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Anything connected to the hub of the wheels, will effect the angle of the hub and wheels, which is the alignment.

Sway bars and their hardware just attache to each side to apply some force. The hardware may change the pressure on the wheels but it can't change the angles of the wheels.

With MacPherson struts, the strut attaches to the steering knuckle and hub, so when you put a new one on, it can change the relative angle between the car and knuckle/hub/wheel, i.e. the alignment.

The vehicle is aligned with the weight of the vehicle on the wheels. But the strut is replaced with the wheels hanging and no weight on them. What that does is move all the slack in between the parts in the opposite direction. So even if you mark the adjusting bolts and put them back together at the same adjustment, the alignment will be way off.

Also, if you're steering wheel center is off by 45°, that likely means the alignment is way out, and likely would cause some pretty severe tire wear. You want to get it aligned right away and not delay or you might loose quite a bit of tire life.
 
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If the wheel wasn't off by 45 degrees before you better minimize your mileage to save your tires.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Alignment fixed the problem, they had to install a cam(?) bolt on the right side to get me in line. I also replaced a tie rod end yesterday and re-tighten all the bolts...nice and smooth and quiet now, I'm ready for another 250,000 miles.
 

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I hope you replaced the tie rod end before the alignment, otherwise the replacement will affect the alignment that was just done.
 
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