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Old 03-20-2011, 08:22 AM
DVagedes DVagedes is offline
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Default Alignment worries

I just bought a 94 ford ranger, 4x4, 5speed, 4Liter, with I think about a 3 inch lift on it, and it handles a little erratically. Now, I spent a lot of time this past summer working out alignment problems on a 76 corvette, and became somewhat educated as to the causes and remedies of handling problems on that car...but this is no corvette lol!

The steering feels a little loose, and reallly likes to wander once you get past 45 mph...however it doesn't seem to pull to one side or the other and it finds center pretty well after a turn.
Also, the front passenger wheel is worn like crazy while the others are practically new (cause or symptom?)

Not being the one who bought the tires, i Have no idea what caused this wear...not any particular pattern of wear, just looks like it has about 12,000 more miles than the others.

I guess a good place to start is with some back ground.

The previous previous owner replaced the back leafs with stiffer ones which raised the back compensate they then raised the front, resulting in a positive camber which had to be remedied with an alignment kit (i guess?...the corvette was much less complicated)

I do not know how much camber I have now, but its definately in the negative, and the tire wear suggests that its not excessive.

I roughly checked the caster and found that the troubled side (passenger) was at about -1degree, while the drivers side was only about -.5....These numbers seemed low to me given that it took about -6 degrees of caster to get the corvette where i liked it.

As i mentioned, I am used to a double a-arm setup on a sports car...not familliar with this 4x4 setup

I suppose my questions are this:

How much Caster does it take to get these things under control?
How do you adjust caster?
What are the proper alignment specs?
could the 4x4 have anything to do with this (locked hub or bad u-joints)?

any help at all is appreciated...
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Old 03-21-2011, 12:35 PM
DVagedes DVagedes is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 5
Default Re: Alignment worries

a short youtube search showed that the joint at the top of the steering knuckle has a cam-type design and can be adjusted for camber and caster.
After messing around with it all day, it seems like i could use some more caster adjusment...At most I can get about 3 degrees of caster out of these adjustments, but by then I'm running about 4 degrees of camber, which is wayyyyy to much.

I have adjusted it as good as I can without being really really precise, and it has stopped being quite as erratic at highway speed, but pulls to the left just a little bit, and although i have both wheels at 2.5 degrees caster, their camber specs are quite different. I believe .8 on the drivers side and about 2.8 on the passengers side, certainly not a recommended difference, but since the caster angles are identical (finally) it rides quite a bit better.

I am left with this question: How can I get more caster ( i think 3 degrees would be better yet) without running into these crazy camber angles?
-the lift kit has cam bolts where the axle halves are mounted, but what do they do?

also, there is a slight shake in the steering wheel; u-joint, tie rod end?

any help is appreciated

also, as a side note, I have been using an SPC FASTRAX for reading these far I have been using it on pretty rough and uneven concrete...when it comes time to dial it in a little more i plan on using the smooth floor in the garage.
The tool is nifty because it can be adjusted for an un-level surface, but when the floor is wavey or bumpy it gives a little inaccurate readings.
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