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Excessive front positive camber


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The '75 I bought last summer has always had some positive camber on both front wheels. The passenger side was always a bit more pronounced, and after only putting 500 or so miles on the car, the passenger side tire is badly worn on the outside (driver side is not much better). In the past week, due to ripped ball joints (riveted - probably original), cracked bushings (control arm, subframe, sway bar mounts / links) and unknown condition wheel bearings, I swapped all of these parts out. Now have new urethane bushings, fresh ball joints, and wheel bearings / seals up front. The steering arms / ball joints were all new when I got the car, so I didn't touch them. Also left the springs / struts / strut mounts as well, all seemed serviceable, and do not appear to be lowering springs. Control arms had some nicks and bumps, but when I laid them side by side, flipped over, etc, could not see any bends (I did see some pics while searching of bent arms, mine don't look like that), so I re-used and just did bushings and ball joints. So after all of this, still have the exact positive camber as before. I did tighten all bushings with the car on the ground / after a short drive to make sure they had a chance to settle. Car does squeal pretty good on turns even at low speed with this camber. I included some after pics below of the car. I have old OEM 13x5" wheels on the car now as "rollers" until I figure this out (165 80 R13 snow tires...old), and had 14" wheels on before with 175 65 14's, no rubbing or any issues with those. So my searches came up with the following as possible issues:

 

  1. Bent strut housings - I did measure between the tube and rim lip around where the brake hose bracket is, and the driver side was ~2mm less than the passenger side. So a difference, not sure if there is a better place to measure to compare to what a factory new one would be?
  2. Bent control arms - I doubt this is it, but includes some pics below.
  3. Bent subframe - the passenger side looks a little tweaked where the radius arm attaches to the subframe, but driver side looks good but also has the camber issue (albeit less).
  4. Wrong springs - rears used up front is what I have been reading about, mine seem to have the same number of coils as other pics I've seen of stock springs, so not sure there. Could not find the painted rings on them anywhere to ID unfortunately.

 

I have not measured the toe yet, the amount of camber I am seeing looks pretty significant, so don't think that is the answer. Might want to take the car to an alignment shop to get some toe, camber, caster numbers to see what I'm working with. Tough to find a place around here that will even look at an older car for alignment (Pittsburgh area). Any other thoughts / suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thanks, Craig

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Dunno if it's related, but the front tires on my '69 wore badly like that--down to the cord on the outer edge of one tire in only 5k miles--and I had replaced all the front end bushings, ball joints, strut bearings etc about 8k miles before.  Turned out the problem was all alignment.  Had the front end re-aligned and all was well.  Have you had an alignment done recently.  I realize that you can't adjust camber on an '02 front end, but an alignment machine will tell you if your camber is within specs, and an experienced alignment guy may be able to pinpoint your problem.

 

mike

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I agree to check alignment, by design because of the caster angle the wheel will change camber as it turns, so if toe in toe out is off the camber with the steering wheel straight may look off too. Maybe for a clue check if you turn the steering wheel while looking at one front wheel, is it ever at a point where the camber looks more correct and the toe still looks okay.

 

Also the key word is that the camber "looks" significant, the camber from toe plus the visual perspective can add up to make it look like more camber than it is, so don't rule out toe without checking first.

Edited by albatcha
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As said, step one is checking alignment.

 

It's not an old car thing, any shop can do it. 02s are simple.  Actually, you can start buy checking the toe yourself.  Instructions in the FAQ articles section here.

 

 

 

You can even do a ballpark camber check yourself.  Put a straight edge vertically on the tire.  Get out your Android phone and start the surface level app.  Measure.  Compare to other side.  Ez.

 

You need that data to get a baseline to start troubleshooting from.

Edited by M2M3
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That ain't right.  Do check the toe- as Marshall describes, above.  500 miles means you have more

than 1/2" of front toe- in.  That will also cause the suspension to rise, and increase camber.

Try backing up a ways, then take another look at it.  I suspect miraculously, the camber

will be a bunch less.  

 

When you reset it,

you want something like 1/16" more distance between the backs of the tires than in front.

 

Fix the toe first.

 

Good call to check the lower arms- the only time I ran across that, the lower arms were severely bent.

 

Would someone else with stock rims take a measurement from the rims to the strut?

That doesn't look too unusual to me- but the last time I ran stock wheels...

no, wait, I've NEVER run stock wheels.  So I dunno what it's supposed to look like.

 

t

not all jacked up this morning

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Interesting point on the bushing orientation. The thick one was stamped “front,” which I took to mean front position. Maybe it meant the stamp side should be facing front? Minimal instructions were in the package unfortunately. If someone could confirm, that would be great.

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Quote

toe-in causes negative camber as it rotates around the caster angle of the strut. 

 

Toe- in causes positive camber as it causes the front suspension to jack IF the static ride height is above the

point where the lower arm is parallel to the ground.

 

I'm looking at those pics again-

 

if the car wasn't moved between taking them, I was wrong- you have at least an INCH of toe- in.

 

The front wheels should actually look a little toed- out as the car sits, as the body tapers in at the front.

 

Yours look like the wheels are toed IN as it sits.

 

Srsly.

 

Fix the toe first, then measure again.

 

I'm not sure I could get that much toe- in on our cars even with the tie rods fully in.

 

 

And fwiw, I've dicked around with the tension rod length all over the place, and it doesn't

affect the toe enough to matter.  It DOES do neat things with the caster....

 

t

toe-tied.

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4 hours ago, TobyB said:

 

Toe- in causes positive camber as it causes the front suspension to jack IF the static ride height is above the

point where the lower arm is parallel to the ground.

 

 

t

toe-tied.


My brain sees the opposite of that but I’m not willing to bet on it. 

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3 hours ago, Lorin said:

What’s up with this wheel placement in the wheel well? 

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I hear you, Lorin, and I believe the left front might be a tad forward. But if I dig through my photos of my ‘02’s, I see similar relationships of wheel to wheel opening. Angles of view are critical, and, possibly, misleading. (And, no, I don’t regularly take photos of me with my cars, but, in preparation for the ICON exhibit in 2018, I was asked to take photos of me hanging around the car! 😯)

 

Hell, the rear wheels also look too far forward within the wheel wells! 😳

 

Best regards,

 

Steve

 

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I did do a quick finger check on the clearance of the front wheels to the fender. Two on the driver side / three for the passenger, so there is a difference. I spent some time looking at some previous BAT auction 2002s for wheel placement pics since there are a ton of close-up high res photos there, and I do see similar deviation on some of those as well. Not saying mine is right, but I've seen others that are different. I'll take another measurement after I do the toe measurement / adjustment this weekend. Thanks again to all with the replies!

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