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1966 350/4-speed coupe
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Discussion Starter #1
Folks, I need some guidance. The alignment on my 66 is absolutely terrible, so I brought it up to an alignment shop to get it straightened out. I brought the alignment specifications from chevy2only and gave them these specs to work with:

1/4 degrees positive camber both sides
1 to 1 1/2 positive caster, no more than
1/4 degree difference side to side
set toe to "0" or 1/64 out.

The technician tells me after 45 minutes that the adjustment for the tie rods on the left side is already in all the way (can't be adjusted anymore), and even then the toe is way off. Check out the printout that he gave me right before I left, its awful:



Just for fun I looked in my 1966 service manual and found the following factory specifications for alignment:



Now I know mine's way off. Can anyone with suspension/front end knowledge help advise what I should do to resolve this? Should I take my car to another alignment shop to get a 2nd opinion? I got under the car and confirmed that there is no more room for adjustment on the passenger side tie rod. Is it possible that I have the wrong tie rod adjusting sleeve(s) on my car? I bought this thing in January (and have been fixing things ever since) and have absolutely no history whatsoever on it. Thanks for your help in advance.
 

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Has the car been wrecked? It may need to go on a frame machine and get a tug.
 

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First you have to set the caster,then camber,and last the toe. Your aligment place set camber and then did toe,caster is out,so right now the car will pull hard right,with out the toe. I would see if the caster nuts,or rods,are not frozen and can be adjusted,and go to another shop.
 

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First you have to set the caster,then camber,and last the toe. Your aligment place set camber and then did toe,caster is out,so right now the car will pull hard right,with out the toe. I would see if the caster nuts,or rods,are not frozen and can be adjusted,and go to another shop.
I agree. They need to get the Caster, then Camber before even attempting the toe. LH side Caster is really off hence why there is not enough adjustment in the tie rod to get the toe. I also would agree to check the adjustment points to make sure all are free and not frozen and then maybe find another alignment shop.
 

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Need to know more about the front end.

When I added new spindles and disc brakes on my 66, it moved the steering arms in some. Enough that the toe could no longer set correctly. One place to "fix" it put a horrendous amount of camber in it to get the toe right and didn't say anything. The second shop I took it to set camber, caster and then told me they could not get toe better than a 1/2" in. After he told me how far off the toe was, I made the adjustments.

First make sure the adjuster sleeves are put on neutral. both tie rods bottom out in the sleeve, not just one side of the sleeve. To make sure no adjustment is left un-used.

You may have to adjust the tie-rods or sleeves to get more adjustment.

Stock alignment specs are for bias ply tires and completely stock suspension. The extra toe in on the Chevy II compared to the others was most likely to compensate for the rubbery stock idler arm. Idler arm upgrades, CPP lower a-arms, radials etc can change the specs.
 

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You didn't mention if you set the front end up from scratch or if you are just trying to align and existing front end.

The first thing you need to check is if your center link is actually centered, and the steering arm is in zero position. You can check by removing the center link and turn your wheel each direction, while counting the revolutions, if your wheel turns more one way to lock, than the other, you need to "re-clock" your steering arm. You can do this by having someone watch the travel of the steering arm, and mark it to the center position, then reconnect your center link. You should have the same amount of travel in both directions.

One revolution of the wheel could cause this. It sounds like you might be a round or two off.

T,
 

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What condition is your suspension and steering in? The front end design is not great to begin with, so you need to make sure all your bushings and ball joints are in good shape.

Your technician is using a computer alignment machine. When you adjust caster with the machine it is not a live measurement. There is a bar graph screen to do a calculated live measurement, but the caster sweep needs to be made again to ensure accuracy. The measurement shown on the LF at 1.8 is fine but be careful of your front tire to fender clearance.

There have been disc brake spindles sold for 62-67 Novas in the past that cause severe alignment problems. Do you know what spindles you have?

As said before the stock alignment specs for 62-67 Novas are meant for bias ply tires. For stock suspension I recommend you have 0 deg camber, 1.5- 2.0 deg caster (depending on tire size). If your local roads have crown to them put .2 deg more caster in the right side. Toe in is about 1/16" or .1 deg. If you run skinnies put a little more toe in.

As far as the order of adjustment, caster and camber should be adjusted together, then caster re-checked for accuracy. Toe is always the final adjustment. The toe in on your car is so extreme your caster measurement will be affected.
 

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Caster and camber shoud NOT be adjusted together. Caster set first,then camber because camber adjustment does not change caster,then toe.
 

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1966 350/4-speed coupe
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Discussion Starter #9
To answer questions posed thus far in helping me resolve this:

(1) I'm not sure if the car was wrecked earlier in its life. The body lines look straight, the doors seem to close pretty well, and I've been under the car a bit and things don't look too suspicious.
(2) More about the front end: It's completely stock, 4-wheel drum with Nova spindles I believe. Ball joints look OK from what I can tell.
(3) I'm trying to align an existing front end. The only thing I changed that related to front-end/suspension was the castle nut on the lower control-arm ball joint on the driver's side. When I was replacing the drums/shoes/springs/wheel cylinders on the car earlier this spring, the driver's side wheel was rocking top to bottom as the castle nut height was too short for the cotter pin to keep it from spinning, so it was quite loose. I wonder if I have the wrong ball joint on that particular side, as it was fine on the passenger side.

Would the spindles have been changed if it still has drums all the way around? Is there some way I can reliably check to make sure I still have Nova spindles? I'll try and get the car up on jackstands this week and check the center link. Sounds like I need to find another alignment shop too.

Thanks everyone for taking your time to help me with this.
 

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Camber does affect caster! I am haveing the same issues with setting my car up right now too. I believe my problem is as stated before the center link is not centered to the car. I am using a "longacre gauge". It even tells you to set caster and camber at the same timeand double check all measurements to confirm after bousing the susp a few times because caster adjustment affects camber. The closest I could get my car was caster @ 1.75R, 1.5L and camber of 1.5 on both sides. The car still pulls hard left but the center link was adjusted was out on left side. I believe I need to center the centerlink and zero out the tie rod ends and start from scratch. This is my first attements at this to though.:D
 

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Thank you:confused:? I stating as NOGO stated about caster and camber from my understanding should be adjusted together being that one affects the other. After adjusting one the othe should be checked to make sure the meassurements havnt changed. Maybe my first alignment but I can read dirrections printed with the tools:D

See link:http://www.tsracing.com/Manuals/LACaster.htm
 

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I'm in the same situation with my wagon. Tie rods were too long. Before I had a chance to call CPP the shop I was at machined my existing tie rods 1/2" shorter on both ends.
I didn't see the final alignment specs, but they didn't even get close to 2 degrees of castor. They said the tires were into the front of the fenders at 1.5 degrees of castor.
Something doesn't seem right, so I need to look into it further, or just call up Chuck at Church Boy's and be done with it. The car drives and stops right now, so I'll deal with it until winter sets in.

Here's my setup:
CPP mini subframe kit
2" forged drop spindles
CPP steering arms-came with the disc brakes.
 

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Since your ball joints were loose for some time, they may have been damaged and may need replacement. The weakest point is the LCA, so I would put in new ball joints and poly bushings, then try aligning the car again. Also check that your UCA shaft nuts are tight (they work loose easily). Check your upper ball joints by squeezing them with a big pair of channel locks- you should not have any noticable play. If you have drum brakes your spindles are most likely stock and should not have any issues there.

Plowman,

When you adjust the strut rods to set caster it moves the LCA ball joint on an arc relative to the mounting point at the LCA bushing. If your LCA was set perpendicular to the mounting point and you move it forward to increase caster, the ball joint would move down the arc effectively increasing camber. This may be a very small amount, but caster will have an effect on camber and it is worth double-checking your measurements before moving to the toe adjustment.
 

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That is why you set caster first,then camber, and toe. If you remember the first post, the caster was out of spec and he was having trouble-not enough adjustment left in the toe sleeves. If he would have set caster first that would have moved the camber and set camber, there is a good chance he would have enough toe adjustment left in the sleeves.
 
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