Offroad Trailblazers and Envoys

Was the alignment tech just being lazy?

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by Timberwolf » Fri Jan 06, 2017 4:50 pm

My before and after sheet.

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Pretty much looks like they didn't touch the caster. At first I chalked it up to maybe the lift changing something so they didn't have the option to adjust it. But after coming home and doing some googling... it looks like they just didn't bother?

Or am I missing something?

Upper control arms are brand new (bushings and all), and are flipped and swapped.
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by rScherzer » Fri Jan 06, 2017 6:26 pm

I'm going to try and flip mine tonight after work. I'll post up a picture of my alignment when I'm done. Just a side note it looks like that aligned it using cross specs, meaning they tried to match it to the other side.
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by Timberwolf » Fri Jan 06, 2017 6:58 pm

I'm guessing they loosened the bolts to fix the camber, and the change in caster was just collateral to that process.
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by Timberwolf » Fri Jan 06, 2017 7:01 pm

rScherzer wrote:I'm going to try and flip mine tonight after work. I'll post up a picture of my alignment when I'm done. Just a side note it looks like that aligned it using cross specs, meaning they tried to match it to the other side.

for $50 each at advance auto, I just went ahead and bought brand new upper control arms. Got fresh bushings already installed that way, brand new bolts, and shiny black paint :)
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by HawkeyeC25 » Fri Jan 06, 2017 9:56 pm

Looks like they indeed set your caster. The upper control arms are not adjustable, but the lower control arms are used to adjust caster. But flipping the upper control arms puts the upper ball joints way forward which means they can only compensate so much with the lower control arm. You look like you are up against the limit for caster (I think mine is almost the same result). Looks good!
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by Timberwolf » Fri Jan 06, 2017 10:57 pm

HawkeyeC25 wrote:Looks like they indeed set your caster. The upper control arms are not adjustable, but the lower control arms are used to adjust caster. But flipping the upper control arms puts the upper ball joints way forward which means they can only compensate so much with the lower control arm. You look like you are up against the limit for caster (I think mine is almost the same result). Looks good!

think so? they only moved it about a half a degree. I would have thought there'd be more adjustment in there than that? I keep seeing everyone say their alignment tech was able to get them back in spec (3° to 4°).

Now you have me nervous...
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by rScherzer » Fri Jan 06, 2017 11:27 pm

I got my UCA's flipped after work today and then spent about 45 minuets adjusting the suspension. I figured I would sacrifice a bit of caster to keep the camber at or near 0.
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by Timberwolf » Sat Jan 07, 2017 12:14 am

I'd be much happier at 3° than at less than 1°
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by HawkeyeC25 » Sat Jan 07, 2017 12:38 am

Timberwolf wrote:I'd be much happier at 3° than at less than 1°

Your shop probably already put in a spec of 3.5 degrees so your readings are trying to get to 0 as a target! Which means you are closer to 2.9 and 2.8... Pretty much inline with everyone else. Good to go!!

PS There's no way you have 0 caster.
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by rScherzer » Sat Jan 07, 2017 6:06 pm

Like HawkeyeC25 said some alignment techs like to set the machine to read 0 when everything is good. Its not the actual number of caster. I like to see actual angle numbers. 0 means nothing to me. The numbers would tell me whats going on. There are other angles like Included angle SAI. Im sure those are all messed up due to the spacer and lift.
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by Timberwolf » Sat Jan 07, 2017 8:23 pm

Is it normal to do that just for the caster though?
Anyway, took it back today, and it is indeed maxed out.
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by rScherzer » Sun Jan 08, 2017 12:42 am

What I do when it comes to alignments and vehicles that are modified, is first set it so it won't chew up the tires, then if there is room adjust it so it won't pull. Big tires are expensive and if I could get the tires to last a little longer then that the way I normally set them up. Some guys adjust just enough that it will work. That's mostly what I find with flat rate techs.
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by Trail X » Mon Jan 09, 2017 10:08 am

Mike, there's nothing particularly special about that caster number. The camber and toe will affect tire wear, but the caster is really just a steering-wheel-feel number. If your steering wheel feels normal to you, and the tires center well and track well on the interstate, then you're fine. If you don't like the centering force, or how it tracks on the interstate, then you'll need to look for other ways to fix it. The good thing about low caster is that you'll be steadier on the highway with high crosswinds.
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by Timberwolf » Mon Jan 09, 2017 10:17 am

I'm used to jeeps... where if you got much under 4° you'd end up with death wobble :lol:
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by rScherzer » Mon Jan 09, 2017 2:37 pm

Trail X wrote:Mike, there's nothing particularly special about that caster number. The camber and toe will affect tire wear, but the caster is really just a steering-wheel-feel number. If your steering wheel feels normal to you, and the tires center well and track well on the interstate, then you're fine. If you don't like the centering force, or how it tracks on the interstate, then you'll need to look for other ways to fix it. The good thing about[b] low caster is that you'll be steadier on the highway with high crosswinds.[/b]


Correct me if I'm wrong but wouldn't higher caster be steadier on the highway? My thought is that the higher the number the more force is applied on the wheel to want to track strait. I'm not sure what the affects of crosswind would do :scratch: But then like you had said as long as it tracks strait and doesn't wear the tires your all good!
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by bartonmd » Tue Jan 10, 2017 9:14 am

rScherzer wrote:
Trail X wrote:Mike, there's nothing particularly special about that caster number. The camber and toe will affect tire wear, but the caster is really just a steering-wheel-feel number. If your steering wheel feels normal to you, and the tires center well and track well on the interstate, then you're fine. If you don't like the centering force, or how it tracks on the interstate, then you'll need to look for other ways to fix it. The good thing about[b] low caster is that you'll be steadier on the highway with high crosswinds.[/b]


Correct me if I'm wrong but wouldn't higher caster be steadier on the highway? My thought is that the higher the number the more force is applied on the wheel to want to track strait. I'm not sure what the affects of crosswind would do :scratch: But then like you had said as long as it tracks strait and doesn't wear the tires your all good!


I was just about to post this... The larger the caster number, IIRC, the more stable it is. The closer to vertical it is, the more it's going to want to wander with road imperfections and such.

Caster is also affected by your front vs rear lift, though. For every degree of angle that you change the attitude of the vehicle, the caster will also change by that much.

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by Timberwolf » Tue Jan 10, 2017 9:22 am

Good point. I hadn't thought of that. So leveling the vehicle kind of "builds in" positive caster
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by bartonmd » Tue Jan 10, 2017 9:34 am

Correct.
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