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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Today I took my ST to my favorite alignment shop to get measured. I didn't have them make any adjustments, I just wanted to know the baseline of my car, as delivered.

I also got alignment specs for the ST from my Ford dealership (El Cajon Ford). They printed out the page of the shop manual that shows the specs for both the base car and the ST. Here is my scan of that: alignment_specs.jpg
Their printout was clipped by a few pixels on the right, but you can still make out all the numbers. One thing that's interesting is that the spec for front camber is different for left and right sides.

Here are the numbers from my car, and the corresponding specs from Ford:

Caster
left front measurement: 4.49 degrees Spec: 4.28 +/- 0.75
right front measurement: 4.14 degrees Spec: 4.28 +/- 0.75

Camber
left front measurement: -1.01 degrees Spec: -0.83 +/- 0.75
right front measurement: -1.02 degrees Spec: -0.93 +/- 0.75

left rear measurement: -1.32 degrees Spec: -1.35 +/- 0.75
right rear measurement: -1.45 degrees Spec: -1.35 +/- 0.75

Toe
(positive value is toe in, negative value is toe out)
front total measurement: -0.02 degrees Spec: 0.10 +/- 0.20
left rear measurement: 0.02 degrees Spec: 0.19 +/- 0.2
right rear measurement: 0.07 degrees Spec: 0.19 +/-0.2
rear total measurement: 0.09 degrees Spec: 0.38 +/- 0.2

I hope I haven't transposed any numbers. If any of that looks incorrect, let me know and I'll edit it.

So my car is within spec everywhere except rear total toe, where it is slightly toe'd out compared to spec. At this time, I don't have any alignment changes I want to make, but it's nice to know a baseline. When I do feel ready to make a change, I'll probably move front toe closer to the toe'd out end of the spec, because my experience tells me that more toe out tends to make turn in slightly sharper. When others get their cars measured, please post your data!

5/28/13 update: Thanks to user Grayson for pointing out that I had mixed units on the toe. Previously I showed the inch measurement values that came from the alignment shop, and the Spec values in the degrees that are on the Ford spec. I updated the post with degree values for toe calculated from the inches given by the alignment shop. I assumed a 25.4" diameter for the tire, which is what tirerack.com shows for it ( Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2, size 235/40/18).

If anyone sees anything that still looks wrong, please let me know!
 

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Thanks very much!

I'm looking to hit my alignment shop soon after delivery as well. Any idea what the range of alignment looks like?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks very much!

I'm looking to hit my alignment shop soon after delivery as well. Any idea what the range of alignment looks like?
You're welcome!

I don't know yet what the range of adjustment is. But I do know from looking at the car on a lift (photos here: Focus ST on the lift - Imgur) that the only adjustments provided by the factory appear to be for toe, front and rear. If we want to adjust camber and caster, we'll need aftermarket help.
 

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Cool info!

Fwiw, the differences in left/right sides is because of necessary assumption that someone will be driving the car near the left front wheel .

- Drew
 

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Cool info!

Fwiw, the differences in left/right sides is because of necessary assumption that someone will be driving the car near the left front wheel .

- Drew
Is that what it is? I've also heard that it's due to the crown in the road (to facilitate water run off). At least that's what my shop told me.
 

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Would you prefer your jounce settings be correct while you were in or out of the car?

- Drew
I get that...

But my shop doesn't do alignments while I'm in the car, so it's obviously not taking into account my weight...And it's a good shop that does most of it's work for track/race cars (Custom Alignment in Mountain View, CA). Is this due to the weird camber curves of the strut front end? My F-body doesn't have varying camber specs, though it uses an SLA front end rather than a strut - which has it's own set of little nuances (for example, a bigger front sway bar *increases* oversteer on the F-bodies, which is completely backward to how you would normally tune a car)

Now when they corner-weighted my car, I was sitting in the driver's seat...
 

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Drew - BTW - I don't mean to sound like I don't believe you. While I consider myself as having some decent experience in suspension tuning (I've helped with competitive SCCA autox and CMC cars), I certainly don't think I know everything and like most folks, I'm here because I think I'll learn something :)
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
My ST's first custom alignment!

The post that starts this thread shows what my car's alignment settings were measured to be, as delivered from the factory.

After driving my car for a couple of weeks, I came to the conclusion that the steering didn't feel quite as sharp as what I experienced when test driving a different ST, which I described here:

http://fordstnation.com/focus-st-general-discussion/1542-dealer-ordered-st-has-arrived-san-diego.html

So I had a custom alignment done. I decided to see if a little extra front toe-out would help, since that has helped with other cars I have had.

I also sensed that the car was slightly better at turning right than turning left. Because of this I wanted to make the alignment on the right rear to match the alignment on the left rear.

My goal with this custom alignment was to make the car to behave the way I personally like, in the daily driving that I normally do. So I'm not trying to set up for autocross performance, or for road racing, or skidpad numbers or anything like that. I'm just trying to get fun, lively, safe street driving.

With all of that in mind, here are the instructions I gave to the alignment shop (Lutz Tire Home Page):
1. Make the total toe in the front be -0.08" (which is just within Ford's spec of 0.10 +/-0.20). Negative means that it's toe'd out.
2. Make the right rear toe match the left rear toe. Do not adjust left rear toe.

And I got these before and after numbers:
Note that I report all of the alignment numbers (camber, caster, toe) even though only toe is adjustable. There is a slight nuance to that, by the way, which I discuss further at the bottom of this post*

Caster
left front before: 4.55 degrees after: 4.72 degrees Spec: 4.28 +/- 0.75
right front before: 4.25 degrees after: 4.73 degrees Spec: 4.28 +/- 0.75

Camber
left front before: -1.02 degrees after: -0.99 degrees Spec: -0.83 +/- 0.75
right front before: -1.08 degrees after: -1.09 degrees Spec: -0.93 +/- 0.75

left rear before: -1.23 degrees after: -1.24 degrees Spec: -1.35 +/- 0.75
right rear before: -1.41 degrees after: -1.37 degrees Spec: -1.35 +/- 0.75

Toe
(positive value is toe in, negative value is toe out)
front total before: -0.09 degrees after: -0.18 Spec: 0.10 +/- 0.20
left rear before: -0.07 degrees after: -0.07 Spec: 0.19 +/- 0.2
right rear before: 0.05 after: -0.07 Spec: 0.19 +/-0.2
rear total before: -0.02 after: -0.135 Spec: 0.38 +/- 0.2

Differences in the before and after numbers for things other than toe are a combination of measurement repeatability and actual differences caused by the toe changes, I guess.

You might notice a couple of things:
1. The total toe is outside of factory spec front and rear. I know this, and I think it works really well like it is. For the rear, it was intentional, but for the front, it happened accidentally as a result of my mis-interpretation of Ford's spec (see note at the end of this post regarding that).
2. The "before" numbers aren't exactly the same numbers that appear in the initial measurement I described at the top of this thread. I'm chalking that up to measurement repeatability, and the fact that the car was driven quite a bit between the two measurements. Things could have moved around some between the two measurements.

So did I get the results I wanted?
Yes, I did. I've been driving with these changes for a week now, and I think the changes in toe made a very noticeable improvement. The car really does turn in sharper, and has exhibits less understeer in steady state cornering than it did before the adjustments. In fact, the car is so sharp, balanced and stable feeling now, that I'm kind of at a loss for further suspension tuning ideas. So for now I'm just going to enjoy driving this amazing car with this setup until I eventually notice something I want to change.

Of course, everyone wants something different from their suspension setup, so these numbers might not be right for you. I also don't recommend going outside of factory specs, like I did on rear toe. So, you know, do as I say, not as I do!

What I can say for sure is that these changes made my car turn in sharper, and made the car more tail happy. So, take that for what it's worth.

By the way, I want to plug Lutz Tire here. I really like going to there for custom alignments. They are willing to help, and they have a lot of experience with aligning cars for the local racers, so they understand people who are OCD about their suspension settings. Cost of this alignment was $69.95.

Note about the ST alignment adjustability
*Earlier in this post, I mentioned there is a nuance to the rear toe adjustment. To me, it looks like the single adjustment at the rear of the car is intended to adjust toe. But it's kind of weird because that same adjustment also affects rear camber. You can see this by looking at the pictures of the rear suspension that are in this album I posted on imgur:

Focus ST on the lift - Imgur

And I think the change in right rear camber before/after the alignment is consistent with what I would expect, based on what I see in the pictures. If I'm right about this, then on a stock ST you can't adjust rear toe independently of rear camber. I think to de-couple those things, the other lateral link (the one towards the front of the car) would need to have an adjustment added to it.

Anyone else have different information about that? Did I miss photographing something when I was taking pictures under the car? Or maybe there is something that appears in the pics that I haven't noticed?

5/28/13 update: Thanks to user Grayson for pointing out that I had mixed units on the toe. Previously I showed the inch measurement values that came from the alignment shop, and the Spec values in the degrees that are on the Ford spec. I updated the post with degrees values for toe calculated from the inches given by the alignment shop. I assumed a 25.4" diameter for the tire, which is what tirerack.com shows for it ( Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2, size 235/40/18)

Originally, I didn't intend to have the front toe be out of spec. I thought it was in spec, based on an incorrect interpretation of the spec. Originally I thought it was in inches. The spec is vague on this point, but upon close inspection, it seems pretty certain that it is in degrees. In any case the alignment seems to work pretty well as it is, even though toe is out of spec. I now have about 12000 miles on the car, and tire wear seems quite reasonable. If I ever have reason to get another alignment, I'll probably have at least the front brought into spec, but there doesn't seem to be any pressing reason to do it right now.
 

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The post that starts this thread shows what my car's alignment settings were measured to be, as delivered from the factory.

After driving my car for a couple of weeks, I came to the conclusion that the steering didn't feel quite as sharp as what I experienced when test driving a different ST, which I described here:

http://fordstnation.com/focus-st-general-discussion/1542-dealer-ordered-st-has-arrived-san-diego.html

So I had a custom alignment done. I decided to see if a little extra front toe-out would help, since that has helped with other cars I have had.

I also sensed that the car was slightly better at turning right than turning left. Because of this I wanted to make the alignment on the right rear to match the alignment on the left rear.

My goal with this custom alignment was to make the car to behave the way I personally like, in the daily driving that I normally do. So I'm not trying to set up for autocross performance, or for road racing, or skidpad numbers or anything like that. I'm just trying to get fun, lively, safe street driving.

With all of that in mind, here are the instructions I gave to the alignment shop (Lutz Tire Home Page):
1. Make the total toe in the front be -0.08" (which is just within Ford's spec of 0.10 +/-0.20). Negative means that it's toe'd out.
2. Make the right rear toe match the left rear toe. Do not adjust left rear toe.

And I got these before and after numbers:
Note that I report all of the alignment numbers (camber, caster, toe) even though only toe is adjustable. There is a slight nuance to that, by the way, which I discuss further at the bottom of this post*

Caster
left front before: 4.55 degrees after: 4.72 degrees Spec: 4.28 +/- 0.75
right front before: 4.25 degrees after: 4.73 degrees Spec: 4.28 +/- 0.75

Camber
left front before: -1.02 degrees after: -0.99 degrees Spec: -0.83 +/- 0.75
right front before: -1.08 degrees after: -1.09 degrees Spec: -0.93 +/- 0.75

left rear before: -1.23 degrees after: -1.24 degrees Spec: -1.35 +/- 0.75
right rear before: -1.41 degrees after: -1.37 degrees Spec: -1.35 +/- 0.75

Toe
(positive value is toe in, negative value is toe out)
front total before: -0.04" after: -0.08" Spec: 0.10 +/- 0.20
left rear before: -0.03" after: -0.03" Spec: 0.19 +/- 0.2
right rear before: 0.02" after: -0.03" Spec: 0.19 +/-0.2
rear total before: -0.01" after: -0.06" Spec: 0.38 +/- 0.2

Differences in the before and after numbers for things other than toe are a combination of measurement repeatability and actual differences caused by the toe changes, I guess.

You might notice a couple of things:
1. The rear total toe is outside of factory spec by almost 1/4". I know this, but I wanted it anyway. And I think it works really well like that.
2. The "before" numbers aren't exactly the same numbers that appear in the initial measurement I described at the top of this thread. I'm chalking that up to measurement repeatability, and the fact that the car was driven quite a bit between the two measurements. Things could have moved around some between the two measurements.

So did I get the results I wanted?
Yes, I did. I've been driving with these changes for a week now, and I think the changes in toe made a very noticeable improvement. The car really does turn in sharper, and has exhibits less understeer in steady state cornering than it did before the adjustments. In fact, the car is so sharp, balanced and stable feeling now, that I'm kind of at a loss for further suspension tuning ideas. So for now I'm just going to enjoy driving this amazing car with this setup until I eventually notice something I want to change.

Of course, everyone wants something different from their suspension setup, so these numbers might not be right for you. I also don't recommend going outside of factory specs, like I did on rear toe. So, you know, do as I say, not as I do!

What I can say for sure is that these changes made my car turn in sharper, and made the car more tail happy. So, take that for what it's worth.

By the way, I want to plug Lutz Tire here. I really like going to there for custom alignments. They are willing to help, and they have a lot of experience with aligning cars for the local racers, so they understand people who are OCD about their suspension settings. Cost of this alignment was $69.95.

Note about the ST alignment adjustability
*Earlier in this post, I mentioned there is a nuance to the rear toe adjustment. To me, it looks like the single adjustment at the rear of the car is intended to adjust toe. But it's kind of weird because that same adjustment also affects rear camber. You can see this by looking at the pictures of the rear suspension that are in this album I posted on imgur:

Focus ST on the lift - Imgur

And I think the change in right rear camber before/after the alignment is consistent with what I would expect, based on what I see in the pictures. If I'm right about this, then on a stock ST you can't adjust rear toe independently of rear camber. I think to de-couple those things, the other lateral link (the one towards the front of the car) would need to have an adjustment added to it.

Anyone else have different information about that? Did I miss photographing something when I was taking pictures under the car? Or maybe there is something that appears in the pics that I haven't noticed?
Curious, you seemed to have lost camber in the front. Was this on purpose? Was the rear camber adjustable and if so wouldn't you want it reduced or did you leave it as you stated "street safe".

Overall it looks great. The increase in caster really helps make the turn in razor sharp.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Curious, you seemed to have lost camber in the front. Was this on purpose? Was the rear camber adjustable and if so wouldn't you want it reduced or did you leave it as you stated "street safe".

Overall it looks great. The increase in caster really helps make the turn in razor sharp.
The camber lost on the left front wasn't on purpose. Only toe is adjustable on the front. So maybe it was just a measurement repeatability thing? 3/100 ths of a degree isn't a very big quantity, so that would be believable to me.

On the rear, it's kind of weird. I think both toe and camber are adjustable there, but not independently of each other. The only adjustment is an eccentric at the inboard bushing on the rear-most lateral arm in the back. It appears to me that adjusting this eccentric will push the wheel in or out, making both a camber and a toe change.

So In the back, I had him set the toe the way I wanted it (which was to make the toe on the right side be like the toe on the left side), and let right rear camber land wherever.

And on this car, I don't even think I'd want less camber in the back. It's already an amazingly neutral car. Especially amazing, given the fact that it's a nose-heavy FWD car. And I don't want to make it TOO easy for the rear to step out, at least for street driving. Now, if I decide to auto cross it, then who knows...;)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Is the Toe out that much going to affect tire wear adversely?
It might, but it doesn't seem to be having too big of an effect. Here is the data I have on that so far:
The tires come new with 10/32" tread depth
They have now had their first rotation, which was done at 7500 miles. At that time, the Ford service department measured the front tires to have 7/32" remaining and the rear tires to have 9/32" tread remaining.

I will replace them when they get down to 3/32" . Given all of that, I think I'll get reasonable life out of them with properly timed rotations. Especially since I'm pretty hard on tires. I frequently accelerate right up against the traction control, and I'm not too shy about taking the corners quickly on occasion.

The tires probably would last longer with less Toe out, but I don't have any data to say how much. In any case, I'm happy with the wear rate as it is and I don't have any alignment changes planned.
 

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I hit a curb and just hit over 23k miles so felt it was time to check the alignment. This is the sheet I was given, since I know little about alignments, perhaps those here can let me know if this looks correct. The car was pulling just a tiny bit to the right when I let go of the wheel after about 4-5 seconds. It seems to be resolved now.

alignment.jpeg
 

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Discussion Starter #17
You've added units of inches to your toe values, but I believe they should be in units of degrees.
Toe can be expressed as an angle, but in my case the values reported by my alignment shop are in inches. Interestingly, the Ford spec doesn't say what units they are spec'd in! I was just assuming that they had specified toe in inches because that is how I'm used to seeing them. But they could have meant degrees.

Anyway, I know the values were reported in inches from my alignment shop. And I gave them instructions based on my (possibly incorrect) understanding that Ford's spec is in inches. I think I'll have to do some trigonometry and figure out how my numbers compare to spec, if I interpret the spec in degrees.:!:
 

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I wish that alignment shops would discard the use of length to measure toe forever. That's a function of tire diameter, whereas degrees works even if you bolt a dinner plate to the hub. It does appear that Ford specified their toe values in degrees, for there's no way on Earth they would ever recommend .38" of rear toe. Ever. Ever ever.

I suspect when you translate the alignment shop's asinine length values into degrees you'll find yourself to be in spec.
 

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Fwiw, the differences in left/right sides is because of necessary assumption that someone will be driving the car near the left front wheel .

- Drew
That is possible, but I was under the impression it was a safety issue. That is, if the driver loses steering for some reason, like falling asleep, the car will drift right...away from oncoming traffic.
 

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That is possible, but I was under the impression it was a safety issue. That is, if the driver loses steering for some reason, like falling asleep, the car will drift right...away from oncoming traffic.
This seems to make some sense but problem is in left hand lane of highway mine follows the crown of the road and pulls to the left. In right hand lane the opposite.
 
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