70 Charger MASSIVE camber issues

Brakes, Steering & Suspension

  1. Triplegreen500

    Triplegreen500 FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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    So...I'm flummoxed about this one.

    1970 Charger survivor. Looks like it got ball joints a couple years ago by the previous owner. Drove it a lot this summer (about 3k miles), and towards the end of summer I started seeing (sometimes - more on that in a sec) some MASSIVELY positive camber in the front end. Like, visibly-tilted front wheels, tucked under the car at the bottom like it was bowlegged. Sometimes...they look normal (neutral). Thought I was imagining things till one day recently I noted the positive camber in the garage...then backed it out of the garage (straight line, about 35 feet)...and the camber was neutral.

    What.
    The.....

    I've checked the cam bolts on the upper arms - they're tight. Haven't had much time to dig far into it yet - it's cold, the car has no heat (on the list for this winter), and they're about to start salting the roads for winter I'm sure...so not much drive time these days, it's a low priority. But I'm racking my brain to try and figure out a) what could be loose enough to allow this sort of movement (we're talking at least an INCH of camber change), without any clunking while driving...and b) why it would move one way when driving forward, but go neutral when backing the car in a straight line?

    I'm home in daylight on Thursday, I'll get some photos of the wheels in the garage with a carpenter's level, and again after backing it out to the driveway. Meantime, anyone have any guesses?? Ideas of places I can look for problems?
     
  2. 72ls5fla

    72ls5fla Well-Known Member

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    upper control arm bushings or maybe the LCA's have bad bushings in them.

    those old dry rotted bushings disintegrate - specially when the car is getting used.
     
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    • Don Frelier

      Don Frelier FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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      Remember the wheels are toed in slightly so moving forward they want to "snowplow" especially if things are loose.
      Backing up will do the opposite alllowing them to toe outwards.
      You need to check everything but likely the bushings are non-existent particularly the lower control arm bushings.
       
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      • peabodyracin

        peabodyracin FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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        I'll be watching this thread as I have virtually the same issue with a 64 Dodge 330. This summer I was driving on the highway early one morning and noticed when I went across a bridge I could hear what sounded like rubber squealing.

        Stopped by the side of the road and looked it over and could not see anything unusual, so tried to drive some more. It seemed to come and go. Drove on a side street then at 30 mph and no squealing. I discovered once I hit 40 mph or so the front tires would start squealing. Ended up not wanting to drive any further so called for a ride home and came back for it with my car trailer.

        Once home I went through the same gyrations you describe with the camber changing depending on how you've moved the car. Put it on the hoist and found nothing loose. Lifting on the bottom of a front tire did not produce any unusual movement or slop. Looking at the lower control arm bushings they appear to be ok. The top control arm bushings I can't tell for sure. I've put the car aside to investigate further, so your posting is timely. I did already order new assembled upper control arms.
         
      • dadsbee

        dadsbee FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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        OP's LCA pivot bushings are toast... probably steel on steel..
         
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        • Triplegreen500

          Triplegreen500 FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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          Yep, I get the squealing too. After a walmart run on Sunday, pulled into the garage, tires smelled like a burnout (mild, but you get the idea - hot rubber smell) and they were warm to the touch.

          Glad I plan to switch to 15" wheels when I put front discs on, or I'd be pissed that the tires are getting chewed up!

          I guess I'll pick up some bushings for the front end and beat them in, before I take it to a buddy for alignment. It's a driver, not a restoration...suggestions? Energy Suspension still around? I run their poly stuff in my turbo mopars and like them...I know the 500 ain't gonna be a sports car, but I like 'em to handle as good as possible for what they are.

          Adding to the "winter list"....
          - bushings
          - complete exhaust (TTI)
          - test heater core and control valve (unhooked when I got the car - lifetime FL car, so was it leaking? or just...Florida?)
          - disc brake swap (which also means wheels and tires)

          Gonna be a busy (and expensive) winter!
           
        • Dodge 330

          Dodge 330 Well-Known Member

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          Keep in mind rubber is perishable and these parts have been on the car over 50 years!!
          I would recommend ball joints and tie rod ends while you're doing upper and lower control arm bushings. Not that much more work to make sure everything is in top shape.
           
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          • dvw

            dvw Well-Known Member

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            When the lower bushings go bad the camber will go negative due to the cars weight, not positive. Does it change backing up to going forward?
            Doug
             
          • Triplegreen500

            Triplegreen500 FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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            Not sure if "forward" makes it go positive (bottoms in), or twisty roads...
             
          • Triplegreen500

            Triplegreen500 FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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            Well, presuming the bushings are dust...I've ordered a master kit from Energy. Having never had a torsion bar car apart before...any tips? Things to avoid? Special tools required? I do have a .pdf manual that I'll review before tackling the work, but figured I'd ask folks who may have first hand experience with it...thanks for all the input!
             
          • Kern Dog

            Kern Dog FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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            Or the hole in the K member for the LCA pin is ovalled out.
             
          • WileERobby

            WileERobby Well-Known Member

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            On Mopar torsion bar suspensions, the "load" is on the LOWER control arm. So, those bushings will always take the wear first. The UCA is sorta a "follower" arm. When rebuilding these suspensions, the LCA bushings should be the first thing to replace, you'd be surprised how shot they can be !
             
          • WileERobby

            WileERobby Well-Known Member

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            Follow the FSM procedures. A few things to keep in mind: Do not score/gouge the torsion bar. Drop the suspension FULLY with the UCA bumper removed. Clock the LCA down as much as possible when re-inserting torsion bar. Do not turn the pivot bolt under load upon reinstall.
             
          • Don Frelier

            Don Frelier FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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            vlpJUzrmB7X64mbTQPlfGhZwn2DaMmaY5CmWX7wJUBLO-LsNF_MVr4KEcfStfoM6fQmvroos=w678-h903-no?authuser=0.jpg
             
          • Don Frelier

            Don Frelier FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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            I believe you are supposed to tighten it with the weight on the front end at ride height.
             
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            • Triplegreen500

              Triplegreen500 FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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              Information, please? So I can keep an eye out for stuff like this during disassembly...

              What would a potential fix for this be - new K frame?
               
            • Don Frelier

              Don Frelier FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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              I doubt it if the bushings just went recently it should be fine.
              Now if you drove it for 30,000 miles well then that would be a different story.
               
            • HawkRod

              HawkRod Formerly hsorman FBBO Gold Member

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              Sorry, late to this thread.

              My thoughts are this: It doesn't matter which front end bushings are toast, you should just replace everything and you'll be surprised how nicely the car handles. Overall, the bushings are (relatively) cheap, but the labor and alignment is much more of a pain to replace them here and there. So, I'm happy to hear you got a master kit - sounds like it has it all.

              Torsion bars: You will need to take all pressure off of the front wheels, so the car has to go up in the air and front wheels off (duh). (A lift would really make this job a lot nicer.) Then back the bolts in the middle of the lower control arms all the way out. This will loosen the torsion bar. Visually verify that the pivot in the lower control arm (LCA) is loose. There is a small clip behind each torsion bar you will also need to remove.

              If the torsion bars have never been out, they will likely be very stubborn. You will almost certainly need a torsion bar removal tool. I made my own:
              20211203_082305.jpg

              It is simply two pieces of thick steel with four holes drilled through it. Not shown, but I also wrap the bar with old inner tube material (rubber) to protect the bar from nicks. Then tighten the heck out of it. You can see by the bends mine has been tightened a bit! :D

              It may help to actually go to the back of the bar and hammer it IN a little. This to jar the bar loose from where it has likely "bonded" itself to the LCA pivot. Use penetrating fluid also where the torsion bar enters the LCA as well. Then beat on the tool as close to the torsion bar as possible to beat the bars out. Use a BFH (big **** hammer) to shock it loose. Note that there is a left and right bar, so don't mix them up.

              Good luck!
               
            • Triplegreen500

              Triplegreen500 FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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              Haven't HAD it for 30k lol.

              I might have put 3k on it since I got it a year ago...have to look at the title, but I'm pretty sure I titled it with 5k showing and it's now just over 8k (as in 105k and 108k total). I only started noticing this condition within the last tank or two of fuel, so 250-300 miles?
               
            • Don Frelier

              Don Frelier FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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              Now if you were to ship him your removal tool shown above then we can be fairly certain it won't be needed.
              Just a thought...
               
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