Wheel Bearing and Wheel Alignment Issue

audia3man

Registered User
Hi,

I've been a long time lurker on this forum. I've had my Audi A3 8V 184 Quattro now for two years (15 reg). The other day I had my Off Side Front wheel bearing changed at 43k miles (Don't ask me how a wheel bearing went so soon, my cam belt needed to be changed a couple months ago aswell :|). Just to note this was all done under warranty.

The problem I have now is, I took my car in my wheel alignment was perfect, they completed the work all fine and the wheel drone is gone, however now my wheel alignment is way off. Now from my knowledge a wheel bearing change should not effect or touch anything to do with wheel alignment.

The dealer has recommended that I go to a local tyre fitter to get the alignment done at me own cost!? Shouldn't the dealership foot the bill and sort this re-alignment I now have to do?

Any advice would be appreciated,

Thanks Guys
 

richinsoton

Registered User
I would imagine the front bearing is an interference fit & therefore the hub has to be removed to press in/out the old/new bearings so I would expect a geo check to be carried out as part of the repair as you would've disturbed the geo settings.
 

audia3man

Registered User
Thanks for the insight. Is there any documentation showing that the bearings are interference type or can anyone else confirm so I can go back to them when I take my car back in and point this out to them
 

AudiNutta

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I can beat your bearing failure time, try 6000 miles. Mine was clicking though, moving in the housing at low speeds.

Take it back to your dealer, by your alignment out do you mean your wheel is off centre or the car is tracking to the left or right? The car will always have a slight left hand bias.

Take it back to the dealer, if they messed it up then they correct it under warranty again. I had my steering wheel out when mine was done the first time it was aligned (been done 3 times) and they agreed to have it back, no quibbles. But the steering rack failed before I had chance to take it back, so it went in on a recovery truck anyway.
 

richinsoton

Registered User
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audia3man

Registered User
Glad (a little worried) to here that I'm not the only one that has a wheel bearing issue so early on.

AudiNutta it sounds like I have got the exact same issue you have had after a wheel bearing change, wheel is miss-aligned; I got to hold it nearly pointing at one o'clock to go in a straight line and there is a pull to the left. I shall get back in contact with the servicing department of my local Audi for them to sort it out.

Thanks Richinsoton I shall bring up that the wheel bearing change in theory shouldn't have effected my steering alignment.
 

AudiNutta

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Glad (a little worried) to here that I'm not the only one that has a wheel bearing issue so early on.

AudiNutta it sounds like I have got the exact same issue you have had after a wheel bearing change, wheel is miss-aligned; I got to hold it nearly pointing at one o'clock to go in a straight line and there is a pull to the left. I shall get back in contact with the servicing department of my local Audi for them to sort it out.

Thanks Richinsoton I shall bring up that the wheel bearing change in theory shouldn't have effected my steering alignment.

The bearing would effect your alignment one way or another, or they wouldn't do it. The dealer has to justify all work done on your car because it's Audi that's paying for it. Do you think Audi would pay for wheel alignment when it doesn't need it? My centre charges £120 for alignment.

One o'clock is too excessive. Mine is turned just past 12, 5mm maybe.. the car will always have a left bias so you will always have to turn a fraction right to compensate. All depends on the camber of the road too.

Just call them and say that the steering wheel is well out of alignment when the tracking is straight so the wheel needs to be straightened. Then once it's done ask for a copy of the alignment, they will give you a print out and you can see all aspects are in the green so you know it's tracking right.
 

traindweller

Registered User
AudiNutta,
Why will it always have a left hand bias? not heard that before so would be interested to know why this is. Is it just Audi or are you saying all cars have that bias.
 

rajeevx5

S3
VCDS Map User
I would imagine the front bearing is an interference fit & therefore the hub has to be removed to press in/out the old/new bearings so I would expect a geo check to be carried out as part of the repair as you would've disturbed the geo settings.
Glad (a little worried) to here that I'm not the only one that has a wheel bearing issue so early on.

AudiNutta it sounds like I have got the exact same issue you have had after a wheel bearing change, wheel is miss-aligned; I got to hold it nearly pointing at one o'clock to go in a straight line and there is a pull to the left. I shall get back in contact with the servicing department of my local Audi for them to sort it out.

Thanks Richinsoton I shall bring up that the wheel bearing change in theory shouldn't have effected my steering alignment.
I can confirm the bearing is not an interference fit, the bearing comes as a package with the hub. (I had to change a bearing on my S3). The elsawin service manual does say after a wheel bearing change you are supposed to do a realignment, as you have to remove the Driveshaft and wishbone from the wheel bearing housing which is probably why the alignment is off

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RichardT

Registered User
I'm no expert, but I would expect anything as drastic as taking a wheel off would require an alignment check. Also this should be done by the dealership when they did the work.
It is their responsibility to fix the car and if they need to take it to a third party to get the alignment done, then they should take it themselves.

I had some work done some years ago and the dealer (Toyota) took it to an alignment centre and provided the printout when completed.
 

AudiNutta

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AudiNutta,
Why will it always have a left hand bias? not heard that before so would be interested to know why this is. Is it just Audi or are you saying all cars have that bias.

Because of the way they are tracked to follow the road I believe. Wherever you have alignment, the car will always pull to the left naturally.
 

richinsoton

Registered User
The camber of the road which is always lower towards the left hand kerb rather than the crown (centre) of the road so naturally the car will want to travel to the lowest point the same as if you rolled a ball down the centre of the road it should (if the road surface has been laid correctly) end up in the gutter, so to counter the car trying to travel towards the kerb subconsciously you apply a very slight amount of right hand lock to counter this effect.
 

traindweller

Registered User
The camber of the road which is always lower towards the left hand kerb rather than the crown (centre) of the road so naturally the car will want to travel to the lowest point the same as if you rolled a ball down the centre of the road it should (if the road surface has been laid correctly) end up in the gutter, so to counter the car trying to travel towards the kerb subconsciously you apply a very slight amount of right hand lock to counter this effect.


Thanks for your comments and agree that this is the natural bias we put on the car to allow for the camber, so is any adjustment made within the actual wheel alignment to allow for an 'average' camber?
 

richinsoton

Registered User
Thanks for your comments and agree that this is the natural bias we put on the car to allow for the camber, so is any adjustment made within the actual wheel alignment to allow for an 'average' camber?
In theory you could set the car up to allow for an 'average camber' / pulls slightly right (as oval circuit racing cars in the U.S are set up in that way) but you have to remember the steering input also is read by the steering angle sensor / slip ring / clock spring whatever you wish to call it behind the steering wheel which feeds the steering wheel angle back to the traction control / abs systems. If you set the car up to steer slightly right with the steering wheel dead ahead potentially this could be misinterpreted by traction control / abs as the car continually turning in a giant circle (as if the road was dead level you would then have to steer left to compensate) & triggering a fault code or unexpected triggering of either system (the same as continuing to drive with the steering wheel 'off centre').

It's always worth finding someone who sets up the geometry accurately rather than 'just setting the reading within the green band' as just setting within the green band on the read out can still mean there is a slight misalignment as the green band is the maximum tolerance permitted & the machine takes an average of the two readings side to side to give an average. So to use a simplified example you could have a manufacturers recommendation of -1' (total) for tracking but if one side is -2' & the other is +1' that would give you -1' total & so within tolerance & appear correct, although both wheels are slightly out of alignment (& the car would pull to on side also). Obviously in tracking we're talking minutes of a degree rather than a full degree but I've made it degrees for ease of reading.

I hope this makes sense!?!. :confused new:
 

traindweller

Registered User
richinsoton,
Yes it does make sense and thanks for the explanation. I wonder how good the average tyre fitter alignment check actually is, and interesting that the dealership recommended to the OP that they take it to a local tyre fitter for checking. Perhaps it was for the cheaper cost rather than they could not deal with it correctly.
 

richinsoton

Registered User
richinsoton,
Yes it does make sense and thanks for the explanation. I wonder how good the average tyre fitter alignment check actually is, and interesting that the dealership recommended to the OP that they take it to a local tyre fitter for checking. Perhaps it was for the cheaper cost rather than they could not deal with it correctly.
The alignment check is only as good as the person doing it irrespective of the equipment used but that said if I was having my alignment done I'd want the correct manufacturers recommended equipment used (to minimise set up errors) or by a specialist rather than a fast fit centre who are going to want you in & out a.s.a.p if they know they're not going to make any further sales out of the job.
Some manufacturers specify how much fuel is in the car & weight is distributed around the interiour of the car using sandbags, which obviously fast fit centres aren't going to have the equipment or time to do. If you think about it sand bagging the car makes sense as if you do the alignment check in an unloaded state as soon as you sit in the car you're altering the position of the steering / suspension geometry straightaway anyhow. Geometry checks are one of those things that can be a simple / basic task or something that you can really fine tune depending on the skills & equipment available & as tyres aren't exactly cheap I'd want it done as accurately as possible.
 
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