Front end alignment, what to expect?

Discussion in 'General Ranchero Help' started by Minotaur, Jun 14, 2020.

  1. Minotaur

    Minotaur In First Gear

    Messages:
    22
    Location:
    Allegan, Mi
    My '63 has negative camber on the drivers side front.
    Had kind of noticed the tire squealing in left hand curves, then some irregular wear (all on the inside edge) on the tire.
    When viewed with steering wheel centered the tire tilts in at the top.
    So I have an alignment scheduled this Wed. The shop had said $100 for the alignment and any other components would obviously be extra.
    Just curious as to what may be out of whack and what may be considered needing replacement?
    I chose a shop with really good reviews and they assured me they do work on old cars, hopefully they don't try to fleece me.
     
  2. 65restomod

    65restomod In Overdrive BRONZE MEMBER

    Messages:
    691
    Location:
    Danville,VT left NJ forever
    Have you looked at the ball joints? History of car?
    Any work done on the front end?
    Without seeing it it's hard to offer a opinion there is a possibility of bad control arm bushings or being wacked as in hitting a curb wheels turned or just very bad toe.
     
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  3. Minotaur

    Minotaur In First Gear

    Messages:
    22
    Location:
    Allegan, Mi
    Not sure of history or condition of ball joints, it does have new shocks front and rear.
    I've only had it for a couple of months so am familiarizing myself with it just with short drives here and there.
    So it sounds like it could go from $100 to over $1000 fairly quickly. I figure anything cost wise in between will be a win.
    Thanks for the reply.
     
  4. 65restomod

    65restomod In Overdrive BRONZE MEMBER

    Messages:
    691
    Location:
    Danville,VT left NJ forever
    A good front end inspection should be the first step into getting alignment.
    A good shop will do so before performing the alignment, offer them your observations and concerns while on the lift.
    It should not be in the 10K range parts are not that expensive, if in fact it needs ball joints you can get them with the control arms so keep that in mind when inspected.
    Feel free to ask our collective knowledge
     
    Minotaur likes this.
  5. Minotaur

    Minotaur In First Gear

    Messages:
    22
    Location:
    Allegan, Mi
    Due to a busy 2nd shift schedule (58 hrs week), I've elected to leave it at the repair shop tomorrow (they will park it inside) and then they will work on it first thing Wed morning.
    That way they can contact me to approve whatever they determine needs repairing beyond an alignment and I can rest a little between shifts, especially if it turns into a full day of work on it for them.
    I will post back to reveal the necessary repair and cost.
    Thanks again for the info.
     
  6. Minotaur

    Minotaur In First Gear

    Messages:
    22
    Location:
    Allegan, Mi
    The good news is my mechanic said car is solid and in good shape, ball joints and control arm bushings looked good too.
    However, whomever prior that did the work on the front end was sloppy and inexperienced.
    What it needed; they lifted the right front spring to remove the upper control arm to install a grease fitting in rear control arm bushing and reset left strut rod bushing to cross member mount and lubed it up. They had to replace the studs holding the shock mount too as the threads had been stripped by previous mechanic, they said lower shock mounts were never tightened either.
    Toe was off on both sides as was camber.
    Caster was really wonky, +1 1/2° left and +1/2° right, both set to +3/4° .
    Drives so much better now.
    All in for $370.
    Happy day :)
     
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  7. AimlessMoto

    AimlessMoto In Overdrive

    Messages:
    523
    Location:
    Townsend, MA
    On my 65' I went nuts (on the cheap) chasing squirrely handling.

    All of my ball joints were new, wheel bearings new and adjusted, rebuilt the power steering valve body, did the Shelby drop, put in new shocks and strut rods, new lower spring mounts, greased everything. Had it aligned with 3 degrees positive caster, 1/8 toe in, and hardly any negative camber.

    Still squirrely and the wheel was still a little off center.

    Know what fixed it all?

    GREASING THE STEERING BOX.

    There is a large bolt on the top of the box, down near the strut tower. Remove it, and the upper-most bolt holding down the pinion plate (could be on the left or right depending on the box/year).

    Turn the wheel all the way to one side. Stick the head of your grease gun into the hole (there is no zerk) and pump-away until you see it come out of the top hole. Put the bolt and cap back in, turn the wheel the other way, remove the bolts and pump in more grease.

    There is a Ford spec, but any good-quality moly chassis grease will work.

    Squirrleyness is 100% gone and it handles like a dream.

    I ended up adjusting the worm gear a tad as well... jack up the front end so both wheels are off the ground. Loosen the jam nut a full turn. Use a flat-head screw driver and turn in the adjusting screw 1/8 to 1/4 turn. If there is some dead space in the adjuatment.. mark where it was before you touched it. Loosen the set screw until you feel resistance and go an extra 1/8th of a turn... then tighten it back to the original position and go another 1/8th tighter.

    Check the steering feel with the wheels off the ground and the engine off. While slowly turning the wheel lock-to-lock you should feel a slight resistance as you pass dead center. If not, go another 1/16 to 1/8 turn.

    Snug up the jam nut without moving the set screw. Take it for a slow and easy drive and make sure you have full range of steering with no binding or stiff points.
     

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