If there's only two bolts on your cross member, it likely isn't what the lower control arms are bolted to so its position isn't critical. If it was critical, as with the GM cars, those can easily be shifted 1/4" which will make the car real miserable to drive even after an alignment. If you didn't notice a change for the worse in handling, he either got it on right or its position isn't important. When it's wrong, either the steering wheel will oscillate left and right a little or the car will steer left and right a little as it goes up and down over bumps.
The angles of the anti-sway bar links is not important in itself, in fact, you can take the bar and links off and throw them away, and it will have no affect on tire wear or alignment. The car could even ride a little smoother but it will have a tendency to lean more on corners, that's all. The angle of the links though could be considered an indicator that something is mispositioned. I suspect if you looked at a dozen new cars that use the same style links, you'll find one or two where they aren't exactly the same.
There's two ways to make camber adjustable. The aftermarket world has developed "problem solver" parts for this type of thing. Here's some photos from rockauto. Com showing your strut and the eccentric bolt that can be installed in place of one of the original bolts. Note the narrowed section in the middle. That allows movement so the knuckle can be shifted in and out a little. That lets it pivot on the lower ball joint stud and changes camber.
An easier trick is to simply grab a die grinder with a carbide bit and grind the upper mounting holes oblong, shown with my sad red arrows. That lets you retain the original bolt which is larger in diameter and presumably stronger. The advantage of the eccentric bolt is if you turn it so the wheel tilts in on top too far, THEN turn it the other way to bring the camber back up right to where you want it, and tighten it there, the knuckle will be resting against that bolt. That gives it added support to resist shifting position when you bounce through a large pot hole. By grinding the hole oblong to create the adjustment, you'll usually make it bigger than necessary and the knuckle will likely not be resting against the bolt. The only thing that prevents it from shifting when you drive over bumpy roads is the clamping force of the two bolts. This is how most GM front-wheel-drive cars have to be modified, and there are a few Chrysler models that don't have other provisions for adjusting camber and I've modified them the same way without experiencing any shifting problems. The only thing I ever ran into was another fellow thought he was doing me a favor by coating the knuckles with anti-seize compound. That was on a Dodge Dynasty. No matter how hard I tightened those two bolts, both wheels flopped in on top as soon as I let the car off the jack. Just could not build any friction. In fact, after that happened three or four times, I got frustrated and tightened the bolts so hard by hand that I snapped one by stretching it apart. When I took it apart to replace it, THAT'S when I found the anti-seize compound and had to wash it all off. A little grease doesn't hurt but even that isn't necessary.
As for the tire wear, why are the two worn to different depths? The one in the photo doesn't appear to have much of a camber problem so the wear would have to be attributed to toe or simply high mileage. Toe wear would show up on the other tire too.
At the risk of making this more confusing, on most cars changing camber changes toe too but changing toe doesn't affect camber. In this magnificent drawing, the top picture shows the relationship of the outer tie rod end stud with the hole it bolts to in the steering knuckle, (two blue arrows), and they are lined up. If you look back from in front of the car, you'll see that tie rod end is a lot higher off the ground than the lower ball joint. When camber is adjusted out on top as shown in the lower left drawing, the steering arm moves out with it. Now you can see the red and blue arrows aren't lined up. On most cars the tie rods are behind the center of the wheels so you would have to turn the wheel and spindle to the right to line up the arrows and install the tie rod end. All that means is once camber is set on that wheel, you have to readjust toe. The tie rods have to be lengthened to compensate for moving the top of the spindle outward.
Some cars, particularly older rear-wheel-drive models had their steering linkages lower down like in the right drawing. Tilting the wheel had relatively little effect on the position of the steering arm so adjusting camber didn't change toe very much. This also caused little toe change regardless how much camber change occurred as the suspension traveled up and down on bumpy roads. Made for more stable steering.
Manufacturers are always trying to design in improved handling and raising the steering linkage is one way to do that. During cornering, as the spindle goes up into the body, camber changes and causes toe to change too. That might cause the steering to respond more aggressively for a sportier feel or it might dampen the steering response for a more relaxed feel. Fortunately we don't have to worry about all of that. It's just helpful to understand what is taking place and how all the geometry ties together.
Thursday, May 31st, 2012 AT 1:24 AM