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06 April 2008

New Axle Boot and Alignment

A few weeks ago I noticed a burning grease/tar smell when I pulled in the garage but couldn't place where it was coming from. The next weekend after that I did a front<-->rear tyre rotation, and when I pulled off the left front wheel there were several blobs of grease inside the rim. I felt around and got a handful of grease since it was all over the back side of the brake caliper and line. I immediately suspected a torn axle/CV boot, but without ramps to get up under the car for closer inspection I couldn't find the exact spot. It had to be the outer one due to the location of the grease that it slung around.

Went to the dealer, described what I'd found, and they confirmed it after putting the car on the rack and inspecting it. BUT.... they didn't have the part in stock and would have to order it. For some reason, this no longer surprises me.

When the boot came in they got me scheduled and in/out reasonably (shuttle ride to/from work that day). They did not, however, do an alignment. I decided that it would be a good idea.

This weekend I took it to NTB for alignment and balancing. The balancing took care of the minor vibration at highway speeds - one front and one rear wheel were slightly out of balance. The alignment was a mixed bag:

The toe-in on the left was out-of-spec, which is what I expected from the remove/replace of the left outer axle boot. They took care of that with no problem. Caster and camber on the right are out-of-spec, and they did NOT adjust those. The tech at NTB said that their manual indicated that subframe bolts could be loosened to adjust the caster & camber, but they were expressly forbidden by NTB from doing that. He suggested that I take it 'elsewhere'. Didn't stop NTB from charging me full price for the alignment, though.

I don't notice any pulling or drift, nor excessive treadwear. For all I know, this is how it came from the factory.

(Sorry for the cameraphone photo - I didn't have my real camera with me.)

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