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66 Charger Front end alignment challenge...

GassMann

Well-Known Member
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12:23 AM
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Location
Pullman WA
Hey all,

I have read many posts here and can see I am not the only one struggling with this issue. As a primer, I've had this Charger since i was 16 a towed it around everywhere I went since. I rebuilt this 66 from the ground up over the past 7 years. The steering has new upper and lower bushings, tie rod ends, pitman, idler arms and ball joints. I also upgraded the front to disk breaks.

1696207703700.png


Currently the car has serious camber issues since, of course, EVERYTHING is new and was disassembled and put back together. The cams are not adjusted at all so the tires spay out bad. No... I am not driving it yet.

I have checked around my entire area for an auto shop that will do a front-end alignment on anything older that a 1980 car and I came up short.

I am now looking at alignment kits and some advise from the pros. I have seen these low-cost magnetic camber/caster devices. Are they worth it?
1696208019068.png


Or should I invest in a professional tool kit like "Quick Alignment Kit"

I mean, I know how to adjust each setting and I know how to use a tape measure. The hard part is always the camber/caster. Setting the toe and centering the steering wheel is (I think) an easy matter of adjusting the linkage. In high school, decades ago, I learned how to align steering so I understand the basics. But, like many things with this car, this will be my first actual alignment. Kind of looking forward to it to be honest.

Sadly, I don't have a ton of cash to put into tools and I hate the thought of tossing hundreds of dollars at a tool set that is overkill or does not get the job done. Like grease plates... are they worth it? I can get 4 sheets of steel and grease them up... but not with degree markings.

Anyway... ANY suggestions you have would be welcomed.

Thanks in advance.
 
I'm guessing you probably go to car cruises in your area, or know some other folks with similar age Mopar's or other make vintage cars. Ask around where others have had front end alignments done and if were they satisfied with the results. It's hard to find someone that knows what they are doing on these older cars, especially Mopar's. Many years ago I rebuilt my front end and had it to the local tire shop where I have been getting tires on my modern cars for an alignment. The did 2 attempts on my 66 Charger and could not get it right. I asked a friend who runs a body shop and knows many classic car guys who he could recommend. He hooked me up with a Mopar guy that recommended an alignment shop that he takes all his classics to for alignment. This guy he suggested knew what he was doing ! Got everything perfect on my 66 Charger first time. I had it aligned to the suggested numbers in this article...
Turn of the screw: front end alignment for performance...
Good luck with it..
 
I'm guessing you probably go to car cruises in your area, or know some other folks with similar age Mopar's or other make vintage cars. Ask around where others have had front end alignments done and if were they satisfied with the results. It's hard to find someone that knows what they are doing on these older cars, especially Mopar's. Many years ago I rebuilt my front end and had it to the local tire shop where I have been getting tires on my modern cars for an alignment. The did 2 attempts on my 66 Charger and could not get it right. I asked a friend who runs a body shop and knows many classic car guys who he could recommend. He hooked me up with a Mopar guy that recommended an alignment shop that he takes all his classics to for alignment. This guy he suggested knew what he was doing ! Got everything perfect on my 66 Charger first time. I had it aligned to the suggested numbers in this article...
Turn of the screw: front end alignment for performance...
Good luck with it..
Thanks Twecomm... That article is a good read. 85 foot pounds is good advice as well. I live out in rural Washington State. We have Les Schwab and Evergreen tire. They won't do it... especially on a full restore like I have. Can't blame them really. They don't really have the skills needed these days. So I will give it a crack. I got nothing to lose. I have new everything on this car. Tires are new and equally aired. I think I will go with the bubble caster/camber magnetic tool. At $10 bucks, its low cost solution for at least part of this. Setting the caster will be a bit tricky. I know how to measure and calculate caster but I am not sure how to adjust the caster. I think the two bolts that hold the upper control arm in place allow for forward, backward movement to change the caster angle. Though... not sure at all.

Anyway... its going to be a journey. :)
 
Some diy guages in these threads. Les Schwab has really gone downhill. They screwed up the alignment on my nissan hardbody truck. Said they'd never aligned a pickup that used shims!


 
For me, after a rebuild I always set the alignment cams the same way before driving the car. I adjust the front cams of the UCA all the way OUT toward the fender. The rear cams go IN toward the engine. This gives the most caster possible and aids in straight line tracking.
Jigsaw hasn't been professionally aligned....

0 Jiggy A.jpg


....I just set the alignment cams as I stated and adjusted the tie rod sleeves by using a string line horizontally from the rear tire to the front.
Cheap and easy.
The car tracks straight, the tires don't squeal and it handles well.
 
Thanks Kern Dog. It has been about 2 years since I assembled the front end... before I put the engine in actually so maybe 3 years. I just went out and took a look at the assembly and yea... I think I get it. Rotate the rear cam all the way in... front all the way out. When you say in or out... is the off-center bolt closer to the fender when it is all the way out or closer to the engine?

At least doing it this way sets a starting point. My guess is they are both all the way in because the tires are splaying out.
 
The way that I suggested it puts the upper ball joint to the rear as much as possible. This gets you maximum caster. The front bolts will have the eccentrics out toward the fender, the rear eccentrics are in toward the engine.

I tried to scribe it out here...

Caster.jpg


Moving the eccentrics this way tilts the upper ball joint rearward.
 
The way that I suggested it puts the upper ball joint to the rear as much as possible. This gets you maximum caster. The front bolts will have the eccentrics out toward the fender, the rear eccentrics are in toward the engine.

I tried to scribe it out here...

View attachment 1533564

Moving the eccentrics this way tilts the upper ball joint rearward.
Brilliant... a picture... I totally got it now. The next beer is on me. :drinks:
 
So I studied up on the string method for toe... gonna give that a crack as well. Like I said, I know how to use a measuring tape. :)
 
What spindles did you use for the brake conversion?

They might affect camber.

The issue I have with those magnetic camber gauges is that you can't "jounce" the car with the wheel removed.
You really need a gauge that firmly attaches to the rim.
 
What spindles did you use for the brake conversion?

They might affect camber.

The issue I have with those magnetic camber gauges is that you can't "jounce" the car with the wheel removed.
You really need a gauge that firmly attaches to the rim.
Thanks YY1... I thought the same thing. Not sure if I should set the torque bar and lower control arm first, then do the camber/caster so I decided to go with an angle iron, bolts and a magnetic angle finder so I could keep the tires on. It should get me real close to the mark. It will also allow me to do the string method for toe. I forget which spindles I got... I will have to look it up. It was literally years ago when I did that work. Right now, every time I go into the garage my car sits there mocking me and asking "Why am I not on the road!!!"

I really got to get this thing rolling. :)
 
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