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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
know little about alignment specs, but hoping to learn, so please bear with me.

had car aligned when in primer. painted the car and drove fine. granted we're talking a total of maybe 20 miles. however, alignment shop stressed it needed a new outer tie rod.

put in new rod (Raybestos) bought some years ago, and took it to a different, much closer shop. car now wanders to where, wow, pretty sketchy and not fun to drive. it has been parked since.

below photo has the printout from the new shop which said all other components are fine, but their NOTE is "The steering gear is very loose and needs to be snugged up." car drove fine when given to them, a reputable shop.

it is a '63 with radial tires, 14" rims, stock front end with '66 rear. have a link with what shows a starting point should be ( Ask Away! with Jeff Smith: Fixing a Dangerous Front-Wheel Shake in a '66 Chevy II - OnAllCylinders ), wondering if it stacks up to what they did.

you guys see anything weird here with the numbers? thanks for any advice.
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-Rusty
 

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I’m not sure I can determine what the current alignment specs are on this print out.

Ideally, your specs should be read something like this:
Caster + 5 degrees
camber 0 to -1.0 degrees
Toe in 1/16 to 1/8”

The readings on your printout has very low values for positive caster. Your camber numbers are all in the positive and they should be somewhere between 0 degrees and -1.00 degrees. Your toe in is probably ok..
 

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I’m not sure I can determine what the current alignment specs are on this print out.

Ideally, your specs should be read something like this:
Caster + 5 degrees
camber 0 to -1.0 degrees
Toe in 1/16 to 1/8”

The readings on your printout has very low values for positive caster. Your camber numbers are all in the positive and they should be somewhere between 0 degrees and -1.00 degrees. Your toe in is probably ok..
Is it possible to get 4 degrees caster on stock front end
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I’m not sure I can determine what the current alignment specs are on this print out.

Ideally, your specs should be read something like this:
Caster + 5 degrees
camber 0 to -1.0 degrees
Toe in 1/16 to 1/8”

The readings on your printout has very low values for positive caster. Your camber numbers are all in the positive and they should be somewhere between 0 degrees and -1.00 degrees. Your toe in is probably ok..
as in you can't make out the numbers or the layout is confusing, or the photo quality is poor on your end?

nonetheless, in your estimation, is it enough to make it spooky during uneven road patches (dip)? just odd that the steering was good enough before, but the alignment seemed to cause this weirdness. possible they are just covering their butts?

thanks for checking it out.

-Rusty
 

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@EM3
I’m not sure if you can get to 4 degrees on a totally stock setup but you should aim as high as you can without creating other issues. I know when I pulled the front end on my 64 apart there were shims behind the upper control arms. When I put it back together I never put any shims between the upper cross shaft and the mounts. I played with the eccentrics and tried to impose more caster from the lower control arm mounts. I didn’t like the way it was going to be in a bind. I had the CPP Mini subframe kit with their upper control arms and their bushings are really firm.. I never had any issues with the wheel returning to center after a turn.
The CBR Upper control arms are setup to reposition of the arms down and back which improves both caster and camber by merely installing them and they have adjustable rod ends that should pretty much allow you to put it wherever you want it..
 

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@Rusty63
The layout of their spec sheet is a little bit different then what I’m used to looking at. I’m assuming the the figures in the boxes on the right side of the page are their final adjustment specs.. There’s usually a pre-adjustment spec print out and a post alignment printout.

The date on the alignment sheet is from 2020. When did you have it aligned..? How much time between the previous alignment and the most recent alignment..?
 

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Part of the issue is probably that they're using the OEM alignment values, which were for bias ply tires and were made for the floating feeling on the road.

Have you ever had a shopping car with a wobbly front wheel? Too little positive caster will give you that. Find a shop that can give you a custom alignment to what that link says (or as close as possible). I would've gone back to the shop and had them redo it. I've heard that the older Novas/Chevy IIs (not sure if it's both gens or not) like to lose alignment and need a locking adjuster put in, but as I have a 3rd gen I haven't put all of that into memory.
 

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@EM3
I’m not sure if you can get to 4 degrees on a totally stock setup but you should aim as high as you can without creating other issues. I know when I pulled the front end on my 64 apart there were shims behind the upper control arms. When I put it back together I never put any shims between the upper cross shaft and the mounts. I played with the eccentrics and tried to impose more caster from the lower control arm mounts. I didn’t like the way it was going to be in a bind. I had the CPP Mini subframe kit with their upper control arms and their bushings are really firm.. I never had any issues with the wheel returning to center after a turn.
The CBR Upper control arms are setup to reposition of the arms down and back which improves both caster and camber by merely installing them and they have adjustable rod ends that should pretty much allow you to put it wherever you want it..
I was able to get 2.5 degrees caster before tire would run on my stock front end. My heidts on my other car I got 5.5 degrees.
 

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I would try to get more caster in the car. More caster will help with wandering. See if you can get another degree. You may even try doing it yourself. Turn the strut rod nut same turns on each side. How much room do you have in front of tires before you hit the fender
 

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Just an idea, you may want to inspect the strut rods where they attach to the frame and make sure they do not have any play. On my sister's '67, I aligned the car and everything looked perfectly fine, but after the alignment the car still drove like a death trap. What I found was the large threads on one of the strut rods were stripped and would jump a thread sometime after installation, leading to a ton of play at the attachment point. I didn't see this during the alignment because things seemed to tighten down properly. Ultimately I had to replace the strut rod and now it drives fine.

With regards to the actual alignment numbers, while I personally would want more caster, the car should still be stable with 1deg.. I see there is very little toe and it might help to add a little, but most likely it would just be masking some other issue - your issue may simply be loose steering gear which didn't seem so bad when you had more toe previously.
 

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Is the shop you are using used to older cars? I found a shop where I live and they guy is into Nova's has a 62 he is restoring and had two 63s. First time I went in he told me I had a bad idler arm bushing. At the point I had the entire front end redone. Tie rods, ball jonts, idler arm etc... after that he did an alignment and the car drives amazing. As you can tell from the previous posts the place you are taking it to for alignment is important! Cant just be any place trying to align to old OEM specs.
 

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Just an idea, you may want to inspect the strut rods where they attach to the frame and make sure they do not have any play. On my sister's '67, I aligned the car and everything looked perfectly fine, but after the alignment the car still drove like a death trap. What I found was the large threads on one of the strut rods were stripped and would jump a thread sometime after installation, leading to a ton of play at the attachment point. I didn't see this during the alignment because things seemed to tighten down properly. Ultimately I had to replace the strut rod and now it drives fine.

With regards to the actual alignment numbers, while I personally would want more caster, the car should still be stable with 1deg.. I see there is very little toe and it might help to add a little, but most likely it would just be masking some other issue - your issue may simply be loose steering gear which didn't seem so bad when you had more toe previously.
good idea! Those strut rods if loose will wreak havoc on the caster setting. Would you toe in more?
 

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My 2cent. I'd be concerned with the comment about the loose steering gear. If you have the stock box, was he referring to the worm gear in the steering box? When I had a stock worn out box in my 64, when that bolt that adjusted the worm gear was out too far it would wander dangerously. Conversely if it was too snug on the worm gear it would bind up and not return to center and essentially stick in the direction you turn the wheel. If this is your same scenario then I don't know if an alignment can overcome a clapped out steering box.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
@Rusty63
The layout of their spec sheet is a little bit different then what I’m used to looking at. I’m assuming the the figures in the boxes on the right side of the page are their final adjustment specs.. There’s usually a pre-adjustment spec print out and a post alignment printout.

The date on the alignment sheet is from 2020. When did you have it aligned..? How much time between the previous alignment and the most recent alignment..?
it was 2020. it had a couple of spooky steering incidents in < 20 miles, then the new carb got dirt in it, and it got parked since then. the previous alignment was in 2013. called that shop to see if they had the results filed away just to compare. they had no computer system back then, therefore no dice, but he said he would have set it at, to start:

left ft camber 3/8 - 1/2 positive
right ft camber 0 - 1/4
left ft caster -1 to +1
right ft, always +1 higher than whatever the left is
0 - 1/32 toe in for radial

was a very nice guy.

-Rusty
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I would try to get more caster in the car. More caster will help with wandering. See if you can get another degree. You may even try doing it yourself. Turn the strut rod nut same turns on each side. How much room do you have in front of tires before you hit the fender
plenty of room at the front tires. the strut rods, nuts and bushings are new, as are most of the bushings in the front. forgot one ball joint was replaced along with the outer tie rod.

-Rusty
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
My 2cent. I'd be concerned with the comment about the loose steering gear. If you have the stock box, was he referring to the worm gear in the steering box? When I had a stock worn out box in my 64, when that bolt that adjusted the worm gear was out too far it would wander dangerously. Conversely if it was too snug on the worm gear it would bind up and not return to center and essentially stick in the direction you turn the wheel. If this is your same scenario then I don't know if an alignment can overcome a clapped out steering box.
he advised just turning the adjustment screw a quarter to a half turn, then locking it in. they are longtime drag racers with a great rep.

Dumb question. Why didn't you take it back to the first place that did the alignment that recommended the tie rod end? You said the car drove fine with that alignment.
the old place was over a two week wait at the time, and we needed the car to be safely mobile close to ASAP. the other shop was able to get at it in two days, and since they had a good rep and it's way closer plus i had a helper available that day...we went for it.

oops.

-Rusty
 

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When were most of the “New” bushings installed..? If they were installed in 2013 then they really aren’t new anymore.. Strut rod bushings, upper/lower control arm bushings, and the idler arm bushings can cause a lot of handling problems. It will be hard to maintain an alignment and can make the vehicle behave unpredictably.

A worn steering box will have some extra free play in the steering wheel. You can adjust the steering box free play by turning the adjustment screw on top of the steering box. If the box is badly worn it might have bad bearings or worn out gears and will need to be rebuilt or replaced..
 
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