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Posted: 8/15/2007 6:43:38 AM EDT

I am a big guy at 6'1" and 355lbs. Can this cause a lighter car (Corolla) to pull to the driver's side in an otherwise aligned car?

Any other big guys out there experience this? More so in a small car than say an SUV or Pick-up?

Mechanics, shade tree and otherwise; weigh in.

Link Posted: 8/15/2007 7:00:08 AM EDT
i suppose its possible. Steering geometry changes as a-arms pivot and suspension is compressed and rebounds. If your weight is causing your car to lean to one side, this could cause the vehicle to pull. I suppose added wieght one one side could also cause your tires to wear unevenly.
Link Posted: 8/15/2007 9:23:40 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/15/2007 9:29:56 AM EDT by DisplayName]
You could go to a large empty parking lot and drive 100 yards at idle and see if the car pulled to one side. Then switch to the passenger seat and repeat the same path and see if there is a change.

I suppose you could get the car aligned with you sitting in the drivers seat.

Or you could call the guys at cartalk.com on Saturday morning and ask them. At least the cartalk guys are pretty entertaining.

If you look at it like this; two 180# people sitting on the same side or one 250# driver and a big dog on the same side would you still be concerned?

So to sum up the above, I have no clue. Good luck.
Link Posted: 8/15/2007 9:27:32 AM EDT
When aligning and corner weighting race cars, weight is placed in the drivers seat to match the weight of the driver so that the alignment is accurate. Same applies for your car.

If you are the sole driver of that car, take your car down to be aligned but ask to sit in the drivers seat when they do it, I would bet your steering to the left problem goes away.
Link Posted: 8/15/2007 9:31:25 AM EDT

Originally Posted By LOW2000:
When aligning and corner weighting race cars, weight is placed in the drivers seat to match the weight of the driver so that the alignment is accurate. Same applies for your car.

If you are the sole driver of that car, take your car down to be aligned but ask to sit in the drivers seat when they do it, I would bet your steering to the left problem goes away.


last time my tires got aligned.... the wheels were not on the floor.. so being in it would not make a diffrence .

Link Posted: 8/15/2007 9:34:27 AM EDT
before the computer crap, part of the procedure for aligning the car was to put 100lb sand bag in the driver side. Because it does alter the ride height and alignment. That is for any car.
I would ask if you could sit in the car, or place equivilant weight in before they do the next one.
Link Posted: 8/15/2007 9:39:08 AM EDT

Originally Posted By LOW2000:
When aligning and corner weighting race cars, weight is placed in the drivers seat to match the weight of the driver so that the alignment is accurate. Same applies for your car.

If you are the sole driver of that car, take your car down to be aligned but ask to sit in the drivers seat when they do it, I would bet your steering to the left problem goes away.


The first and second paragraphs are correct, but leave out an important additional component.

If you really want the car to be perfect, you need to cause 3 items to be correct simultaneously, (alignment, corner weights, and ride heights) Getting the first to correct without the third, leads to strange feelings at the steering wheel (like poorly balanced caster) and sometimes eratic behavior under hard braking.

Getting the corner weights correct and the ride heights correct at the same time is why shocks/struts with adjustible spring perches were invented. In a pinch, one can fabricate and install shims under the non-adjustible spring perches to adjust ride height to compensate for the occupants weights.

If you often have passengers in this vehicle (wife perhap, or kids) then subtract 1/3 of the passengers weight from your weight when the car is corner weighted and ride height adjusted. This leaves the vehicle handling well (but not optimum) when you are alone and when you ahave passengers.

Lighter vehicles are more sensitive to these adjustments, and vehicles with stiffer springs and high grip tires are also more sensitive to these adjustments.
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