The family of vehicles that includes the Dodge Charger, the Dodge Challenger and the Chrysler 300 for the model years 2011 to 2017 requires some alignment procedures that are a little outside the norm of the commonplace work of a regular alignment. You should go to the various manufacturers of the kits and determine their flat-rate time for doing the work shown in this issue of Photo Tech. It’s definitely not a $49.95 alignment by any means. It is not complicated, but you must have an understanding of the work procedures and sequence, as well as the mandatory and special tools needed to elongate the hole. You can elongate the hole with a metal rasp and a drill; but doing it and keeping the slot faces parallel to each other is extremely difficult. If these slot faces are not parallel, the alignment cam will not move smoothly, and it will be difficult to obtain the exact alignment readings you want.

The tool to use for slotting the frame ears is not the old standard type of punch-out tool used on Chevrolet trucks. That tool was made for, and had only the requirement of, knocking out a hole in a scored area. This special tool actually punches through the frame or sub-frame structural member and elongates a hole. This is much more difficult. The tool is very special in that it is designed, hardened and heat-treated for this purpose. Although expensive, it will pay for itself quickly and save time when performing alignments on these vehicles. Don’t take shortcuts. As with every other tool in your shop, buy the correct tool for the job. It’ll save you time and make you much more professional.

Although it is not difficult to align one of these vehicles the first time you do it will definitely take some time, as the procedures are somewhat different from those on almost any other vehicle you have ever aligned. Once you’ve done a few, you’ll find that it becomes quicker and easier. The fact is, that because of the additional time, labor and the cost of the punch-out tool, you’ll not be doing this alignment for the same price as a normal, two-bolt eccentric installation. Many of these cars have high-horsepower or even modified engines, along with tire-and-wheel packages and possibly strut assemblies on them. Their owners don’t expect a $49.95 alignment, but they do want their cars to handle correctly and get decent tire wear as a return on their investment. Quote the job honestly and fairly, explaining, if necessary, the amount and degree of work involved to get the vehicle aligned. You have the skill and knowledge. All you need to do is know that there are new procedures and techniques for aligning this specific family of cars. Again, don’t attempt to shortcut the job by elongating the holes with a rasp. Spend the money and buy the right tool, but don’t leave it lying around your alignment rack. It’s much too valuable and costly.