Depends on what you disassembled. If you separated the lower ball joint from the spindle, then pried the lower control arm down, you will have put everything back together the way it was and the alignment didn't change. That's how I do it but that procedure is almost impossible on some Nissans. If you unbolted the bottom of the strut from the spindle, that is how "camber" is adjusted, and you will have changed it so then, yes, the car needs to be realigned. The original struts have two round holes for the lower mounting bolts so logic dictates you can't mess that up, but in fact, there is enough play in there to allow some movement. If the struts are not original, or if the lower hole has already been made oblong to allow for some adjustment, there is no chance camber will be the same as it was before.
Camber is the inward or outward tilt of the wheel as viewed from in front of the car.
Camber is the first primary alignment angle that is adjusted during an alignment. "Toe" is the last one. That is the direction the wheel is steering when the steering wheel is straight ahead. Due to the suspension geometry, there is interaction between camber and toe. That means if you changed camber unintentionally, toe for that wheel will have changed too. When that makes that wheel steer to the left or right, you have to turn the steering wheel to bring both front wheels equal so the car will go straight. That means the steering wheel will be off-center on a straight road. To say that a different way, if the steering wheel was straight before and it is now, it is likely the alignment didn't change.
There's three things to look at to know when an alignment is needed. The first two you can see right away. The steering wheel must be straight when the car is going down a straight road, and the car must not pull to either side when you let go of the steering wheel. The last one is tire wear patterns, but that takes time to show up. The alignment can still be off even if the first two things are good, but the tire wear will tell the story later.
Saturday, April 18th, 2015 AT 12:22 AM