alignment/original shim thickness/lowered - Chevy Impala SS Forum
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 10-17-2015, 12:31 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Sisseton, SD
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alignment/original shim thickness/lowered

OK, I hate to beat a dead horse, but here I am with my whip. So for starters. I have a 1996 impala ss that had HORRIBLE tire wear issues but drove like a dream. All tires, front and back, would wear really bad on the inside. I took it in for an alignment, I feel they did not do a great job and frankly didn't care. Tire wear was still bad and I had really poor handling. So, I have rebuilt the front end (new front Moog UCA, MasterPro/O'Reilly LCA, 5/8" GM spindles, bearings, bump stops, Eibach springs, Moog sway bar link). Reasons for these new parts: driver's side spindle damage, tire wear issue, wanted larger ball-joints.
Perhaps I have not searched well but I am wondering what is the total thickness of shims that should be used, keeping in mind the Eibach springs. I know that I must remove 0.30 for every half inch of drop. Also, what does the FSM mean, what exact spot are they measuring, when they mention "trim measurements"? Is it the top of the trim panel that runs along the bottom of the vehicle? (that is what it looks like). When I was removing my UCAs, the shims all fell out before I could keep them intact, plus they were totally wrong anyway. Forgot the alignment specs from previous alignment.
I have seen various specs for alignments. I am hoping to receive more feedback on this. I have stock dimension aftermarket rims, stock size tires, and I want to achieve great handling without having to sacrifice tire wear. Thanks again for any information. (Sorry for the novel.)

Last edited by mr. e; 10-17-2015 at 02:26 PM.
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 10-17-2015, 09:34 PM
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You can do the camber with a bullet level from the hardware store. You also need a metal bar, and a protractor to do the camber and caster, if you are going to "old school" it. The wheel should be +.8 degrees for the best tire wear (top slanted out). You have to turn the wheels left and right for the caster. It should be +3.5 degrees with the front of the wheel turned to the outside lock. You also need the toe to be 0.00. You can have a little extra caster if you want the car to track a little stronger.

The Factory Service Manual has the alignment chart on page 3A-5.

Start by putting the same amount in front and back. Measure the angles, and use the chart to determine what shims to adjust. Since you are lowered, I would suggest about 0.060 to start with. You remove some fraction of them to increase positive camber.

You can get alignment tools on ebay. I have a magnetic base camber caster gauge, and I made a set of toe gauges similar to the ones available on ebay that use two tape measures (identical ones). The cost of the tools is about the same as a good alignment, and the second time you use them, the alignment is for the most part free.

1991 OCC 461 (.030 over 454) BBC, 3.23 posi, flash to pass, drop spindles & springs, Impala rims, Hydroboost, Recaros, MOMO/wood SW w/QR, custom wood shift knob, Pioneer DEH P77DH
1992 OCC now with 5.7 tbi, DEH P77DH
For a parts list, check

Last edited by Fred Kiehl; 10-17-2015 at 09:43 PM.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 10-20-2015, 08:23 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info Fred. I know it is difficult to say what thickness of shims to start with because of the many variables. I really appreciate your comments. I am going to take the impala in to a fella that does quality work and really cares about his customers. Bad news is that he is booked into November 10th! I will give him the specs you listed. I really hope they work for my ride. I have been going through tires like crazy and it is getting too expensive.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 10-21-2015, 06:32 AM
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Give these "improved specs" to your alignment guy....

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'95 Caprice SS conversion - Bonny Buckets - 96 Column, Shifter and Console - 3.73 Gear and Herter tune - Z/28 Cluster - Blazer OH Console - Green/Pink bushings - Chromed Impala Wheels - Eibach Springs and Bilstein Shocks - Corvette Engine Dress - the list goes on and still more to never ends.
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