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Old 06-23-2008, 06:55 PM
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Alignment on 65 impala SS

I recently purchased a 65 Chevy Impala SS that was stated to be "mint" and as you may have surmised, it ain't. One of the issues I have is that the drivers front tire rubs momentarily on the front of the wheel well (fender)when turning in either direction. Once the wheels are full left or right it stops, but will rub again as the wheels come back to straight. I measured the distance from a fixed point on the lower control arm to a fixed point on the frame and the measurement seems to be VERY close the same, like within 1/16". I took it to a local garage for alignment and all they did was to crank the strut arm back so the tire didn't rub any more and now when I let go of the wheel, the car dives to the left. Fortunately I have power steering and can control it, but I think I got screwed on the alignment job!! No, I know I got screwed. Here is more of the story. The car has rubber "shims" in the rear springs and is running 275/60/15s in back and 225/60/15s in front, so there is a definite "rake" to the car. Looks really sexy, but I think It's screwing up my caster adjustment. So my first question is "what could be causing the tire to rub on the wheel well"? My second question is "once you raise the back of the car does his have the effect of putting more negative caster in the front wheels and at that point do you just throw out the factory alignment specs and go for what handles best?" I'm about to start cranking on the passenger side strut rod to even things out, but I'll still have tires at different distances (centers) in the front wheel wells.

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Old 06-24-2008, 08:25 AM
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Sounds like you need to find an alignment shop that understands about cross caster. Did they give you a print out? Without knowing what it was and what it was set too it's kinda hard to tell.
Cross caster should be withing 1/2* usually higher on the right to compensate for road crown.
Jacking up the rear will decrease the caster some but probably not enough that couldn't be adjusted out. You could have some other suspension issues being the reason the lh side was adjusted way up also. How are the bushings, ball joints etc?
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Old 06-24-2008, 08:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fosterdl
... I'm about to start cranking on the passenger side strut rod to even things out, but I'll still have tires at different distances (centers) in the front wheel wells.
Well, the first thing to check is frame alignment and if that's good, then look at the rubber mounts under the core support and the body. If the mounts are shot, the body could be sitting on the frame incorrectly.

The other question is, what is the offset in the wheels you have? I've had situations where the tires did not rub with the stock wheels but exhibited exactly the rubbing you have when I installed aftermarket wheels with different offset. Keep in mind that no car is exactly symmetric, particularly ones from the 1960s. There will be some manufacturing tolerance built into the car, which is why you have shims under the fender bolts and adjustment in the door hinges.
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Old 06-24-2008, 09:13 AM
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First off, what is this "strut rod" you are talking about, your car doesn't have such a beast. It has an upper and lower control arm, and no "strut rod".

I do not know what tires will fit on your car, but cars of that vintage are often limited to some pretty small tires. That car came from the factory with tiny tires by todays standards! The tread on the tire it came with was probably only about five to six inches wide!

Post the alignment specs you have from your alignment.

I have seen many times where a "perfect" car will have a problem like this on one side. The thing is as mentioned they are not flawless symetrical. And you could be right on the edge on that right side as well. If the inner fender were over a tiny 1/16" it may be hitting there too.

I am betting on those "sexy" wheels and tires are simply wrong for the car.

Brian
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Old 06-24-2008, 10:09 AM
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It does have a strut rod , some may call it differant though. It has a narrow lower control arm and the strut rod supports to the front of the frame. The lower arm has an eccentric for camber and the strut rod is the caster adjustment. I've seen this set up on older Cadillacs as well and whatever gm used it on.
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Old 06-24-2008, 04:09 PM
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65 Impala alignment

Right "cheftan" you described the front susspension correctly. The wheels appear to be OEM Ralley wheels from maybe a Vet. And I'm willing to bet that the offset is WAY different than the original wheels. Aslo these look to be 7" rims (front) not the 6" or 5.5"(?) factory. Everything else on the car seems to line up real well. All the body lines are straight and tight and before the shop screwed with it it drove nice and straight down the road. I have no print out of the alignment as I was told that the "bubble" wouldn't read on my car. Whatever that means. I've had trouble with this garage before and this kind of confirms that they are better at BS than mechanics. I went to collage 30 years ago for auto tech so I know a little about whet is going on even though things have REALLY changed since then. I don't know everythng, but I can usually tell when someone is feeding me crap. The offset/oversize whells and tires sounds closest to what is going on here. Make good sense. I have a friend who works as a mechanic at a large GM dealership about 30 miles away and I think I'll have him check it out. Thanks to all.
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