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Thread: Rear Alignment Problem FAQ

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    Senior Member Top_Fuel's Avatar
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    Rear Alignment Problem FAQ

    Every Mirage owner should read the Rear Wheel Misaligned thread...but it’s 96 pages long!

    So I created a FAQ to help people understand the problem without having to read 950+ posts.


    If you don’t read anything else, read this…

    IF YOU OWN A MIRAGE, GO GET A 4-WHEEL ALIGNMENT CHECK...NOW!


    NOTE: If you have alignment data to share, keep posting to the thread above so this one doesn’t explode. I will make summary updates here.

    Now here’s everything you need to know about the Mirage rear alignment problem…


    Last edited by Top_Fuel; 08-20-2017 at 01:39 AM. Reason: formatting

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    Senior Member Top_Fuel's Avatar
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    Mirage Rear Alignment Problem FAQ


    1. What is the rear wheel alignment problem with Mirages?

    A significant number of Mirages can’t pass a rear wheel alignment check.
    The toe and/or camber angles of one (or both) rear wheels are not within the factory specifications.


    2. Can the rear wheels be adjusted to correct the alignment?

    No...that's the problem! The rear wheels in some cars can be adjusted to fix alignment problems, but the Mirage has a solid torsion-beam rear axle with NO ADJUSTMENTS. This means the rear wheels on a Mirage cannot be aligned.


    3. If a Mirage’s rear wheels can’t be adjusted, how do you fix a rear wheel alignment problem?

    The only way to correct the rear alignment on a Mirage is to replace the rear axle with a new one.


    4. Is the Mirage’s rear axle the source of the alignment problem?

    Yes. A Mirage’s rear alignment geometry is determined by the axle assembly when it is manufactured. If the axle is constructed with incorrect tolerances, the rear wheel alignment will be out of specification from the moment the car rolls off the assembly line.


    5. Will a new rear axle fix the problem?

    A new axle will usually restore the rear alignment to within the factory specifications. Unfortunately, a few people have had new rear axles installed where one of the alignment angles on the replacement axle was still out of spec. A new axle is likely to cure the problem but it's not a guaranteed fix.


    6. Will there be a recall to replace Mirage rear axles?

    No. Manufacturers only issue recalls to correct safety issues (airbags, brakes, etc.). Even though this problem is annoying and potentially expensive to fix, it isn't really a safety issue.


    7. Is there a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) for this issue?

    There is no TSB for the Mirage’s rear axle problem. This may be due to the fact that not enough owners have reported a problem. Unless you are a member of this forum, you probably have no idea that Mirages may have a potential problem like this.


    8. What problems can incorrect rear wheel alignment cause?

    A Mirage with incorrect rear wheel alignment may experience one or more of the following symptoms:

    1. Rapid and/or uneven rear tire wear (may affect one tire or both)
    2. An off-center steering wheel
    3. General steering instability
    4. Reduced fuel mileage


    9. How serious are these problems?

    The severity of the problems will depend on how bad the rear alignment is…especially the toe settings. Mirages slightly out of specification may only experience mild tire wear and no steering side effects. Other cars with serious toe problems can wear out a set of rear tires in 10,000 miles and be annoying to drive because they require constant steering wheel correction.


    10. Why do some Mirage rear axles have this problem while others don’t?

    There is no official explanation. The manufacturing process of the rear axle may be inconsistent and quality control is not catching deficient assemblies. This is just speculation and we may never know. Hopefully Mitsubishi knows the cause so they can correct it.


    11. What Mirages are affected?

    All Mirage models and years (2014-2018) use the same axle design and may have a rear wheel alignment problem. Multiple 2017 Mirages have been identified with the issue, but no 2018s yet. Here is one of the latest.


    12. Does that mean Mitsubishi hasn’t fixed the problem?

    It looks that way. All Mirages (2014-2018) use the same torsion-beam rear axle. Mitsubishi should be able to fix the problem with tighter quality control when the axles are manufactured…but it’s unclear if this has happened. While the axle tolerances may be improving, they do not have a 100% solution yet.


    13. Is this a common problem with Mirages?

    This might be a very common problem. It’s impossible to know exact numbers, but the percentage of Mirages with deficient rear axles could be quite high. Consider the following data from this forum…

    • There have been ongoing complaints about Mirages with premature tire wear, wandering steering, off-center steering wheels, and lower than expected fuel mileage. All of these are potential symptoms of rear alignment problems.

    • Of the 30 alignment checks posted on this forum so far, 90% have incorrect rear alignment readings.

    • Forum member 3dplane (a Mitsubishi technician) is reporting a 100% failure rate on Mirage rear alignment checks at his dealership…including more than 30 cars! See one of his examples here: Post 786


    14. How does the Mirage’s axle relate to rear wheel alignment?

    The Mirage's torsion beam rear axle (see below) is a single piece of steel with a “stub axle” welded onto each end of the assembly. The wheels ride on the stub axles. A Mirage’s rear wheel alignment is determined by the precise position of each stub axle. If a stub axle is even slightly out of place when the rear axle is manufactured, the alignment of the wheel on that stub axle will be out of specification.

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    15. Can a repair shop just bend the rear axle to correct the alignment?

    While it might be possible to bend the stub axles to correct the rear alignment, don’t expect to find a repair shop willing to do it because of liability concerns. Bending suspension components like this can cause metal fatigue and potential failure.


    16. Are there any DIY alignment fixes I can try?

    A few forum members (experienced technicians) have altered Mirage rear alignment settings using some, uhhh... "creative" methods. DIY rear axle modifications are NOT recommended unless you know what you’re doing and you can accurately verify your adjustments. Realistically, none of these methods represents a permanent solution for a deficient rear axle (except for maybe #3 below). Now that you’ve been warned, here are a few DIY methods…

    1. Use a turnbuckle to pull the stub axles together - Post 629

    2. Use a large pipe to cold bend the stub axles - Post 591

    3. Use a large pipe (with heat) to bend the stub axles - Post 790

    Note: Read 3dplane’s comments HERE about how hard it is to bend a Mirage axle.


    17. If my Mirage needs a new rear axle, is it covered by the factory warranty?

    The rear axle is covered by the 5 year/60,000 mile warranty.
    It is NOT covered by the 10 year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty.
    See Mitsubishi’s official statement here: Post 878

    When this problem was first discovered in 2015, there was a lack of information at Mitsubishi dealers. As a result, service departments did not handle rear alignment complaints consistently. Some forum members got replacement axles while others got no help from their dealer. With this statement from Mitsubishi, hopefully any defective rear axle will be replaced.

    Keep in mind that this is an expensive repair that requires prior approval from Mitsubishi before the dealer can replace your axle under warranty. Don't panic...this approval process is the way expensive warranty repairs are handled by most manufacturers.


    18. How much would a dealer charge to install a new rear axle in a Mirage?

    This job will cost roughly $1100 at a dealer. The list price of a rear axle assembly is $830 and requires 2.3 hours of labor to install (according to the work order pictured below). The axle assembly is available at on-line sources for around $650 if you want to attempt the job yourself.

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    19. What is the part number for the rear axle assembly?

    The rear axle assembly for ALL 2014+ Mirage models is part number 4120A150. The original part number used to be 4120A139 in 2014, but was later replaced with 4120A150.


    20. How hard is it to install a new rear axle in a Mirage?

    Nobody on this forum has done it yet. Everyone getting a replacement axle right now is having it done at the dealer under warranty. It looks like a reasonable DIY job that could be done in a few hours, but we won’t know for sure until somebody actually does it.


    21. How do I know if my Mirage has a rear alignment problem?

    The only way to know for certain is to have it checked on an alignment rack.


    22. Should I have a Mitsubishi dealer or an independent shop check my alignment?

    If you trust your dealership service department, have them check it. Otherwise, consider having an independent shop check it first…and then take it to your dealer.

    If you go to an independent shop first, you'll know what your rear alignment settings are before the dealer looks at it. An independent second opinion can come in handy if you suspect a dealer may not be completely honest in evaluating your rear alignment.

    Remember...many shops don’t charge a fee just to check the alignment. But even if you have to pay for it, it is money well spent.


    23. Will a Mitsubishi dealer check my alignment for free?

    Yes…but only if your Mirage is less than a year old and has less than 12,000 miles.
    Adjustments required as a result of a manufacturing deficiency are covered during this period.

    TIP: Some dealers may still try to charge you for an alignment check even if your car is in the 12 month/12K mile period! To avoid this, just tell the Service Manager it feels like your steering wanders or pulls to one side. Mentioning a specific complaint will ensure the alignment is free.

    TIP: Always request a printout of your alignment settings!


    24. The dealer checked my alignment but didn't give me an alignment printout. Is that OK?

    Not really. You should be skeptical when they don’t provide a printout from the alignment machine showing that all settings are within specifications. At a minimum they should indicate your exact alignment readings on your completed work order. This is why you should consider having the alignment verified by an independent shop.


    25. My rear alignment settings are slightly outside of the specifications. Do I still have a problem?

    Yes. The acceptable ranges of the factory toe/camber specifications are very generous. Even if you’re slightly beyond one of the specified measurements, you have a problem that needs to be corrected. If you're close on a camber setting, you might be OK. But any toe setting that is off should be corrected.


    26. My rear alignment is not within the factory specifications. What should I do now?

    If the car is still under the 5/60 warranty, bring it to your Mitsubishi dealer as soon as possible to have the dealer verify the rear alignment is incorrect. Be sure to request (and keep) copies of any alignment printouts.

    If your rear tires are prematurely worn or have odd wear patterns, have the service manager make a note of this. If you must replace worn out rear tires, keep your old tires so you can show them to the dealer (or take several photos of the wear patterns). This will help support your case.

    You may have to be proactive with your dealer. They may not offer a replacement axle solution immediately unless you help the process along and let them know you understand the problem. Be firm, but don’t hack off the Service Advisor. You’ll need his help during the warranty process.


    27. My dealer has never heard of this problem and doesn’t seem eager to help. What can I do?

    This isn’t unusual. Remember…some dealers don’t sell many Mirages and there is no technical service bulletin for this problem. So don’t be shocked if the Service Manager hasn’t heard about it.

    Ask your Service Manager to call the Mitsubishi Tech Line to report the problem (this is like a help desk for Mitsubishi service departments). The Tech Line people are aware of defective Mirage rear axles and can advise your dealer about the issue. Notice the dealership work order below for a replacement Mirage rear axle assembly which specifically mentions a TECHLINE CASE #...

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    Here are a couple of completed work orders from other forum members who have had rear axles replaced under warranty…

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    28. Should I have the alignment checked BEFORE I buy a new or used Mirage?

    It’s a good idea to get any Mirage checked before a purchase. This is critical when shopping for a used Mirage no longer covered by the factory warranty. A few dollars spent to check the alignment could save you from buying someone else’s problem.


    29. Is an alignment check part of the dealer's inspection process when I buy a new/used Mirage?

    No. Dealers don't check the alignment on cars they sell. Whatever "100-point" inspection process a dealer may advertise, be aware that an alignment check is not part of it.


    30. Are there signs of rear alignment problems I can look for on a used Mirage?

    Here are a few things you can check…just remember these are not a substitute for an alignment check!

    1. Are both rear tires worn evenly?
    2. Does either rear tire have a strange tread wear pattern?
    3. If the car has low miles, does it have 4 original Enasave tires with fairly even tire wear?
    4. Does the car have 2 new tires? If so...why?!?
    5. When you test drive the car on a straight road, is the steering wheel centered? If you have to hold the steering wheel off-center to keep the car tracking straight, this could be a sign of a rear alignment problem.

    Here are two perfect examples of low-mileage used Mirages (at CarMax) that should make a potential buyer proceed with caution. Why do these cars with less than 15K miles have 2 new tires? There could be a legitimate reason...but both cars likely have serious rear alignment problems.

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    31. My car drives fine and the tire wear seems OK. Do I really need to worry about this?

    Your front and/or rear alignment can be incorrect without a steering complaint or noticeable tire wear. An alignment check is the only way to verify you don’t have a problem. Get it checked BEFORE your warranty expires! THIS forum member didn't notice anything unusual...but his car has a rear alignment problem.

    TIP: Very few forum members have posted a Mirage alignment printout where both the front and rear alignment settings from the factory were acceptable. Odds are your Mirage needs an alignment check even if the rear axle is OK!


    32. My rear alignment is incorrect, but I have lowering springs, aftermarket wheels and non-stock size tires on my car. The dealer says they can’t help me because of the non-stock parts on my car. Is that true?

    Yes, most dealers will follow this policy. If you know you have a rear axle problem and you want a hassle-free warranty replacement process, do not go to your dealer with non-stock suspension parts on the car! That’s the first thing many service departments will look for to deny an expensive warranty repair. Make it easy for you (and your dealer) and put the stock wheels/tires/springs back on the car first. HERE is someone in this situation.

    TIP: Get your alignment checked and corrected before you put new wheels/tires or suspension components on the car.


    33. Can rear wheel alignment be changed by hitting a large bump or pothole?

    It’s possible but extremely unlikely in a Mirage. The car is light, the axle is strong, and the springs are soft. The rear wheels can absorb most road hazards without affecting the axle. Unless your car was in a serious collision, any rear alignment deficiency was almost certainly there when it left the factory.

    Before the rear alignment problem was well-known, some service departments tried to use this as an excuse to deny a warranty claim. Hopefully this won't happen any more.


    34. I haul heavy stuff all the time. Does additional weight in my Mirage affect the rear alignment?

    Yes. Some technicians on the forum have said that when they compress the rear suspension, the rear toe/camber settings get worse.


    35. Will lowering springs change my rear alignment settings?

    Yes. Someone observed that lowering springs in his car made his rear toe settings worse than when it had the stock springs.


    36. Why would Mitsubishi make a rear axle with no alignment adjustments?

    The torsion beam rear axle design used in the Mirage has several advantages. It's inexpensive to manufacture, generally durable, has fewer parts, and it's fairly lightweight. Unfortunately, one of its major disadvantages is that it can't be adjusted.

    The Honda Fit uses the same type of axle…and has the same problem as the Mirage.
    Read about it HERE


    37. Can you explain the basics of a Mirage rear wheel alignment?

    I'm working on that for a separate thread.


    38. What are some alignment settings that other forum members have posted?

    See the next post in this thread.
    Last edited by Top_Fuel; 10-19-2017 at 06:36 PM.

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2015 Mirage ES 1.2 manual: 51.5 mpg (US) ... 21.9 km/L ... 4.6 L/100 km ... 61.9 mpg (Imp)


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    Senior Member Top_Fuel's Avatar
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    MIRAGE REAR ALIGNMENT SPECIFICATIONS

    Camber.....-1.8 to -0.3
    Toe........... 0.28 to -0.03
    Total Toe...-0.05 - 0.55



    Here are the specs from forum members with rear alignment problems...

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    Here are the specs from forum members with satisfactory rear alignments.
    The second table is members who posted alignment data after they had their rear axle replaced.

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    Last edited by Top_Fuel; 01-23-2017 at 02:15 AM.

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2015 Mirage ES 1.2 manual: 51.5 mpg (US) ... 21.9 km/L ... 4.6 L/100 km ... 61.9 mpg (Imp)


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    Senior Member GrnBn's Avatar
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    Excellent work getting this all charted!

    Just for everyone's edification, I still have enough funky toe(albeit within factory specs after a warrantied replacement) that I worked out a deal with my local dealership for a discounted rotate and balance, which I do with each oil change. That's every 5-7k miles, and I legitimately believe its worth the time/money. If you're considering going as long as you can without doing the rotate & balance, thinking " Eh, I can't afford it this time", plan on needing at least two tires when you get to it.
    Last edited by GrnBn; 01-24-2017 at 03:07 AM. Reason: accidentally a word

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    Senior Member BostonJellyBean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrnBn View Post
    Excellent work getting this all charted!

    Just for everyone's edification, I still have enough funky toe(albeit within factory specs after a warrantied replacement) that I worked out a deal with my local dealership for a discounted rotate and balance, which I do with each oil change. That's every 5-7k miles, and I legitimately believe its worth the time/money. If you're considering going as long as you can without doing the rotate & balance, thinking " Eh, I can't afford it this time", plan on needing at least two tires when you get to it.
    Jack car up and rotate yourself. That's what I do. All my tires are labeled on inside sidewall. This car takes 15 minutes to do

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2017 Mirage Es 1.2 manual: 38.7 mpg (US) ... 16.4 km/L ... 6.1 L/100 km ... 46.5 mpg (Imp)

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2017 Mirage ES 1.2 manual: 42.0 mpg (US) ... 17.9 km/L ... 5.6 L/100 km ... 50.4 mpg (Imp)


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    Я R01k's Avatar
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    Awesome job! Hopefully Mitsu will correct the problem so that this thread doesn't go out of control like the original one, ha, ha.

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        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2014 Mirage ES 1.2 automatic: 37.6 mpg (US) ... 16.0 km/L ... 6.3 L/100 km ... 45.2 mpg (Imp)


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    Quote Originally Posted by BostonJellyBean View Post
    Jack car up and rotate yourself. That's what I do. All my tires are labeled on inside sidewall. This car takes 15 minutes to do

    Same here.

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2014 Mirage ES 1.2 automatic: 37.6 mpg (US) ... 16.0 km/L ... 6.3 L/100 km ... 45.2 mpg (Imp)


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    Wow, wonderful compilation of data here! Thank you Top Fuel!

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        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2015 Mirage ES 1.2 automatic: 49.0 mpg (US) ... 20.8 km/L ... 4.8 L/100 km ... 58.8 mpg (Imp)


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    Top_Fuel: THANKS!!

    I've posted a prominent link in post #1 of the original thread.

    Question: I now expect we're going to have discussion on this topic start to split between these two related threads. How best to handle this? Does it matter?

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2014 Mirage base ES 1.2 manual: 54.0 mpg (US) ... 23.0 km/L ... 4.4 L/100 km ... 64.9 mpg (Imp)


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    My mirage is just over a year old but i have about 8500 miles can i still get the check and it be under warranty?



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