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Old 02-08-2018, 10:40 AM   #1
Blueboy
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Default Rear wheels slide out on slippery surfaces

Hello,
I'd like to have the opinion of any alignment experts out there.

On my 1998 SLC auto with 46k miles, I have a problem with the back wheels sliding out when driving on an expressway with a slippery surface. It drives fine in snow, rain, or dry conditions, but when there is a thin layer of slipperiness on an expressway, the back wheels slide out and I lose control.

Usually, it is first noticeable when driving on the expressway and going over an overpass which may freeze before the roadway. The back wheels will try to slide away, and then straighten out when beyond the overpass. That's not too bad, but if the roadway becomes slippery as it was on Monday, I had to slow down to 40mph to maintain control while everyone else was going by at 70mph. At two different times, I couldn't control it at all and had to pull off to the side of the road and get off at the next exit with the emergency flashers on. I could then drive on the back roads for a while, then get back on the expressway, but the same thing would happen again. So eventually, I gave up and went back home by the back roads.

The tires are nearly-new Firestone FR710 185-65-15 standard size tire and were inflated to 30psi front and 26psi rear before the attempted trip. Between suitcase, tools, and other junk, there was probably 200 lbs of stuff in the back.

After getting back home, I took it to Belle tire for an alignment. They said the suspension was okay and made some adjustments to the alignment.

Yesterday, I went back on the same expressway for an hour out and back (2 hours total) without any problem, but I don't think the conditions were quite the same.

My question is: With the amount of misalignment that is shown on the attached paperwork, would you think that is enough to make the rear wheels slide out of control as I tried to describe above?

Thanks.
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Old 02-08-2018, 10:58 AM   #2
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Default Re: Rear wheels slide out on slippery surfaces

Doesn't take much alignment miss-adjustment for everything to go wonky. Looks like you have too much toe out, which is great for a car that won't rotate around corners but not so good for slippery stability. If the old settings were run long enough to affect the way the tires look, now your issue is badly worn tires

Not sure what the inch to degree conversion is, but if measured it should be less than 1/8" toe out.

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Old 02-08-2018, 12:16 PM   #3
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Default Re: Rear wheels slide out on slippery surfaces

Also check to make sure neither rear brake is dragging, even slightly. I had a 1981 Ford Escort that was a ton of fun in snowy/icy corners because one rear wheel would "lock up" even if I was off the brake.

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Old 02-08-2018, 01:47 PM   #4
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Default Re: Rear wheels slide out on slippery surfaces

While were waiting for more experts, ....my guess would be too much negative camber of the rear wheels. The old O.E. rubber bushings have taken a compression set and changed the original geometry. Add the weight in the trunk and the loads imposed by the car in motion and the rear wheels are squatting too much. Need more better vertical rear wheels.
(I am not an expert. My Blizaks are a mess on sharp, deep saw-cut grooves, but fine at any speed on smooth pavement, snow and ice.)

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Old 02-08-2018, 02:51 PM   #5
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Default Re: Rear wheels slide out on slippery surfaces

First get rid of the FireBLows junque tires. 90% of your issue is right there. My old Saturn NEVER had alignment (or any other suspension part) touched in it's entire 220000 mile life b4 meeting it's demise by a Jeep Grand Cherokee. It tracked straight and true no matter the road conditions, got me through about the 3rd worst blizzard in Chicago in my lifetime (Feb 2011) and with tires that had over 75K on them! It also was never subjected to idiotically high tire pressures. Summer pressures were kept 30/26 winter 32/28.
I'm sure it was SLIGHTLY misaligned by the end of it's life but since nothing underneath it was worn, and the only suspension parts that were ever touched was the rear sway bar links I did not believe in routine "alignment". Think about it. Unless something is worn or bent there is no need for it and if you replace the worn/bent piece and put it back in exactly the position the factory put it again no need for routine alignment
Bottom line quit wasting your $$$$ and get some REAL rubber under that car, inflate correctly and learn to drive it correctly

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Old 02-08-2018, 10:58 PM   #6
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Default Re: Rear wheels slide out on slippery surfaces

Quote:
Originally Posted by underthehood View Post
...inflate correctly and learn to drive it correctly
Exactly. And when encountering a slippery surface, repeat the phrase, I dont steer with the wheel, I steer with my heart. Kind of a Jedi Mind thing.

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Old 02-09-2018, 07:18 AM   #7
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Default Re: Rear wheels slide out on slippery surfaces

Is this car ABS equipped?

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Old 02-09-2018, 07:41 AM   #8
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Default Re: Rear wheels slide out on slippery surfaces

Online Biker:
No, it does not have ABS.

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Old 02-09-2018, 11:35 AM   #9
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Default Re: Rear wheels slide out on slippery surfaces

Looking at the alignment printouts, you had too much toe on the right rear. Even a slight amount of toe in-out will wear the tires VERY QUICKLY. Essentially, looking at the angles, you have 3 straight tracking tires and one that is not tracking straight.

This gets worse as tire rotational speed increases, and on slippery surfaces will become amplified.

Alignment of the tires should help, and I do agree that you may wish to choose a different brand of tire. I have Cooper 15" rubber, all four inflated at 35psi, and have experienced traction loss in the rear only during braking. This is normal, because your center of gravity is shifted towards the front, during braking(which is where 60% or more of the vehicle weight is from being front-wheel drive), thus reducing the weight distribution to the rear, reducing pressure on the tires, thus reducing available grip/traction.

Camber does affect tracking and alignment, but not nearly as much as toe in/out does.

Camber determines whether the inside part, or outside part of the tread is touching the road surface.

Toe determines how straight the tire is actually facing. Toe in = Tires turned toward the body of the car. Toe out = Tires turned away from the body of the car. Unless you are racing on a circuit track, with a precision formula car, you usually want this figure as close to 0.00 as the suspension will allow you to get it.

200lbs of gear will INCREASE negative camber(increasing the inside part of the tire touching the road and thus increasing tire grip), which will also increase the likelihood hood of causing an issue with the toe too far in on that right rear tire.

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Old 02-09-2018, 11:43 AM   #10
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Default Re: Rear wheels slide out on slippery surfaces

What shape are your struts in? Good struts on the rear and worn struts on the front can cause oversteer.

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Old 02-09-2018, 12:18 PM   #11
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Default Re: Rear wheels slide out on slippery surfaces

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sid View Post
What shape are your struts in? Good struts on the rear and worn struts on the front can cause oversteer.
The struts are original equipment, as are all other suspension parts. The alignment person said that the suspension was in good condition. Thanks for your comments.

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Old 02-09-2018, 12:20 PM   #12
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Default Re: Rear wheels slide out on slippery surfaces

Quote:
Originally Posted by Telyx View Post
Also check to make sure neither rear brake is dragging, even slightly. I had a 1981 Ford Escort that was a ton of fun in snowy/icy corners because one rear wheel would "lock up" even if I was off the brake.
Thanks for the suggestion. I will try to check this out, but haven't noticed any brake smell so far.

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Old 02-09-2018, 12:24 PM   #13
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Default Re: Rear wheels slide out on slippery surfaces

Quote:
Originally Posted by bumpdraft View Post
While were waiting for more experts, ....my guess would be too much negative camber of the rear wheels. The old O.E. rubber bushings have taken a compression set and changed the original geometry. Add the weight in the trunk and the loads imposed by the car in motion and the rear wheels are squatting too much. Need more better vertical rear wheels.
(I am not an expert. My Blizaks are a mess on sharp, deep saw-cut grooves, but fine at any speed on smooth pavement, snow and ice.)
Bumpdraft: Thanks for taking time to read my post and for your comments.

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Old 02-09-2018, 12:40 PM   #14
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Default Re: Rear wheels slide out on slippery surfaces

Quote:
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..........200lbs of gear will INCREASE negative camber(increasing the inside part of the tire touching the road and thus increasing tire grip), which will also increase the likelihood hood of causing an issue with the toe too far in on that right rear tire.
Saturn Night: I appreciate all of the time that you took to read, consider, and reply to my post. I will study your message a little more, but now feel a little bit better about driving it on the expressway.

On my 2001 SL2, I've mostly had Firestone Affinity or FR710's on it since buying it new in March of 2001. I've never had this sort of problem with it, so the '98 SL2 shouldn't be too much different.

Anyway, thanks again for your help.

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Old 02-09-2018, 10:57 PM   #15
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Default Re: Rear wheels slide out on slippery surfaces

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Hello,
inflated to 30psi front and 26psi rear before the attempted trip. Between suitcase, tools, and other junk, there was probably 200 lbs of stuff in the back.
WAY underinflated. Those tires can take 44 psi, adjusted downward for lighter cars, but not that far down. With the pressure that low, the car is riding on the edges of the tires and almost no contact at the center.
Try 38-40 front and rear, for the extra weight in the trunk.
Never mind the door sticker, it doesn't apply to modern tires.
Some will say stick with the door sticker, no matter what. They are blind on this subject.

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Old 02-10-2018, 01:29 AM   #16
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Default Re: Rear wheels slide out on slippery surfaces

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Some will say stick with the door sticker, no matter what. They are blind on this subject.
No kidding, lol. The modern snow tires on my Forester look flat at the door sticker pressure (30psi). Silly things take 54psi to acheive their 1700lb load rating...need to increase the pressure higher to get to the new normal.

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Old 02-10-2018, 11:46 AM   #17
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Default Re: Rear wheels slide out on slippery surfaces

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blueboy View Post
.....On my 2001 SL2, I've mostly had Firestone Affinity or FR710's on it since buying it new in March of 2001. I've never had this sort of problem with it, so the '98 SL2 shouldn't be too much different..
With a new alignment, how does your car drive now?

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Old 02-10-2018, 12:27 PM   #18
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Default Re: Rear wheels slide out on slippery surfaces

Quote:
Originally Posted by mbr View Post
WAY underinflated. Those tires can take 44 psi, adjusted downward for lighter cars, but not that far down. With the pressure that low, the car is riding on the edges of the tires and almost no contact at the center.
Try 38-40 front and rear, for the extra weight in the trunk.
Never mind the door sticker, it doesn't apply to modern tires.
Some will say stick with the door sticker, no matter what. They are blind on this subject.
Manufacturer recommended pressures are determined at time of production amd testing. I have had at least one tire technician state, that tires should be inflated to the recommendation printed on the tire, itself, with today's tires.

While I think both have their place, as automakers are required to male the vehicle conform to the NHTSA crash test/safety standards, I can only state what I know about tire physics.

Low Pressure = More tire surface touching the road, increases grip by increasing friction, which will wear the tire tread quicker and reduce average fuel economy while cruising, but will improve WOT acceleration by providing better grip during the power transfer from the drive train to the road surface. Will also provide less responsive rode over rough surfaces, which will improve ride comfort while sacrificing suspension response.

High tire pressure is exactly the opposite of the above post, amd causes tire wear in the centers of the tread quicker than the outside of the tire.

I like getting 31-35mpg out of my Saturn, so I run higher tire pressures.

As far as what the OP should inflate to, well, I will leave it up to his preference.

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Old 02-10-2018, 12:37 PM   #19
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Default Re: Rear wheels slide out on slippery surfaces

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blueboy View Post
Saturn Night: I appreciate all of the time that you took to read, consider, and reply to my post. I will study your message a little more, but now feel a little bit better about driving it on the expressway.

On my 2001 SL2, I've mostly had Firestone Affinity or FR710's on it since buying it new in March of 2001. I've never had this sort of problem with it, so the '98 SL2 shouldn't be too much different.

Anyway, thanks again for your help.
If you have never had any issues, with Firestone brand, then I concur your thoughts on sticking with them.

Firestone took on a terrible reputation, after the Ford Explorer incidents with rollover collisions. It was, in my opinion which is in no way a fact on the subject, unjustified and inaccurate, because it wasn't the tires that caused that issue. It was found that tire pressures were too low, in the tires themselves, which could have likely been a result of owner neglect to regularly check their tire pressure.

I don't hear much "tire talk", now that I no longer work in the auto salvage yards. Personally, I wanted Dunlop's for my S-Series, because I read up on Consumer Reports and I think Lane(evilplastic.com) had them on his 1st-Gen SC2. Consumer Reports showed that Dunlop tires have the lowest rolling resistance, in testing, which to translates to higher fuel economy.

No tire shops, in my area, stock them. They all sell Cooper/Goodyear/house brands. Everyone I had called, said that Dunlop was a "Special Order". In auto mechanic jargon, "Special Order" = "250% markup on MSRP" plus waiting for 3-7 days on delivery.

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Old 02-14-2018, 09:34 AM   #20
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Default Re: Rear wheels slide out on slippery surfaces

Quote:
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The struts are original equipment, as are all other suspension parts. The alignment person said that the suspension was in good condition. Thanks for your comments.
How does an alignment person check struts without removing them from the car? When I removed my rear struts they were 14 years old and had 75k miles on them. They would not hold pressure like the new ones. As I understand it, struts should return to the center position on their own when depressed. (Struts with springs removed that is).

Poor struts can cause traction problems.

Maybe someone more knowledgeable on the subject can chime in here.

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