Hunter 4 wheel alignment

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Jan 7, 2003
New Jersey
Hi, Do most folks here get the 4 wheel alignment done when installing a new set of tires? I used a very well respected, reputable shop that has all Hunter equipment. This shop actally has 2 Hunter alignment machines, costing $30,000.00 each. They DID NOT push the alignment on me at all, I suggested it to them. Is Hunter considered the top of the line for alignment and wheel balancing?
Generally Hunter makes the best alignment equipment. They seem to spend the most money on R&D. It is all in the operator doing the work though. Also the system has to be properly setup at the shop for any readings to be accurate.
The Tech makes all the differnce in the world when it come to alignments. I will say we have a Hunter and I feel its the best machine out their. When I get an apprentice tech they do every alignment that comes into the shop for the ENTIRE summer and then it's checked by myself or my lead tech. It's that important for a tech to know how to do a GOOD alignment. I look at it a few way. If they suck at being a full tech they can also go to work for a tire shop. Being able to do a Good alignment is the difference between them getting the job and somebody else.
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The tech who did my alignment has been with this shop for 30 years, so hopefully he did the alignment correctly. They give me the alignment printout results, but who really knows just how accurate it is.
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you gotta be careful of the alignment guys who ONLY swear by the machine. AND the ones who won't test drive before and after. I had a huge argument with the alignment shop I used.. he had the super duper Hunter that had the video and step by step what to do, thus making it so anybody who could compare a picture could do an alignment. I had my wife pickup her car after it was done. she called me & said it was so bad the steering wheel was swung 4" from center and it pulled very bad. so I told her to bring it back. she did and they started to argue with her. she called me starting to cry and I called them and said, they need to test drive the car. so they did. actually they didn't. they brought her home (in their courtesy car) and picked her backup with they finished. it was the same. so I came home took the car over and the sales guy met me outside, asked me to have a seat in the waiting room, took the keys and drove it up the rack himself and watched the tech go through all the motions again. The car left fixed. they had to swap the to front wheels, which I hate as a tactic, but it's valid. car was straight after that. I've never gone back to them.
You alignment will depend most on the Technician reading the screen. A 4 wheel is excellent with purchase of 4 tires.
I have done hundreds of alignments in my career on old and new top of the line hunter equipment. They do make great equipment. If the tech reading the screen has no idea why he is making the adjustments and their effect on the other angles then the alignment will not work out. The other issue with the top of the line hunter stuff, both the alignment machines and the road-force tire balancers is that many shops do not pay for the regular calibration, testing and maintenance. Hunter service is not cheap and many shops have really nice, really expensive machines that are out of calibration and with old software databases ( where the machine gets its #'s for before/after printout.)
Eric, if swapping the front tires cured the pull, wasn't the pull due to a problem within the tire belts, and not with the alignment adjustments? The shop people certainly should have done the test drive and made the car right before they reported it as being done. 4-wheel alignment...this could mean a couple of things. My Volvo has alignable rear as well as front (toe-in only on the rear, and toe-in plus aftermarket camber adjusters on the front). This gets a true 4-wheel alignment. My Tundra gets a thrust alignment where they measure the direction of thrust of the rears and align the fronts to this (camber, caster, & toe).
Originally Posted By: Ken2
Eric, if swapping the front tires cured the pull, wasn't the pull due to a problem within the tire belts, and not with the alignment adjustments?........
No, it means the problem was both alignment AND tires! If it was purely tires, the pull would have been reversed. If it was purely alignment, there would have been no change at all!
What shop did you use? Ive found their stuff to be good, but be careful if there is a delta between the way a shop does the alignment (all the same) and the way the FSM requests. A good example is that my BMWs request a specfic weighting scheme to do it properly, and my MBs require a spreader bar on the front wheels with a certain amount of force. The alignment can be done without, but the end all results will differ a bit.
Whether the best machine is used, or a home tape and string method, we are only checking STATIC readings. These change when driving, and the recommended specs supposedly allow for this. Add the fact that you can lean on a tire, let go, and your toe will change a bit. [Lots of give in non race suspensions]
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