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  • Steering: Wheel alignment specs

    I have a '64 Daytona built in Hamilton, Ontario. It has 205/70R15 tires on American Racing Torque Thrust wheels.
    The car did not come from the factory with PS, but it was added this century. But the steering ratio wasn't changed
    and there were too many turns lock to lock. So I swapped out for the 'quick steering arms' from Studebaker International.
    The car is now out of alignment. The wheels were cockeyed, but straightened (by eye to 3/8"), so I could drive home.
    I need the best recommended specs. The car is often driven at freeway speeds. The tires at 22,500 miles are wearing perfectly.
    '64 Stude driver


  • #2
    The Steering Gear ratio on Manual vs Power is exactly the same, unless you have the slower one in a Manual Steering Daytona Convertible or Wagonaire.

    With the Power Steering added it should have been fine as is without Quick Steering Arms, a 1960's Car will never steer like an annoying TOO Quick, Power Rack and Pinion New Car.

    Of course the Toe is going to radically change with the different length steering arms, your Caster and Camber (the Main components of wheel alignment) should still be fine, just reset the Toe to 1/16 to 0 Toe in, and you'll be fine.
    Last edited by StudeRich; 10-24-2016, 10:56 PM.
    StudeRich
    Second Generation Stude Driver,
    Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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    • #3
      Take two yard sticks (Canadian car - hum, maybe meter sticks) slide one over the other and fit them as high up as the suspension allows touching the curved bulge of the front/inside of the tires - then clamp them with a vise grip. Move the clamped sticks to a similar position (upper, bulged curve) on the rear/inside of the tires. Assuming you have too much toe in there should be a gap at the rear. You want to adjust about half of that out (as one area moves out the other goes in) with steering wheel centered, turning each tie rod equally. Keep repeating front/back releasing and re-clamping the sticks after each complete adjustment. I usually find 2-3 times works. Once you have the slightest of gap at the rear the toe set properly - enough. Roll the car briefly after each adjustment to take any twist out of the tires.

      I have found this far easier than a tape measure because the tire tread can vary and with a tape measure you typically need a second person. I find this only takes about 5 minutes. This will get you close, but not exact. Ideally that 1/16" should be measured at the spindle height at the forward and rearward most points of the tread. Attempting this across the car at spindle height with a tape measure would encounter body and suspension and is unobtainable. The points I suggested (inner bulge of the tire) are somewhat convenient and repeatable by a single person. However, because you are measuring at closer than ideal points 1/16" at that point would be "greater than" that at the ideal point. Thus, barely a gap is probably close to 1/16" at the proper point. OK, that all said I'm sure others will suggest the parallel string method. That works too but with sagging, wind blown string and measuring 1/32" on each side I have found it frustrating. Clamped sticks don't move, thus my preference. Neither is perfect and if you desire that accuracy you need to go to an alignment shop.

      Top view

      rear of tire
      ( )---------------------------( )

      --spindle------------spindle--

      ( )------------------------( )
      front of tire
      Last edited by wittsend; 10-25-2016, 09:19 AM.
      '64 Lark Type, powered by '85 Corvette L-98 (carburetor), 700R4, - CASO to the Max.

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      • #4
        of course 70-series tires are way too wide for what the engineers designed up front...... but aside from a few, radials prevail. Remember back in the 70's you got 78 series tires (e.g. F-78 bias). During the gas crisis everyone thought they'd get better economy with G-78's or up. Wrong thinking. So now the best replacement is 195's x 75. Hard to find, so most go with 205's x 75. Not to mention tire rubbing on some turns. Those wide 70 series tires should almost require no alignment at all with such a footprint....If I were on the highway most miles, I wouldn't even have gone PS, but I'm not elderly or that overly conditioned to new car steering....sorry...your car/your money....

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        • #5
          My bad. The tire size is 215/70R15, not 205/70R15. My '64 Avanti has 205/75R15's on NOS Chrysler 6" rims I bought years ago. I should have carefully checked rather than talk off the top of my head. I like the '64 Avanti power steering with about 3.5 turns lock to lock. The Daytona with 5 turns lock to lock was a challenge on the Tail of the Dragon (understatement!)
          The tires have never rubbed the fenders under any circumstances (so far.) Thank you all for your thoughts for getting the Daytona set up properly.
          I'll post my thoughts on adding the 'quick steering arms' after I have over 100 miles of varied driving on it.

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          • #6
            Put big hose clamps around tires,(need a slot to put them through) Put screw slots in center of tire tread facing in. Measure from screw to screw on front, then roll both wheels to rear and measure again. Damned easier than try to measure marks on tire.

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            • #7
              I'm a BIG fan of the quick-steering arms. With the 16-1 box and quick arms I get 2.5 turns lock-to-lock on my '63 Avanti. My '66 Excalibur has the same 2.5 turns from the factory but Stevens did it with a shortened center-pivot arm instead of the knuckle arms. Either way may not be current rack and pinion, etc., but they both work and quite well, actually. One of the major car rags, when reviewing the "new" Blake Avanti with the quick arms, was quite complimentary of our antiquated system's performance at that time... even then, there were, of course, many more modern systems to compare it with.

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