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I have been somewhat absent from the boards as of late and I have been wanting to come on and recommend a great alignment shop that I recently visited. For those that want to dial in their alignment either because you want a more accurate setting than the factory tolerances or you have lowered their vehicle, you may want to consider them. Ordinarily, I would never spend the time to do such a comprehensive review, but I would regret it if I did not share this experience with others that could benefit.

The name of the person aligning my STI was Tom. He is the only person that aligns the vehicles at this particular shop. Tom is very experienced, he has been doing alignment for quite some time now, he has worked mainly on porsches and ferraris. [He is also a big motorcycle enthusiast]


In the past when I have had alignments done, never has the person aligning my vehicle sat down with me to discuss what kind of driving style that I would like the car dialed in for (quarter mile v. canyon driving v. autoX v. track). After I told him (canyon driving), he asked if I had any concerns about tire wear and how I felt about tire longevity. After our discussion, we put the car on the alignment rack and he inspected each wheel carefully, analyzing the tire wear that has occurred over the last 6000 miles on the factory alignment specs.

I was impressed. This guy really seemed to know his stuff as he explained that each setup requires minor changes in the toe, camber, or caster settings for each car. Wow, nobody had ever gotten this technical before (and I am a bit neurotic about doing things the right way and being as technically accurate as possible; this guy was right on). So, not surprisingly, I was impressed even more when he asked me if I wanted him to correct the positioning of the steering wheel when he did the alignment. How the heck did he know that the STIs were coming with crooked steering wheels from the factory? I, myself, did not know until about a month ago when I paid attention to it when driving on a long drive.

After it was on the rack and he placed one sensor on each wheel, I left for about an hour and came back to discover that he was already finished with the alignment. When I got backed, he reviewed the before and after alignment specs and explained them to me. While the new alignment specs fell easily within the factory tolerances, he pointed out some discrepancies between the left and right alignment specs. He explained that the really unknowledgable or ignorant alignment shops will align the car without considering how the weight of the driver will play a role in how the car will be aligned with a driver in it. He described this method of alignment as wrong in his opinion. He further explained that at a minimum, any car will have a driver, and maybe even a passenger. With that in mind, he aligned the vehicle so that it would only achieve optimal alignment specs when the a driver was in the car. Ok, if I had any doubts about whether I was getting my money's worth, this alleviated all of my concerns. (see below for price review)

I started her up, backed her off the alignment rack, and pulled into the street and headed for the closest empty road, which is not easy to find in southern california. Here is what I noticed. In a straight line, the car feels crisper and the front end feels like it has been significantly lightened up, so it steers easily. During cornering, the amount of effort to keep my line was significantly reduced. Because the steering is that sharp, the car feels like it has newly mounted and balanced high performance tires (I still have the stock tires). I am very happy with the results

The last thing: price. Average joe blow alignment shops will charge anywhere from $80-100 to align an AWD vehicle like the Subaru. After this experience, I will go back to Tom. While the alignment cost $20-40 more (not much more in my opinion), I feel like I got my money's worth and benefited from TOm's experience aligning high performance cars. If I had gone to some random shop, I could have gotten some guy that could care less or did not have the same fundamental understanding of how high performance vehicles should be aligned.

Tom is truly a car enthusiast (he will tell you all about the different ways he can align your car so it fits your driving style and preferred driving experience. He went out of his way to take care of me and my STI and I am sure he would do the same for you if you wanted him to do your alignment.

An FYI about packages, he said that when he lowers a car and aligns it, he offers a free alignment check 1500-2500 miles down the road after you have driven the car to not only check tire wire and alignment specs, but to dial the car in to be more aggressive if that is what you want, or dial it out to make it a bit milder. This I considered top notch customer service, and I told him that I would be back.

If you want to make sure you get one of the best alignments possible for your STI, I receommend going to see Tom. Even if you have to travel in from outside the LA area, it is worth it unless you can find a really good, reputable alignment guy closer to you, even TOm would agree with that. He wants you to have what is best for you; if that means a lower price, he understands, making him that much cooler.

Here is the info:
Lucent Motors: 310-231-3328. http://www.lucentmotors.com/ and http://www.lucentmotors.com/new_at_lucent.htm

The address is 2130 Sepulveda -- just north of Olympic on the east side of the street in Los Angeles.

Hope this helped. If you call or go in for an alignment, tell Tom that I referred you. If you go somewhere else, one piece of advice I have is before you buy a set of camber bolts make sure you need them ( a lot of places sell them to you and you do not need them even after you have lowered your car; but that does not mean you may not still want them so you can dial even more camber in).

Kevin
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I am not sure if I mentioned this, but when he aligns your car, the specs are kept in the computer, so when you come in a second time you can check right there before deciding to go to more of an aggressive alignment or go more conservative.
 

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A Brand New Complete JDM Fog Light Package

I just returned from Lucent Motors and I can only further stress the points made in the original post. This is a great garage run by guys who really know what they're doing. I had to have my black & gold aligned after a Mulholland mishap :( Tom, who conducts all the suspension work at this shop was very helpful and very knowledgable. I was also given a tour of the entire operation by Ken who is Tom's partner in the business. This place is great, they mainly specialize in exotics; there were many impressive Porsches to check out while waiting for the work to be done. The greatest part though was Tom asked me if I wanted the car to handle better, ofcourse I said yes, so he made some minor adjustments to the stock suspension (Camber, Toe, etc..) When I got back on the road and pulled my first brisk turn I definetely noticed difference. The caqr feels mor planted and effortless to corner now. I am planning on buying a set of "Pinks" and stru tops within the next few weeks and I will definetely be returning to this shop. I highly recommend their services to anyone living in the Los Angeles area and looking to have suspension work.
 

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Yeah, Tom rocks!

Did you mention that you learned about it from my post? Just curious if he remembered me. Also, where are you located? Any pics of your car? We should meet up if you are in the LA area.
 

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Yeah Nivek-CA, your recommendation was actually one of the first things i mentioned to Tom :) And yes, he did remember you...They also said that we were not the only STi owners to come there..They had done suspension work for several other scooby-jockies :D Unfortunately no, I don't have any pics of my car yet...Definetely coming soon though. And yes Im always trying to meet other STi owners, although most of the time I see one about 12 cars ahead of me in heavy LA traffic and make a failed attempt to chase him down. I live in West Hollywood(no, not that part of west hollywood) , and I know you're all close cause I see STi's pretty frequently :D We should all go take over a parking lot one night and frollick in our gear headedness. Lemme know what ya think:)
 

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LOL!! I remember you :D Nice car man, hehe..Yeah that was definetely me. That was awhile ago, how's your car now?? Any mods?? My cars actually been through the most of any car ive had..its funny I was thinking about you recently, wondering why I hadn't seen that silver sti again?
 

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Oh man that is too funny! That was me! I drove all the way down sunset to the 405, shot down the 405 to the 10 then took the 10 to the 110, then the 110 to the 101 and then back to Hollywood. Its a moderate driving route that I like to take sometimes. You saw me on my last stint through the wood on my way home:) And the funnier thing is when I was driving I was thinking to myslef how funny it would be if I saw you on the road, then I come home to this post LOL we gotta meet up:)
 
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