I replaced my front struts and have since been unable to afford a proper 4-wheel alignment. So I figure until I do, I can at least get the front toe angle right via the tie-rods. I know it's off pretty bad because as I'm driving straight, my steering wheel is tilted clockwise a few degrees. I've found several write-ups and how-tos on the subject. My question is, are 2nd gen neons supposed to be 0°(parallel) toe or +1° toe in? I was going to just set them as straight as I could, but then I came across this tidbit:
Josh warned us: When doing this, you must know beforehand whether your vehicle can handle a zero toe-in. My first generation Neon ACR had no problem with zero toe-in, but when I hit a major bump in my 2001 Sebring Sedan after setting it to zero toe-in, I came close to losing control of the car. Every tiny bump produced a resounding loud “pop” in the suspension, though everything was new. Setting the toe-in to +1° cured both issues.
replacing the struts will not affect your toe much if at all , these cars do not have factory camber kits or adjustment so everything should have back where it was. most cars are toe out to some degree to improve turning , if your alignment is otherwise ok you can turn both tie rods an equal amount to center the steering wheel but really you should have a 4 wheel alignment cause the rear affects the whole thrust angle of the car. the issue of having 0 toe in is that having them toe out creates stability , to much toe in can cause stability issues as stated in that quote , like i said that is why most vehicles are toe out. for the sake of your tires just have it aligned , otherwise just center the wheel.
I replaced the whole rear strut assemblies also. Problem is, after I got the work done we went into dire straits financially. It'll be another month at least before I can afford to have a professional 4-wheel alignment done. I just want to get the steering wheel centered for now and make sure the toe is correct on the front because I know that's within my capabilities. I'll just center the wheel, and make sure the toe is close to zero, maybe slightly out.
if you didnt disturb the tie rod ends the alignment would not have changed.
Crude way of setting the toe, get two long boards and lay em infront and behind tire spaning from side to side. now make a mark on both sides of the tire using the tread as a centerline.
use tape measure to check front of tire VS rear of tire and adjust tie rod accordingly, oh set ur wheel straight before you start this procedure.
if you aint racing this neon and want your tires to last as long as possible aim for ZERO toe. if your concerned with faster turn in then add a little toe in(but this would be for road racing , not the hot ticket for a daily driver)
Well, I don't have a 22mm wrench to undo the tie-rod ends to make the adjustment and I don't know anyone who has a metric that big. I measured my tread depth and there doesn't appear to be any excessive wear as of yet, so I'm just going to hold off until I have the flow to get the full alignment. Thanks anyway for the input guys. Being broke sucks, lol. I've had two apts to have the alignment done in the last month and I had to cancel both: first time because of a speeding ticket, second time because I had to replace my radiator (damn raccoon).