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DrFishbone
11-03-2008, 09:18 AM
Does anyone know off the top of their head what the front toe-in should be on our SC's? I just put in a steering rack and am trying to tweak it a little better than it was before.

Also, when I took the old steering rack out, I measured the position of the outer tie-rod ends with respect to the threads on the inner tie rod ends...I came up with 2 1/4" on one side and 2 1/8" of thread on the other side. I decided to split the difference and set each side at 2 3/16" - but the steering wheel is more crooked when driving straight now...so obviously, it was closer to correct before. Is it typical to have asymmetry like this?

KMT
11-03-2008, 09:21 AM
http://www.sccoa.com/articles/wheelspecs.php


Suggest taking it to a shop/center that can do a 4-wheel alignment (Sears, etc.) - not that expensive and you get a warranty, peace of mind and...a nice ride :)

DrFishbone
11-03-2008, 01:41 PM
That will be the plan...I'm just going to try to get it as close as possible for now. It acts like the caster is wrong or something - I don't want to take it somewhere and they do the alignment, then I find out that I need to replace something! :eek: If I can check it myself and maybe adjust it to where it's close, as least I'll know whether it's the alignment or something else.

KMT
11-03-2008, 02:24 PM
>I don't want to take it somewhere and they do the alignment, then I find out that I need to replace something!

A good shop will inspect and not do an alignment unless related components are servicable...that's part of the deal.

DrFishbone
11-04-2008, 01:45 PM
Alright, I got it close enough for now I believe. There's still a rattling sound on the passenger side suspension, but it's not an orchestral performance anymore...just sounds like it's from one source. :) Doesn't feel like the car is falling apart anymore!

Thanks for the specs - they were just what I was looking for!

TbirdSCFan
11-04-2008, 01:56 PM
It acts like the caster is wrong or something - I don't want to take it somewhere and they do the alignment, then I find out that I need to replace something! :eek: If I can check it myself and maybe adjust it to where it's close, as least I'll know whether it's the alignment or something else. Unless you moved the strut rod and/or the LCA frame bolt, your caster/camber should be unaffected. If all you did was disconnect the tie-rod ends, then you should only be dealing with toe-in. For that matter, if you were careful to count the number of threads, each side should be within 1 turn of correct. You might try 1/4 turn at a time to center the wheel and test tracking. :cool:

KMT
11-04-2008, 03:15 PM
>Unless you moved the strut rod and/or the LCA frame bolt, your caster/camber should be unaffected. If all you did was disconnect the tie-rod ends, then you should only be dealing with toe-in. For that matter, if you were careful to count the number of threads, each side should be within 1 turn of correct. You might try 1/4 turn at a time to center the wheel and test tracking.

Any time components are replaced, the car should be aligned and no assumption should be made that the caster/camber/toe are 'unaffected'. It would be a waste of time and money to proceed without an alignment.

And doing it yourself is also a fast track to waste - the SC should be 4-wheel aligned on a proper machine by a skilled tech.

DrFishbone
11-04-2008, 05:03 PM
Unless you moved the strut rod and/or the LCA frame bolt, your caster/camber should be unaffected. If all you did was disconnect the tie-rod ends, then you should only be dealing with toe-in. For that matter, if you were careful to count the number of threads, each side should be within 1 turn of correct. You might try 1/4 turn at a time to center the wheel and test tracking. :cool:

That's my line of thinking. A proper alignment will be in order when all worn parts are replaced. I'm not going to rely on someone else's judgement on whether or not parts need replaced. If I think something needs replaced, I'll replaced it, THEN let someone else check it out. No sense in getting an alignment in the middle of replacing parts! :)

No sense in not "checking my own work" before letting someone else check it anyway. :cool: As long as it drives good for now, it's okay. Even if I have too much toe-in and it casues the tires to wear faster...no big deal - I got all 4 for $40.

KMT - I agree with you too - if you want to be 100% sure that alignment is correct, it needs to be done with the right tools and by someone who knows what they're doing. But I don't think I need to get a 4-wheel alignment if all I've done is replace the steering rack up front. ;) I would think a front wheel alignment would do in that case!

KMT
11-04-2008, 05:12 PM
>But I don't think I need to get a 4-wheel alignment if all I've done is replace the steering rack up front.

Not sure why anyone would think an alignment is superfluous in this case.

If the tie-rods were swapped out, you need an alignment. Not all components are made the same. Just because you count threads, you have no proof the end result is proper. You've already proved this to yourself by claiming the steering wheel is not sitting right, so it seems you're just not convinced to spend the money...in this case, the word would be 'wasting' money as you can subject your tires to a slow but early death, regardless of how you think the car is driving (just one example of the risks you face).

Your car, your time, your money, your choice. But please don't think a proper alignment would be pointless. If you expect to replace more parts now, by all means wait, but don't put it off.

As far as front only, versus 4-wheel alignment, if the SC used a solid rear axle, sure. The SC is not your average grocery getter and has an independent rear suspension. Any shop that would let you convince them to just set the toe isn't interested in quality or your safety...just your money.

Not doing a 4-wheel alignment to this type of car is a mistake. I paid less for a 4-wheel alignment at one shop than another wanted just to run the front. 4-wheel alignments have been common for years, and the SC should have this type of service done whenever called for.

TbirdSCFan
11-04-2008, 06:01 PM
Any time components are replaced, the car should be aligned and no assumption should be made that the caster/camber/toe are 'unaffected'. It would be a waste of time and money to proceed without an alignment.

And doing it yourself is also a fast track to waste - the SC should be 4-wheel aligned on a proper machine by a skilled tech.

If you have the $$ and time to spend for an alignment every time something is changed on a high mileage suspension, good for you. At $50 a pop (thats the discounted price), I would have a bill of $500 or more for 10 alignments.. At some point, some common sense has to prevail and you have to work smarter... or go broke. I choose to learn and work smart; count threads, measure angles, mark existing settings, etc. I get an alignment done when needed, usually after replacing the LCAs, and then apply what I know until its needed again.

Not saying you shouldn't get a proper alignment done, but balance the choice with judgement. Also, if its close, the car will track properly long enough for you to drive it to the shop to get it done precisely.

Your brain is the best tool you have. Use it to keep it sharpened! :cool:

S_Mazza
11-04-2008, 07:49 PM
My take on that is it's better to just replace any high-mileage suspension stuff while you are in there and then get one alignment. It seems to me that the parts are actually very cheap compared to the labor and the hassle of having the car out of service. So, when the situation permits, I do my own labor, buy the best parts available, and get it all done at once. Then I enjoy the car feeling right for a long time, instead of perpetually chasing clunks.

XR7Kurt
11-04-2008, 09:29 PM
Don't forget to check for loose K-member bolts when trying to fix an unknown front end clunk. My opinion on the toe in is that any time you can avoid someone else touching your car, it's a good thing.

DrFishbone
11-05-2008, 07:47 AM
>But I don't think I need to get a 4-wheel alignment if all I've done is replace the steering rack up front.

Not sure why anyone would think an alignment is superfluous in this case.


Emphasis added on "4-wheel" :) I just meant that I shouldn't need a rear alignment for replacing the steering rack.

I will get an alignment once I've got all the obvious problems solved. Timing isn't always in one's favor...so I guess that's why alignments often don't get done when they should.