangement for suspension. It has a telescopic main strut (incorporating the shock absorber) and a lower control arm which pivots from a fixed point on the vehicle’s body.

    In the normal position, the lower arm hangs slightly below horizontal. The setup is arranged so that you have slightly positive camber. As you hit a bump, the wheel deflects, the lower control arm comes up to near horizontal position, the lower (outer) ball joint swings up and slightly out, giving you negative camber. Eventually, the lower control arm rises even further and the centre of the wheel starts to come back in towards the centre of the car - you get negative camber again. This is normal.

    However, as the springs sag, you start running all the time with the lower control ball joint on the wheels further out than it should be. Meanwhile, the tie rods have not changed, so you therefore run with the wheels toe-ing out. This causes tyre wear on the inside of the treads, and it will be worse with a wide profile tyre because the tyres are scrubbing even more at a wider radius. This is why you need to have your front wheel alignment check periodically – to compensate for the changes caused by spring sag.

    Now, if one spring sags more than the other, you will have different cambers for each wheel and this will cause the vehicle to pull strongly one way or the other. Camber can be adjusted with a Mcpherson strut setup by slotting the top mount bolt holes, but this is a rather crude way of doing it. Another way is to heat the lower control arm and bend it slightly – again rather crude.

    To sum up, changing wheel size will temporarily ease the pulling problem, but will not cure it because the problem lies further in the basic suspension setup.

  10. #10

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    Both front wheels have slight negative camber from the factory although the driver's side has less. Only toe adjustable at the front.

    The alignment guy said he could get it right if the camber and or caster were adjustable. I guess I'm looking at a specialist suspension place to investigate the things you're talking about erad. Unfortunately there are none where I live. Might have to look at dropping it in somewhere on my next visit to Sydney.

    It drives better then it was and the pull is only if you loosen the grip on the wheel, there is no active tug to the left. However the 380 and Ralliart both drive perfectly over typical camber.

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