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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
While reading up on the 4C's steering, I quickly saw the long thread on the steering geometry and how added caster improves stability without sacrificing feel. I also saw some mention of a revision in the steering of the Spider that perhaps was applied to the Coupe as well. Some online reviewers have mentioned that as well, but frankly I find that most reviewers of the 4C don't really know what to expect with the manual rack and don't describe it well enough.
Here's where it gets even muddier - I couldn't find recent threads discussing this supposed geometry change, and the older threads are not clear if this was a change before the car came to North America (i.e. in the earlier Euro spec) or was this something that was done (if at all) in a later year in the US cars?
Also, there was some talk about Alfa Romeo integrating similar alignment specs to Alfa9's with the caster blocks at some point during production.

As the US model years are fairly limited (especially if one prefers the coupe), I was hoping there's some more solid info about the steering geometry over the model years.
 

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While reading up on the 4C's steering, I quickly saw the long thread on the steering geometry and how added caster improves stability without sacrificing feel. I also saw some mention of a revision in the steering of the Spider that perhaps was applied to the Coupe as well. Some online reviewers have mentioned that as well, but frankly I find that most reviewers of the 4C don't really know what to expect with the manual rack and don't describe it well enough.
Here's where it gets even muddier - I couldn't find recent threads discussing this supposed geometry change, and the older threads are not clear if this was a change before the car came to North America (i.e. in the earlier Euro spec) or was this something that was done (if at all) in a later year in the US cars?
Also, there was some talk about Alfa Romeo integrating similar alignment specs to Alfa9's with the caster blocks at some point during production.

As the US model years are fairly limited (especially if one prefers the coupe), I was hoping there's some more solid info about the steering geometry over the model years.
It’s all about the alignment, but not just caster. And it is likely that Alfa responded to the initial bad press by changing (perhaps just paying attention to) settings as later cars left the factory.

Several people reported new cars with way out of spec numbers off the start. This was not as prevalent in later years, hence the topic has become less of a hot one.
 

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But if you want a good brief on the topic, read that long thread from start to finish.
 

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I just bought a 2018 and I believe everything is stock and Im not experiencing any of the handling issues I've seen in some reviews.
I find the car really stable. In fact Im often going faster than I think its so stable.
 

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Road surface makes a big difference and we have many and varied conditions amongst owners here which I think is reflected in the experience inconsistencies.
 

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Road surface makes a big difference and we have many and varied conditions amongst owners here which I think is reflected in the experience inconsistencies.
Valid observation, but I can tell you that driving my two cars over the same roads yields a radically different experience since they returned the one to close to stock. I need to figure that out (change the alignment). It’s not scary bad, but I have to remember which 4C that I’m driving when I hit a few stretches!
 

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Valid observation, but I can tell you that driving my two cars over the same roads yields a radically different experience since they returned the one to close to stock. I need to figure that out (change the alignment). It’s not scary bad, but I have to remember which 4C that I’m driving when I hit a few stretches!
Life’s tough when you have to remember which 4C you’re in, hey 4Canada?😉😁
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
But if you want a good brief on the topic, read that long thread from start to finish.
I did, that's why I started this thread - the steering geometry mega thread is mostly from 2015-2016, with some later contributions about how the caster blocks improve the steering, but I didn't see a discussion of the later cars or any change Alfa Romeo did (or didn't do).

Road surface makes a big difference and we have many and varied conditions amongst owners here which I think is reflected in the experience inconsistencies.
Ah, that makes sense and was also discussed in the aforementioned mega thread.
 

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I just watched a U-Tube video from Book Autowerks. "Whining about the 4C's steering says more about YOU than the car".
Some people, especially those who have never driven a car without power steering say they want road feel but do not really even know what it is. After they experience it, they criticize it (like with the 4C). Maybe they feel that they are "real" car guys & should like it, but really don't like it. If you are one of those, you got the wrong car. There are plenty of cars with power steering out there to get your road feel, or maybe not !:unsure:
The guy in this video really seems to know a lot about tuning cars. I have seen him in another video tuning a Ferrari F40. Not an easy task.
Maybe I liked the video because I agree with most of what he says.
One of the better videos that I have seen concerning the 4C.
 

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Not that I'd ever advocate distracted driving, but I am confident in saying that one of the problems we have with people weaving between lanes whilst doing god knows what behind the wheel is that the vast majority of cars have absolutely ZERO road feel.

It's basically impossible to know what your tires are doing on the pavement thanks to the amount of isolation and overly (electronic) boosted power steering systems that are out there.

With regards to all the negative reviews, I wonder how many of those cars had properly inflated tires? Short, wide, lightweight. It's extremely easy to upset these cars with just a few psi up or down.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I just watched a U-Tube video from Book Autowerks. "Whining about the 4C's steering says more about YOU than the car".
I'll give that a watch as well, thanks!

Some people, especially those who have never driven a car without power steering say they want road feel but do not really even know what it is. After they experience it, they criticize it (like with the 4C). Maybe they feel that they are "real" car guys & should like it, but really don't like it. If you are one of those, you got the wrong car. There are plenty of cars with power steering out there to get your road feel, or maybe not !:unsure:
Yep, that's my impression as well. I'm a fairly "modern" driver, so I don't have experience of the raw, manual everything cars of the past. When I drove an Elise for the first time the steering was a mind blowing experience, one that I enjoyed immensely. The steering felt alive in my hands, the way it darted on every imperfection or followed the camber on the road. I can see how the "one hand out the window, the other on the phone, steering with your knee" crowd would think the manual steering is bad or dangerous. Yes, you need to pay attention to the steering and keep both hands on the wheel, but that's the point of driving, isn't it?
That's exactly why I'm persisting on these steering questions - the manual steering and the light weight are the two main reasons why I'm looking so intently at the 4C (plus the fact that it is 10 to 15 years younger than an Elise/Exige).

With regards to all the negative reviews, I wonder how many of those cars had properly inflated tires? Short, wide, lightweight. It's extremely easy to upset these cars with just a few psi up or down.
Or with poor alignment. I agree, there are factors that can really change the feel of a car which are very easy to overlook.
 

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Probably not really what you are looking for but I acquired my 2015 used and it was borderline scary to drive on the highway, it was ripping me all over, sometimes across the lines. I took it in for an alignment and handed them some specs that I got directly from this forum and the tramlining was just about completely eliminated. No suspension blocks, not caster shims.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I took it in for an alignment and handed them some specs that I got directly from this forum and the tramlining was just about completely eliminated. No suspension blocks, not caster shims.
Do you happen to have the before/after alignment specs? Or at least which alignment spec did you ask them do use? I can assume the toe was excessive as camber won't really affect anything in straight line until you go quite extreme and caster is non adjustable stock.
 

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Do you happen to have the before/after alignment specs? Or at least which alignment spec did you ask them do use? I can assume the toe was excessive as camber won't really affect anything in straight line until you go quite extreme and caster is non adjustable stock.
Some alignments:
 

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Just neutralize the toe out and call it a day. This isn't rocket science. People are so damn lazy to just go and get a precision alignment. Of course toe out is going to want to steer you in the opposite direction.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Just neutralize the toe out and call it a day. This isn't rocket science. People are so damn lazy to just go and get a precision alignment. Of course toe out is going to want to steer you in the opposite direction.
I wonder why would Alfa Romeo spec front toe out? Most cars spec toe in and most enthusiasts recommend zero toe for street and track, with toe out only favored by autocrossers (at least for the platforms I'm familiar with).
This discussion also makes me wonder how much of the caster blocks' impact is the added caster and how much is the toe specs that come with them. Is the stock caster good enough with proper zero toe to slight toe in?
 

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I wonder why would Alfa Romeo spec front toe out? Most cars spec toe in and most enthusiasts recommend zero toe for street and track, with toe out only favored by autocrossers (at least for the platforms I'm familiar with).
This discussion also makes me wonder how much of the caster blocks' impact is the added caster and how much is the toe specs that come with them. Is the stock caster good enough with proper zero toe to slight toe in?
What your roads are like and how fast you travel on them has a lot to do with any answer to that last question of yours. For me, the answer is yes for zero toe. I tried toe-in but hated the poorer turn-in response. I added front neg. camber (-1.7deg) to reduce the understeer of my non-race suspended 4C. I keep to speeds that won’t lose my licence on the road. My favourite road is the Putty and my Rosie does that pretty well given how uneven it is in parts. She’s no race roller skate but can handle the bumps nicely. The 17/18” wheel combo helps too. Unlike the overwhelming majority who dislike their Pirellis, I don’t mind playing on P-Zeros on the road….but you have to warm ‘em up and the extra neg camber front and rear has helped tremendously with their corner grip.
 

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My experience was similar to @ghosttrooper 's. I have an LE; it was pretty unstable at higher speeds and alignment resolved it. The specs I used are:
  • Set rear camber (-1°45' per wheel)
  • Set rear toe in (+0°23' per wheel)
  • Set front toe in (+0°04' per wheel)
These were thanks to @GMS ; here is his post: Wheel Alignment Specs (looks like he might have amended the spec slightly)
 
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