Adventures in eyeball alignment - TCCoA Forums
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-12-2011, 11:47 PM Thread Starter
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Adventures in eyeball alignment

My steering wheel has been slowly tracking to left of center since I got it. At first it was almost straight when driving a straight line.. say about 11:50, now it tracks at about 11:45 .. say about 1/4 inch on the rim.

So today I went over all the steering and suspension. Everything looks good, no slop or worn bushings I can see in the front.. so when I let it down, I eyeballed the alignment of front and the rear tires.

Holy Cow! I hadnt noticed it before but the rear camber was WAY negative. Sure enough the inner tread was showing excess wear but I didnt have to even look at them to know that was happening.
The right wheel looked about 4 deg neg and the left 2-3 deg neg. So I put it on stands and crawled under to check all the bushings. They all looked good except I could easily see the bolt through the upper CA to frame was WAY off center. Other side the same.
- Have to understand I had never felt I needed to know how rear alignment adjustment worked. Seeing the rear LCA bush setup, I assumed the Front LCA was the same and you used the two to set both Toe and camber. So not seeing a Cam washer on top, I figured no adjust there. Didnt even think to look at LCA front until later.

So I came in to check avail and prices for UCA inner bushing. On NAPA and several other places I thought they were just a tad high for the part. I checked here to see what others thought and couldnt find much on replacing them on a search.
But I started a thread in Wanted to Buy to see if anyone had a set of stock bushings to sell.
Then I went to Rockauto to double check again and was mortified when I looked close at the part. and saw the bushing was an off-center type.

So I did a search on adjusting them and the only thing I could find was a thread where the owner had been told he need a 'bolt kit' to adjust the bushings.
Not being able to find anything on those I decided hell with it, I'd just try to adjust them and see what happened.
I did a quick eyeball of everything again and figured that the camber adjust would have minor if any effect on toe. I measured from the center of end of UCA to the corner of frame for refernce then did a quick rough estimate and figured moving the end of the arm out 1/4 inch would set it about right for -.5 deg camber Not that I was all that worried Anything a degree or less would do it till I was ready to get it aligned.
So I loosened it up... by the way the nut needs to be WAY loosened to turn the cambolt easily, check for separation between frame bracket and bush.... and turned till the end moved out 1/4 inch, tightened it back up and put the wheel on. I was a little disappointed because the wheel now was only about 1 deg pos camber in dropped position. Before I took it off and adjusted, it was about 1 degree neg. it was getting dark so I decided to leave it and went to the other side. I adjusted it out 1/4 inch as well.

Anyhow once I dropped the car I saw the left side seemed to have neutral camber and the right still too negative but much better maybe a little over -1.

Now the question: How did the camber get so out of wack in the first place. I think the reason is the 'soft' tightening of the nut against the frame bracket. The wrench seemed to go forever with about 50 ft lbs force. I went a couple turns at that rate till it started getting harder to turn again. And ended up with a fair amount of squeeze on it.

So I bet it wasnt torqued properly the last time it was aligned and the eccentric just slowly worked around.

I learn more about cars every day!
I do it just because I still want to know HOW and WHY!!! Quit learning=die. Be informed as to WHAT, rather than learn,=brain-dead already.
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Last edited by pettyfog; 08-12-2011 at 11:58 PM.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-13-2011, 12:03 AM
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I've been doing DIY alignments in my garage for 2+ years. A level and 32nds ruler for camber/caster measurement and a plumb-bob, string, and measuring tape for toe. Adds a little precision to the eyeball method

I go by this chart I found from the corral or cornercarvers


-Matt
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-22-2011, 12:51 PM Thread Starter
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Still obsessing on REAR UCA:

Well, after driving the car a couple hundred miles, I'm fairly confident in my ballpark alignment.. with the exception that I still have about a degree of neg camber on rear passenger side. The UCA bush is adjusted all the way outboard by the bolt.

So.. what I apparently need is a bolt kit for it. There is a fair amount of slop when I turn the bolt head. Plus the hard to describe feeling you get when you know the thing is almost ready to 'cam through' if you put any pressure on it.

Problem is I cant find a bolt kit for the Rear UCA to frame Bushing

Added to this is fact I am SURE the car wasnt so bowlegged when I bought it two months ago so I suspect the P.O. adjusted it best he could for some reason and didnt tighten enough and the bush turned with arm travel.

So the question is .. IS the wear primarily on the bolt, or the bush.. or both. I only ask because I would like to treat her to a 4 wheel alignment and not get that 'dreaded phone call' from the shop: "We gone far as we can go; 'Uneeda...'"

Otherwise... I'd just center the bolt slop, pry the sucker another 1/8" out and call it done.

I learn more about cars every day!
I do it just because I still want to know HOW and WHY!!! Quit learning=die. Be informed as to WHAT, rather than learn,=brain-dead already.
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1993 Silver LX 3.8L My Bravadiva's 'go store-fetch me parts' girl
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-22-2011, 01:02 PM
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One thing to keep in mind is that the bolts at the pivot points should be torqued with the weight on the wheels.

As for "finding slop". If the springs are installed, often you can't find any looseness because the springs are keeping everything loaded. Pop the springs out and then see how much play or slop you have.

But just my .02.

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-22-2011, 01:37 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 94 Daily Driven 4.6L View Post
One thing to keep in mind is that the bolts at the pivot points should be torqued with the weight on the wheels.

As for "finding slop". If the springs are installed, often you can't find any looseness because the springs are keeping everything loaded. Pop the springs out and then see how much play or slop you have.

But just my .02.
heh... unfortunately I aint limber and 'fluid' as I used to be. So I jack the LCA, instead. So as to get to those things.

Already readjusted the Front UCA bolts cause I suspected the guy tightened 'em in 'droop' mode.

Funny thing is, when I looked at all the bushing rubber I could see, with flashlight and wheels off, didnt find a single instance of rubber dry rot crack. I was sure I'd see some cracking somewhere.

I learn more about cars every day!
I do it just because I still want to know HOW and WHY!!! Quit learning=die. Be informed as to WHAT, rather than learn,=brain-dead already.
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1993 Silver LX 3.8L My Bravadiva's 'go store-fetch me parts' girl
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-23-2011, 12:38 PM
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I think the primary wear is on the bushing. I have never heard of a bolt kit for these cars. I made my own bushings for the rear upper arm to frame just for fun and they are working out great so far, but might be making squeaking noises, so I might add a zerk fitting later.

If your bushing is bad, the cam in the center will slide right out. You can then take a serpentine belt and grind the grooves off of it (I used a 6 groove), then wrap it tightly around the cam and push the wrapped portion into the bushing sleeve, which you never had to press out of the arm. It is super stiff, but still has some give like it should. I figured hey, if they go out, I will just replace them again. Most MN12s I see these days have some serious negative camber in the rear.

Matt, do you have any good tips or sites for doing DIY alignments on our cars? I am going to get mine done once I get all my bushing situations taken care of.

-Rob
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-23-2011, 12:47 PM
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Matt - I'll add that a YouTube (or other source!) video would be nice of exactly how and what to do to do it.

I don't like the $70 to $100 for incompetents to screw over Ruby Jean's suspension ...

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-23-2011, 01:35 PM
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You almost certainly need new rear UCA bushings. The part that goes bad first is NOT the rubber ... it's a nylon sleeve of sorts that goes between the aluminum sleeve and the rubber bushing. That thing cracks, crumbles, and lets the aluminum shift around.

To remove the old UCA bushings, push the rubber portion out, then cut a slit down the length of the metal can. Then chisel the can in on itself to release it from the arm.

Doing it that way will help you avoid bending the arm, which could happen if you try to push the can straight out.

-------------------

Steve

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-23-2011, 03:56 PM
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I pretty much do the same as this but with the rear as well.. http://forums.corral.net/forums/hand...effective.html

You want to make sure your garage floor is level, if not you can get away with using sheets of wood under the tires where need be to get accurate measurements.

-Matt
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-24-2011, 09:11 PM
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To see if the upper inner control arm bushings are bad:

With the car sitting level, put your foot on the top of the rear tire, perpendicular to the side of the car.

Push in with your foot, rocking the car side to side, by the wheel.

After the first couple of wiggles, you will see the wheel move about a half-inch in and out at the top if the bushing is bad; I could hear a clear clunk when it moved.

Easiest diagnosis ever; but I didn't realize it was a problem at the time I noticed the movement, lol.

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