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Old 01-02-2011, 09:47 AM
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Wheel alingment

When doing a wheel alignment on a Chevelle , do I set the camber first or the caster ? If I set the camber first will it change when I adjust the caster ?
Thanks, Gene

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Old 01-02-2011, 10:06 AM
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Honestly i've never done a chevelle but i'm sure it is just like most other older cars with the shims. You set the caster and camber together by adding or removing shims where the control arm bolts to the frame. Add shims to raise camber, remove to lower, add only to the front to raise caster and camber, add only to the back to add camber, and lower caster. Make sense? it's a lot easier to show than to type. Oh also a 1/8 shim is worth about .5 camber and each .1 of camber is worth about .2 caster. This is if you're doing it with an alignment machine. if you don't have access to this, (i'm guessing you dont) then just eyeball it and drive her to a shop. This is something that needs to be done on computer if you want it right. It can be done with a level and tape measure, but it will never be as close as a fifty dollar alignment.
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Old 01-02-2011, 10:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zoomo
if you're doing it with an alignment machine. if you don't have access to this, (i'm guessing you dont) then just eyeball it and drive her to a shop. This is something that needs to be done on computer if you want it right. It can be done with a level and tape measure, but it will never be as close as a fifty dollar alignment.
Times 2! If your just trying to save some money, that's ok but it won't add up to what you'll need for two new front tires after a few K mi.
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Old 01-02-2011, 11:20 AM
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Take it to a pro and let the machine tell you when it;s correct, Just set the toe and take it to the shop and if you are lucky you can watch the work being done.JMO


Cole
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Old 01-02-2011, 07:54 PM
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To answer your question, you adjust caster and camber at the same time to arrive at your desired specs.

To reduce (to nearly zero) the affect on camber when setting caster, do as follows. Set your camber to your desired specs (don't use factory specs, set the camber to about 1/2 degree negative for starters). Then to adjust caster, move a shim from one stack and add it to the other stack. Which way you go depends on whether you want to add or reduce positve caster. If I recall with a Chevelle, the shims are inboard of the frame mount, so if you wanted to increase positive caster and the camber is set, you would take a shim out of the most forward stack and add it to the rear. Do the opposite to reduce positive caster. If the shims are outboard of the frame mount, just the reverse is true. The caster has to be the same on each side initally for this to work, or if you set up your alignment with a little more positive caster on the right side to compensate for the crown in the road, that has to be done as well.

Since we are on the subject, to change camber without affecting caster, add (or remove) the same amount of shims to both shim stacks. That way you will alter the camber but not the caster.

After you are all done, recheck everything and then set the toe.

This is a nice trick even if you don't do your own alignment. If you want more stability on the freeway for example, move a shim to add more positive caster. Do it the same on both sides and you don't need to re-align the car, just re-check the toe. If you don't like the change, just put the shims back to the original location, or go the other direction to reduce positive caster and make the car easier to steer. If the car pulls slightly right while going down the road, add a bit more positive caster to the right side only. Keep messing with it until you are happy with how it drives.

If you can get your alignment shop to set up the car with the same specs on both sides, you can easily customize the alignment to your taste. You just need to re-check the toe setting after every adjustment.

Andy
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Old 01-03-2011, 08:22 AM
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Thanks for your response guys, a long long time ago I worked in a shop that had an old Bear frame and alignment rack and learned how to do wheel alignments. I have a 69 Chevelle that I want to check and add as much positive caster to that I can get. The old front tires wore nice and even. A few years ago I got the gages to do alignments and this xmas I got the wheel turn plates. So I'm thinking I can do my own alignments at home, I'll check my Chevelle in a couple of weeks and see what I get.
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Old 01-09-2011, 11:04 PM
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I finally got my fill of the local alignment shops so I went DIY
.
I set caster first, camber second, then fine tuned caster and camber.

Once camber and caster were set I tuned in the toe.

My numbers agreed very close to shop print out before I proceeded w/ suspension mods and realignment.

I triple checked my numbers and they were very consistent; well within OEM tolerances.

DIY alignment was cheap, accurate, easy and makes a good weekend project.

Tips:
Frequently settle suspension and jog tires.
Frequently verify turn angles of BOTH front wheels during caster.
Run a center line string under car if you don't have rack n pinion.
Keep tie rod ends near same length w/ rack n pinion.
Verify both steering stops function.
Verify center before fine tuning toe.
Support car w/ jack stands when underneath.
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