SME V arm: vertical play at the arm post

I have an SME V arm and have found it to have some slight play at the cylindrical arm post when loosening the set-screws. I had thought this was a way to adjust azimuth before re-tightening the set-screws until I saw a post from dougdeacon recommending against this as it places the bearings out of level. I started thinking about this and realized that if the arm post is not truely vertical or plumb, the rest of the arm's geometry as it sweeps toward the center of the LP would also be off and cause problems. I had mistakenly thought the azimuth could be slightly adjusted in this way, but now I realize it can't be and I agree with all of those users who say that azimuth can not be adjusted on the SME fixed-headshell arms.

Furthermore, I find that when I adjust VTA with the VTA screw by turning it clock-wise to lift the arm, it tilts the arm slightly to the right because it is off center from the arm pivot axis. I then push the cylindrical base slightly back to the left and check it for level with a bubble level before re-tightening the set-screws at the base.

Given the extreme tolerances of SME turntables and arms, this slight play at the arm base seems odd. Do other users have this same issue? Advice greatly appreciated.
Hi Peter, I think this is a "feature" of this arm. My SME IV.Vi wiggled slightly anytime the collar was loosened...

Didn't you have 309 before this? I expect it would have the same "feature" b/c it shares the rack and pinion overhang and VTF (if you had the damping trough option) locking collar...
Hello Jfrech,
Yes I did have the 309 which came with my SME 10 tt. I think it did also have this "feature", but I can not think of any purpose for it. I just think that having to check that the arm is level each time you adjust the VTA screw is very inconvenient. Someone suggested on another thread that I make small hardwood blocks of different thicknesses and insert them between the bottom of the armrest and locking collar at the base of the arm to repeat VTA settings. This would work fine, but seems unnecessary for an arm of this caliber.