Guardian Angel (1 Viewer)

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Corrales, New Mexico USA
Herson Montoya is my Guardian Angel.

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I picked up my truck from TAV Tuesday afternoon, after they modified the Total Chaos Lower Control Arm sway bar mount configuration and installed replacement uni-ball assemblies that had worn completely out. BTW - very happy with the results. I will post up that topic under a separate thread.

During a conversation with Walt before the work started, I asked if I should get an alignment after he did the work. He said that it was not critical, because they do not have to remove the LCA when replacing the uni-balls, as they have a special tool that allows them to do it in situ. However, he did suggest that I should probably get another alignment, since I aligned the truck with the worn uni-balls and the tightened up uni-balls may create an opportunities to fine tune the alignment. When I picked up the truck, I did notice that the truck didn't feel as tight as I would have hoped, as I drove home. It was drifting a bit down the highway and was already thinking that the modified sway bar link set up resulted in degraded handling. I didn't think alignment at that point.

I had a busy night getting ready to pull my 5K pound camper up to Chalk Creek Canyon in CO within the San Isabel NF on Wed after work. I was planning on getting an alignment when I returned from my pending trip.

All ready to go, I proceeded to pull onto I-25 and headed north towards Santa Fe, when things got real. As I approached 50 MPH, I noticed that I couldn't keep my rig/camper in my lane. The truck was drifting all over the road - especially as I passed 50 MPH. Of course, a drifting truck meant that the trailer started to sway back and forth. At first, I thought it might be high winds or maybe the recent leaf spring over axel lift that Frank and I did on the camper. I finally pulled over at the rest stop just as you head into SF valley to look at what was going on. I checked the trailer bearings and all looked in order and no high temperature observations. I visually checked the front end components on the truck to see if I could spot any issues. Then I noticed that the driver tire/wheel was pointing inward (pigeon toe) compared to the straight pointing passenger wheel/tire. This is when I concluded that the truck must be severely out of alignment. I proceeded to carefully drive very slowly
down I25 into SF. I was a bundle of nerves at this point and it was getting late in the day.

I called everybody in town and without exception, all were either fully stacked up or closing shop and going home. Then I got a call back from a "no answer". The guy asked if I had called him. It was Herson. He said he had a car on his rack and couldn't help me but maybe tomorrow. I explained my situation and he said that he would put the car back together so he could get it off the rack and could then get my truck on his alignment lift. I proceeded to drive over to his shop just down the road.

I unhitched the trailer as Herson finished up getting the car reassembled and off the lift. I was hopeful that it was just a simple alignment, otherwise, I was going to have to abort the trip and head back home in a very unsafe situation. Sure enough, the truck was badly out of alignment with -1.2 toe in for both front wheels. Herson said that is like driving with both front tires pointing towards each other. He worked to get everything dial in, including compensating for my body weight and towing the trailer. After that, the truck pulled the camper perfectly and I was back on the road.

I realize this is a long story, but I wanted to emphasize the importance of getting your truck professionally aligned after doing front end work. Please make sure that you take your truck directly to an alignment shop if the shop that is working on your front end does not get the truck aligned before picking it up. The hero here is Mr. Montoya. This guy was my Guardian Angel. He was so nice to go out of his way to help me, as the sun set in the west and all the other alignment guys were at home with their families.

Please make sure you call Herson if you ever need an alignment while in the Santa Fe area. He is the real deal, hard working, fair priced and honest.

Mr. Herson Montoya
Alignment Services
2882 Trades West Rd
Unit E, Santa Fe

505 438-4776
herson333@gmail.com

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alia176

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Tijeras, NM
Great feedback Larry, I'll update the FAQ thread.

With regards to alignment, it's common knowledge but worth repeating that Firestone auto has lifetime alignment. Often they go on sale on their website so keep an eye out for the discounted rate. Usually it'll pay for itself after the first alignment. I still have the original alignment cert from 1991 on the '90 Mercedes. ;)
 

Poupon

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Corrales, New Mexico USA
With regards to alignment, it's common knowledge but worth repeating that Firestone auto has lifetime alignment. Often they go on sale on their website so keep an eye out for the discounted rate. Usually it'll pay for itself after the first alignment. I still have the original alignment cert from 1991 on the '90 Mercedes. ;)
You have mentioned this type of deal in the past. I purchased a 3-year unlimited alignment from Midas when I purchased my new wheels and tires. But I probably should have check in with you because I didn't know that Firestone's deal was lifetime alignment. I will renew with Firestone when my Midas deal is up.

Also, both Firestones in SF were unable to get me in with short notice.

Thanks
 

Dumpolina

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Nov 12, 2006
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Burque
sorry you encountered issues but so glad it lead to a good experience!!
FWIW, Firestone f’d me on the lifetime deal. When I took my 94 pickup in for 2nd alignment check after about a year, they diagnosed a complete front end overhaul was necessary, from swing arms to steering linkage and ball joints, estimated at almost $3500. They would not perform any alignment work without this overhaul, and would not do an alignment unless they performed the overhaul.
I use Albuquerque Tire on Menaul now, they will do as little or as much as you ask.
 
Joined
Oct 10, 2013
Messages
266
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ALBUQUERQUE
Great feedback Larry, I'll update the FAQ thread.

With regards to alignment, it's common knowledge but worth repeating that Firestone auto has lifetime alignment. Often they go on sale on their website so keep an eye out for the discounted rate. Usually it'll pay for itself after the first alignment. I still have the original alignment cert from 1991 on the '90 Mercedes. ;)

FYI on the Firestone lifetime alignments. They no longer will sell you a lifetime alignment on modified vehicles so buy the alignment prior to getting a lift installed.
 
Joined
Feb 2, 2020
Messages
143
Location
Albuquerque
Great feedback Larry, I'll update the FAQ thread.

With regards to alignment, it's common knowledge but worth repeating that Firestone auto has lifetime alignment. Often they go on sale on their website so keep an eye out for the discounted rate. Usually it'll pay for itself after the first alignment. I still have the original alignment cert from 1991 on the '90 Mercedes. ;)

Adding because it's worth mentioning that not all Firestone locations are the same. I had to take my 4th gen back to the shop on Southern in Albuquerque one too many times because they couldn't do the job correctly, and after that, the store manager removed my information from the system and said he wouldn't serve me. I've had similar results at the one on Alameda.

Ask to talk to the alignment tech beforehand, wait if you have to, and judge their confidence before letting them work on it. After doing this, I've found that the Firestone on Juan Tabo does a great job. Others, not so much.
 
Joined
Oct 2, 2006
Messages
3,886
Location
Sandia Park, NM
Great feedback Larry, I'll update the FAQ thread.

With regards to alignment, it's common knowledge but worth repeating that Firestone auto has lifetime alignment. Often they go on sale on their website so keep an eye out for the discounted rate. Usually it'll pay for itself after the first alignment. I still have the original alignment cert from 1991 on the '90 Mercedes. ;)
I've got it on all my vehicles and thankfully none are modified so no disqualification. Plus, my buddy manages the Firestone shop on Southern in Rio Rancho so no worries about the upsell either. I usually buy his crew burritos when I take my vehicle in for an alignment check every time i get new new tires.
 

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