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Discussion Starter #1
Have a customer with a 62, manual steering that keeps returning with severe toe wear.
We have replaced all the steering components, he has replaced all the bushings/ball joints. No movement anywhere.
We set the toe to spec, even tried eyeballing it once, yet he returns after a few hundred miles with bad toe wear.
Tires are wider than stock, but not crazy oversized.

Asking here because Im at my wits end as to why its feathering the tires so badly and wondering if anyone has come across a similar issue.
 

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A few ideas...

Has the subframe been off the car? The top of the subframe where it meets the firewall takes adjustment shims that are set at the factory.

Bent subframe rail or the small frame rails where the subframe mounts at the bottom. Not uncommon on these cars. Rust will do it as well.

Wrong tie rods. 1962 had two different tie rods setups, each is unique when compared to the 1963 and later setup. It is not unheard of for the parts house to sell the wrong tie rods, thinking "they are all the same".
 

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62’s came with an idler arm with a bushing and they are known to be problematic. If it has severe tire ware within a couple hundred miles, I would think it would be a hand full to drive. When I got my 64 it had badly worn stock front suspension. I tried to set the toe and get it close. It wouldn’t hold the toe setting.. I tried to make it decent enough to drive but the flip flop from too much toe in to toe out with fairly minimal adjustments. The strut rod bushings were pretty bad and I suspected the lower control arm bushings as well. I’m not a fan of the lower control arm and strut rod setup so I went to a Mini subframe kit that eliminates the strut rod and replaces it with an A-arm.
 

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The '62 idler arm, if yours is stock, is a smaller unit with kind of strange, lubeable ends that are not a good design. The later '63-'67 types with the bushings are better, and better still is an idler arm with a bearing conversion kit (widely available). But I have had good luck with the stock suspensions set up correctly the first time, and though front end geometry and design on these cars is a weak point, a stock suspension can do the job for normal driving just fine, or has for me. Some pictures of the car, the parts in it, and the tire wear might be a big help toward the diagnosis.
 

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62’s came with an idler arm with a bushing and they are known to be problematic. If it has severe tire ware within a couple hundred miles, I would think it would be a hand full to drive. When I got my 64 it had badly worn stock front suspension. I tried to set the toe and get it close. It wouldn’t hold the toe setting.. I tried to make it decent enough to drive but the flip flop from too much toe in to toe out with fairly minimal adjustments. The strut rod bushings were pretty bad and I suspected the lower control arm bushings as well. I’m not a fan of the lower control arm and strut rod setup so I went to a Mini subframe kit that eliminates the strut rod and replaces it with an A-arm.
I second this. I have the early CPP/ Chrurch Boys set up with the rack and pinion power steering conversion. and the car steers like a new car. if you customer is doing that much driving i would suggest a change out to the CPP or Church Boys set up. They will save $$ in tires and alignments and you will have a very happy customer.
having said this if they are determined to keep their car all original...
 

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My 63 did the same thing when I first got it. Turned out that the tie rod frame attach holes were slightly egg shaped after years of use. Align the car and everything was great drive it a few miles and it pulled itself out of alignment. I welded the edges of the holes and re-bored them. Fixed the problem for two years before I went to the CBR stuff I now run. If they don't care about keeping it stock try to get them to upgrade. Best car money I ever spent.
 

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if swapping
A few ideas...

Has the subframe been off the car? The top of the subframe where it meets the firewall takes adjustment shims that are set at the factory.

Bent subframe rail or the small frame rails where the subframe mounts at the bottom. Not uncommon on these cars. Rust will do it as well.

Wrong tie rods. 1962 had two different tie rods setups, each is unique when compared to the 1963 and later setup. It is not unheard of for the parts house to sell the wrong tie rods, thinking "they are all the same".
if swapping front ends, how do you set it up then with the shims, side-to-side? never knew this. we just swapped what we had never looking at the shims. ugh.

-Rusty
 

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I don't believe the firewall shims would have an effect on the wear of the front tires or the alignment of the wheels. These shims were used to adjust the fitment of the front sheet metal.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Tie rod to frame holes? Guessing you are speaking of the drag link?
Had an aftermarket one on there, replaced with factory setup.
I have replaced the steering gear bolts, the sub frame to body bolts (one at a time, didn't notice any shims)

Im sure something is moving, at least when the vehicle is in motion. Just cant seem to duplicate it in the shop and was looking for insight from those who know these years.
 

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With tie rod to frame holes I think Sky Jet means the strut rods. The front mounting bores are known to wear (oblong) and sometimes badly. This can cause the strut rod to move around, but you often will not catch it in an inspection. You have to take the strut rod bushings out to see this area.

The Chevy II unibody itself is very susceptible to out of alignment issues from rust, collisions or things previous owners did. A byproduct of this can be suspension alignment issues. GM warns about this in early service books. I went through this years ago with a '65. The firewall was pushed slightly in from a collision but you couldn't tell. Ate tires, had a bump steer issue.

Maybe I missed it, how does the car drive?
 

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With tie rod to frame holes I think Sky Jet means the strut rods. The front mounting bores are known to wear (oblong) and sometimes badly. This can cause the strut rod to move around, but you often will not catch it in an inspection. You have to take the strut rod bushings out to see this area.

The Chevy II unibody itself is very susceptible to out of alignment issues from rust, collisions or things previous owners did. A byproduct of this can be suspension alignment issues. GM warns about this in early service books. I went through this years ago with a '65. The firewall was pushed slightly in from a collision but you couldn't tell. Ate tires, had a bump steer issue.

Maybe I missed it, how does the car drive?
how did you determine it, measurements?

-Rusty
 

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Yes, I meant strut rods. Sorry, I was typing fast and had been up for a very long time and was jet lagged. My hole damage was not detectable until I pulled everything apart. I was in the process of putting urethane bushings in when I found it. Two different alignment shops had spent hours trying to fix this car. Align the car on the rack. Everything looked great. Drive it on a test drive and on return to the shop the wheels were noticeably splayed out of toe. One guy thought it was bump steer the other was just stumped like you. I replaced all the other bushings and this was the last Hail Mary pass. Interestingly, all the bushings were nearly new as could be seen from their outward condition but once removed were clearly torn up internally from the movement in the holes. The previous owner had obviously just replaced everything in an attempt to just get it drivable for sale. When I bought it I mistakenly thought it just needed alignment. My holes were actually egg shaped but this can't be seen until the rod bushings are removed due to the large washers that cover the stock bushings. Both shops are run by old school car guys and neither had ever seen anything like it before. I suspect that unless you work on a lot of Chevy II's or perhaps Ford Falcons you might never see it. As others have said, the front end design on these cars was not the best. As to the proper diameter, I actually just used the bushing diameter and the rod diameter to pick the right drill bit size and drilled it out. I don't think being perfectly in the factory spot was nearly as important as stopping the rod from wandering in the hole. In any case I couldn't have been more than a fraction off of the factory location if any. Like I said, fixed the problem for a few years. Maybe I got lucky and guessed right.
 

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One more thing. I see you said you replaced one side. One side of mine was much worse than the other. The passenger side hole was almost round and might not catch your attention if you were not looking for a problem while the driver side was an oval and could be seen easily with the naked eye. I would pull both rods out and mic the holes in several directions.
 

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Have a customer with a 62, manual steering that keeps returning with severe toe wear.
We have replaced all the steering components, he has replaced all the bushings/ball joints. No movement anywhere.
We set the toe to spec, even tried eyeballing it once, yet he returns after a few hundred miles with bad toe wear.
Tires are wider than stock, but not crazy oversized.

Asking here because Im at my wits end as to why its feathering the tires so badly and wondering if anyone has come across a similar issue.
I once owned and drove a 66 Chevy II for over 7 years commuting over 100 miles a day along with having taught for 2 European OEM's including alignment plus having pounded ball joints for a living before retiring as a Vehicle Design Specialist. While working as a front end mechanic the frame tech taught me that when setting toe its best to preload the tires by using a heavy bungie cord attached to the back side of each wheel to take up the free play in the steering linkage, and back then I used a Bear toe bar to preload the tires outward. Then set the toe under load to specs. And I also made my own Idler Arm when the stock unit kept failing. As for setting the toe later when teaching for Mercedes Benz they used this procedure throughout the 70's when their cars had upper and lower A arm assemblies. More than once I've had front end techs tell me they have never heard of this procedure, but that doesn't mean it doesnt work.
 

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Have a customer with a 62, manual steering that keeps returning with severe toe wear.
We have replaced all the steering components, he has replaced all the bushings/ball joints. No movement anywhere.
We set the toe to spec, even tried eyeballing it once, yet he returns after a few hundred miles with bad toe wear.
Tires are wider than stock, but not crazy oversized.

Asking here because Im at my wits end as to why its feathering the tires so badly and wondering if anyone has come across a similar issue.
Have a customer with a 62, manual steering that keeps returning with severe toe wear.
We have replaced all the steering components, he has replaced all the bushings/ball joints. No movement anywhere.
We set the toe to spec, even tried eyeballing it once, yet he returns after a few hundred miles with bad toe wear.
Tires are wider than stock, but not crazy oversized.

Asking here because Im at my wits end as to why its feathering the tires so badly and wondering if anyone has come across a similar issue.
Possible Issues-
The camber adjustment bolt on the lower control arm may be slipping which changes the alignment drastically. On my Novas I would tack weld the washer of the adjustment bolt onto the pocket of where the washer sits into.
Also where the upper control arm bolts onto the shock tower, sometimes it cracks around the holes causing some movement. Weld the cracks.
The balljoints are long and thin and those tend to bend easily causing more movement.
Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
The strut rods do sound as though they could be the issue. The customer had replaced the strut rod bushings himself, they cracked, he replaced them aging and they failed again. He then replaced them with the washer fused to the rubber. Ill shoot him a message and see when he can come back in.
The amount of wear the tires are getting is more than the small movement a toe bar would "account for", but I do have one and will use it also.

Thanks for the insight
 

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how did you determine it, measurements?

-Rusty
Correct, measured it out. Took it to a local frame guy who spec'd it out. He then did the pulling and never had a problem again.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I messed up my vehicles =/
Its the 67 that has the tire wear issue
62 was a brake issue, bad rubber lines

But I will apply what was said when the car comes back in
Thanks to all
 

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The information is directly applicable to 62-67 front suspensions. They are essentially the same with a couple of exceptions. Divorced steering column, newer style idler arm, different spindles, and lower control arms. 5 lug spindles and lower control arms have different steering stops the 62-63 4 lug setups.
 
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