URGENT ALIGNMENT SITUATION

Ryanthelsman

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Hello everyone, kind of a long one but could use all the feed back I can get.

I have an 04 LS v8 ultimate, it has a rebuilt title. It had a front impact at some point and it seemed to only be minor front frame damage and previously broken parts replaced. Took it in for an alignment the other day and everything got very complicated. I took it in for the steering shaft adjusted, and a front alignment as i have lots of toe in cooking the tires and positive camber. Well it was denied everything. The issue was who ever rebuilt the car only put one subframe bolt in. Its missing three on the subframe to frame mounting past the front tires. The tech claimed the subframe was unaligned and would have to be taken to a frame shop.

My current idea is “simple”

I can get subframe bolts from a yard near me, and depending on how far the mounting points have shifted doing a DIY alignment job to compinsate for the shift. (If not to severe, i will be jacking up the car and looking at how bad it really is)
I will post more below
 

Ryanthelsman

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Another factor is the blown out front shocks.
I was also warned my front “suspension” is extremely warn out. He was very vague about the exact part be he said either the top knuckle of the struts or something close. He mentioned general maintenance as well as the linc feels a little bouncy and bumpy at times.

My idea was, since they need replacing and im already considering the alignment idea why not get a suspension kit to kill three bird with one stone. (I want the ls sum lower, suspension needs replacing, would need alignment as well after instal)
 

Ryanthelsman

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HERE ARE MY QUESTIONS AND THOUGHTS I WOULD LIKE HELP WITH!!!


1. Is the Ls even able to be aligned with hand tools? It may be a dumb question but can you adjust camber and toe like some other cars? Has anyone here tried to on there own?

2. There is a kit for the Ls i am attaching a screenshot of below. Is this kit worth getting alignment aside. For low applications only. Not performance.

DISCLAIMER:

I was originally going to turning the ls into a clean daily driver. But as lots of little aspects have needed repairs or arnt perfect i think im going to go full project car if this is applicable. Simply going for looks and unique aspects. A crooked subframe with a straight alignment will be ok with me as the car was cheap and im just looking for “cheap” fun with the car and learning more about working on the car.

8112147E-B61C-41D2-A98D-5F56E0ACAFA0.jpeg
 

milehighmikey

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I won't comment on the suspension upgrade, but the front subframe may be only being held because it has broken bolts in the other 3 holes. I removed my engine and transmission along with the front end and those 4 bolts to the body were pretty rough going on the removal. It would not surprise me if the bolts broke or got sheared off by the impact. If you can figure it out, find out if those bolts are broken, because you'll have a pretty rough time getting them out if they did break, and they go into a blind area where you probably cannot replace the nuts that are built into the body.

If they are simply missing, then great, get 3 bolts and install them.

If you do get this to work, aligning the front subframe is easy. With all 4 wheels off the ground and removed, use a tape measure to get the distance from rear wheels to front wheels identical on both sides of the car, then tighten the bolts. Do this before you dump a ton of money into it. If you can't get it done, you saved that suspension money.
 

Ryanthelsman

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I got the car jacked up and got to look under. There are no broken bolts! (I believe so at leased) I actually looked before reading this as I suspected thats why they were missing in the first place. The subframe is actually aligned enough to were i can still get the bolts in either way.

Can you elaborate on the subframe alignment process @milehighmikey ? Just want to make sure i have as much information as i can to plan accordingly.

Additionally are they just simple bolts are is there a nut on the back? Id assume its just a bolt since theres no (easy) access.
 

milehighmikey

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The body holds the threads for the bolts to fasten to. I don't think there is any access unless the body is cut open, so yes, the bolts just go in and tighten the subframe to the body. I would clean the threads of the bolts and apply anti-seize compound to them. The alignment method I refer to is to simply use a reference point such as the nose of the hub where it protrudes into the wheel and measure the same distance on each side of the car. If it does not match, then you would have to have the front subframe loose enough to move with both front wheels off the ground, and hit the subframe with a heavy hammer using a piece of lumber as an interface to prevent hammer damage to the car, just hit the wood and attempt to drive the subframe back to squared up with the car's longitudinal axis. This could take some good oomph to make it happen, but if you cannot do this, you could bring it to the alignment shop and tell them what needs to be done. In most cases, you will need a second set of hands to hold the tape measure tight, to get the most accurate measurement.
 

Ryanthelsman

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sounds good, turns out my shocks arnt blown out as well. I was looking and the tech guy was just being dramatic about the upper wishbone to knuckle bushing being blown and each side. Seems common an these cars. So i wont be considering low anymore. But I cant seem to find just the part for the suspension, so is my best option to just buy all new upper wish bones with pre set bushings? I found a set for $100, not a bad deal.
 

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