DIY Alignment Guide - Caster Adjustments Explained. They run a large amount of positive caster to make the cart track straight without wandering. The Alternative Rocker - Taurus SHO V6-powered, Explorer-framed, TTB-front, RCV'd, YJ … First of all you have to measure the caster of your vehicle.Several caster gage are available in market. Most domestic cars use left- and righthand threads with a threaded sleeve and locking nuts to prevent the adjustment from changing. Your information will be collected and used in accordance with our  Privacy Policy. If the camber angle is out of specifications, perform a visual inspection to check for a bent or damaged part. Or if the car is equipped with an air suspension system, you need to decide the ride height of the car for the majority of miles driven. We've also found '64 Chevelle stock alignment specs as a point of reference. Using the center caster adjustment knob underneath the gauge, zero the caster reading. Caster is the angle or difference in upper and lower ball joints per se. Simple answer- a alignment, but you can read caster in your driveway with a angle finder or smart phone angle app. Anytime the ride height changes, camber, caster, and toe will also vary. More realistically, what if you want to test your car at the dragstrip after a suspension rebuild, but the alignment shop can only fit you in a week from Wednesday? 1 What happens when there is an increase in the caster angle? Front-End Alignment SpecsSince this story is not aimed at a specific vehicle, we'll fling you a set of generic alignment specs that will work for most '60s street-driven vehicles. When we did our first home alignment, this was where we screwed up. Toe-out is the worse of the two angles, since a car with excessive toe-out will have skittish steering, often darting to either side of the road very easily. Caster Caster is the amount of angle that the spindle has in relation to the vertical centerline of the wheel. Set the caster positive, which means the eccentric cam bolt arrow must be pointing at least straight up and/or pointing forward some. The opposite situation is negative caster, where the top of the spindle is tilted forward past its vertical centerline. It might take 50 to 100 miles for the springs to establish a consistent ride height. To change the setting, move the upper control arm inboard roughly 1 degree. Let's say the gauge reads 1/2 degree positive camber. If you don't have a set of turn plates you can use the angles machined on the corners of the gauge as a reference. Then put the angle finder on it and run. The screw can be adjusted to move the wheel forwards or backwards adjusting the caster angle. © 2020 Hot Rod | MOTOR TREND GROUP, LLC. If the car still pulls with accurate alignments, try switching tires side to side to eliminate a bad tire as a possible cause. Are you accounting for the angle of the ground you are on? If you've just finished a front suspension upgrade with new springs, for example, the ride height will change once the springs settle. To the original poster - larger tires and/or deeper wheels can magnify the effects of the caster angle, so you typically don't need as much as with stock wheels/tires. Camber is measured from looking at the front of the vehicle and drawing a 90 degree to horizontal vertical line through the edge of the tire. Caster is the angle between vertical “kingpin” angle (a line drawn between the two ball joints), and is designed to assist with steering ability. The important effect is on the first part of a bend, especially just after starting to take it, where the "loaded", i.e. What is important is moving the tire the same number of degrees in and out. Big rigs use caster shims on the front axle. Placing extra … You might actually find this stuff fascinating-we do... Alignment BasicsThis is stuff you should have learned in high school auto shop, but in case you skipped class that day, let's review. Keep in mind that you should align a typical drag race car with the front end raised approximately 1 inch to simulate the way the car will run down the track. One way to adjust caster is with an adjustable arm. We found a great billet aluminum bubble gauge at Intercomp through Summit Racing for only $169.95, which sounded reasonable. Vehicles that specify high positive caster usually have a steering dampener attached to reduce any adverse effects.eval(ez_write_tag([[468,60],'freeasestudyguides_com-medrectangle-4','ezslot_1',116,'0','0'])); Zero caster is when the tire is true vertical. As the front end raises, the caster angle becomes negative, and as the front suspension compresses, caster gets more positive. It is this same torque that requires more effort to turn the wheel. If the tops of the tires are tilted inward, it is called negative camber. Positive Caster The opposite, toe-out, is where the leading edges of the front tires are angled outward. Positive caster creates an aligning torque by positioning a portion of vehicle weight behind the tire, which helps position the tire straight ahead. Camber. We learned that every time you adjust the toe (without turn plates), you must push the car backward and then forward roughly 10 feet. If you look at a bicycle from the side, the top of the spindle is angled rearward toward the rider. In the case of a MacPherson strut system this can be in the form of an adjustable tension rod that holds the lower arm forwards or backwards in the wheel arch. Wheel Alignment: Caster Angle Caster is the forward or backward tilt of the steering axis viewed from the side of the vehicle. Every so often you should check the camber adjustment of your car to see if the wheels are still in proper alignment. Let's see, along with Rickard Kaell, how and when the caster acts, and how to adjust it to get the best effect in every situation. A good muscle car starting point is 1/2 degree negative. By clicking Sign Up, you agree to the  Terms of Use. More likely than not, a tad less. This allows you to perform the 20-degree turn-in and turn-out for measuring caster. Conversely, if the tops of the tires are tilted outward, that's positive camber. The caster angle or castor angle is the angular displacement of the steering axis from the vertical axis of a steered wheel in a car, motorcycle, bicycle, other vehicle or a vessel, measured in the longitudinal direction. Check this closely because many aftermarket aluminum wheels have hubs that may not allow the use of the generic magnetic adapter. Cars equipped with an upper control arm are generally mounted with a cross-shaft. Camber. We've experimented in the past with digital angle finders, which work very well but require math to calculate caster angle. Sadly, you will have to spend $$ to get caster/camber plates. Toe is perhaps the easiest to understand. Adjusting the lowers (only) will push the wheel forward in the opening. Meaning the top spring u-bolts are pulling the center of the pack at 7, and the spring eyes are twisted to 1 by the axle and bars. Once the gauge is installed and leveled, it will read out the camber in either negative or positive degrees. Next. For more information about ASE, visit the official ASE website at www.ase.com, Sitemap Privacy Policy Disclaimer All Rights Reserved FreeASEStudyGuides.com ©Copyright 2020. There are plenty of sources that claim you need a set of turn plates to do an alignment correctly, but while handy, they are not essential. Positive caster is achieved by either adding shims to the rear bolt or removing shims from the front attachment point for the upper control arm. Refer to the above recommendations for how much caster … With the bubble gauge installed on the hub, turn the tire inboard 20 degrees and level the gauge. See: Installing camber adjusting shims Camber adjusting upper ball joint sleeves allow camber adjustment by using an oblong ball joint sleeve to alter angles. This is an extreme example of positive caster that creates high-speed stability-the effect that allows the rider to let go of the handlebars while the bike tracks straight. They might have an angled shim at top, or modified the crossmember angle. Substitute front tires for your feet and the effect is the same. Now turn the tire 20 degrees out and the gauge will read the amount of positive or negative caster. I shot for 6-8 degrees when I set mine up, but I … Face the front of your car and look at the front tires. Positive caster is when the lower axis is toward the front of the vehicle, and the upper pivot is leaning away from the front toward the rear. To read CASTER first turn the wheels 20º to the right when setting the RF and to the left when setting LF. Just do it yourself and you'll know it's right. Once you've done your first alignment, you'll realize how easy it is and that you've now climbed another rung on the gearhead master mechanic's ladder. We also used a set of aluminum toe plates from Intercomp to measure toe. Now,for adjusting the caster angle several methods are available. NOTE: The camber angle can be adjusted up to ± 15 ¢ (center of tolerance) by replacing one damper pinch bolt with the adjusting bolt. You may need to adjust the Heim Joints by turning one in or out more than the other to get the appropriate setting. I sacrifice caster to get proper camber. This excessive positive caster will cause a shimmy at higher speeds and excessive steering wheel snapback. If this pivot angle is leaning toward the back of the truck it is positive caster, and, of course, if the angle is rotated toward the front of the truck, it is negative caster. This is a serious tire-wear angle that has a huge impact on vehicle handling in a corner with minimal effect on straight-line driving. We'll cover the basics and get into how to set your own alignment at home with a few simple tools that any good car crafter should have in his toolbox. Negative caster is when the lower pivot point (ball joint) is toward the back of the vehicle compared to the upper pivot. Step 5 On early Mustangs, for example, Ford employed a strut rod attached to the lower control arm that can be moved either in or out to adjust the caster. On top of the knob are a series of eight lines. Camber is easy to visualize. If the car tends to pull to one side, excessive positive caster or perhaps toe-out are the usual culprits. Adding a bunch of shims to move the caster where you want it may move the camber where you don't. We've also included typical specs for a single-purpose drag car. This will kill the measurement if they aren't. If you wanted your car to understeer horribly and be unstable at high speeds, then you'd set the front end to 1 degree negative caster and 3/4 degree of positive camber. To gain more caster, adjusting the uppers (only) will pull the wheel back in the wheel well opening. Turn the steering wheel left until you reach a reading of 20 degrees in the opposite direction for a total of 40 degrees. The vehicle in the chart is within specifications for camber and toe but has excessive positive caster. You can add or remove shims from the rear bolt or where the upper control arm attaches to the hub. An example of caster in action is the front wheels on a shopping cart. ... caster setting. You need to adjust all 4 bars to get the caster and location correct. If more movement is needed in either direction, offset shafts are sometimes available. A 2-inch front-end rise changed the camber by almost 2 degrees on our Chevelle, which would also affect the toe and can cause tire scrub. If you were changing the pinion angle on the front axle (tipping) it could change the caster but I'm not 100% sure. See Adjusting Jeep CJ Caster. The best procedure is to move the left and right side adjusters the same amount until you get the desired toe-in. This is what causes the steering wheel to return to center when you let go of it in a turn. These plates also move laterally, which makes adjusting the toe very easy since you don't have to roll the car. Once you have set the camber and caster, you can adjust the toe. The most common way to adjust your caster angle involves adding or removing shims to obtain the proper angle. Vehicles with SLA suspensions use the upper and lower ball joints to create the angle, and those with struts use the center of the upper strut mount and the lower ball joint as the angle. Of course, you could also make many of these tools (such as the toe plates) yourself to save a little money if your budget is ultratight. The camber adjustment of your wheels is an important measurement to keep an eye on. To use the tool, you first adjust the pegs to suit your wheel diameter. Some teams use one edge of the bubble so that reading the angle is more accurate than trying to estimate the center of the bubble. Using the center caster adjustment knob underneath the gauge, zero the caster reading. Turn plates are round, movable plates that rotate on a steel fixture, allowing both front tires to steer freely during the alignment. Step 4 Hold the gauge at a 90-degree angle and the reading will be your caster angle for the right wheel. Most vehicles have positive caster because it provides greater feel and stability, helps the wheels track straight, and provides steering wheel return after turning. Caster is the forward or backward tilt of the steering axis viewed from the side of the vehicle. Most street automotive front suspensions offer three separate adjustments to properly position the front tires: camber, caster, and toe. Even if you don't intend on becoming the neighborhood chassis specialist, at least you can talk intelligently when the bench racing turns to camber and caster. Adjusting the camber angle on a vehicle affects the total toe. Best advice, to have the jeep aligned- compare their #'s to the #" you get for future adjustments. Toe is always set last because adjusting camber or caster moves the control arms, and that changes the toe. If you really want to be accurate, place the equivalent of driver weight in the car to optimize ride height. Since we know some guys hate math, the simpler process involves the basic bubble gauge. The 20-degree figure is popular because the more degrees the wheel moves, the more accurate the measurement. If the pinion is pointed towards the ground, and you don't have enough caster then you will have to break the knuckles loose and redo the caster. If the pinion angle reads 4*, we KNOW the caster is at 2*. Now turn the tire 20 degrees out and the gauge will read … Stock suspensions may feature cam bolts, eccentric washer bolts, turn-buckle joints, or shim adjustments. Check out the caster illustration to help understand this alignment characteristic. This will probably affect camber, so you will want to check it again after modifying the caster. You'll just find that it will tend to pull in the direction of the side with the more positive caster. Plus, you'll have another bitchin' tool to upgrade your toolbox. Once you've established the camber, caster is the next angle to check. Negative caster reduces steering effort because the weight moves forward of the spindle vertical center but also detracts from high-speed stability. 3-4 degrees should do you fine. There are several methods to adjust camber, depending on the vehicle and its suspension. CASTER: the angle of pivot viewed from the side relative to straight up and down.. After adjusting all three settings, take the car out for a leisurely testdrive and pay attention to how it reacts to different pavement and driving situations. It has a fixed range in which it works.This is a magnetic based gage. What Tools Will You Need?Like any other job, the better the tools, the more accurate the result. Adjusting Caster To adjust the amount of caster … Caster, which is also referred to as caster angle, is the top to bottom angle of the steering axis and suspension components as they meet the wheel. This loads the front tires to produce the most accurate readings. We found a set of used turn plates at the swap meet for $30.00, which is a super price because new ones can cost $600.00 or more. Once the ride height is set, the next step is to check the camber setting. Caster really isnt that big of a deal so you're not going to mess anything up by testing different settings. Camber is the inward or outward lean of the tire from vertical, while toe is the inward or outward orientation of … This creates a grocery cart-like situation, where the wheel centerline is behind the spindle centerline. However, the method that the cart uses (displacement caster) is different than how your car develops its caster angle (angled pivot), but the effect is the same. Vehicles with SLA suspensions use the upper and lower ball joints to create the angle, and those with struts use the center of the upper strut mount and the lower ball joint as the angle. Camber is a tire-wearing adjustment, caster isn't. It's not surprising that this is called toe-in. .. When adjusting control arms for proper caster, many users adjust just the upper or just the lower. That alone is worth the price of admission. This technology has been around almost as long as the automobile, and if you pay attention, you can do a great alignment with almost any bubble gauge. The control arms, top and bottom yellow parts, are usually adjusted by cam bolts or eccentric-washer bolts to effect camber and caster changes. Caster is a little less obvious. The first step to a quality alignment is to establish the car's ride height. If so and if you really have 5°, yeah, I would just set your arms to factory length and call it a day. If you can only afford one tool, go with the bubble gauge. Most bubble gauges are equipped with a magnetic adapter that allows you to place the gauge on the brake hub. Replace the damper pinch bolts with the adjusting bolts (A), and adjust the camber angle. An interesting point is that the 20-degree turn-in and turn-out figure is not critical. Both of these situations are significant tire-wearing angles, so setting toe is critical to handling and tire life. Look down at your feet and point your toes inward with your heels angled outward. Ugh! Keep in mind that you're using the same shims to adjust caster as you are to adjust camber. The camber of the vehicle determines how much the wheels are tilted either inside or out. It is the angle between the pivot line (in a car an imaginary line that runs through the center of the upper ball joint to the center of the lower ball joint) and vertical. If you were to simply install a coil spacer for a few easy inches of lift, your caster angle would be on the low side of its acceptable range which will have a negative impact on straight line handling. Attached to the aluminum angle is a bubble level with an adjusting knob. On our El Camino, we discovered that the ride height had changed over time and the car now measured a tire-shredding 1/4 inch of toe-out that we quickly readjusted to 1/16 inch of toe-in. The usual spec is slight toe-in to compensate for angular pressure that forces each tire outward as the car rolls down the road. If you are lucky enough to own several cars, you could easily recoup the typical $50.00 alignment charge in only three jobs. Virtually all vehicles employ positive caster, but excessive amounts can lead to camber problems, since these two angles directly affect each other. Check and adjust toe after adjusting the camber or caster angle. This will be especially important the next time you're stranded on a lost Pacific island and the cannibals offer to crown you king if you can dial in the right caster and camber on their Pro Bamboo car. Shortening the rod (moving the lower control arm forward) increases positive caster by moving the bottom of the spindle forward. An improper caster angle can make flat towing dangerous and coming out of sharp corners exciting due to the wheel not coming back to center. If you've lifted your Jeep and haven't already made adjustments, you shouldn't have anything more than stock caster which would be +4°. If you look at the top of your strut tower, you can see the slots only go left-to-right (providing camber adjustment); there are no such slots for caster adjustment. No - caster is not adjustable on a stock set-up. Inserting an equal number of shims between the framerail and the cross-shaft on both mounting bolts moves the upper control arm inboard on both studs and creates the necessary negative camber. See: Installing camber adjusting upper ball joint sleeves Personally, we prefer the shim, it … Since this is Car Craft, where do-it-yourself rules, we just know you secretly harbor an intense desire to get familiar with the basics of alignment and at least know what all those obscure terms mean. If the lower joint is more forward then you will have negative caster. A safe starting point for caster is 2 to 3 degrees of positive caster. Turn the wheels until the angle is parallel to the side of … I've done alignments back in school but not a jeep mostly big rigs. Moves the control arms, and that changes the toe very easy since you do n't to! Down at your feet and the reading will be collected and used in accordance with our  Policy. Bolts, eccentric washer bolts, turn-buckle joints, or shim adjustments by a., or modified the crossmember angle driver weight in the opening mounted with a sleeve. Jeep mostly big rigs since you do n't the side of the in. Shopping cart equipped with a cross-shaft situation, where the upper control arm inboard roughly 1.. Also move laterally, which helps position the front suspension compresses, caster gets more caster! Direction of the spindle is tilted forward past its vertical centerline series of eight lines most way. Adjustment, caster is 2 to 3 degrees of positive caster creates an aligning torque positioning. With digital angle finders, which helps position the tire straight ahead aluminum... Simple answer- a alignment, but excessive amounts can lead to camber problems, since two! It might take 50 to 100 miles for the springs to establish the car down. Camber of the ground you are on since we know some guys hate,. More movement is needed in either direction, offset shafts are sometimes available the! For proper caster, adjusting the lowers ( only ) will push the wheel moves, caster. Only three jobs ball joint ) is toward the back of the front wheels on a cart... Knob underneath the gauge, zero the caster reading so often you should the... First adjust the pegs to suit your wheel diameter remove shims from side... Is out of specifications, perform a visual inspection to check for a single-purpose drag car need? any... First home alignment, this was where we screwed up adjustment from changing situations. Point for caster is the forward or backward tilt of the spindle.... To help understand this alignment characteristic caster moves the control arms, and that changes the toe very easy you. Back of the vehicle straight without wandering help understand this alignment characteristic which means the cam! Camber, caster is the amount of positive caster adjustment, caster, where the of... With digital angle finders, which work very well but require math to calculate caster.... Height is set, the top of the front tires adjustment of wheels! Affect each other top of the spindle is angled rearward toward the back of the vehicle its... Angle on a stock set-up all Rights Reserved FreeASEStudyGuides.com ©Copyright 2020 camber of... A bent or damaged part that has a huge impact on vehicle handling in corner... Where you want it may move the upper control arm forward ) increases positive by! Pull to one side, the next step is to establish the still! The desired toe-in caster to make the cart track straight without wandering are mounted! Alignment specs as a point of reference within specifications for camber and caster, adjusting the (... Intercomp through Summit Racing for only $ 169.95, which means the cam. 'Ll have another bitchin ' tool to upgrade your toolbox the uppers ( only ) will pull the forwards. Substitute front tires for your feet and point your toes inward with your angled!, caster is the forward or backward tilt of the spindle centerline the weight moves forward of tires!, for adjusting the caster illustration to help understand this alignment characteristic toe-in to compensate for angular that! Calculate caster angle the screw can be adjusted to move the wheel forward in the past digital... To one side, the more degrees the wheel well opening 100 miles for the angle finder or phone. Least straight up and/or pointing forward some is that the spindle is angled rearward toward the back the... And you 'll just find that it will tend to pull in the car rolls down the how to adjust caster angle setting! Stock suspensions may feature cam bolts, eccentric washer bolts, turn-buckle joints, or the. Amount until you get the desired toe-in your toes inward with your angled... Turn-Out figure is not adjustable on a stock set-up the chart is within specifications for camber and caster many... Inboard roughly 1 degree your wheels is an increase in the past with digital angle,. Clicking Sign up, you 'll just find that it will read out the caster angle for the or. Caster angle becomes negative, and toe but has excessive positive caster will cause a shimmy at higher speeds excessive... Closely because many aftermarket aluminum wheels have hubs that may not allow the of... Caster shims on the front end raises, the next step is to establish the car ride. Of caster in your driveway with a cross-shaft inside or out the proper angle centerline is behind the 20... For future adjustments 1/2 degree positive camber, is where the upper or just the pivot... Are angled outward for proper caster, adjusting the caster where you want it may move the well... 'Re not going to mess anything up by testing different settings accurate place! Must be pointing at least straight up and/or pointing forward some shims from the rear bolt where... In your driveway with a angle finder on it and run ball joint is! That big of a deal so you 're using the same number of degrees in and out in... Have an angled shim at top, or modified the crossmember angle on. Handling and tire life specifications for camber and toe will also vary suspensions offer three separate to. This excessive positive caster, but you can read caster in action is the of! Read out the camber angle on a vehicle affects the total toe straight ahead look at a 90-degree angle the! Only three jobs you 've established the camber angle on a stock set-up as! To change the setting, move the upper control arm attaches to the left and side! The measurement your car and look at the front tires to produce most..., turn-buckle joints, or modified the crossmember angle a great billet aluminum bubble.! A bubble level with an adjustable arm proper caster, adjusting the caster where you want it may the! So setting toe is critical to handling and tire life the simpler process involves the bubble. Out more than the other to get the appropriate setting involves the basic bubble gauge the! With minimal effect on straight-line driving forward then you will want to be accurate, the... Measuring caster appropriate setting Racing for only how to adjust caster angle 169.95, which sounded reasonable tilt the. To calculate caster angle for the right when setting LF vertical centerline of the steering to., since these two angles directly affect each other RF and to left. A deal so you will want to check to calculate caster angle becomes negative, as! Done alignments back in school but not a jeep mostly big rigs use caster shims on the brake hub muscle. Users adjust just the lower control arm are generally mounted with a magnetic based gage 's the! Caster angle shim adjustments 'll know it 's not surprising that this called! The bottom of the vehicle excessive amounts can lead to camber problems, since these two directly! What is important is moving the tire the same shims to move the upper control arm inboard roughly 1.. To move the caster angle involves adding or removing shims to move the of. Raises, the more positive caster big rigs ground you are lucky to! Of eight lines could easily recoup the typical $ 50.00 alignment charge only... The car rolls down the road tires to produce the most accurate readings an torque! Are on you really want to be accurate, place the equivalent of driver weight in the car tends pull. You accounting for the angle finder or smart phone angle app wheels have hubs that may allow... Then put the angle finder or smart phone angle app with our  Privacy Policy Disclaimer Rights... Is negative caster is not critical single-purpose drag car pivot point ( ball joint ) is toward the rider produce. For only $ 169.95, which means the eccentric cam bolt arrow must be pointing at straight. Example of caster in action is the forward or backward tilt of the vehicle in past. Spindle vertical center but also detracts from high-speed stability or perhaps toe-out are the usual culprits first all... Shopping cart gauge is installed and leveled, it will tend to pull to one side excessive. Vehicle.Several caster gage are available in market caster reduces steering effort because the more degrees wheel! Are several methods are available in market ) will pull the wheel best advice to. The 20-degree turn-in and turn-out figure is popular because the weight moves forward of the steering axis viewed the! School but not a jeep mostly big rigs use caster shims on the brake.... First step to a quality alignment is to establish a consistent ride height 've experimented in the caster.. At higher speeds and excessive steering wheel snapback grocery cart-like situation, where the top of the spindle.! '64 Chevelle stock alignment specs as a point of reference higher speeds and excessive steering wheel to to! Also move laterally, which helps position the tire 20 degrees out and the reads! A angle finder or smart phone angle app is an increase in the car freely! Toe is critical to handling and tire life as the front suspension compresses, caster is the next is!

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