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Thread: Full geometry set up

  1. #1

    Full geometry set up

    I've had my scirocco about two and a half years now and so decided to get the geometry done for a number of reasons but mainly because it was lowered a year and a bit ago, I slid on the ice and hit a kerb damaging the one wheel and also because i wanted to see if the handling could be improved.

    I went to Center Gravity in Atherstone Warwickshire (center gravity : suspension & geometry tuning) as I had heard good things about them and had spoken to Chris Franklin there when I owned a previous car and had been impressed by what he had to say. They are a Porsche specialist but also work on other makes. The first thing to say for anyone who fancies making use of their services is that they are extremely busy Ė I originally phoned at the end of January hoping to get booked in for the third week in February but couldnít actually get in until April!!!

    The service thatís provided isnít your standard alignment check Ė this is a full geometry set up to suit your needs.

    There are a number of parts to the process which Chris goes through Ė Iíve outlined the key points but only briefly Ė this is a four hour process!

    The first thing I noticed on arrival was the four Porsches and the Ferrari sat outside. It was truly a drool fest with my favourite being split between a 993 C2S or the 996 GT2. Actually it was the GT2 Ė pure porn!

    Inside Center Gravity there is a customer area with a laptop with internet access, free drinks, biscuits, magazines, comfy chairs, etc with a large viewing window into the main workshop. Chris greeted me and explained about the facilities and the process and we had a general talk about cars then it was on with the process.

    Firstly Chris takes the car on a predetermined test drive routs with you as passenger and describes the various tests he is performing as he goes while also assessing the car for any mechanical issues. He was fairly happy with how my car was which was nice to know and didnít expect the geometry measurement to show any major issues.

    Back at the workshop part two of the process involves a thorough check of the carís tyres for damage, pressure checked (and corrected for temperature!), correct size tyres on, tread depth, etc. All was good on my car except it was noted that the wear on the drivers rear was a little strange wearing more on the inside edge and progressively getting less worn to the outside.

    Next step was loading the car with ballast to simulate a full tank of fuel and fluids. (If the car is more track rather than road orientated driver ballast is also added!)

    Next was a check of the ride height and then the wheels were checked using the ridiculously sophisticated equipment and cameras attached to each wheel to ensure they are not buckled or out of round in any way. Again I was happy to see that all was good at this stage too.

    Next up was the actual geometry measurements using the official VW figures as the baseline.

    On the attached image the Initial Measurement is where the car was. The Target Data is the VW figures and the Final Measurement is where Chris got the car to.



    One of the issues that showed up from the initial measurement was that the rear toe was out with the rear left having positive toe while the right had negative. Chris asked if I had noticed any difference in terms of steering response when turning left or right and I had Ė the car seemed happier to turn one way than the other. Chris explained that this toe issue would explain this and the slightly odd wear on the rear right as the wheels were effectively like this // rather than / \ or || or \ / as would usually be expected. The other issues were to do with the amount of negative camber front and rear but more importantly the cross camber differences.

    As you can see in the Final Measurements Chris managed to address these issues although he was limited in the camber adjustment by what could be physically altered on the car. The image bellow gives a clearer view of the final adjustments made and you can see just how much closer the measurements are to each other now on the left and the right of the car both front and rear.



    The next step was another test drive again on a predetermined route where Chris drives the first part (just to ensure that there are no wayward handling characteristics introduced) before handing over to you for the rest. All I can say is wow. The difference from what seem like such minute changes is amazing. The turn in is now much sharper, the car resists understeer better and the rear end is now more mobile and willing to help out. The difference that was there before in turning is now gone and the car responds equally whichever direction. The car is a lot pointier now, the steering feels less wooden and the response is much improved. The car is also a lot more playful and fun to drive. Chris had some suggestions for some further tweeks that could be made to improve things even further which I will take up in due course.



    One of the things Chris points out right at the start is that if after the second test drive you are not happy with the changes that have been made the car will go back into the workshop for further changes until you are happy.

    In all the process took four hours! Chris is an absolute perfectionist and one of the only people Iíve ever felt that my car was in truly good hands with. It was a pleasure seeing Chris work and his knowledge and passion for his subject is just awe inspiring. Chris was also very happy for me to be in the work shop, to be asking him questions and to take a few pictures a couple of which Iíve attached.



    If you enjoy your driving I would absolutely recommend a full geometry set up Ė the difference is astounding!

    Deacon


  2. #2

    Re: Full geometry set up

    I used to take the MINI to James Walker's Motorsport for mine, £35 and an hour later with the old guy and a piece of string and everything was set up perfectly.... this is how he set the race cars up too... and judging by his workshop and trophy cabinet he knew exactly what he was doing...


  3. #3

    Re: Full geometry set up

    The equipment they used to align the car is exactly the same as in the VW and Audi garages - it's top class stuff

    I set up a friends imprezza to prodrive settings on it and like you say the difference is amazing. Finding somewhere with the equipment AND staff who can use it 100% is rare though - good find.

    Good detailed thread

  4. #4
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    Re: Full geometry set up

    the hunter alignment tool is a mint piece of equiptment if the person using it knows what to do, there is kwick fit in newcastle that has it but they are a bunch of spotty faced kids who havent got a clue so i take mine midland vw
    www.AlignMyCar.co.uk

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