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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys, so I finally had my alignment done and installed new summer tires at the same time. I'm going from the Sport Cup 2 to the Conti Extreme Sport+, which are a little softer, but still a summer tire.
My question is this, after the alignment I've noticed that the steering feels much much lighter and at highway speeds (60+) the steering feels weird. It feels like the back end is really loose and swerves around when I change/merge lanes, it doesn't have that planted feeling that it did before. The shop that did the alignment is willing to work with me to get it fixed, but I'm not really sure what to have them change.

The specs from the alignment look good, but I'm thinking maybe the total toe change is what made everything different. Though I double checked the manual supplement and .20 front/.30 rear is standard. Any advice on how to get that planted feeling back in the car?
 

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The behavior you are describing is indicative of too much toe-out. Not sure if I'm reading it correctly, but based on the specs you have on that pic, you look to have some rear toe-out, which would make for a "nimble" feel, but will also give you the "darty" sensation on the freeway.

You can probably have them "zero" out the front toe and give you a little toe-in on the rear to make it more stable on the freeway.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I'm not really sure about reading the rear toe either honestly, the chart shows the angle measurement is opposite to the front, so I guess it must be toe-out then.
Should I have them aim for 0.00 toe in front or just go for less toe like 0.05 since I've seen that recommended on here.

If the rear is actually toe-out right now, should I have them take it all the way to negative in the rear then? That would put the rear total toe pretty far out of spec.
Maybe I could have them put it back to around 0.20 total rear toe and see if that improves the feel.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Okay, I did just confirm with the mechanic that the rear measurements are toe-in. So there isn't any toe-out on the car, could the change in feeling just be from the increased total toe on both front and rear?
 

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I'm not really sure about reading the rear toe either honestly, the chart shows the angle measurement is opposite to the front, so I guess it must be toe-out then.
Should I have them aim for 0.00 toe in front or just go for less toe like 0.05 since I've seen that recommended on here.

If the rear is actually toe-out right now, should I have them take it all the way to negative in the rear then? That would put the rear total toe pretty far out of spec.
Maybe I could have them put it back to around 0.20 total rear toe and see if that improves the feel.
Yes, that's how I read it as well, based on the little diagrams next to the measurement (which is actually very handy, I always hated the plain "table of numbers" sheet I usually get from my local alignment shop).

I like the "feel" of having zero toe in the front, but it's subjective. If you want to go back to the more "planted" feel, then you can probably go back to the OEM spec, maybe even aim for the low side/least toe-in within the range.

Are the settings you are referring to the same as the one showed on the first image on this post?


Note that on that spec list, a positive number is "toe-in", so really, you are aiming for 0.2/0.38 degree toe-in F/R

I would also check your tire pressures: 41/38 psi F/R for an unloaded car
 

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Any advice on how to get that planted feeling back in the car?
Hi Epyon - I just went through the alignment process in April after changing the suspension to the DSC kit. My car is my daily so stability factored into my decision. After quite a bit of reading and discussion with the shop I went with the settings below. I don't feel any weird looseness when changing lanes at higher speeds. Hope this helps a little.

Desired settings:
341843


And here are the actual results:
341844
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Are the settings you are referring to the same as the one showed on the first image on this post?

I would also check your tire pressures: 41/38 psi F/R for an unloaded car
Yes, the specs they used match the ones on that post, but I liked the feeling more before they changed it.
And I talked to the mechanic and he confirmed that positive numbers means toe-in, so both front and rear are toe-in now. So if they're both good now, the only thing I can think of that's vastly different from before is my total toe on both front and rear.


Desired settings:
View attachment 341843

And here are the actual results:
View attachment 341844
You have very little toe on both front and rear, what made you go with almost zero toe in the rear?
 

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You have very little toe on both front and rear, what made you go with almost zero toe in the rear?
Two things made me finally go that way:

1) I wanted the car to be as neutral as possible with just a dash of toe-in for stability. I daily mine through rain and snow and didn't want excessive toe settings to cause the car to push or pull unexpectedly. This article from TireRack does a better job of explaining:
"Excessive toe settings often bring with them drivability problems, especially during heavy rain. This is because the daily pounding of tractor trailers on many highways leave ruts that fill with water. Since excessive toe means that each tire is pointed in a direction other than straight ahead, when the vehicle encounters a puddle that causes only one tire to lose some of its grip, the other tire's toe setting will push (excessive toe-in) or pull (excessive toe-out) the vehicle to the side. This may make the vehicle feel unsettled and very "nervous."
Being AWD I wanted to keep fairly equal toe settings between front and rear.

2) The technician I worked with on the alignment at the independent shop also owns an RS and has tried several different settings on his car. In the end his favorite was 0 toe all around. I ultimately went with just a hair of toe for stability. Zero toe all round is still within the OEM specifications.

I suppose an additional side benefit of nearly 0 toe is slightly reduced tire wear and increased fuel mileage. My car's original alignment was a bit of a mess, likely from engine replacement/sub frame removal without realigning. There was overall more rear toe before the alignment. I'm happier with how it steers now.

Edit: here was the before on my car, note the rear toe:
341845


Your new settings have increased overall rear toe, perhaps that is one contributor. The other big change is the tires themselves. Cup 2s to fresh ExtremeContact Sports is certainly a change. I suppose there's no way to easily go back to the Cup 2's just to isolate the alignment as the cause of the weird feeling?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Unfortunately no, at 18k miles I was already past the tread wear lines on the Cup 2s and with hurricane season starting they had to go.

I can see what you mean about wanting all the tires pointing in a similar direction. I'll probably drive on the new tires another week or so to get them worn in, and then head back to get the toe adjusted.

I think for now I'll have them go back to the total's I had before. So 0.05 front with 0.10 total, and 0.10 rear for 0.20 total. I know it's going to feel a bit different than before because of the tire compound change, but I just want to get rid of how loose it feels at higher speeds.

I do need to check my tire pressures though, I think they're at whatever the door jam recommends.
 
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