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Thread: Will replacing the shocks mess up the alignment ?

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    Registered User 95 CRUZER's Avatar
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    Will replacing the shocks mess up the alignment ?

    I just had new tires put on the car, and want to have the alignment checked. I also will have new bilsteins put on some time down the road. Should I hold off on the alignment until the shocks have been installed, or go ahead and do it now??
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    Registered User clr1024's Avatar
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    Re: Will replacing the shocks mess up the alignment ?

    Quote Originally Posted by 95 CRUZER
    I just had new tires put on the car, and want to have the alignment checked. I also will have new bilsteins put on some time down the road. Should I hold off on the alignment until the shocks have been installed, or go ahead and do it now??
    You will have to get it aligned after you install new shocks.
    If you are going to do the Bilsteins soon, I would hold off, otherwise you will be doing the alignment twice

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    Re: Will replacing the shocks mess up the alignment ?

    Agreed. Wait until you have the new shocks installed or you'll be paying twice for no reason.

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    Re: Will replacing the shocks mess up the alignment ?

    definitely hold off until you have the new shocks on before doing the alignment. I just had my alignment done a week ago and im kicking myself because I plan to put on a set of new bilsteins and new springs very soon. Now I will have to have another alignment done after the install.
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    Re: Will replacing the shocks mess up the alignment ?

    If you keep your perch at the same height and don't change the springs the alignment won't change.

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    Charter Silver nsxtasy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daedalus
    If you keep your perch at the same height and don't change the springs the alignment won't change.
    Not true. I was told (by the Bilstein dealer) that the alignment is required, even when mounting it for the stock ride height setting.
    NSX. Spread the word.

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    Re: Will replacing the shocks mess up the alignment ?

    If your last set of tires were wearing out evenly and that your car doesn't have any ill handling characteristic, then I'd agree with the earlier responses.

    If you've been having alignment problems and are planning to put a lot of miles on the car, or you plan on attending some track events, before the Bilstein upgrade, then spending the extra $100 will ensure longer tire wear, safety and peace of mind.

    An easy solution is to upgrade your shocks now and be done with it. You'll thank yourself if you have an older set of factory shocks now.

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    Re: Will replacing the shocks mess up the alignment ?

    Quote Originally Posted by nsxtasy
    Not true. I was told (by the Bilstein dealer) that the alignment is required, even when mounting it for the stock ride height setting.
    I sure would like to know know his reasons. A damper by itself has no effect on static height or alignment.

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    Registered User 95 CRUZER's Avatar
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    Re: Will replacing the shocks mess up the alignment ?

    Thanks, I think i will hold off till the shocks are done.
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    Administrator docjohn's Avatar
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    Re: Will replacing the shocks mess up the alignment ?

    I'm with Ken and bilstein on this one,not because the shocks per se change static ride height,but because alot of stuff gets loosened and unbolted in doing the swap.Therefore I would want to know that alignment was satisfactory rather than "looks good to me"

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    Re: Will replacing the shocks mess up the alignment ?

    Quote Originally Posted by docjohn
    I'm with Ken and bilstein on this one,not because the shocks per se change static ride height,but because alot of stuff gets loosened and unbolted in doing the swap.Therefore I would want to know that alignment was satisfactory rather than "looks good to me"
    Agreed. Even if you're not specifically loosening any camber bolts, it is strongly suggested to redo alignment to ensure alignment has not drifted too far.

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    Re: Will replacing the shocks mess up the alignment ?

    Quote Originally Posted by W
    it is strongly suggested to redo alignment to ensure alignment has not drifted too far.
    As noted, any "drift" in the alignment that is there now will wear those brand new shoes until the alignment is done. How long until new struts are put on "some time down the road"? Ensure the alignment is good now to maximize handling performance and tire life--IF the perch height isn't going to change.
    I suppose when doing the struts a lot of stuff could get loosened by a wrench-happy knuckle dragger, but very little should by a proficient tech. Aside from ancillary things (lug nuts, plastic covers, brake brackets, window garnish, upper strut bar) there are 4 nuts/1 bolt on each front corner and 5 nuts/1 link on each rear corner that need to come off, NONE of which are touched when doing an alignment. The 2 procedures are independent of each other.

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    Re: Will replacing the shocks mess up the alignment ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Daedalus
    I sure would like to know know his reasons. A damper by itself has no effect on static height or alignment.
    Thats not true, as dampers/shocks wear out the static ride height can change, so switching from old dampers/shocks would change the alignment and in so doing would require a realignment.

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    Re: Will replacing the shocks mess up the alignment ?

    Quote Originally Posted by clr1024
    as dampers/shocks wear out the static ride height can change
    A damper imparts a reactional force that is proportional to the speed of displacement. You can compress a brand new one with your bare hands and keep it compressed with little effort.

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    Re: Will replacing the shocks mess up the alignment ?

    Measure the ride height before changing the shocks.
    Use the method outlined in the Service Manual which you can down load on the home page of NSX Prime. http://www.nsxprime.com/FAQ/Referenc...991_svcman.htm

    Install your new shocks and recheck the ride height.
    If it has changed, your alignment will be changed.
    If the ride height has change, you will not have the same alignment numbers you had before the shock change, whatever they may have been.
    Last edited by pbassjo; 08-04-2006 at 10:54. Reason: punctuation

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    Re: Will replacing the shocks mess up the alignment ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Daedalus
    A damper imparts a reactional force that is proportional to the speed of displacement. You can compress a brand new one with your bare hands and keep it compressed with little effort.
    as a mechanical engineer I realize this, but your static ride height can change as well.

    PBasso is right he can check before and after height. In any case swithcing shocks he will have a slight alignment change as the install will not put everything back exactly where it was before. Its always a good idea to get a realignment after swapping shocks or springs.

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    Re: Will replacing the shocks mess up the alignment ?

    Quote Originally Posted by clr1024
    the install will not put everything back exactly where it was before.
    Everything should go back to where it was before. Come on, you can dig deeper than that. It's not much different than a bolted joint grip length tolerance analysis which, as an engineer, you've probably done more than a few of. Every part in the stack has a certain height. The total height is a sum of the parts. Of all the items in the stack, which one's height can vary, assuming correct assembly?

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    Re: Will replacing the shocks mess up the alignment ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Daedalus
    Everything should go back to where it was before. Come on, you can dig deeper than that. It's not much different than a bolted joint grip length tolerance analysis which, as an engineer, you've probably done more than a few of. Every part in the stack has a certain height. The total height is a sum of the parts. Of all the items in the stack, which one's height can vary, assuming correct assembly?
    We could argue this for a while, since we are talking about fits the suspension pieces are bolted together using clearance fits on most parts, it means that nothing goes back to where it was originally, this would be different if using tight, interference fits or shrink fits, but we are not. This means that parts are in different places when they are reassembled than from dissassembly. How much may be small, but enough to change your alignment, to me it was worth it to get my alignment done after changing my shocks to bilsteins and know that it was correct and not wonder.

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    Re: Will replacing the shocks mess up the alignment ?

    Quote Originally Posted by clr1024
    the suspension pieces are bolted together using clearance fits on most parts. This means that parts are in different places when they are reassembled than from dissassembly.
    On that point I'll agree to disagree. Washers are loose-fit too, but I still know what they'll add to a stack-up.

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    Re: Will replacing the shocks mess up the alignment ?

    Quote Originally Posted by 95 CRUZER
    I just had new tires put on the car, and want to have the alignment checked. I also will have new bilsteins put on some time down the road. Should I hold off on the alignment until the shocks have been installed, or go ahead and do it now??
    How many miles are on your car?
    How many miles did you get out of your last set of tires?
    How did they look when you took them off, that is, what was the wear pattern like?
    How long has it been, miles/time since you last aligned the car?


    You should get your wheels aligned after you put on a new set of shocks on your NSX regardless of whether you do alignment now or not. The question is do you really need one now?

    This is a a precision, performance vehicle, and minor changes on ride height do effect the NSX's alignment geometry. My advice is, when you change all the shocks on this car, especially with another brand of shock, is to do a wheel alignment, even if you aligned the car yesterday.
    Last edited by pbassjo; 08-04-2006 at 16:54.


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    Registered User clr1024's Avatar
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    Re: Will replacing the shocks mess up the alignment ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Daedalus
    On that point I'll agree to disagree. Washers are loose-fit too, but I still know what they'll add to a stack-up.
    A washer is not a good example of a clearance fit in this discussion, as a washer affects an axial dimension/location,not a radial dimension/location and while not fixed is pretty repeatable in a reassembly. Also you have to account for things like bolt stretch and deformation during reassembly, my point is while all these things are small they will change you alignment, its a precision tool, and I would treat it as such. Unlike some of the guys I have seen rolling around with their cut springs, alignment way off or the car bouncing evey where because they have blown their shocks.

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    Re: Will replacing the shocks mess up the alignment ?

    Diggning up an old thread... what if I remove my shocks to inspect and replace the bump stops/upper mount rubber and then put them back in? Do I need an alignment??
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    Re: Will replacing the shocks mess up the alignment ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Honcho View Post
    Diggning up an old thread... what if I remove my shocks to inspect and replace the bump stops/upper mount rubber and then put them back in? Do I need an alignment??
    IMHO yes.

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    Re: Will replacing the shocks mess up the alignment ?

    You don't need to. But your alignment won't be perfect. So yes, it is strongly recommended. Car will feel funny without.

    Even if you do it carefully and put everything back exactly where it was....you will need an alignment. You can mark the alignment position and put everything back exactly, but it will still not be enough, it will need an alignment.
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    Registered User CL65 Captain's Avatar
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    No. These other people are completely wrong. You aren't changing anything. Repair and replace. It's utter nonsense that if you take out the damper and put it back on without changing ride height, etc that you need an alignment. YES, in THEORY.... But the reality of the matter is that your alignment will change by a tenth of a degree. I have swapped springs, changed ride heights (small amounts to tweak ~ 1/4-1/2"), etc and had before and after alignments and the change was absolutely minimal. If you are changing ride heights by more than 1/4", then go ahead and get it done for piece of mind.

    sent from my Evo4
    Last edited by CL65 Captain; 05-22-2011 at 14:45.

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