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Alignments and other thoughts

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Bob87Burb, Sep 7, 2003.

  1. Bob87Burb

    Bob87Burb 1/2 ton status

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    So I've just finished installing the 2" Rough Country spring kit, along with all new front end parts. Not bad, the kit only sat in my shop for 6 months before I got around to putting it on. Everything went well, and the ride is fantastic. Just enough lift for me. My question is:

    When doing an alignment on the SFA trucks, I was under the assumption that camber is not adjustable. Seems like the local shops are split 50/50 on this one. Some say you can use an eccentric sleeve on the upper ball joint,and some say no. I also say no, since that sleeve sets the preload for the upper ball joint. All the eccentric sleeves I have been shown are not threaded, therefore doing nothing for the ball joint preload. My best guess is that when installing these, you would use the castle nut to set preload, but I really don't care for that idea.

    The caber looks fine to me, however I want a proper alignment. If that includes eccentrics for the camber, then so be it. Just sounded off the wall to me though.

    Thoughts?

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. HarryH3

    HarryH3 1 ton status Author

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    Some shops will install thin, angled shims between the spindle and the steering knuckle to correct the camber. It's an expensive process, since they have to pull the caliper, rotor, and spindle off of each side to insert the shims.

    I think that GM might have even started doing this at the factory somewhere along the line as 2 different 10-bolt front ends that I've pulled apart recently already had those shims in place.
     
  3. 88Silverado

    88Silverado 1/2 ton status

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    Just had my 88 aligned.
    Camber was at 1-3/4*, they reset it to 1/2* using shims. I think it should be around 0-1/4. Factory spec is 1.5 +/- 3/4....waaaaay too much /forums/images/graemlins/eek.gif
     
  4. wrathORC

    wrathORC 1/2 ton status

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    Castor, AKA rake, is how much the top balljoint (or kingpin) follows the bottom balljoint. For the most part, you want 3-8°. High-speed enthusiasts like as much as 12°.

    Camber is how much the top of the tire leans in or out. Negative camber is with the top of the tire leaning in. It helps high-speed cornering. GM vehicles are notorious for having positive camber which helps very low speed turning (when was the last time you saw a tractor with negative camber?).

    I've seen those camber shims and the eccentric castor sleeves. They're there for poor machining. Kind of like a bandaid fix for a broken leg. I don't see a problem with the eccentric sleeves because chances are they aren't that important. You can get them plenty tight with the nut and in reality the top balljoints never wear out first anyway.
     
  5. Twiz

    Twiz 1/2 ton status

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    The upper ball joint eccentric sleeve can be purchased in different dergees, they are threaded (to adjust "pre-load")and it is fairly common practice to use them.
    At-least it was - the stock sleeve are often a real pain to remove after years of corrosion/rust.

    The steel shimms, are a bit more popular to use. I'm not sure why that is. Maybe the lesser of the two evils, as far as installing them.

    Either way. The stock SF axle assembly is a pretty strong unit, and less prone to looseing alignment specs, but it can and does happen. Years of use/abuse, "curb-checks", pot-holes and so forth - can indeed, tweek the houseing. And a slight tweek in the houseing can cause a major change at the tire.


    For the reccord;
    Adjusting "upper ball-joint pre-load" is abit miss-leading.
    Pre-loading (measureing the force required) - is "How" it is done, it is not "why" it is done.
    What you are actualy doing is adjusting for the distance between the upper and lower ball-joint.
     
  6. Bob87Burb

    Bob87Burb 1/2 ton status

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    Well at least now I know it is a common practice. That was the confusing part. For now, I installed the threaded straight sleeves. I'll let an alignment shop that's willing to get the camber in correctly worry about how they're going to do it. Seems like either method is acceptable.

    I know prices vary by region and shop, but what's an expected price range? 100-200? More? Just want to make sure I have the dough set aside for it before I bring it in.

    As always, thanks for the help guys! I'll get some pics up soon. Bodywork is now beginning.
     
  7. 88Silverado

    88Silverado 1/2 ton status

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    the alignment on my 88 (caster/camber/tow) was $60 out the door.
     
  8. Bob87Burb

    Bob87Burb 1/2 ton status

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    [ QUOTE ]
    the alignment on my 88 (caster/camber/tow) was $60 out the door.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Excellent price. I've started shopping around, and it's not as expensive as I was told. $75 is the cheapest, $125 the most expensive. Definitely not the $200 a "qulaified mechanic" told me it would be. Then again, the same guy said I could not put manual hubs in without changing the transfer case. /forums/images/graemlins/rotfl.gif
     

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