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  • Steering: Front Toe-in

    '55 President right front tire points out slightly. Been to two national tire and wheel places and both say they cannot adjust the toe-in. I didn't get a real good explanation other than it wasn't made like the preponderous of chevies and fords. Can anyone provide me a clue of what might be unique for adjusting the Studebaker? Both places had the Service Manual to consult.

    Thanks
    \'55 Commander
    \'55 President

  • #2
    I assume the front suspension is in decent shape so I don't know why they would have a problem. Find a good alignment shop and go to them. Here in this small town of 35,000, we have a shop that has been in business for 40+ years, he looked over my Avanti a while back and said no problem but the suspension needed rebuilding, which I did. Took it back and two hours later it left his shop with everything the way it was speced.

    Just look for a shop with some experience and possibly advertise they do trucks also. Best to visit them with the manual and they will quickly recognize the suspension if they can do it. You just need a shop that makes it's money from alignments.

    Bob
    Last edited by sweetolbob; 05-31-2011, 06:53 PM.

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    • #3
      What Bob said!
      A dedicated alignment shop should be able to set you straight (or 3/32" in). A tire and wheel store, even with their computerized equipment, will be unlikely to have the experience, or desire, to make your tires last as long as they could.
      "All attempts to 'rise above the issue' are simply an excuse to avoid it profitably." --Dick Gregory

      Brad Johnson, SDC since 1975, ASC since 1990
      Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
      '33 Rockne 10,
      '51 Commander Starlight,
      '53 Commander Starlight "Désirée",
      '56 Sky Hawk

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      • #4
        Toe in is such rocket science it can be set on the garage floor with a tape measure. Back in the CASO days, we always set our own toe-in before we took it to a shop to have caster and camber set. Any shop who says they can't set toe-in just doesn't want to be bothered with your old junk.

        jack vines
        PackardV8

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        • #5
          Loosen the two bolts on the tie rod (Turnbuckle?) and get a large adjustable pliers or pipe wrench and turn it. Using a tape measure you should be able to get it close. Jack Vines is right, it is not rocket science.

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          • #6
            Front toe-in...funny..
            Kinda like tuna...fish.

            Like everyone has said.
            The actual adjustment....is "exactly" like the "preponderous of Chevies and Fords"...and even Chryslers.
            Same fasteners need to be loosened, the same adjustment needs to be made, the same way and the same fasteners need to be retightened.

            Mike

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            • #7
              The toe in is the easiest of the front end alignments to do at home. I've always done my own with string and a couple of jack stands. I've never had uneven wear on my tires. But then again, its only been 35 years of driving it this way, so who knows? Send a PM and I'll explain how to do it. Its very easy.
              sals54

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              • #8
                If this condition has suddenly become apparent, then something has worn out or you have hit a huge bump. Check your rubber bushings up front.

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                • #9
                  liability....

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                  • #10
                    Most of the alignment machines out there today are computerized & dont have the program for Studebakers. The techs that they produce are only able to follow the instructions given in the program so they have no knowledge of doing things with their own mind. They have to be told how to do anything. If things continue one day in the future there will have to be instructions on how to twist off a bottle cap. It never stops amazing me how it is becoming so previlant that the simplest things mechanical are beyond what one would think is an intelligent mind. A little less than a year ago I worked at one of those "national tire stores". A nice 56 Packard came in for an alignment, but they refused to do the job, even after I printed out all the spec's that were available online.
                    59 Lark wagon, now V-8, H.D. auto!
                    60 Lark convertible V-8 auto
                    61 Champ 1/2 ton 4 speed
                    62 Champ 3/4 ton 5 speed o/drive
                    62 Champ 3/4 ton auto
                    62 Daytona convertible V-8 4 speed & 62 Cruiser, auto.
                    63 G.T. Hawk R-2,4 speed
                    63 Avanti (2) R-1 auto
                    64 Zip Van
                    66 Daytona Sport Sedan(327)V-8 4 speed
                    66 Cruiser V-8 auto

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                    • #11
                      Last year A friend's dad took his late model Grand Marquis to one of the big chains for new tires. It was one that included "free alignment" with tire purchase. They took one look at the rusty tie rods on that Massachusetts car and said they would not be able to adjust it. The dad asked if I'd look at it, and confirmed the tie rods were rusted tight. A leisurely hour with penetrating oil and vice grips got things freed up with guaranteed adjustment of several turns in both directions.

                      Bob took the car back for his free alignment. When they tried to turn him away again He gleefully told them he had seen the tie rod sleeves turning freely with his own eyes just a few days before, and would not be denied until they reluctantly give it a try.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by sals54 View Post
                        The toe in is the easiest of the front end alignments to do at home. I've always done my own with string and a couple of jack stands. I've never had uneven wear on my tires. But then again, its only been 35 years of driving it this way, so who knows? Send a PM and I'll explain how to do it. Its very easy.
                        Sent you a PM couple days ago.
                        \'55 Commander
                        \'55 President

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                        • #13
                          RHO, Sorry that I missed your pm. I'll get a detailed reply sent to you tonight. Got a birthday party to attend just now.
                          sals54

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                          • #14
                            RHO,
                            I answered on a PM, but thought I would place the response here as well, just in case someone else is interested:
                            I hope I can detail this for you without images. Please understand that this only works when the front end parts are in reasonably good condition. If your front control arm bushings are shot, or if the steering bell crank is severely worn, alignment won't fix the problem. But its easier to do the adjustment than it is to describe it. Here goes:
                            Before you start this procedure, loosen the tie rod adjuster bolts and be sure the adjuster is loose on the tie rods. Re-tighten the bolts for safety, then proceed to position the car for your work. Drive your car into a place where it can be allowed to roll to a stop with the steering wheel in its natural position. Be sure to remove front hub caps.
                            Items you'll need: two jack stands, 30 feet of string, 1/2 inch wrench, tape measure, pliers and duct tape.
                            Once the car is in place, loosen the adjuster bolts again.
                            Take two pieces of string, each about 15 ft long and tape each piece to the rear of the front tire, running it forward to the jack stand which is placed about 8-10 feet in front of each tire. The string should run across the centerline of the wheel, level to the ground.
                            After setting this up on both wheels, from the position of the jack stands, move the jack stand side to side until the string just barely touches the front sidewall of the tire. The string should be taught, but need not be overly tight. At this point, look down the string line toward the rear of the car. You are looking to see if one wheel or the other is grossly misaligned. If so, do the major part of the adjustments on that side until both wheels are aligned.
                            Now comes the measurement. Measure the distance between the strings just ahead of the front tires. Next, measure the distance between the strings at the jack stands. The distance at the jack stands should be one inch shorter than the measure at the front tires. Adjust the tie rods until this is accomplished. Be sure to reposition the jack stands after each adjustment. Measure again after moving the jack stands until the correct measurement is achieved.
                            Reach back under the car and tighten the tie rod adjuster bolts.
                            Drive the car again to see if the alignment worked. If not, just remeasure with the string to see if its still aligned. You may want to do the procedure one more time just in case. If it does not work again, you may have more serious issues in your front end to deal with.
                            Good luck. And let us know if this works for you. Others may be in need.
                            sals54

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                            • #15
                              Take two pieces of string, each about 15 ft long and tape each piece to the rear of the front tire, running it forward to the jack stand which is placed about 8-10 feet in front of each tire.
                              The distance at the jack stands should be one inch shorter than the measure at the front tires.
                              Sal, your method obviously works, but for those trigonometrically challenged, what would the the actual toe-in at the wheel with the string 1" closer together when the jack stands are 8' out? At 10' out?

                              jack vines
                              PackardV8

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