First Time alignment,,, Tips? - Vintage Mustang Forums
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Old 04-16-2019, 12:03 AM Thread Starter
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First Time alignment,,, Tips?

Okay guys Im back,

I have a 67 coupe and instead of spending $110 a pop for an alignment here in Los Angeles I decided I was going to learn to do it myself. So here is where I am stuck

1) caster is adjusted on the strut rods. I adjusted my strut rod as far as it will go and I am still only at -2 degrees of Caster I cant get any positive caster. Do I need to add shims or something.

2) My camberI am at 2 degrees positive camber. I cant turn the eccentric bolt any further. How can I get more camber. I was thinking if I leave it like it is currently and unscrew the nut I could take out the eccentric bolt and twist it to allow me to adjust it more after tightening the bolt back (if that makes sense)

Pictured below is the caster camber gauge I am using.

caster camber gauge.jpg
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Old 04-16-2019, 08:43 AM
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Get in touch with John at Opentracker Racing. He's a great guy & will give you all the information you need. He is on this forum by the way.
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Old 04-16-2019, 09:55 AM
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Old 04-16-2019, 10:05 AM
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Are you sure your camber and caster numbers are correct? +2 degrees of Camber is a lot and you need to be at zero or less. -2 degrees of caster with the strut rod adjusted all the way is not right. Are you using turn plates or something at least home made under the tires? A good trick on the 67+ cars is to install a 1/16 to 1/8" shim in the front bolt of the upper control arm to help give more positive Caster.

Last edited by cmefly; 04-16-2019 at 10:09 AM.
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Old 04-16-2019, 10:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 67 Doctor View Post

1) caster is adjusted on the strut rods. I adjusted my strut rod as far as it will go and I am still only at -2 degrees of Caster I cant get any positive caster. Do I need to add shims or something.

Was the upper control shaft replace or rebuilt at any point? If the upper shaft is not centered properly in the arm (too far forward), your caster will be toward the negative side. John at Opentracker suggests rotating the upper shaft to move the mounting forward, but I don't know how much you can get unless it's already centered incorrectly.

Was there an Arning drop done? If the upper arm is too far forward, same problem.

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Old 04-16-2019, 10:18 AM
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Are you using any slip sheets under the tires? They need to be able to move freely otherwise your suspension will be bound up. I use those heavy duty 3 mil contractor garage bags folded up under the tires. Works great.

While the 67 & later didnít use shims, no reason why you canít for extra caster. On the 65 & 66 cars 1/8Ē shim is worth 2* degrees of caster. Itíll be less on your car due to the greater distance between the UCA bolts.

I second talking with John from Opentracker.
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Old 04-16-2019, 01:48 PM
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I shim my 68's. john at OT suggested a washer on the front bolts of each a-arm as a starting point.So I do that with all.
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Old 04-16-2019, 01:58 PM
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John is occupied at the moment.
With both of those numbers so far off it should look funny and off kilter even just by eyeballing it! Does it look cockeyed? Bad tool or bad operator? Do you get those numbers repeatedly like after swinging the wheels and rocking and rolling the car a little bit? You should be able to seee the top leaning out with +2* camber.
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Old 04-16-2019, 02:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 67 Doctor View Post
Okay guys Im back,

I have a 67 coupe and instead of spending $110 a pop for an alignment here in Los Angeles I decided I was going to learn to do it myself. So here is where I am stuck

1) caster is adjusted on the strut rods. I adjusted my strut rod as far as it will go and I am still only at -2 degrees of Caster I cant get any positive caster. Do I need to add shims or something.

2) My camberI am at 2 degrees positive camber. I cant turn the eccentric bolt any further. How can I get more camber. I was thinking if I leave it like it is currently and unscrew the nut I could take out the eccentric bolt and twist it to allow me to adjust it more after tightening the bolt back (if that makes sense)

Pictured below is the caster camber gauge I am using.

Attachment 704564
FWIW, if you decide you want a shop to take a look at it I have a shop in the South Bay that knows what they are doing with old cars. They have very fair pricing and they will work with you to get what you want out of your car. They are literally the only other people to have ever spun a wrench on my car. And, I have sent several other classic folks there with happy results.


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Old 04-16-2019, 03:47 PM
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Take a look at my post I did a while back on my home alignment. I donít claim to be a expert at this but rather to show what one can do if they are willing to try and you should not be afraid to try as a general statement.

https://forums.vintage-mustang.com/v...er-camber.html
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Old 04-16-2019, 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Huskinhano View Post
Take a look at my post I did a while back on my home alignment. I donít claim to be a expert at this but rather to show what one can do if they are willing to try and you should not be afraid to try as a general statement.

https://forums.vintage-mustang.com/v...er-camber.html

Thanks for that link. I'm getting ready to align mine. One question I have not found an answer for.....is there a starting shim stack config? If not I was going to start with 1 at each bolt and see where that gets me.

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Old 04-16-2019, 04:33 PM
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Thanks for that link. I'm getting ready to align mine. One question I have not found an answer for.....is there a starting shim stack config? If not I was going to start with 1 at each bolt and see where that gets me.
Maybe back in the day when these were in everyday use and you regularly installed new suspension components. Just from experience you might have a starting point. Otherwise Iíd just hang everything together and see where it puts you. Then calculate the amount of shims and check.

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Old 04-16-2019, 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by RyanSterling966 View Post
FWIW, if you decide you want a shop to take a look at it I have a shop in the South Bay that knows what they are doing with old cars. They have very fair pricing and they will work with you to get what you want out of your car. They are literally the only other people to have ever spun a wrench on my car. And, I have sent several other classic folks there with happy results.
Hey Ryan, hope all's well!

Which alignment shop have you used in South Bay? I just had my '66 aligned at Johnson's Alignment, 19056 Hawthorne Blvd in Torrance, and was quite happy with the quality and price. They were very familiar with classics and using manual wheel gauges to measure everything. The owner is a Porsche enthusiast so there were cool classic 911s everywhere!

Cheers!
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Old 04-16-2019, 06:10 PM
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That tends to be everyone's go to in the South Bay and I have heard really good things about them. I had unfortunately a VERY different experience when I went there. Just scroll down to the link if you don't want the story as to why....

They charged me I think like $180 and took over an hour to basically tell me my car was garbage and that my frame was out of spec and that my car literally could not be aligned. On top of it their tech was an complete $%^wad and acted like I was putting him out to even ask why exactly my car was such an abomination.

I (very dejected) went home with my tail between my legs wondering if they were right and I had somehow spent at this point nearly 2 years working on a car that was "ruined." Spent about 4 days kind of depressed and not sure what to do..... then I remembered. This ain't my first mother$#%^ rodeo. I grabbed every plumb bob, laser line, and bubble level I own, and ordered a few more. I already did this when I first bought the car. Before and after installing the new floor pans and all the other structural metal. And used a porta-power to get it VERY square. But this time I went kinda nuts....... and checked every known point I possibly could.

To put it bluntly, they were full of it. Even measuring diagonally my car was WELL within the specs of the original drawings and from data I got from measuring friend's cars. (I even measured one in the Home Depot parking lot in Torrance) the guy thought I was a nutcase as I pulled in behind him with a tape measure in hand.

I then set out to find a place that worked on old cars and found https://www.yelp.com/biz/lees-alignm...ervice-gardena

Made an appointment and brought them the car, told them nothing of the last place and asked them to spend a day on it. I literally paid them for the day, and only spoke to the lady at the counter. Wanted a completely independent diag from them.

Why? I built the car entirely on my own, every nut every bolt, every torque setting etc.. So I wanted an extra set of eyes just to make sure I hadn't left something loose or done something wrong. The called me at the end of the day and I came back to like 4 techs in their mid-20's with big grins on their faces. The son of the owner and the head tech pointed to my car as I walked up "this one yours?" Yup, I said. Were you able to make it work out with the shims etc? "Sure did, and we got all that extra castor you asked for as well, btw this thing handles like a modern one now."

We then proceeded to spend the next hour or so just chit chatting under my car and walking around their little shop looking at other customers cars and what the plans were etc.. Shook hands, paid my bill. And drove my car for real for the first time. Since then, I've spent a lot of time in that car out in the canyons and since done several safety checks and tweaks since. All of which I have done with the help of the folks at Lee's and it never fails to shock me with it's grip.

Johnsons has a really good rep, most of my buddies are 911 guys both modern and vintage. And most of them were really surprised to hear of my experience there. Maybe I got a bad tech, maybe there was an honest mistake in how the car was measured.

All I know is my wheel could fall off in front of their shop and I wouldn't so much as ask them to borrow a lug wrench.
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Old 04-16-2019, 07:11 PM
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I definitely understand what you're saying and thanks for sharing the other shop! I read Yelp reviews saying how the owner was an a-hole and when I first arrived he did have an attitude with one of his employees, who I later discovered to be his brother. I interacted with many of the employees, while I waited the couple hours for them to finish my alignment and 4-wheel balance, and the owner was the only person I found to be a PITA.

John, the brother of the owner, completed my alignment, along with another tech, and they were very open with me and careful with my car. I gave them my alignment specs desired and they were able to achieve the modern performance alignment I sought. They were also very helpful in diagnosing a couple other issues with my car, which I hadn't realized were incorrect, and kept me updated with their progress along the way.

Overall, I'm quite happy with the improved steering and handling, but I wouldn't mind finding a shop next time that everyone wasn't walking on eggshells around the grumpy owner. Actually, next time, especially since I'm always changing my car, I'll probably just buy the tools to align on my own and eliminate that one last item I still have to take my car to a shop for.

Cheers!
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