1966 Caster problem - Impala Tech
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-16-2010, 09:46 AM Thread Starter
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1966 Caster problem

Ever since I rebuilt my front end on my 1966 Caprice and replaced the warn out rubber with Polyurethane bushing my caster has been off in a big way. I have not drove the car since but its at the shop right now and that is one thing on this list to get fixed. My theory is that I tightened the big nut on the strut rod to much which is giving me positive caster does this sound right? My mechanic which hasn't even looked at it yet thought maybe I bought the wrong springs or was thinking there might be shims? Can I rule out those theories and tell him mine so he doesnt waste time fixing it? I plan to get an alignement at an old school shop in town that is know for their alignments but need to get the car running and close so it can be driven first. Thanks in advance

Paul

Last edited by wogman75; 02-16-2010 at 10:44 AM.
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-16-2010, 12:40 PM
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If you replaced both upper AND lower control arm bushings , here is what I did. Without the spring installed and front end on jack stands ,unbolt the strut rod ( front and rear ) from its mounting points. Raise the control arm to approximate where it will be at ride height on ground. At this point the strut rod can be reinstalled WITH its new bushing. Now run nuts on rod to snug up to bushing. You should end up with about an inch and a half of thread showing ( IIRC ) on the front end side. The exposed threads should pretty much be equal on both rods . Adjust the rods ( with nuts) to where you can just get 2 bolts into lower c-arm and snug up strut rod nuts tight working each nut in equal amounts (ex. tighten front half turn, tighten rear same and so on til tight )in order to keep rod in location where the bolts that fasten it into lower control arm are still lined up. Make sure strut rod nuts are "snug" pretty well . This is now close enough to where the strut rod should be that when you actually get it to an alignment shop the caster should be very close.......it was on mine. The main thing I was after is to NOT put unnessessary stress on the lower bushing. If you over tighten the strut rod you will do that. I imagine this can also be done with spring installed BUT you wont be able to get the "feel" for when things are binding a little or not. When using poly bushings you can move the suspension up and down freely without the spring.

You dont HAVE to unbolt strut rod completely at the FRONT , but at least get the nuts backed way off.

Last edited by JOESPANOVA; 02-16-2010 at 12:47 PM. Reason: change
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-16-2010, 12:49 PM
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Its hard to tell from your description what is the issue but here are a few things to consider.

Do you really mean that your caster is way off or is it your camber?
You should not tighten up your upper control arms and other key suspension bolts when the car is not resting on the ground. If you did this you should loosen them up and bounce the car and roll it forward and back a few feet to settle them before you tighten them up.
There are no shims on the upper control arms for allignment. The inward lower control arm has an excentric bolt to adjust. This may be your main issue if you did not put it back in the same position as when you took it out.
The strut rod arms have have one nut on the back and one on the front so you can adjust either way. Make sure you have the steel spacer sleeve not just bushings or you will be able to over tighten them as you described.

A good "old school" shop should be able to align your vehicle.

Do a search on the web for " at-home allignment" or something similar to get it close but remember they usually suggest the shim method which is used for later cars.

I'm not an allignment expert so you may get some better responses from others as well.

Good luck
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-16-2010, 01:03 PM
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BTW , I used a level for camber , toe tramels for toe. You can trust my suggestion.
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-16-2010, 01:14 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fossil_Fuel View Post
Its hard to tell from your description what is the issue but here are a few things to consider.


Good luck
The front tire seems to be way forward in the wheel well. I realize I have 15 inch tires on the car but I believe its further forward then it should be. The tire is within about an inch of the fender. You can sorta see it in this picture.

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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-16-2010, 01:17 PM
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I told you what you need , bushings and proper strut rod adjustment will cure that.

Good luck.
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-16-2010, 01:24 PM
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If you obtain a copy of the Fisher Body assembly manual it gives the dimensions in feet and inches from reference points on the farme to set up the front end so that it can be driven off the end of the line without ever having seen a Bear front end alignment machine. Makes for riveting reading, lots of grams showing you how to put a car together from a pile of parts.

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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-16-2010, 01:41 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys for all your help, I think I know what now needs to be done.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-16-2010, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by wogman75 View Post
Thanks guys for all your help, I think I know what now needs to be done.
I have 235 70 15's on 8 inch rallys on the front of my '66, and the tire is about 1/2 inch from fender. I think yours is pretty close to correct IMO. The bigger tires and the front end sitting higher makes the fit close. My '66 sits about the same height as yours.

Kevin
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-16-2010, 03:45 PM
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Thanks guys for all your help, I think I know what now needs to be done.
BTW, really nice looking Caprice

Kevin
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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-17-2010, 06:37 AM
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I checked the thread exposure on mine last nite and using nyloc nuts ( perhaps a little thicker than OEM ) I have 1 inch of thread showing on the ends of the strut rods.....not an inch and a half like I thought.
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-17-2010, 11:26 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the suggestions and feedback and comments. I have a assembly manual on the way and will check the measurements as suggest to various reference points. I do have a camber gauge if my shop doesnt have one but I bet he does. I am also goinng to double check that I didnt put the A arms on the wrong side, but according to Kevin who has the same size rims and tires as me it might just be the way it is with this combo.
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-17-2010, 12:15 PM
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wogman, I'll be interested to hear what you come up with.
I had my front end aligned last summer by an old school hot rod alignment shop, and they made no negative comments about my front end geometry, and it aligned fine and it drives good. I don't have the car in my shop currently (as it is in winter storage) to check how much thread is exposed in front of the front nut on the strut arm, sorry. (I do have pictures of the car in my profile though)
The other thing I did notice is that it appears that your front tire may stick a little further outward than mine. Do you have a disc brake conversion, or is your 15X8 chrome rally wheel offset less than the 4" offset on the 8" corvette rally which I'm running?

Kevin
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-17-2010, 12:24 PM
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By the look in your picture , I'll be surprised if the strut isnt pulled too far forward. Those tires dont look big enough to give you that problem and shouldn't at any ride height. As far as the a-arms being swapped.........I dont know about that , I would think the mistake would be obvious , IF it can even be done.
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-18-2010, 10:08 AM Thread Starter
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Kevin, I am running a Disc brake conversion on the Front and they are 15X8 Chrome Ralleys made for the Corvette with an offset between 4-6.5
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post #16 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-18-2010, 10:21 AM Thread Starter
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Joe, the tires I believe are G70-15 Firestone Wide Oval White Stripes.
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post #17 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-18-2010, 01:14 PM
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Quote:
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Joe, the tires I believe are G70-15 Firestone Wide Oval White Stripes.
I dont have the engine in mine right now ......... but I'll take a picture from the side and give you the tire sizes later.
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post #18 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-18-2010, 05:12 PM
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Tires are a P215 70 R15 26.5 inches tall
I wouldn't do this for everybody , consider yourself fortunate



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post #19 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-18-2010, 07:58 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Joe, I appreciate it. I think once your engine is in it will probably drop and get even closer. Looking good though. I might just need a good alignment adjusting the Camber Caster and Toe.
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post #20 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-19-2010, 06:06 AM
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Quote:
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Thanks Joe, I appreciate it. I think once your engine is in it will probably drop and get even closer. Looking good though. I might just need a good alignment adjusting the Camber Caster and Toe.
No . its already been in..............it doesnt get any closer...........the pic in my sig may give you an idea. Then again , maybe not...LOL
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