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Discussion Starter #1
Years and years ago I completely rebuilt the front end of my 67 Nova. New bushings, ball joints, tie rod ends, everything! I did a temporary alignment myself in the driveway to get me to an alignment shop. When I got done the car drove nice and straight. The first shop told me they had no way to align my car because it's been tubbed and narrowed and the back tires are bigger than the front ones. I got the same story from the next shop. Third shop said they could do it. When I got it back it pulled real hard to the right but they told me it was as perfect as it gets. I've been living with it for years now and I was wondering if anybody else had problems with alignment shops not wanting to mess with a non-stock suspension like this? (I won't even get into the fact that they didn't center my steering wheel, but it worked out because if it was centered it would block part of my tach.)

My car has been a drag car virtually all of its life and at one time someone had cut out the shock area to clear fenderwell headers. That area started to crack and give way which gave me some crazy negative camber. (It's been welded back together to prevent further damage.) The cam bolt adjustment for that is adjusted as far as it will go and is still not quite where is should be, but its close. Seems to be slightly worse on the drivers side. Could this be causing it to pull to the right?

Being a novice I'd suggested that if the cam bolt could not be adjusted any more that maybe they could put shims behind the upper control arm like they do with more modern cars. At first they agreed it was a good idea, then I went to pick it up and they told me they wouldn't do it. Would this be possible to do or is it a bad idea?
 

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Finding someone that knows how to do an alignment on older cars has become a problem. What is in the computer is for all stock parts, bias ply tires and old one way shocks. A good alignment mechanic should know how to set a car correctly, without the computer.

The top a-arm is not designed for spacers. (lots of engineering explanation I will bypass) It is the A-arm with the spring weight on it. Alignment shops wont mess with it.

When you welded it, did you measure the front end connection points and make sure they were in specs? That may need to be fixed first.

Even if it is a drag car only, good control at high speed is important. One less thing to fight.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I haven't measured but I doubt much is within specs. It would have been too costly to fix it right, I was more worried about keeping it from getting worse. This front end is a lost cause in the long run, I'd like to go with an aftermarket eventually. It just bugs me that I could get the car to go perfectly straight by eyeball and they made it worse using professional tools.
 

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Professional tool will not make a person a mechanic. Did you try your dealer? Our chevy dealer does an exellant job with the older cars. I would give them a try. As you said you did it with out the equipment.

I have seen alignments that were handed over to the customer that would make you go cross eyed when looking at the front end, and they were a well known out fit.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Didn't try the dealer, never really crossed my mind that they could handle something that old, I'll definitely keep that suggestion in mind.

The part that really bugs is that I didn't just pick a name from the phone book. I took it to a shop owned by people I race with. I figured if anybody could handle an alignment on this car it would be people who own and work on their own drag cars. Then when I complained about how bad it was they basically told me tough luck. I've had a few years to get over it but suffice it to say I'm friendly to them but we're not friends. (And now I'm dating a girl I later found out is related to them)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
If it drives straight does that necessarily means its aligned straight? It pulls hard to the right but it doesn't wear the tires unevenly, I'm afraid I'll just make it worse.

I don't have a lot of confidence in my aligning abilities, on the side I took a lot of automotive classes in college but that wasn't one of them. All I've got is a Craftsmen tape measure and a very basic angle finder.
 

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The steering wheel needs to be straight in the car. The geometry from side to side can only be balanced when the wheel is centered. I think if you did some research in some racing mags you will find an article on alignment for the do it yourselfer. I always did my race car and never had a problem.:yes:
 

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It sound like your caster is out of spec on one side.Like Chuck said if you can not find a competent shop in your area you can purchase a caster /camber gage and do it in your garage with very good results.Just remember caster is basicly the angle that causes a pull and Camber is how square the tire hits the road.Toe is simple to do with a tape measure.
 

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I totally agree, I think you can align it yourself. Its not a mystical process. Sounds like you did better with your quick and simple "limp" it to the shop alignment than what you ended up with.

There are some great sources of info out there. And dont get hung up with the stock specs. With the newer tires we have now and new bushings its no longer a matter of chasing the stock specs.

They are a good starting point, but not applicable for today. Are you using bias ply tires? Stock width? No? Well then, stock settings wont be any good. You like a lil more stability at 65 MPH? Then stock settings arent the goal.

I think you have the ability to get a better than stock alignment, and thats all yer gonna get by going into a shop. They will read the numbers from a book and try to align it by the old 1967 alignment specs. Things have changed.. JR
 

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alignments

It sounds to me like you are capable of doing this yourself..........buy a Longacre caster camber gauge and do the alignment.
checked the Longacre site for alignment gauge's , would part #78260 be the one you would use. Was not familiar with Longacre, nice site. thanks TOM
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Great info, thanks a lot guys! Looks like I'll be buying another tool and learning how to do alignments.
 
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