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Discussion Starter #1
Hey Guys,

Quick Update: I have a 78 Nova, changed the straight 6 to a 350 V-8 and totally rebuilt the front end.

ISSUE: I took it to Black's Tire recently and they told me that they could only adjust the toe; they could not do Caster and Camber. They told me that their machine (State of the Art) said to remove shims on one side, but there were no shims there. One mechanic told the shop foreman that the 6 to V-8 swap may have made it were it could never be aligned just right. They advised to find an adjustable ball joint and that this would allow for a true alignment to be done.

Anyone every heard of this...or has anyone had this issue come up?

Thanks for your help.

Joe:chev:
 

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Hi Joe,

The 6 to V8 swap making it so the front-end can't be aligned correctly sounds like a BS story to me. These cars use the same exact front subframe and suspension for both engines. About the only thing different is the springs.

Since you have rebuilt the front end, you can rule out worn control arm bushings as being the source of the problem. However, the subframe and/or the control arms could be bent just enough to cause alignment issues but not bent enough to be visibly noticible.

I'm not aware of any adjustable ball joints for these cars. But there are special offset upper control arm pivot shafts available that increase camber. I think they're made by Moog and should be available at most auto parts stores. If not, Classic Muscle (www.oldmusclecars.com) carries them (part number 338387R).
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Ray.

I had a tough time believing their inability to adjust the alignment correctly, but I thought I would ask and see if anyone had a similar issue.

Thanks for your response.

Joe
:chev:
 

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Same thing happened on my 68 the sub-frame settled. I had to use the offset upper arm shaft on the passeneger side. With no shims the wheel leaned inward at the top.
 

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Are the original 6 cylinder springs still in the car? If so, the extra weight of the 8 cylinder may cause the top of the tires to go inward (negative camber) and the way this is corrected would be to remove shims. If there are no shims, the camber could not be adjusted to specs. Just a thought.
 

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I don't know if it was just the kind of cross shaft I had, but mine had a offset built into it. I turned it around to get more camber (circle track car) when I maxed out the stock bolts. maybe look into that?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Update

I appreciate everyone's responses.

I took my Nova to another alignment shop, one with a great reputation of taking their time and doing things right. This shop even shaves tires to get the optimum ride. They found that the right front coil (V8 w/AC replacement) spring wasn't seated all the way on the top, after shifting that into place, they had no problem aligning the car. They had to add quite a few shims to the back upper control arm...strangely, this is just the opposite of what Black's tire said had to be done and why they couldn't align it. It rides 200 % better now.

I had put high-lift leaf springs in the back, which was probably a mistake, because the back acts like it has no suspension. When you hit a pothole it really "bangs" in the back. I may end up changing those back to the original 4leafers.

Thanks,

Joe
:chev:
 

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I had the same problem when I first installed my 350 and took it to get aligned. The guys there told me they couldn't get it right due to some similar story, and I was pretty sure the guy they had do it was in training. BS I figured, I told them to get my car off the rack and I left. By all rights I shouldn't have paid them at all, after all I paid for an alignment that they couldn't do. Needless to say they'll never get my business again. A good tire shop should be able to align it, and if they can't they won't charge you.

There isn't much to aligning these cars, two nuts that hold the a-arms in place, where they shim them for Toe-In and the tie-rods to adjust Camber. How hard can that be? Sounds like they just didn't know what they were doing.

Glad to hear you got her taken care of though!
 

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Some alignment shops probably don't want to take the time to move shims or maybe the younger techs don't know how. Shops that advertise $29.99 alignments are probably doing nothing more than 'SET THE TOE, AND LET 'ER GO'.
Here is a small correction to the Jade76 earlier post:
Adding and removing shims at the upper control arm adjusts CAMBER and CASTER.
The tie rods adjust TOE.
 

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The back half 70 Nova I built in 1987 got where you couldn't get it right. The sub frame seemed to have caved in so the top of the wheels were to far inward. My brother who now owns it had to use some sort of offset shaft to get it right. If you stand it on the bumper or it's been pounded down alot of poor roads I guess over time stuff happens. If another shop was able to get it right though I'd say the first shop didn't have the interest or skills needed. Hey maybe my brother used the same shop......LOL. RM
 
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