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Old 06-28-2016, 11:27 AM   #1
12david34
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Question help me find out what is wrong with my front axle alignment

Hello guys
im here to ask for a help as i ran into into some weird issue with my car.

the car:
1989 245 N/A
no brutal performance stuff except polybushing everywhere, revalved bilsteins, custom made (stock OD sized) springs and camber plates.

the issue:
somehow im not able to set the caster to the ,,factory´´ specs. according to greenbook, the caster on power steering equipped car should be in +3°-+4° range..
i spent like 1 and half our trying to set my camber/caster to desired numbers , but i simply couldnt get it to where i want it without going crazy with negative camber..

before alignment specs:


after 1 1/2 hour of setting i ended up with this.. (the strange thing is the passanger side can be easily set to -1 camber and +3° something caster, but the drivers side was differend )



and the camber plates


all i want is have that caster at factory specs with max -1° camber, not more..
greeting David
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Old 06-28-2016, 03:15 PM   #2
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Do you have the right ball joints? I know the manual steering cars used less offset for less caster.
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Old 06-28-2016, 03:41 PM   #3
12david34
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Do you have the right ball joints? I know the manual steering cars used less offset for less caster.
i knew this question will come, but they seem correct to me.
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Old 06-28-2016, 04:08 PM   #4
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can you adjust the angle of that upper mount? ive seen some people install them so they are kind of diagonal instead of exactly cross car. like kind of parallel to that firewall brace. then you could get more caster and camber at the same time by adjusting back toward the firewall and in?
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Old 06-28-2016, 04:17 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by madagent9 View Post
can you adjust the angle of that upper mount? ive seen some people install them so they are kind of diagonal instead of exactly cross car. like kind of parallel to that firewall brace. then you could get more caster and camber at the same time by adjusting back toward the firewall and in?
im not sure if these can be used like that.. they do not have a pre-drilled holes for mounting them in that position.. but we still talking about setting the caster back to stock/factory specs.. that means that it has to be possible with oem rubber mounts and not only with camber places.. heck, it should have been more easier with camber plates..
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Old 06-28-2016, 11:00 PM   #6
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I've fought this one my wife's 85 wagon for some time. I aligned 3 or 4 times, always had camber dead on, toe dead on, but couldn't get caster quite to spec. Got as close to possible but always had a pull to the right.

This last time, after I put another p/s rack on it, threw it on the alignment rack and just set as close as I could on the driver side and added .3 degrees on the passenger side, and it now drives straight down the road. It takes the slightest bit more steering effort but not even so much that my wife noticed.
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Old 06-29-2016, 05:00 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by turbotankshane View Post
I've fought this one my wife's 85 wagon for some time. I aligned 3 or 4 times, always had camber dead on, toe dead on, but couldn't get caster quite to spec. Got as close to possible but always had a pull to the right.

This last time, after I put another p/s rack on it, threw it on the alignment rack and just set as close as I could on the driver side and added .3 degrees on the passenger side, and it now drives straight down the road. It takes the slightest bit more steering effort but not even so much that my wife noticed.
the steering rack was rebuilt.. i have no other good replacement for it.. i wonder what could go wrong
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Old 06-29-2016, 06:22 AM   #8
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do you guys think the lowering springs can cause this indifference in geometry/alignment?
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Old 06-29-2016, 08:01 AM   #9
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How much they are lowering? That could be the it.
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Old 06-29-2016, 08:47 AM   #10
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How much they are lowering? That could be the it.
30-40mm. i never thought tha lowering springs may affect the geometry
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Old 06-29-2016, 12:12 PM   #11
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the steering rack was rebuilt.. i have no other good replacement for it.. i wonder what could go wrong
My p/s rack wasn't a problem in my alignment, the previous one had just happened to start leaking so after I replaced it I needed to align.
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Old 06-29-2016, 02:01 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by 12david34 View Post
30-40mm. i never thought tha lowering springs may affect the geometry
Of course lowering spring means the lower arm swings ^ upward in an arc MORE than at designed static ride height... if the strut looks like a slightly tilted L (upward part strut, the horisonatal bar being the spindle)
+--------------------- L"

Of course if the whole thing swings around the pivot "+" the L will tilt inwards as the arc begins going not just up but inward.





That's one of the problems of the McPherson strut design.
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Old 06-29-2016, 02:38 PM   #13
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Lowering will have an influence on the amount of camber you can get.

With stock diameter springs I was only able to get -0.5deg of camber (no clue on caster) with camber plates. I recently went back to stock ride height (yay!) and stock strut mounts. +0.5deg of camber is the lowest I can go. Caster is about 0.5 to 1.0 deg less than stock. As far as I can tell, there's nothing bent and the bushings are fresh. So there's that.
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Old 06-29-2016, 03:07 PM   #14
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don't forget the panhard bar, it pushes your rearaxle to one side when lowering
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Old 06-29-2016, 03:21 PM   #15
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Posting for posterity. I'm in a similar situation. Lowered quite a bit in front, using the same camber plates. Steers, tracks, wears tires just fine, so I'm really not worried about it being .5 - 1 degree off in caster.

image
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Old 06-29-2016, 03:51 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by John V, outside agitator View Post
Of course lowering spring means the lower arm swings ^ upward in an arc MORE than at designed static ride height... if the strut looks like a slightly tilted L (upward part strut, the horisonatal bar being the spindle)
+--------------------- L"

Of course if the whole thing swings around the pivot "+" the L will tilt inwards as the arc begins going not just up but inward.





That's one of the problems of the McPherson strut design.
John thank you for the input.. but i will have to re read this 3 more times , hope it will be enogh for my brain to understant it.. :D
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Old 06-29-2016, 03:52 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by culberro View Post
Lowering will have an influence on the amount of camber you can get.

With stock diameter springs I was only able to get -0.5deg of camber (no clue on caster) with camber plates. I recently went back to stock ride height (yay!) and stock strut mounts. +0.5deg of camber is the lowest I can go. Caster is about 0.5 to 1.0 deg less than stock. As far as I can tell, there's nothing bent and the bushings are fresh. So there's that.
yeah, im fighting with caster.. camber is just fine.. maybe a bit more than i wanted..
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Old 06-29-2016, 03:53 PM   #18
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don't forget the panhard bar, it pushes your rearaxle to one side when lowering
hey B. thanks but im fine at the rear.. my homemade adjustable panhard doing a great work..
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Old 06-29-2016, 03:57 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by 12david34 View Post
John thank you for the input.. but i will have to re read this 3 more times , hope it will be enogh for my brain to understant it.. :D

The key is to NOT think too hard but more LOOK at the design of strut with the spindle fixed and one single pivot point..Maybe draw a crude drawing. and draw arrrows..maybe cut out a paper strut and pin the arm at inner pivot and move the strut in an arc

..It's not thinking...its all looking..
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Old 06-29-2016, 03:58 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by woodenpudden View Post
Posting for posterity. I'm in a similar situation. Lowered quite a bit in front, using the same camber plates. Steers, tracks, wears tires just fine, so I'm really not worried about it being .5 - 1 degree off in caster.

image
hey man, im glad you posted this.. seriously.thank you
i just dont understand hows that possible..(maybe the answer is in Johns comment?!)
that i cant have more then +3° caster on both sides.. have you tried to set more caster on your car? because i did.. i ended up with -1,2° camber and +3,1° caster on passanger side while the other side was like: +2,8-2,9° caster, but camber was crazy.. like close to -2° if not more.. cant remember now
D.
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Old 06-29-2016, 04:03 PM   #21
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yeah, im fighting with caster.. camber is just fine.. maybe a bit more than i wanted..
Caster?? Well I couldn't read the Czech or Slovak the machine display. I pushed the buttons on the photo to display English or German, or French or Italian--anything else but pushing the button on the photo didn't change the display...I think the machine must be broken.

If the car has a few degrees more castor, and IF you have PS then don't worry, you will have a bit, a tiny bit more feeling and the car will self center better--which is good when you do high speed linked turns or recovering when you do big sideways drifts around traffic rondels or fountains. I personally shoot for at least 4 degrees castor on my cars
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Old 06-29-2016, 04:06 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 12david34 View Post
hey man, im glad you posted this.. seriously.thank you
i just dont understand hows that possible..(maybe the answer is in Johns comment?!)
that i cant have more then +3° caster on both sides.. have you tried to set more caster on your car? because i did.. i ended up with -1,2° camber and +3,1° caster on passanger side while the other side was like: +2,8-2,9° caster, but camber was crazy.. like close to -2° if not more.. cant remember now
D.
Dont forget that the strut towers where the normal top mount studs stick thru is slotted quite a lot.. so you have the fancy-schmantzy adjustable things but the bodyshell with slots is an extra factor...
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Old 06-29-2016, 04:52 PM   #23
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Caster?? Well I couldn't read the Czech or Slovak the machine display. I pushed the buttons on the photo to display English or German, or French or Italian--anything else but pushing the button on the photo didn't change the display...I think the machine must be broken.

If the car has a few degrees more castor, and IF you have PS then don't worry, you will have a bit, a tiny bit more feeling and the car will self center better--which is good when you do high speed linked turns or recovering when you do big sideways drifts around traffic rondels or fountains. I personally shoot for at least 4 degrees castor on my cars
John that what im talking about whole time.. i want to set as more caster as possible.. but it cant be done without going into very negative camber..
let me explain..
we have a passanger side, which can be adjusted easy peasy.. i had no problem to adjust it at -1 camber and +3 caster.
the problem starts at the drivers side, where i used same method as on the opposite side, but using the same metod ended up with +2,8 or +2,9caster, but the camber was very close to -2°, so that means im not sure if im dumb, but i just couldnt set the caster at +3° without leaving the caster -1,5° or more.. everytime i tried to reduce camber i reduced caster too..
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Old 06-29-2016, 05:10 PM   #24
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If you want more caster, can you rotate the top mounts 90deg and then move the strut too back? This should allow you to adjust camber with the factory slots.
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Old 06-29-2016, 09:57 PM   #25
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My 242 has only 1.5 degrees of caster with -2 degrees of camber - it goes down the highway just fine and bites pretty hard in a corner. I'd say you're doing pretty well with the set up you have.
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