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[ANSWERED] Track Alignment Problems

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[ANSWERED] Track Alignment Problems

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Old 05-26-2016, 01:58 PM
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jvp
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Default [ANSWERED] Track Alignment Problems

Original question is here.

Bill Dearborn asked:
Many members are running into problems having dealerships set the track alignment as defined in GM Bulletins such as #16-NA-056. The dealerships do not have the tools to measure rear caster and some insist it doesn't need to be set.

Through discussions with various dealership personnel I found out the tools are not provided as part of the Essential Tools Kit. Thus they are not inclined to spend money purchasing the tools when only a few people request that rear caster be checked and adjusted.

Some dealerships tell me if I bring the tools with me they will use them to set rear caster but I am not sure why I should be purchasing GM Tools they should already have. It looks to me like the Corvette Team is out of sync with their Service and Support group.

I thought the rear caster adjustment was something that is supposed to be checked on all Corvettes receiving an alignment.

I live in the Charlotte area and 4 dealerships do not have the tools. One dealership has the gauge but they do not have the adapter that permits use of the tool on the Corvette.

Is there anything that GM can do to alleviate this situation?
Tadge answered:
Whenever we do a new car, there are learning curves for suppliers, customers and dealers. Although rear caster was not part of the alignment process on the 6th gen Corvette, it is on the new 7th gen car. Making it adjustable adds some complexity in the alignment process, but it also lets car be brought into ideal suspension geometry regardless of factory build variation. Rear caster accuracy and symmetry is important because it affects ride steer. Students of suspension geometry will understand that even small changes in rear steer angle can have big effects on vehicle handling.

The question suggests that customers are getting a variety of stories from dealers on our process and their readiness to do Corvette alignments, so I will describe that in detail.

As we were launching the Stingray in 2013, the following technical document was published to the dealer community:




For reference, here are images of the two tools described in the document:
Digital Angle Gauge CH 47960


CH 47960–10 Gauge Mounting Adapter


The term “essential tools” may be the source of some confusion. As used in every day language, both of these tools are essential to do the caster alignment. The GM technical meaning of the term is different, however. The dealer sales and service agreement states: "Dealer agrees to provide and maintain on dealership premises essential service tools as required by General Motors and such other tools and equipment as reasonably necessary to fulfill its responsibilities to properly diagnose and service Products." When GM classifies a tool as “essential” for authorized Corvette dealers, that means the dealers will automatically be shipped the tool for their use and the cost will be charged to their open account. The adaptor is custom-designed to fit the Corvette knuckle and cannot be purchased on the outside market. That is why it is classified as an essential tool. The high-precision digital angle gauge is a more generic tool with multiple possible sources. It is a bit expensive and can also be used for jobs other than Corvette alignment so some dealers already have one in the shop. As a result, GM service elected not to classify that gauge as an essential tool. You can imagine the discontent in the dealer forced to buy one when they already have one on the premises. So the bottom line is that adapters were sent to all authorized Corvette dealers a few years ago and it is up to the dealer to procure the tool to measure the caster angle. GM makes every effort to enable dealers to access to these tools. We have a tool loaner program that will send the need tool to a requesting dealer the next business day. Any dealer without the angle gauge can get one in 24 hours. The same is true for the adapter if it was not received or has been lost or broken.

This question is prompting us to take additional actions. Here’s what we’re going to do help:
  1. We will re-communicate in the TechLink mailout and the Emerging Issue video (monthly web-site training) the criticality of rear caster adjustment.
  2. We will re-communicate that the rear caster adapter tool is an essential tool and is required if you are an authorized Corvette dealer.
  3. We will communicate that both the adapter tool and the digital angle gauge are available through the GM Tool Loaner program.
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Old 05-26-2016, 04:02 PM
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Always good to know Tadge and team takes time to answer and in the end address the issues that plague some vette owners!

Last edited by keagan; 05-26-2016 at 04:02 PM.
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Old 05-26-2016, 07:06 PM
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This should help those people having a problem. Just remember to print the post out and hand it to the dealer when they try to tell you they can't do it.
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Old 05-26-2016, 08:07 PM
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That was a good answer IMO.
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Old 05-26-2016, 08:43 PM
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Wow, amazing response by Tadge, especially the option to lend the tools to a dealer. Thank you!
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Old 05-27-2016, 02:37 PM
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Can the attachment tool be purchased for outside shops? Being an alignment shop owner, I would like to purchase.

Answering my own question, it goes from 55 to 183 dollars

Last edited by mrr23; 05-27-2016 at 02:41 PM.
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Old 05-27-2016, 03:22 PM
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If an alignment is performed without this tool, what is the result? Thank you.
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Old 05-28-2016, 12:36 AM
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Originally Posted by BBrimberry View Post
If an alignment is performed without this tool, what is the result? Thank you.
Hard to say. If they can't measure it and they adjust both cams on the rear lower control arm to get rear camber they could screw it up royally. The front lca cam primarily adjusts camber while the rear lca cam primarily adjusts caster. When the mechanic at City Chevrolet in Charlotte did my track alignment he adjusted both cams on both rear lcas. He had no clue about adjusting caster and told me it couldn't be done. Based on that and other comments he made I concluded he was essentially brain dead.

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Old 05-30-2016, 11:21 PM
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One of the best Q&As I've read.
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Old 05-31-2016, 02:57 PM
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Fabulous. Thanks Tadge!
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Old 05-31-2016, 08:50 PM
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Thanks Tadge!
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Old 05-31-2016, 11:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Achmed View Post
Wow, amazing response by Tadge, especially the option to lend the tools to a dealer. Thank you!
No excuse by dealers if there is a loaner program
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Old 06-02-2016, 12:59 AM
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This is a very good answer, but I question effectiveness of the proposed corrective action. I think it's unlikely that electronic bulletin board communications will eventually disseminate to all Corvette techs at all dealerships. Due to the complexity of the Corvette (we hear of many service issues/challenges), I think GM corporate certification of service techs at a central program/facility would be a more effective solution. Perhaps one lead tech per dealership minimum required who then provides continuous oversight and training in the field at their assigned dealership.
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Old 06-02-2016, 06:23 AM
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Originally Posted by slickstick View Post
This is a very good answer, but I question effectiveness of the proposed corrective action. I think it's unlikely that electronic bulletin board communications will eventually disseminate to all Corvette techs at all dealerships. Due to the complexity of the Corvette (we hear of many service issues/challenges), I think GM corporate certification of service techs at a central program/facility would be a more effective solution. Perhaps one lead tech per dealership minimum required who then provides continuous oversight and training in the field at their assigned dealership.
I have a Nissan GT-R, and Nissan has a technician training program where the dealer must buy various pieces of service equipment including a full alignment rack and have a factory trained technician on staff to service the GT-R in order to be able to sell GT-R's. Every time my car went in for its scheduled maintenance, it was the same trained tech that worked on my car, 8 years running now. Service manager also requires training on the GT-R. If Nissan can do it, so can GM. Part of the yearly maintenance is an alignment, street or track as owner prefers, and it comes with a nice before and after print-out.


My GM service manager refused to do any alignment on my Corvette because the said they had an old poorly calibrated alignment rack as management didn't want to spring for a new one, and he sent me to a shop he respected that did race car setups and had high quality machines. Imagine that. Not thinking that Tadge's response will make my dealer buy a new alignment rack, let alone the caster tools for the C7.
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Old 06-03-2016, 12:13 PM
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Ahhh the corporate program/process (theory) vs. local dealership practice (reality).
Yup, I can hear the local service managers now....."WTF!!!"
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Old 06-04-2016, 08:09 PM
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Originally Posted by descartesfool View Post
I have a Nissan GT-R, and Nissan has a technician training program where the dealer must buy various pieces of service equipment including a full alignment rack and have a factory trained technician on staff to service the GT-R in order to be able to sell GT-R's. Every time my car went in for its scheduled maintenance, it was the same trained tech that worked on my car, 8 years running now. Service manager also requires training on the GT-R. If Nissan can do it, so can GM. Part of the yearly maintenance is an alignment, street or track as owner prefers, and it comes with a nice before and after print-out.


My GM service manager refused to do any alignment on my Corvette because the said they had an old poorly calibrated alignment rack as management didn't want to spring for a new one, and he sent me to a shop he respected that did race car setups and had high quality machines. Imagine that. Not thinking that Tadge's response will make my dealer buy a new alignment rack, let alone the caster tools for the C7.
Glad to hear you've seen first hand how other manufacturers have successfully implemented what I proposed. I'm sure GM sells a LOT more Corvettes than Nissan does GTRs to justify the program as well.
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Old 06-04-2016, 11:54 PM
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Originally Posted by keagan View Post
Always good to know Tadge and team takes time to answer and in the end address the issues that plague some vette owners!
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Old 06-06-2016, 12:44 PM
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Even IF GM sends out another electronic transmission to dealers reminding them about the essential tool and rear caster measurement/adjustment, customers are still going to have issues. GM has not published a labor op. and time for rear caster adjustment. Flat rate technicians are not going to spend the extra time in finding the tool and gauge, set it up and then perform the adjustment, if they aren't going to get paid to do so! At our dealership, we would take the time to do it to satisfy the customer, but I am sure a lot of dealers will not, or they will lie and say they did.
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Old 10-05-2016, 11:23 AM
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Sorry to revive a bit of an old thread, but I wanted to see what other people have been quoted for the time required to perform this work. I'm about to take my car (2016 z06) to the track for the first time, so this is the first time I've had to deal with this.

Right now my dealer (Lindsay Chevrolet in Woodbridge, VA) is telling me that this procedure will take 4 HOURS!!! That means a total of 8 hours of labor (setting to track alignment, then setting back to street alignment afterwards)?! That would be like $1000!
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Old 10-05-2016, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by DracoDan View Post
Sorry to revive a bit of an old thread, but I wanted to see what other people have been quoted for the time required to perform this work. I'm about to take my car (2016 z06) to the track for the first time, so this is the first time I've had to deal with this.

Right now my dealer (Lindsay Chevrolet in Woodbridge, VA) is telling me that this procedure will take 4 HOURS!!! That means a total of 8 hours of labor (setting to track alignment, then setting back to street alignment afterwards)?! That would be like $1000!
Fir many of us, including myself, this is unaffordable.

My question is what is better if we can only afford one alignment: track alignment on the street or street alignment on the track? What are the pros and cons?
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