View Full Version : Need help with Alignment!


chevygirl
05-14-2009, 08:54 AM
I need some advice. I am having trouble with outside tire wear on both front tires with less than 700 miles. Both outsides look scuffed. Alignment done on 2/18/09. Had the same problem before alignment. Everything is stock 1999 Z28 with Goodyear Eagle F1 275 40 17 tires.
Any advice

Here are my specs from 2/18/09
After alignment
Camber L 0.3 degrees R 0.1 degrees
Caster L 4.6 degrees R 4.4 degrees
Toe L -0.06 R -0.04

Let me know what you think.

JamRWS6
05-14-2009, 09:34 AM
I had the same question and did some searching. Here are the stock specs:
Caster +3 degrees +/- .5 degree
Camber +1 degree +/- .5 degree
Toe in .15 degree +/- .5 degree

Looks like your camber is causing your fronts to wear on the outside. Don't take this as fact as I'm not expert on this and this is the first mention i've seen of specs.

Does your car feel like the steering is heavy? Looks like you have too much caster too.

Do you have any feathering on the tires as well? Looks like you have toe out by your specs. The stock settings are +.

chevygirl
05-14-2009, 09:58 AM
Yes the edges of the tread are feathering on the outside of the tire. I have an appointment in the morning and need to get this place to get it right. These are high dollar tires.
Only thing adjusted on 2/18/09 was the toe from -.23 to -.10
Had wear on the outside then to in the same places. Nothing has changed.
Need advice from you guys.

JamRWS6
05-14-2009, 10:03 AM
Yes the edges of the tread are feathering on the outside of the tire. I have an appointment in the morning and need to get this place to get it right. These are high dollar tires.
Only thing adjusted on 2/18/09 was the toe from -.23 to -.10
Had wear on the outside then to in the same places. Nothing has changed.
Need advice from you guys.

Hopefully someone can chime in. If the feathering is really bad your tires are probably toast and won't be the same. Mine was aligned to stock specs (I don't know the exact specs on mine) and I also have the 275/40/17s and have 30K on my current set with no abnormal wear. Just a lot of highway miles.

99Bluz28
05-14-2009, 11:35 AM
Too much toe-in. :nod:
Also it wouldn't hurt to run a little - camber(-.1) if possible.
http://www.aa1car.com/library/tire_wear.htm

chevygirl
05-14-2009, 11:47 AM
Where should the toe be at?

chevygirl
05-14-2009, 11:57 AM
My tire looks like the feathering and camber.

99Bluz28
05-14-2009, 12:39 PM
Okay, I found my last alignment sheet.
For toe:
Front left .01*
Front right .01*
Total toe .02*

chevygirl
05-14-2009, 12:48 PM
Also I do not drive agressively and mostly highway miles.

99Bluz28
05-14-2009, 12:54 PM
FYI,
I have UMI front LCAs and G.W. UCA delum bushings, so my "toe" will change less than if you have stock front LCAs and UCAs with the rubber bushings when driving.
IMO,shoot for "0 toe" to 1/2 your current "toe" specs.

99Bluz28
05-14-2009, 01:10 PM
I had the same question and did some searching. Here are the stock specs:
Caster +3 degrees +/- .5 degree
Camber +1 degree +/- .5 degree
Toe in .15 degree +/- .5 degree

Looks like your camber is causing your fronts to wear on the outside. Don't take this as fact as I'm not expert on this and this is the first mention i've seen of specs.

Does your car feel like the steering is heavy? Looks like you have too much caster too.

Do you have any feathering on the tires as well? Looks like you have toe out by your specs. The stock settings are +.

Here's the Spec. range I found for a 97-02 camaro:
Camber: -.1* to .9*
Caster: 4.3* to 5.3*
Toe: -.10* to .10*

chevygirl
05-14-2009, 01:52 PM
I see my specs are within the range but I know there needs to be an adjustment on mine because it is messing up my new tires fast.

I think I need to go for 0 toe and -.1 camber and maybe that will fix my problems.

If I can get the guy to actually do it. I am paying again so hopefully they will do it like I say as long as it is within gm specs.

z28bryan
05-14-2009, 01:58 PM
Stock camber is too positive. My tires used to wear out on the outside too. Try to even get around -.5 if possible. I also have had 0 toe for a while. 0 toe is very safe to drive on and doesn't feel too twitchy. Hell -1.5 is wearing pretty even for me. I've driven on this from 245 width snow tires to 315 race tires on all 4's.

jclz28
05-14-2009, 02:10 PM
With the stock specs you will wear out the outside edge of your tires. You really need to go more negative on the Camber (-.5 deg if you corner gently, -1 deg or more if you are aggressive in corners). Go for at least 4 deg of Caster (this is what recenters your wheel, more caster and your car will straighten itself out on the highway). Toe in should be 1/16 to .125 inch for a daily driver. Yes, it does increase outer tire wear, but it effects high speed stability. You really want to have the least amount of real toe in during driving that you can without going to toe out. Toe out makes a car very reactive to steering, and while this is ok for autocross and cornering turn-in, it will make you think the car is very 'darty', to the point where it is tiring to keep straight on the highway.

Realize that these numbers are for a daily driver, and one with a suspension in pretty good shape. Worn tie rod ends wont let you hold toe in, worn ball joints will mess up both camber and caster.

chevygirl
05-14-2009, 04:08 PM
This place I am using has the Hunter Hawkeye alignment machine and is a chevy dealer.
I just want to make sure where he puts it at it does wear the tires evenly. I have had a time with my new tires anyway and don't want to go through it again anytime soon.
They have already inspected my front end twice since Feb. and said nothing was worn or a problem. I just don't understand why he set my alignment like he did when he knew I had bad outer tire wear and told him I wanted to make sure it would wear evenly and how expensive these tires were. I will see what I can get him to do.

Do you think -.5 camber is too much since that is off the limits on the stock specs?
I have read 0 toe was good on these cars and if I already have a wear pattern after 700 miles just like before real adjustments need to be made to make a real change.

99Bluz28
05-14-2009, 08:35 PM
-.5* isn't too much at all.

I would talk to the service manager, if the alignment they did on your car is causing uneven tire wear they should re-align it for free!
If their alignment guy can't set the alignment where/how you want it go elsewhere.

chevygirl
05-14-2009, 08:51 PM
Well I will see what I can make them do at my appointment in the morning. Just looking at my new tire scuffed up on the outside really makes me mad. I didn't have an specs when I went I just trusted that I could show them the problems and they could fix it. He said it would.

leadfoot4
05-15-2009, 06:54 AM
I need some advice. I am having trouble with outside tire wear on both front tires with less than 700 miles. Both outsides look scuffed. Alignment done on 2/18/09. Had the same problem before alignment. Everything is stock 1999 Z28 with Goodyear Eagle F1 275 40 17 tires.
Any advice

Here are my specs from 2/18/09
After alignment
Camber L 0.3 degrees R 0.1 degrees
Caster L 4.6 degrees R 4.4 degrees
Toe L -0.06 R -0.04

Let me know what you think.


MINUS values on "toe-in" are ACTUALLY "toe-out" !!


I just aligned my '96 Z-28 a couple weeks ago, also on a Hunter Hawk-Eye machine. The settings I used are:

Camber...."zero", both sides
Caster.... 5 degrees positive, left side; 5.5 degrees right side;
Toe....... .04 degrees both sides



Specs from my '96 factory shop manual (page 3A-6):

Caster........... 5 degrees, +/- 0.5 degrees;
Cross Caster... "o", +/-0.7 degrees;
Camber......... 0.4 degrees; +/- 0.5 degrees;
Cross Camber.. "0"; +/- 0.7 degrees;
Individual Toe.. "0"; +/- 0.1 degrees;
Total Toe........ "o"; +/- 0.2 degrees.

vjo90rs8
05-15-2009, 07:59 AM
get away from those stock specs
I have even tire wear and am running
camber: -0.7*
caster: +5.5*
and a bit of toe in

chevygirl
05-15-2009, 12:11 PM
Okay here is how it came out. If he brought my camber to -.5 it brought the caster down to 3.6 so I had to go with -0.1 camber to get 4.1 caster. He tried to get 0 on the toe but could not get 0 toe to stay so here is as close as we could get after 2 hours on the machine (he wasn't happy about that either)
After alignment See above for before
Camber L -0.1 R -0.1
Caster L 4.5 R 4.1
Toe L 0.03 R 0.02 Total toe 0.05

That is as close to you all specs that I could get. I am running totally stock. My main concern is even tire wear. I noticed it doesn't feel as tight on the highway speeds. It wonders just a bit more than it did. The dealership was pretty much not happy with me when I left because I took so much of their time. They had no problem charging me the 60.00 again after 3 months.

Any comments welcome.

vjo90rs8
05-15-2009, 03:41 PM
they must not be very good at doing alignments. I think they just adjusted the camber and monitored the caster. They should have been able to go -0.5* camber, then adjust the caster, then readjust any changes in the camber. It is definitely a back and forth adjustment, not a "adjust one thing and see how the other thing is affected". But with those specs you will definitely see better tire wear.

leadfoot4
05-15-2009, 05:46 PM
Okay here is how it came out. If he brought my camber to -.5 it brought the caster down to 3.6 so I had to go with -0.1 camber to get 4.1 caster. He tried to get 0 on the toe but could not get 0 toe to stay so here is as close as we could get after 2 hours on the machine (he wasn't happy about that either)
After alignment See above for before
Camber L -0.1 R -0.1
Caster L 4.5 R 4.1
Toe L 0.03 R 0.02 Total toe 0.05

That is as close to you all specs that I could get. I am running totally stock. My main concern is even tire wear. I noticed it doesn't feel as tight on the highway speeds. It wonders just a bit more than it did. The dealership was pretty much not happy with me when I left because I took so much of their time. They had no problem charging me the 60.00 again after 3 months.

Any comments welcome.

It's not going to feel as good at highway speed, because you don't really have enough caster dialed in, first of all. HOWEVER, the caster you do have(are you sure you read it right?) is ass backward!!. You put more caster on the passenger side, to compensate for the natural crown of the road, so the car drives straight. As you posted it, your car has more on the driver's side, so it most likely will "drift left". (I've run as much as 5.5 degrees caster on the driver's side and 6 degrees passenger side, on my car)

I wouldn't be concerned about your toe settings, because a little toe is good.

leadfoot4
05-15-2009, 05:48 PM
They must not be very good at doing alignments. I think they just adjusted the camber and monitored the caster. They should have been able to go -0.5* camber, then adjust the caster, then readjust any changes in the camber. It is definitely a back and forth adjustment, not a "adjust one thing and see how the other thing is affected". But with those specs you will definitely see better tire wear.


I agree.......

chevygirl
05-15-2009, 06:03 PM
Well I watched him do it and he adjusted the camber and then lowered the car and dialed in the caster by using the steering wheel back and forth changing the caster to react and making it what it is now. I spent 4 hours there. My alignment has always had a higher number on the drivers side then the pass. side it looks like. They were glad to see me leave since I made him take too long. Ha! It does seem to be pulling to the left some. It just feels loose not tight like before.

chevygirl
05-15-2009, 07:24 PM
Well I just drove the car again today and it pretty much doesn't drive that well at all. I guess they messed up something on the alignment or the specs are not working out on my car. I am mad as heck. I don't even know what to have changed on it now or what is wrong. I guess I will have to find somewhere else but I really don't even know to do about the numbers on it now. I have never had such a problem with a front end alignment.

leadfoot4
05-16-2009, 06:31 AM
Well I watched him do it and he adjusted the camber and then lowered the car and dialed in the caster by using the steering wheel back and forth changing the caster to react and making it what it is now. I spent 4 hours there. My alignment has always had a higher number on the drivers side then the pass. side it looks like. They were glad to see me leave since I made him take too long. Ha! It does seem to be pulling to the left some. It just feels loose not tight like before.


Are you sure this "person" knows ANYTHING about aligning a car? The caster is not "adjusted" by turning the steering wheel. During the alignment procedure, a tool is placed between the steering wheel and drivers seat, to make sure the steering wheel is centered, and doesn't turn during the alignment process, especially when setting the toe. Any changes that are made, are done under the car.

The 4th gen F-body has a lower control arm that has two large bushings, and bolts that go through these bushings. One bushing, the one closest to the front of the car, is in the horizontal plane, and the bolt that retains it rides in a slot in the K-member. This is moved "in and out" to adjust the camber.

The second bushing/bolt is toward the rear of the control arm, and is oriented in the verticle position. This also rides in a slot in the K-member, and this is moved to adjust the caster. (Kent-Moore tools makes a turnbuckle type of tool to help move the a-arms during the alignment process, and it makes the job a LOT easier).

This isn't rocket science, however it isn't a simple 15 minute job, either. As "vjo90" mentioned in his post, you don't set the camber by itself, then make another, unrelated adjustment to get the caster. You have to finesse the adjustments together, in order to get it right.


I know this job from personal experience. Last year, I retired, after 37 years of "factory work". I recently took on a part time job, driving a delivery truck for the local Advance Auto Parts store. Next door to us, is a GoodYear tire store, and I was able to use their alignment rack to do my car, as I had put new tie rod ends in it, therefore it needed to be reset.


I'll admit, it took me two attempts to get it "right on", as the first time I didn't have the tool that I mentioned, and trying to move the a-arms in small increments with a long screwdriver just doesn't work too well. The second time I had the tool, and it went a lot smoother and more quickly, but still took about 45-50 minutes.

chevygirl
05-16-2009, 09:00 AM
I am going to a Goodyear store today to try them.

spy2520
05-16-2009, 09:20 AM
This is true, you check caster by sweeping the steering wheel back and forth, you set caster just as you do with camber, if you adjust one mounting point and not the other it will always change both angles, usually pushing one out of spec as you adjust one in. Only if you adjust the front and rear of the control arm can you "dial in" camber and caster.

If he didnt have the tool for the control arm it would be a bitch to do just because its easier to pry the control arm out making camber negative than it is to pry it back towards the center of the car.

Also, in the event that the control arm was adjusted (front and rear bushings) then its possibly your springs may be a little too worn to give the correct camber specs with the correct caster at the same time. Takes some old ass springs to do that though.

2000Z28M6
05-16-2009, 09:55 AM
I found it hard to locate a reputable shop that actually had a person who knows alignments, instead of the poor noobs that get thrown in there from time to time.

Some of these other shops wouldnt even touch my car saying they didnt have the special tool for the alignment.

Try to find someone who knows what they are doing, when you do get the lifetime alignment.

The guy where i got my lifetime alignment is really good.

I just had him set my alignment for autox...came out good.

-.8 camber both sides
0 toe
5.8 caster both sides

when i say both sides they are within .1, so close enough!

Car feels really good with the -camber, sounds like -.8 might be alot, but not really, IMO they should have come like that stock.

For RR and autox, you want even more, but the stock bushing hold you back.

I'm looking into replacing them to gain a little more - camber.

Good luck

chevygirl
05-16-2009, 10:02 AM
I was shooting for 4.5 Caster. Is that good enough? I don't think my springs are worn. The car has 70,000 miles and they are mostly highway miles. He didn't adjust the caster at all on the car. This guy has been working at the dealer for 12 years doing alignments. That is scary. He told me a positive toe would make the tires point out at the front too. Ha!

leadfoot4
05-16-2009, 01:01 PM
This is true, you check caster by sweeping the steering wheel back and forth, you set caster just as you do with camber, if you adjust one mounting point and not the other it will always change both angles, usually pushing one out of spec as you adjust one in. Only if you adjust the front and rear of the control arm can you "dial in" camber and caster.

If he didnt have the tool for the control arm it would be a bitch to do just because its easier to pry the control arm out making camber negative than it is to pry it back towards the center of the car.

Also, in the event that the control arm was adjusted (front and rear bushings) then its possibly your springs may be a little too worn to give the correct camber specs with the correct caster at the same time. Takes some old ass springs to do that though.


On the Hunter machine, yes, you do the sweep during the initial set-up, when you're starting the alignment. After that, you don't need to move the steering wheel again, as the machine's computer takes both caster and camber readings at the same time. It is, however, a good practice to release the steering wheel lock tool and do a "final sweep" before you take the car off the rack, to double check things.

If you're using a pry bar instead of the Kent-Moore tool, and you go too far negative on the camber, all you have to do is run the jacks under the cross member, loosen the bolts, lift the car a tad, and push the a-arm back in, snug the bolts, and start again...

chevygirl
05-16-2009, 03:51 PM
Well now I have different specs and the car handles better. He showed me on their machine where the wheels were sitting completely flat at zero actually came out to be .3 camber and cross camber of -0.1 The caster is 4.4 L and 4.1 R. Toe is at 0. The camber he showed me was making the tire ride on it's edge with the -.1 so it would wear in the inside. They swear this will not make my tires wear on the outside. Their machine shows the footprints of the tire which was great to see how the tire was flat on the road.

SS SLP2
05-16-2009, 09:22 PM
chk PM
Johnny

chevygirl
05-20-2009, 12:25 PM
The last alignment I got done the tech says the caster will not go up any higher than 4.1 on the right side. Even though the alignments I have received from the other 2 shops were 4.4 on that side. With an even lower camber number than I have now. They are certain they cannot dial in any more on that side. So now it isn't within specs from the factory and it doesn't do as well as it did on the corning on the off ramps on the interstate. I drive mostly highway so I don't know if the low number will be a problem.

leadfoot4
05-22-2009, 06:30 AM
The last alignment I got done the tech says the caster will not go up any higher than 4.1 on the right side. Even though the alignments I have received from the other 2 shops were 4.4 on that side. With an even lower camber number than I have now. They are certain they cannot dial in any more on that side. So now it isn't within specs from the factory and it doesn't do as well as it did on the corning on the off ramps on the interstate. I drive mostly highway so I don't know if the low number will be a problem.

As you already recognize, your caster isn't within even the factory spec, let alone some "high caster" setting, done for high speed stability. Therefore, assuming the alignment racks that your car has been on are remotely calibrated, I hate to do this, but have to ask...Has your car ever been wrecked, curbed, or some other damage been done to the front K-member?

As I mentioned before, while I'm currently running at 5 degrees caster on my LF, and 5.5 degrees on my RF, I previously had it set at 6 and 5.5 degrees respectively, without having to resort to any unusual "stunts" to get those numbers. Any chance your LCA bushings are shot, and nobody has seen this?

The "low" caster settings will give you a little less straight line stability at speed....

chevygirl
05-23-2009, 08:03 PM
As far as I know it has not been wrecked or curbed. I am real careful with my car. It was set at 4.6 and 4.4 a few weeks ago. I took it to another alignment shop today just to have them listen to a popping noise in the front end that I now have. He heard it right away and he says the rack and pinion is internally damaged and has play in it. I am going back to the Goodyear place where I got the last alignment and he said he wanted to look at the caster and camber himself on his machine and see what he can do. His tech is on vacation. The problem is this is the place I got two wheels on the lips pressed in from those adapters. I showed him and we looked at the spades and he said they were not touching the lips. Somehow I have to make sure when I take it back to him we can make sure the spades are not touching.