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Alignment Question (Caster)


Cru Jones
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So, my car ('74) has been pulling to the right and my steering wheel points to the right a bit as well since I've had the car (currently about 3 months). It's not horrible, but enough to annoy you when you drive it.  I finally brought it to an alignment place and they did their best, but said the caster is off between the front wheels (2.2 deg + L vs 1.7 deg R). They couldn't adjust it. I did a bit of research and it seems as though this might be solved by adjusting the subframe. Am I correct in my research? Anyone else run into this before? Suspension is Bilstein Sports, lower springs (if they match the back then Eibach) & IE sway bar kit.

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there is no adjustment in the subframe.  caster is not adjustable.

 

how old are your control arm and thrust rod bushings?  they "place" the lower end of the strut.  if they are old/worn or not tq'd correctly they could cause the bottom of one strut being in a different position than the other.

 

or your car could be bent.

 

but...that small difference in caster shouldn't make much difference in the steering.  hopefully your steering wheel is now straight after the alignment was done.

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there is no adjustment in the subframe.  caster is not adjustable.

 

how old are your control arm and thrust rod bushings?  they "place" the lower end of the strut.  if they are old/worn or not tq'd correctly they could cause the bottom of one strut being in a different position than the other.

 

or your car could be bent.

 

but...that small difference in caster shouldn't make much difference in the steering.  hopefully your steering wheel is now straight after the alignment was done.

 

As far as I know they're in good shape. The prior owner replaced all the bushings at some point with IE bushings and I took it to a shop a little bit back and they said everything was good in terms of bushings etc. That said, I will jack it up at some point and take a look.

 

So what would you guys suggest? Should I take it to a frame place and have them sort this out or get camber/caster adjusters (like the K-Mac ones) to fix this?

 

Oh, the steering is better, but still not perfect.

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Oh, forgot to mention, the camber for my wheels differs a bit as well. The front L is - .3 deg vs R of -.5 deg. Also, in the box of spare parts was a single front strut mount (new), with an empty box for the other. Is it possible that the PO replace only one of the strut mounts and that the one he didn't replace is more wore out now and causing this? Just trying to sort out if the two are possibly correlated...

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I'd pay attention to caster there as well.... a higher caster will provide more stability at a higher speed, but hinder your ability to turn. Just think of those chopper motorcyles with the long forks. They can't turn for crap.

 

At the same time, think of how the wheels (casters) on a shopping cart act at a high rate of speed (downhill shopping carts anyone? lol).

Edited by mikebontoft
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