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Front End Alignment

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  • Front End Alignment

    There was a special Internet sale sent to my e-mail from Harbor Freight a couple weeks ago.
    One cheapie item they had was a 'toe in gauge for $12.99..
    http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=30167
    Am getting some abnormal wear on the outside edge of the RF tire, I figured it was worth a try...
    Tried to set it up at 90 degree's to the spindle, but there is too much 'stuff' in between, so a 2x4 was cut to use as a stand off spacer for each side (the one on the tool was too tall to use)..

    I figured since I was measuring at 45 degree's to the spindle instead of 90 degree's, I'd cut the number shown in half and see how it measured up.

    Since the tie rod adjuster links were new in 2002 (and anti-seize treated), it was an easy deal to loosen the clamp lock bolts and rotate them to adjust. Found out it was actually toed out a small amount and needed to come back in. Since the generic spec is 1/8" toe in, (and performance is 1/16" toe in, Set it at 1/16" figuring the error built in by measuring down lower would mean it probably is closer to 1/8" toe in. (High tech thought process answer for swag)..

    Since the numbers on the gauge are in 32nd's, I wrote it on there for next time, because you know I won't remember
    Jeff[8D]

    Oh, In the picture you can see the 'Calvinized' turning plates I use for alignments. 2 pizza pans with a dab of grease in between. Works slick as pepperoni![]... Thanks for the tip Calvin! (Cost a buck at the dollar store)...



    DEEPNHOCK at Gmail.com
    Brooklet, Georgia
    '37 Coupe Express (never ending project)
    '37 Coupe Express Trailer (project)
    '61 Hawk (project)
    http://community.webshots.com/user/deepnhock

    HTIH (Hope The Info Helps)

    Jeff


    Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please. Mark Twain



    Note: SDC# 070190 (and earlier...)

  • #2
    Very cool. I can not see the pictures here at work, but I have heard
    of this technique before. Whatever works, works, you know?

    I would LOVE to be able to set toe, camber and caster at home. I had
    the opportunity years ago to do the alignment myself on the Hawk when
    I worked as a battery installer at Sears. This was my first job out
    of High School. I had brought the car in for an alignment, and I was
    told by the Automotive Manager that the only adjustment on Studebakers
    was "toe", you had to "bend the kingpins" to adjust anything else. We
    know this isnt true, but its frustrating to be told this. To this day
    the alignment racks that Sears (and MANY others) use, have the wrong
    data in the computers. They have no mention of removing the zerk, and
    turning the threaded bushing. This creates a lot of unstable Studes
    on the road. I think that the brand they use is a Hunter. I need to
    have my buddy who works there reconfirm this, or perhaps someone on
    this forum can. IF this is still true (which at last I heard it was)
    we (SDC) should make an effort to contact Hunter (and others) and get
    this info inserted into the software updates for their products.

    Tom

    '63 Avanti, zinc plated drilled & slotted 03 Mustang Cobra 13" front disc/98 GT rear brakes, 03 Cobra 17" wheels, GM alt, 97 Z28 leather seats, soon: 97 Z28 T-56 6-spd, Ported heads w/SST full flow valves, 'R3' 276 cam, Edelbrock AFB Carb, GM HEI distributor, 8.8mm plug wires
    '63 Avanti R1, '03 Mustang Cobra 13" front disc/98 GT rear brakes, 03 Cobra 17" wheels, GM alt, 97 Z28 leather seats, TKO 5-spd, Ported heads w/SST full flow valves.
    Check out my disc brake adapters to install 1994-2004 Mustang disc brakes on your Studebaker!!
    http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.c...bracket-update
    I have also written many TECH how to articles, do a search for my Forum name to find them

    Comment


    • #3
      quote:Originally posted by DEEPNHOCK
      Tried to set it up at 90 degree's to the spindle, but there is too much 'stuff' in between, so a 2x4 was cut to use as a stand off spacer for each side (the one on the tool was too tall to use)..
      ...then, obviously, your truck is TOO LOW .


      (but then, if it's too low, you're too old )


      Dick Steinkamp
      Bellingham, WA

      Comment


      • #4
        I have a LongAcre bubble type caster/camber gauge and the toe gauge, along with some Harbor Freight turning plates, a level, a plumbob, and a ball of string and a tape measure. The true 'old school' way of squaring a chassis and suspension for racing was taught to me a long time ago. The toe in gauge is nothing new, or special, and I have always done it with a crayon and a tape measure... But for $12 bucks... If you have a good, flat chunk of cement floor, you can do amazing things to align a front end. Computers and lasers are neat, but they also don't retrofit back easily. An alignment guy can be a computer whiz and still not have a clue as to what a trunion is, or how to adjust one.
        Stude front end alignments, service, and repairs is one area that I want my new shop setup to be able to do real well, and real easy...
        Gettin' there, one cheap tool at a time
        Jeff[8D]



        quote:Originally posted by sbca96

        Very cool. I can not see the pictures here at work, but I have heard of this technique before. Whatever works, works, you know?
        I would LOVE to be able to set toe, camber and caster at home. I had
        the opportunity years ago to do the alignment myself on the Hawk when
        I worked as a battery installer at Sears. This was my first job out
        of High School. I had brought the car in for an alignment, and I was
        told by the Automotive Manager that the only adjustment on Studebakers
        was "toe", you had to "bend the kingpins" to adjust anything else. We
        know this isnt true, but its frustrating to be told this. To this day
        the alignment racks that Sears (and MANY others) use, have the wrong
        data in the computers. They have no mention of removing the zerk, and
        turning the threaded bushing. This creates a lot of unstable Studes
        on the road. I think that the brand they use is a Hunter. I need to
        have my buddy who works there reconfirm this, or perhaps someone on
        this forum can. IF this is still true (which at last I heard it was)
        we (SDC) should make an effort to contact Hunter (and others) and get
        this info inserted into the software updates for their products.
        HTIH (Hope The Info Helps)

        Jeff


        Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please. Mark Twain



        Note: SDC# 070190 (and earlier...)

        Comment


        • #5
          Tom, you're absolutely right, that is true to this day. I always take the shop manual with me when I get an alignment. The funny thing is, the last time I had a car aligned, it was my '55 coupe. For some reason I replaced the driver's side outer upper trunnion but not the passenger side, so I had to *additionally* explain to the guy that he actually had to remove the *front* zerk on the passenger side, because the last guy in there did it wrong. Then, to add insult to injury, the guy was unable to adjust the driver's side. Turns out the hex recess was never stamped into the end of the shaft! There was a hole there, but no hex. D'oh! That'll learn me to not look at the parts CAREFULLY before installing them...

          nate

          --
          55 Commander Starlight
          http://members.cox.net/njnagel
          --
          55 Commander Starlight
          http://members.cox.net/njnagel

          Comment


          • #6
            Jeff,
            I too have a Longacre bubble gauge for setting caster and camber. But.......I've never been able to get it to work (and it cost me about $150.00). When I adjust (turn) the trunnions to try and get the alignment to specs all of a sudden the bubble will turn around and return back the opposite direction it was going. Any ideas on this? I wrote the company and NEVER received a reply (just one of the things that upsets me). I'd really like to know if people have been able to get this type gauge to work on king pin suspensions. Thanks to any and all who respond.

            wagone and the old R2 Avanti

            Comment


            • #7
              Hmmm...
              First things first....
              Did you download their instructions?
              http://www.longacreracing.com/instru...t.asp?INSTID=5
              (Copy)

              (note: I always get ass backwards on the 20 degree swing and rotate, so don't feel bad)
              Rotate the gauge until it is level.Rotate the gauge again to level and read the caster on the center vial (read to the center of the bubble
              quote:Originally posted by wagone

              Jeff,
              I too have a Longacre bubble gauge for setting caster and camber. But.......I've never been able to get it to work (and it cost me about $150.00). When I adjust (turn) the trunnions to try and get the alignment to specs all of a sudden the bubble will turn around and return back the opposite direction it was going. Any ideas on this? I wrote the company and NEVER received a reply (just one of the things that upsets me). I'd really like to know if people have been able to get this type gauge to work on king pin suspensions. Thanks to any and all who respond.
              wagone and the old R2 Avanti


              DEEPNHOCK at Gmail.com
              Brooklet, Georgia
              '37 Coupe Express (never ending project)
              '37 Coupe Express Trailer (project)
              '61 Hawk (project)
              http://community.webshots.com/user/deepnhock

              HTIH (Hope The Info Helps)

              Jeff


              Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please. Mark Twain



              Note: SDC# 070190 (and earlier...)

              Comment


              • #8
                I am not totally clear on whats happening, but I will remind all that
                while adjusting caster, the cam inside the threaded bushing will make
                the camber adjustment go full travel each turn of the shaft. You make
                the caster adjustment first, and than fine tune the camber by going
                back and forth to get your camber number. So if you are looking at a
                camber indicator, its going to change directions like you mention.

                Tom

                quote:Originally posted by wagoneWhen I adjust (turn) the trunnions to try and get the alignment to specs all of a sudden the bubble will turn around and return back the opposite direction it was going.
                '63 Avanti R1, '03 Mustang Cobra 13" front disc/98 GT rear brakes, 03 Cobra 17" wheels, GM alt, 97 Z28 leather seats, TKO 5-spd, Ported heads w/SST full flow valves.
                Check out my disc brake adapters to install 1994-2004 Mustang disc brakes on your Studebaker!!
                http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.c...bracket-update
                I have also written many TECH how to articles, do a search for my Forum name to find them

                Comment


                • #9
                  What Tom said. Also, if you can't get the camber in spec within a full turn of the trunnion, you're not going to. At that point, check and see if the upper inner shaft is flipped the wrong way - the mounting holes in it are ever so slightly offset to the wrong side. You can flip it just by removing the two mounting bolts and loosening the two bushing bolts. make sure you secure the front suspension somehow so the lower control arm doesn't slam down and let the spring pop out!

                  good luck,

                  nate

                  --
                  55 Commander Starlight
                  http://members.cox.net/njnagel
                  --
                  55 Commander Starlight
                  http://members.cox.net/njnagel

                  Comment


                  • #10

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I agree with what you have all said in response to my query regarding the bubble reversing direction. And yes, I have read all the instructions and have adhered to them carefully. To no avail! It has been some time (two years?) since I attempted to align my front suspension and after meeting with utter failure I threw the Longacre bubble device in the corner and have rarely looked at it since. My memory is a LITTLE clouded with the passage of time and I may have to attempt another alignment to be completely sure of this, but I am reasonable confident when I say that it is the caster I had the difficulty with and, as I said earlier, when turning the trunnion in a particular direction and the bubble moving say outward away from the car all of a sudden the bubble would reverse direction and begin moving back towards the car (as the trunnion is being turned with an allen wrench). All most confusing. And as I said, I got no reply from Longacre when I sent them a letter with this question. At the least a person is owed a response, if only to say "you're crazy"--that's better than nothing. I asumed that perhaps that type of gauge can only be used on ball joint modern suspensions and left it at that. But from what I hear Jeff and others saying on this forum that is not the case. As for the top inner pivot shaft being flopped over the wrong way, that would be used as a last resort when setting the camber and could be reversed from the normal factory position to increase negative camber. Mine are installed in the factory normal position. The Avanti FSM says that the shafts are installed at the factory to give maximum postive camber.

                      wagone and the old (but running--once the snow is gone) R2 Avanti

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Hey Wagone,
                        The reason the bubble on your gauge went the other way, is because when you turn the pin with the allen wrench, you're rotating the eccentric ( under the pinch bolt). One full turn will increase or decrease one full degree of caster but it only takes one half turn will give you the full allowable range of camber. So it requires a little give and take.
                        If your camber adjustment was close to spec and then started to go from positive to negative, before you reach your final caster adjustment, you have to be satisfied with what you can get. If you've cranked in as much positive caster as you can, but the camber is off, then you have to back off on the caster to get an optimum camber adjustment. You can generally get it within spec
                        No front end will be the same, due to wear, tear, frame fatigue, etc.
                        When you start out though, it would be wise to make sure the tire pressure is equal, wheel bearings are tight and the car is level. Some others, like myself, try and load the car with dead weight to make it sit, as if you were in the drivers seat...

                        Bob Johnstone
                        64 GT Hawk (K7)
                        1970 Avanti (R3)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          55 Prez,

                          I realize what you are saying, but I'm talking CASTER adjustment, not CAMBER. To my feeble brain when adjusting caster and turning the trunnion one way the bubble should keep moving the same way until the trunnion is turned as far as it will go--I can't see the bubble reversing direction in the middle of the trunnion adjustemnt. CAMBER certainly but not Caster. But like I said it has been a couple years and I may need to try again--but why things should be any different now I don't know. I've replaced a trunnion so I fully understand the eccentric which gives the camber adjustment, but I'm dealing with CASTER which should keep moving in the same direction until you reach the end of the threaded ends of the trunnion (i.e., out of adjustment).

                          wagone and the old R2 Avanti

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            If your CASTER is reversing direction, it might be time for new trunnions. Sounds like the threads are partially stripped and are slipping instead of forcing the top of the kingpin to where it needs to go.

                            nate

                            --
                            55 Commander Starlight
                            http://members.cox.net/njnagel
                            --
                            55 Commander Starlight
                            http://members.cox.net/njnagel

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              How are the wheel bearings? Maybe you have a bent rim? Or does the
                              tool mount directly to the hub center? The tool should have no idea
                              if its checking a ball joint or a king pin front end. Its only going
                              to show the results. Maybe I am wrong here, but I would say if its
                              not defective in some way, its not the tool.

                              Tom
                              '63 Avanti R1, '03 Mustang Cobra 13" front disc/98 GT rear brakes, 03 Cobra 17" wheels, GM alt, 97 Z28 leather seats, TKO 5-spd, Ported heads w/SST full flow valves.
                              Check out my disc brake adapters to install 1994-2004 Mustang disc brakes on your Studebaker!!
                              http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.c...bracket-update
                              I have also written many TECH how to articles, do a search for my Forum name to find them

                              Comment

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