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Re: 4 wheel alignment...

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My '03 Boxster gets an alignment next week. Are there any particular wear items in the steering/suspension systems that I should have checked for wear/play beforehand.

Thanks to all.
My '03 Boxster gets an alignment next week. Are there any particular wear items in the steering/suspension systems that I should have checked for wear/play beforehand.

Thanks to all.

Have you noticed any untoward behavior from the car's steering or suspension or drivetrain? Vibration, shimmying, the car pulls, wants to wander, etc?

If so be sure to mention this to the tech. (Hopefully one well experienced with Porches.)

Also, the tech will (should) check the tire wear and from this know there could be an issue with say the shocks.

And he should go over the suspension and steering checking for any wear or damage. He will check the CV dust boots for any signs of tears/cracks/splits.

Absent any signs of any issues, other than just some "normal" tire wear that indicates "normal" alignment issues, the car's suspension/steering is probably ok. In all the years and hundreds of thousands of miles I've driven my 2002 Boxster the only thing it has needed was a front sway bar drop link. The link was fine the dust boot had failed and as a preventative measure I ordered two new drop links and had them both replaced. There was no alignment required.

(Not always during an alignment, just during a regular service, occasionally the tech has spotted a damaged under body plastic panel and I always get a damaged panel replaced though not necessarily right then. I'll order the panel and new fasteners if the tech advises me to do that and when the stuff comes in bring the car in and have the new panel installed.)

Your job: Be sure all junk is removed from the car: The cabin and trunks. Probably not a big deal with Boxster owners but you'd be surprised how many people show up with the trunk full of junk, and the extra weight can affect the alignment outcome.

If the car has one be sure the tool kit and spare tire are properly stowed.

Fill up the gas tank.

The tech might offer to put ballast (something heavy) in the car before the alignment to stand in for the weight of the driver. I've had my cars aligned both with and without weight and I can't tell any difference. AFIAK Porsche doesn't require any weight. (Porsche does say before an alignment to do what I said above: Remove any junk from the car/trunks, make sure the toolkit/spare tire is properly secured and the fuel tank filled up.) I forgo any ballast in the car during an alignment.

Be sure to ask the steering wheel be centered. This is not always done unless one asks for this.

I always ask the tech for a "tire life friendly" alignment one that won't have the rear tires wore out in just thousands of miles provided this "tire life friendly" alignment doesn't result in a compromise to the car's road manners, handling, and stability. The tech always obliges me and rear tire wear is even across the tread face and tire life can easily reach 20K miles and even more, even with my 996 Turbo.

Be sure you get a before and after printout of the car's alignment settings.

Arrange to road test the car after the alignment to be sure the car feels ok and the wheel is centered.
When a control arm would go, they would clunk and I always found this before the dealer did.... not sure if that is good or bad, but that is the way it was. Except for the worn lateral control arms in the rear... the ones that run front to back. The way I found these was the car would change direction slightly when pressing then removing the gas. So....... get up to about 70 MPH on a smooth highway..... drop to a gear with some power like 5th or maybe 4th... then press the gas, hold it hold it until smooth, now release the gas. If the car changes direction a bit, a control arm is bad.

Bruce in Philly
Tie rod ends
Boxsterra - 1 year ago
They are a normal wear item and relatively easy to replace. And they necessitate an alignment.
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