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2014 Forester 2.5i premiu Auto
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I took my 2014 FORESTER (2,000 miles, new car) to Firestone for lifetime alignment purchase. After they "aligned" the Forester, they told me that the passenger rear could not be moved into position because there was not sufficient "slop" in the adjustments. One tech said that I needed a "cam kit" (after searching on internet, now I know what this is). FIRESTONE techs also said that the SUBARU factory should ensure that sufficient "slop" is built into the design to avoid this issue. The techs were telling me that this happens when the car is transported using straps around the wheel.

1. Anyone ever hear about something like this ?

2. Any advice - option A could take the car to the SUBARU dealer and pay them to align it to see if they have issues. If they do have issues and can not get it done, then car is still under warranty so I get it repaired (cam kit) for free. If they do in fact "align" the car - then either (a) they did not really align the car but just will tell me that (they lie) OR (b) they really did align the car and the Firestone place did not know how to do it.

3. Any advice - option B - take to another FIRESTONE and give it to them to align and see what this second Firestone place tells me.

In any case, I would want a printout of the alignment results to see for myself if the alignment is proper.

Comments ? Thoughts ?
 

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2014 2.0 XT yes
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I personally wouldn't mess with the factory alignment of a brand new car unless I took the suspension apart, something seemed wrong, or I intentionally wanted to change the handling characteristics from the get go. I also don't use random shops -- it's good to have "a guy" you can trust with the work.

Don't they give you a printout from the alignment machine without asking? It should have the default factory to tolerances for each adjustment, and what the current value is. Did they have specs for the '14 in their computer?

You shouldn't need to install camber bolts for a factory alignment. Something might be bent, but it's hard to tell with the info provided so far.

That an alignment shop has already messed with it might complicate matters at the dealership. A second opinion wouldn't hurt.
 

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1999 Forester 5MT
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1. Anyone ever hear about something like this ?
Yeah, I've heard of it before. My leading theory is they weren't set up right, though.

2. Any advice - option A could take the car to the SUBARU dealer and pay them to align it to see if they have issues. If they do have issues and can not get it done, then car is still under warranty so I get it repaired (cam kit) for free. If they do in fact "align" the car - then either (a) they did not really align the car but just will tell me that (they lie) OR (b) they really did align the car and the Firestone place did not know how to do it.
Probably Firestone didn't know how to do it. Keep in mind a "cam kit" for that suspension is not simply a camber bolt like a Macpherson strut setup. It's an adjustable lower control arm with a cam in, most likely by SPC. Subaru probably won't take that option since it is not OEM and will prefer to start randomly replacing suspension parts. If it's camber related, it's most likely the lower control arm since it is only stamped steel. The upper control arm is a very solid piece of metal and will sooner rip off the subframe mounts than bend.

3. Any advice - option B - take to another FIRESTONE and give it to them to align and see what this second Firestone place tells me.
I'd only trust a dealer alignment tech or a performance shop to verify an opinion on alignment, just in case.

In any case, I would want a printout of the alignment results to see for myself if the alignment is proper.
Maybe I'm used to performance shops, but they should give that to you anyway.

I personally wouldn't mess with the factory alignment of a brand new car unless I took the suspension apart, something seemed wrong, or I intentionally wanted to change the handling characteristics from the get go. I also don't use random shops -- it's good to have "a guy" you can trust with the work.
Factory alignments are usually crap. You should've seen the alignment my STI had when I bought it brand new. The factory sets it very hastily and will usually be slightly toed in to err on the side of caution for numb turn in response rather than be darty. The dealers are supposed to align them during the PDI, but that seldom happens so you're left with the "temp" factory alignment and most people have no idea. That's why their first alignment seems so out of whack, because it was never right to begin with.

You shouldn't need to install camber bolts for a factory alignment. Something might be bent, but it's hard to tell with the info provided so far.
To be clear, camber bolts will not work on a double wishbone suspension (which all Subarus now use in the rear). They're only for Machpherson setups, which would be the front on Subies.
 

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2014 2.0 XT yes
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Interesting info about the camber bolts. I had them installed in my '04 WRX, and they seemed to be fine, but they were subsequently removed when I switched to new coilovers (and a new alignment guy).
 

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Interesting info about the camber bolts. I had them installed in my '04 WRX, and they seemed to be fine, but they were subsequently removed when I switched to new coilovers (and a new alignment guy).
Your 04 WRX had Macpherson struts in the rear, which camber bolts work just fine for. On a double wishbone suspension, there is nowhere to put them.
 

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2014 Forester 2.5i CVT
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Hello PYebsNvhWz, you should have been covered for 1 alignment under standard warranty. It may worth a shot still.

What did happen to drive you to the alignment shop in the first place? What do you have to address?

Sometimes alignment places are "out of paper to print on", so it does not harm to ask before any job is done. If you can't go to another place, ask for an opportunity to make a picture of the machine's screen.
 

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2013 forester 2.5X automatic
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Just curious; why are you getting alignment on a new vehicle? Was there a problem with it pulling or not tracking properly?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Just curious; why are you getting alignment on a new vehicle? Was there a problem with it pulling or not tracking properly?
I always get a lifetime alignment on all my cars. No issue on my car that prompted me to get an alignment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
When to Dealer for alignment

I have 2 technical questions regarding wheel alignments. I want to learn 2 things:

(a) What are the wheel alignment factory specs for the 2014 FORESTER ? I searched and searched the internet, no success. Maybe this is not public information ?

(b) On the computer device that is used to measure and record the wheel alignment measurements, can the specification values be changed ? I recently had the deal align my 2014 and the title report shows "FORSTER 2013 Specifications (MODIFIED)". Note the "modified" term. I am asking because I had FIRESTONE align the same 2014 and they show spec values of +0.8 to -0.8 (front and rear tires). Actual alignment measurement is 1.5. So FIRESTONE measurements say alignment is OUT of specification. PS - FIRESTONE said that they cannot adjust it - should have been done at the factory - (too much movement to get from 1.5 to 0.8). The DEALER alignment printout shows a "modified" specification of -1.8 to +1.8. Much larger tolerance allowable and now the car alignment is WITHIN specification (1.5 is good value). Very interesting. So, this is why I am asking if the computer on the alignment machine can have the spec values changed.
 

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i will bring my car to dealership to do the alignment because.... 1. it's a brand new vehicle(new generation). aftermarket doesn't have much information and parts about it yet. 2. i know how do to that and i know exactly how they gonna do it. So, bring your subie to ur dealership's service department! BTW why u need alignment on a brand new vehicle????? and lifetime alignment????
 

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My experience with Firestone and Goodyear service centers have never been good.

I just did a Google search on the Firestone lifetime alignments and came up with a lot of complaints about it being a scam to sell you parts you don't need. I also came up with this interesting post from the Subaru Outback forums.

Let me tell you my experience with Firestone. If you are in TX, please be careful, as people at Firestone in here, have very very little experience with Subaru cars. I went to Firestone for a lifetime wheel alignment and they asked me to replace front camber bolts with aftermarket ones (which I declined) for proper alignment. Then, they recognized my Outback (which is based on Legacy) as Subaru Impreza Outback Sport, which a totally different car and set alignment according to that specs. I had to argue with Firestone store manager that my car is NOT Impreza Outback Sport, which ended up in BBB and refunding my money under a BBB settlement. Ultimately, I ended up in getting proper alignment at the dealer, which said nothing is wrong with my car as said by Firestone. IMO, Firestone is totally incompetent in Subaru cars, SO PLEASE DO NOT GO THERE.
I also read some information from a former Firestone manager who said he was required to find ways to charge for parts when doing the lifetime alignments.

It makes no sense to be getting alignments on a new car in warranty and makes no sense whatsoever that an alignment on a new car requires parts.
 

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Just a general comment about wheel alignments on new cars - be interested to know what other mechanics here see.
Some years ago a friend who worked as a service tech at a GM dealership explained how EVERY new vehicle badly needed to be aligned when first delivered to their lot, after having had the crap shaken out of them by road/rail delivery from the factory/port. Does that still hold true?
 

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It all comes down how good the guy is that's doing the alignment, the tire stores hand you a print-out with the measurements from your car, the readings are to the hundredth of a degree which is an extremely small measurement, so I wonder when the alignment equipment was last calibrated? how careful were they when they set your vehicle on the rack, how do they check for any lateral deviation in each wheel ? when they measure camber do they take a reading then rotate the wheel 180 degrees to determine the lateral runout before they supposedly measure the angles to a fraction of a degree? Any forum members alignment techs maybe share their thoughts?
 

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I couldn't find another thread on this topic, so here goes:

I just had new tires put on my '14 FXT, and the shop informed me that there was "no adjustment" in the rear, so they couldn't do anything about the out-of-spec rear camber and toe (both sides). I'm -1 degree on the left, and -1.4 degrees on the right.

I'm certainly not an alignment or suspension expert, but I find it hard to believe that there is no adjustment.

I'm still under warranty, so I've asked the dealer for a response based on the alignment results I just sent them.
 

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Forester of the Year 2014
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You can have the rear toe adjusted but not camber but I am pretty sure the camber adjusts based on toe. Looks like your rear camber is within OEM spec but just wait see what the dealership tells you.
 

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I couldn't find another thread on this topic, so here goes:

I just had new tires put on my '14 FXT, and the shop informed me that there was "no adjustment" in the rear, so they couldn't do anything about the out-of-spec rear camber and toe (both sides). I'm -1 degree on the left, and -1.4 degrees on the right.

I'm certainly not an alignment or suspension expert, but I find it hard to believe that there is no adjustment.

I'm still under warranty, so I've asked the dealer for a response based on the alignment results I just sent them.
Update: Took it to another shop, and they got a completely different set of readings than the first. They also pulled up the correct specs, unlike the first shop. Everything got adjusted to within range, with most values being dead center. It drives smoothly, pulls straight, and has shown no evidence of any uneven wear (so far).

Lesson? In general, get second opinions when you can. In this case for me, avoid going back to the first shop.
 

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Does anyone know what is the maximum attainable +- camber that can be achieved at the front?

I want to go -2 camber at the front but I'm not sure if the stock camber bolts will go that far?

Thanks.
 
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