Smart Car of America Forum banner
1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
2013 Smart Fortwo ED needs an alignment and I’ve been to 3 places (about an hour outside of Portland, Maine) and they all tell me that it’s too narrow for their machines. One of them said to get the inside measurement, tire to tire, and he MIGHT be able to do it. Am I missing something? Should they be able to do this without issues? Are they just scared? Where do you go for an alignment?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
334 Posts
If it will fit on the alignment rack, they can align it. The only adjustment is toe but a 4 wheel alignment is recommended to compensate for any set back and rear wheel thrust angle. Make sure your steering wheel is centered correctly before accepting the vehicle.
 

·
Registered
2017 453 Passion ED/EQ
Joined
·
394 Posts
I had the same problem, it's true, most racks can't handle the 451. I had hit a rock (fortunately at low speed) to avoid a tractor trailer. Finally went to the MB dealer, figuring I'd bite the bullet and pay top dollar. Cost a little over $100, very pleasantly surprised. Though this was 5-6 years ago, so it might be more now. Hoping that since the 453 is a bit wider, maybe the local shops can handle it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Call up the Can-Am dealer. All of those bikes need front end alignments. Any place that can do a Can Am Spyder can do a Smarty Car.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
27 Posts
Here you go.
Have a helper and a tape measure.
See which way the wheel has to be to go straight ahead and draw a picture of the angle.
Set the tire pressures.
Straighten the wheel and move the car a bit to release any tension from the steering movement.
Have the friend hold the dumb end of the tape behind the front wheel as high as he can before the tape hits the underside of the car when taut..
remember that height.
Find a tire groove to put the tape tang into and remember that groove.
On the other side, hold the tape the same height and see what the measurement is with the tape tight.
Write down that number.
Move to the front and do the same, using the same height and the same grooves.
You'll have to check what is recommended but there should be a smaller number in front, like 1/8" or so.
See what the difference is and use the first drawing to decide which side you want to move to make the wheel straight again to get your final toe number.
ex: if the wheel is turned right to go straight and there is a bigger number in front than the rear, that's toe-out, you'll move the LF wheel in toward the center (shortening the LF tie-rod) to make it toed-in and the result is you'll need to turn the steering left to compensate, straightening the wheel.
Remember, when you make a change, move the car a bit to settle it, then measure using the same height and grooves as before.
If your numbers are way off front to rear:(more than 1/4" or so)
A: somebody is doing it wrong.
B: something is badly bent and you need to find it, adjustment to a broken part is wrong.

I'm used to making alignment changes on race cars because there are no specs and you adjust to feel and the stopwatch.
Rigid adherence to factory specs is not what I'm used to and some alignment machines haven't been zeroed out in years or decades and the operators may be poorly trained.
The front end is super light and will tolerate a bit of misalignment without much tire wear effect.
Have at it and don't be intimidated, if you count the flats and write it down, you can always put it back.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
27 Posts
Another handy trick,
If there aren't straight grooves to use, once you lift the car, a screwdriver supported by a jack stand can make a nice enough line to use on a turning tire.
Just remember to settle the car but don't hurt your new line doing it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
151 Posts
I did an alignment on my car and I installed rear adjustable panhard bars to correct the pull.
Here is a link to the full video
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top