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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So in the span of a few months my alignments are getting screwed up.

Timeline:

Pre April alignment:
Went to a crappy shop that didn't give me a spec sheet so we can ignore the first alignment for the most part
I swapped from canuck springs to hotchkis

So I brought it this shop who has done good work for me.

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Post April Alignment:
Alignment specs to stock spec with the hotchkis springs, things look good (To me atleast)

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Pre September Alignment:
Swapped out the hotchkis fronts for moog 750 rate springs that raised it up in the front

Expectations are camber will be affected, however my caster is different, is hitting a pothole hard enough to cause the issue? The ride was a lot rougher with the hotchkis springs and I'm wondering if me hitting some rough surfaces and banging off the bump stop may have caused it to be off.

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Which brings up the question, how do I check the alignment without going to an alignment shop everytime. Biggest challenge is not having an even surface garage.

Probably will end up opting for an adjustable upper control arm to make it less of a hassle eventually.
 

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Assuming no other changes front OR rear,,
Other than radical ride height changes the caster should not be affected by re-re of a lower arm.
And and increase of caster means the lower ball joint has to have moved forward.

Sacked lower bushes , " waller'd " out lower bolts are possibilities.

Or is it possible upper arm mountings were not super tight and the change was from your road course activities ?

Just the act of RE&RE of lower arms should not radically change things but the factory hardware on 94-95 sucks.
Case in point, my car to my knowledge had never been curbed and its l+r shim stacks were near identical with the alignment I wanted.
When I changed the frame out with a new GM one , I reassembled with the same shim stacks.
The alignment was still spot on, didn't even adjust toe.
 

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When I buy a used car I usually do springs, upper and lower ball joints, tie rods etc. Two of those times the shop asked my why I wanted a alignment everything was in range and the parts were all new. What I thought after this was that I could set toe with a tape measure and the springs etc did not change the camber or caster.

You are lucky if the shop let you "hang around" and take pictures. Most just give you a print out.
 

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You can get camber/caster gauges on ebay, and go to any level parking lot (a slight incline as long as you are evenly on it can be used) for a place to check camber/caster. You can use a 4-6 ft. carpenter's level to check the surface for level. You could put a level no your core support and trunk opening, the put sheets of wood under the individual tires to level the car, and then do your camber adjustment. Once you have the reading, you can use your FSM to make the adjustment without any further checking.
 

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I would and do level the ground , not the car.
I would beg to differ on using the " need this number - got this number- do this shim" from the manual.
It is a guideline only and results will not be exact. Slop, arm angles due to height, many things prevent it from being acurate.
Right up there with marking adjuster cams on other cars and thinking the alignment will not change.

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And use new prevailing torque nuts after every 2 tightenings.
 
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I don't do camber and caster from home, but toe definitely. I made my own turn plates out of walmart thick plastic cutting boards and some axle grease in between. I use some decent string, a ruler and a helper to set toe with the rear wheels as a reference. Just run the string across the rear tires at the center of the wheel up to the front, measure with a ruler, adjust the tie rods.

I've been working on mainly FWD cars lately and it seems like every one of them I'm replacing at least one inner tie rod. I've gotten real good at doing them; many OEMs say they're not serviceable but Mr. Pipe Wrench says they are. If I'm in there, outer tie rod ends from Rock Auto are so cheap that I do the outers as well while I'm in there.

Making those turn plates is the ticket. So easy. Fortunately my driveway has a flat and level concrete area so I can do this at home.

The last time I did this, a buddy at a shop checked it, and I was only off 1/16" on one wheel. That's within the margin of error on the machine, and the car drove perfect. The only time I go to shops now for an alignment is if I have to have the camber adjusted. FWD / MacPherson strut cars handle so much better with a bit of negative camber.
 

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I don't do camber and caster from home, but toe definitely. I made my own turn plates out of walmart thick plastic cutting boards and some axle grease in between. I use some decent string, a ruler and a helper to set toe with the rear wheels as a reference. Just run the string across the rear tires at the center of the wheel up to the front, measure with a ruler, adjust the tie rods.

I've been working on mainly FWD cars lately and it seems like every one of them I'm replacing at least one inner tie rod. I've gotten real good at doing them; many OEMs say they're not serviceable but Mr. Pipe Wrench says they are. If I'm in there, outer tie rod ends from Rock Auto are so cheap that I do the outers as well while I'm in there.

Making those turn plates is the ticket. So easy. Fortunately my driveway has a flat and level concrete area so I can do this at home.

The last time I did this, a buddy at a shop checked it, and I was only off 1/16" on one wheel. That's within the margin of error on the machine, and the car drove perfect. The only time I go to shops now for an alignment is if I have to have the camber adjusted. FWD / MacPherson strut cars handle so much better with a bit of negative camber.
If you have a camber/caster gauge and the factory service manual, camber/caster is easier than toe.
 

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Deadly accurate caster with rudimentary tools I find at times challenging.
Direct gauge on ball joint pins work but few cars you can get at.
Caster sweep , to be exact , must be the exact degree sweep with a proper zero starting point.
If the toe or camber is way off it has to be roughed in be fore reading caster sweep.
If it is out or you don't have true steer ahead ( wheels striaght and no rear thrust) the sweep results will be inaccurate.
 

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I used to see them on ebay, but there are none like mine on there right now. I got an expensive one for cheap. Any of the magnetic ones will work as long as you can attach it to the end of the hub, not on the brake disk.
 
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
So this is the alignment I had gone with (in my build thread, specced towards autoX)

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As mentioned, the crossshaft bolt on the driverside (closer towards the firewall) is maxed out. Kinda sketch 😗


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However on the passenger side, it's still quite some ways to go. The alignment guy told me there's a probable chance that the arm is bent and we are compensating for it as the problematic caster issue is coming from this exact side as it keeps getting thrown off.

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If I can measure the caster in a few months, doesn't need to be dead accurate just needs to show me if one side is way off then there's something problematic going on. And at that point I think I'll have to opt for an adjustable upper control arm because labor on these alignments is not cheap..... already spent too much 😪
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
The oil is rust proofing 😅. Messy but hey if it keeps stuff rust free I got no issue. How the og crossmember was when I pulled it out. Not bad for a car in the salt belt.

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Guess the bad bushings make sense since the control arms are the only pieces of the front suspension that I haven't replaced.

Idk about the shims and how they should look like, first time thing for me tbh.

I'm just gonna run this for the rest of the year and next year get a good adjustable upper control arm.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Now that I had a bit of time to sleep on it.

Damn that was dumb not inspecting the bushings properly.. 😔 Self inflicted pain and money 😤

On the bright side the only original rubber bushings left are the upper one's in the rear axle and the front control arm one's so it'll just be a matter of replacing those and I think I've hit every rubber related to suspension on the car. Issue is the cost of getting it aligned again after those changes...
 
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