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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Good evening,
Hoping somebody here can lend some knowledge on my MII install problems. I just completed an aftermarket MII front suspension kit, including cross member, on my 36' chevy coupe and have run into a problem I am not familiar with. I have installed a dozen or so of these kits and seldom had any issues.
To start, I leveled the frame on stands at the ride height I wanted. Frame was checked for squareness and shockingly it was dead on(80 y.o. original frame). Found axle center and etched it into top of frame along with the outer dimensions for the top hats. As usual I followed the guidelines exactly as prescribed by manufacture. Top Hats were tack welded in a jig on the top flats and sides with 1" x .125 wall square tubing to keep them aligned for measuring, cutting and installation. As called for, shock holes in top hats were to measure 36" OC hole to hole, it is dead on. Dimensions for top hat cuts and cross member were checked 4 to 5 times prior to any cuts being made. After cutting, the cross member slid between rails perfectly with little adjustment needing to be made, same as top hats.
Now the problem. After completion I set the vehicle on the ground with the intended tires for the car and started my adjustments. 1st problem, I cannot adjust the camber anymore inboard than +2.2 and that is with the cross bar all the way back against the t slots, second issue is the lower control arm is sitting at an 18 deg. angle instead of being level. All this is with the engine(LS1) and trainy(4l60e) sitting in the car. The only thing that I changed was the springs and shocks from the original kit that I bought. I changed to coil overs prior to starting the IFS install. Ton solve this problem I was at first tempted to cut and extend the lower control arms(and maybe still will) or remove the top hats and start over. I need to figure out what went wrong before I do anything and that is what I am hoping you can do. The caster is almost set perfect. I have not checked the toe yet as I need to get past this problem first. Here are the called for specs
Caster 1.0+
Camber .5+
toe-in .125

Any help on where this went wrong would greatly be appreciated. I understand these MII kits pretty well but in no way am I an expert. If I can just figure out where I went wrong I can fix the problem but don't want to aggravate it by getting out the cut off wheel and going to town before I fully understand what went wrong. I'm thinking top hat needs to be moved inward about .750 on each side? Please lend me your knowledge.

Thank you
Ron
 

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Since you said you went to coilovers, did you also change to tubular control arms? If so, you may have gotten a mismatched set. If the lower arm was from a 5/8" shorter set (common amount of narrowing) and the upper arm was standard length, your caster would be positive.

If the control arms are the correct length, other than moving the top hats further in or slotting the holes longer (if possible) you don't have many options to correct this. You could swap to a 5/8" shorter upper arm (if yours is standard) and bring the camber closer to negative, but that would probably mess with the geometry.
 

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After giving this some more thought, you need to get the lower control arm level before checking anything else. Do you have any adjustment left in the coilover preload? Leveling the lower arm will force the upper arm up and pull the spindle in giving more negative camber. It may not be enough, but will get you closer.
 

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I'd remove the springs, block the frame so the lower arms are parallel, and see what it looks like. See if you can get the proper adjustments and spring length after doing this...

Russ
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
First, thank you for considering this problem for me, it really is appreciated! I did put more load on the coil overs and brought everything almost in to alignment. It got within .3+ of correct camber. It put lower arms level as they should be however, it took the rake way out of original stance I was shooting for(too low at this setting). Also, I would open the T slots longer but the upper bushings were setting about .250 off the spring towers. I think at this point I am just going to have too bite the bullet and cut the top hats off. I have went over and over this to try and figure out where I went wrong in my measurements and just cannot figure it out. I measured the upper and lower arms, they are both to standard spec, C to C on the tops at 8" and 13.250 on bottom.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I'd remove the springs, block the frame so the lower arms are parallel, and see what it looks like. See if you can get the proper adjustments and spring length after doing this...

Russ
Russ,

That is actually what I just started doing....we will see shortly.
Thank you Ron
 

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I am just following this as I am building a MII suspension and have some of the same issue..

Sam
 

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I just looked back at some info I collected years ago. It says that the upper control arm slots need to be 28" center to center. This is for a stock width front end. Just some more info to muddy the water. It also said the lower control arm holes should be 21 3/4" apart. I didn't take these measurements, though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I just looked back at some info I collected years ago. It says that the upper control arm slots need to be 28" center to center. This is for a stock width front end. Just some more info to muddy the water. It also said the lower control arm holes should be 21 3/4" apart. I didn't take these measurements, though.
It's funny that you mentioned 28" holes. I looked through several of the well known MII suppliers(you would know them) and I came up with 28", 33.5", 35" and 36"...go figure. I won't call my supplier I got it from as info coming from them as been way too inaccurate.
Here is what I have done. As Russ stated, I tried stripping it down to A arms, support the lowers level and try and see if it would come into spec, No dice. Now I have cut the top hats off, however prior to cutting them off I used a digital mounted to a short piece of 1" TUBING along with my camber level mounted to the hub and measured from the top of the rim(not hitting the tire) and pulled the tubing negative until it hit spec of .5+. if this works it means I needed to trim the top hat an additional .875, which I have now as well as put everything back level and square as I did before using tubing tacked to tops and sides of top hats and tacked to frame. This being said all should be squared up again. I will know within a few hours if this worked.
Thanks again to all that have replied and assisted me. I'll let you know how this worked in a few.
I apologize if this is too rushed and doesn't make sense. I'll explain it better after I have mocked everything back up.
Ron
 

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I am going to have to do the same on mine as the spec for the location of the upper A arm is at best a guestimate..

Sam



It's funny that you mentioned 28" holes. I looked through several of the well known MII suppliers(you would know them) and I came up with 28", 33.5", 35" and 36"...go figure. I won't call my supplier I got it from as info coming from them as been way too inaccurate.
Here is what I have done. As Russ stated, I tried stripping it down to A arms, support the lowers level and try and see if it would come into spec, No dice. Now I have cut the top hats off, however prior to cutting them off I used a digital mounted to a short piece of 1" TUBING along with my camber level mounted to the hub and measured from the top of the rim(not hitting the tire) and pulled the tubing negative until it hit spec of .5+. if this works it means I needed to trim the top hat an additional .875, which I have now as well as put everything back level and square as I did before using tubing tacked to tops and sides of top hats and tacked to frame. This being said all should be squared up again. I will know within a few hours if this worked.
Thanks again to all that have replied and assisted me. I'll let you know how this worked in a few.
I apologize if this is too rushed and doesn't make sense. I'll explain it better after I have mocked everything back up.
Ron
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I am going to have to do the same on mine as the spec for the location of the upper A arm is at best a guestimate..

Sam
Sam, your correct. This did indeed cure my problem. When installing a universal kit you have to start somewhere. I just was trying to keep from taking too much off. It is now lined up on caster and camber to spec with the T bolts hitting pretty much in the middle of slots. This is nice as some time down the road I'll take it to an alignment shop. Lower c arms are now level as well.....what a day. Time for a cold one
 

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Sam, your correct. This did indeed cure my problem. When installing a universal kit you have to start somewhere. I just was trying to keep from taking too much off. It is now lined up on caster and camber to spec with the T bolts hitting pretty much in the middle of slots. This is nice as some time down the road I'll take it to an alignment shop. Lower c arms are now level as well.....what a day. Time for a cold one
You can buy an alignment tool for what one good alignment will cost. I have one like this, bought from Speedway (couldn't find it, their new search is horrible) and fairly easy to use too. I do toe-in using one of the tire grooves and a tape measure. Oh, and I work solo so it is doable...



Russ
 

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Quick Trick Alignment at Summit Racing

I think if you go to the quick trick site they have the same thing in a economy style. Just doe snot have the fancy bags and such. Any way I bit the bullet and got the quick trick tool as I think it may pay for itself as I have other things that may need alignment and the local guy here is not good if he doesn't have the specs in his computer alignment program.

Sam
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
You can buy an alignment tool for what one good alignment will cost. I have one like this, bought from Speedway (couldn't find it, their new search is horrible) and fairly easy to use too. I do toe-in using one of the tire grooves and a tape measure. Oh, and I work solo so it is doable...



Russ
Russ,
I have that exact one. When it comes to suspension work I still take it in to get checked as I have a really good alignment guy that knows old school inside and out. If nothing else it gives me peace of mind. Thanks again
Ron
 

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If you guys are using the pinto spindle you can lay a digital level on the machined surface next to the upper ball joint for castor. Use the rotor for camber. Drop Plumb bobs off the center of the tire to the ground and measure between the points for toe. It's no laser align but its works pretty good.
 

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I have one of those bubble alignment tools from Intercomp. It stays in the cabinet. It is not very accurate. I find that a digital level and some string and plumb bob is way more accurate for camber and toe. For caster, I use the old stock car method. Stand a level vertical and measure to the top and bottom ball joint and use inches instead of degrees.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I have one of those bubble alignment tools from Intercomp. It stays in the cabinet. It is not very accurate. I find that a digital level and some string and plumb bob is way more accurate for camber and toe. For caster, I use the old stock car method. Stand a level vertical and measure to the top and bottom ball joint and use inches instead of degrees.
Digital level and plumb bob, along with align tool is how I found out how far out my top hats were(.850). When I re-cut them they were perfectly centered, as opposed to the T bolts being all the way up against the inside top hats as before. So now after getting everything lined up there is some alignment room to work with. I'll be curious to see if he has to move anything into alignment as I know it's real close.
 
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