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Odd Camber adjustment results. #5384445 03/24/20 10:08 AM
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WobblyElvis Offline OP
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Old 99 Dodge Caravan that has always pulled a little to the left. The tires wear correctly and it has done this with a few different sets of tires. So I finally got around to adjusting the camber of the front wheels. Yesterday I increased the camber of the right front wheel [leaning out more at the top]. Contrary to my understanding of alignment, this made the vehicle pull a little harder to the left. There is one thing unusual about this van, it has larger rims and tires [taller] than it came from the factory with.
Any ideas?
I'm about to go out and mess with it again.

Re: Odd Camber adjustment results. [Re: WobblyElvis] #5384481 03/24/20 10:54 AM
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old1 Offline
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I have usually found that pulling is caused more by caster than camber.


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Re: Odd Camber adjustment results. [Re: WobblyElvis] #5384507 03/24/20 11:26 AM
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WobblyElvis Offline OP
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It appears that some how I have adjusted the camber in the opposite direction and decreased camber on the right front wheel. Still trying to figure out how I managed that. When I get my brain working I'll see if I can fix this thing.

Re: Odd Camber adjustment results. [Re: WobblyElvis] #5384519 03/24/20 11:54 AM
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Chris142 Offline
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The Camber has little effect on a pull. It's the CASTER angle that causes a pull.


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Re: Odd Camber adjustment results. [Re: WobblyElvis] #5384523 03/24/20 12:01 PM
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mattd Offline
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Camber AND caster will indeed cause a pull. The CROSS camber should be with a 1/2 degree or less (ideally close to 0). Caster is SLIGHTLY more forgiving IME. But still should be within same specs as cross camber for cross caster. The vehicle will pull toward the side with more negative caster.

The OPs making the camber more negative in the right side is proof that camber causes a significant pull. The vehicle will always pull on the side with too much positive camber. Caster is not adjustable on that van.

OP, have you ever cross rotated tires to see if the pull followed the tire? Coinicity is a common thing.

Last edited by mattd; 03/24/20 12:07 PM.

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Re: Odd Camber adjustment results. [Re: WobblyElvis] #5384531 03/24/20 12:16 PM
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If you're changing camber without adjusting the steering rods, then on a car like yours that has the steering rack behind the axle centerline, adding camber to the right front wheel will also give it more toe-out. Driving the car will now make the steering wheel center itself turned to the left and steering feel a bit squirrely.

You can also adjust the rear wheels on those beam-axle minivans with special shims so your issue may not be confined to just the front end. Just take it to a good alignment shop so it's done properly.

Re: Odd Camber adjustment results. [Re: WobblyElvis] #5384545 03/24/20 12:34 PM
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WobblyElvis Offline OP
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I have done this kind of work before without any problems and I will adjust toe when I'm done with the camber. I believe that that increasing camber on the right front wheel will make the vehicle pull to the right. Somehow I managed to decrease camber on the right front wheel an it now pulls more to the left. There is an adjustable camber bolt in the upper hole of the strut assembly where if bolts to the steering knuckle. I swear I adjusted it so that the top of the steering knuckle is farther from the strut tube but somehow this resulted in less camber [leaning in more at the top]. Perhaps I imbibed too much yesterday, going out to give it another go right now.

Re: Odd Camber adjustment results. [Re: WobblyElvis] #5384572 03/24/20 01:02 PM
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buck91 Offline
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If you are eyeballing this it will never be correct. What equipment are you using? I second the recommendation to have it done by a good alignment shop. Should run you around $60.

Years ago I did a DIY front end alignment on a beater after replacing some bad tie rods. Took a couple hours of rolling back and fourth in the driveway and measuring the distance between pins placed in the tire treadblocks but eventually ended up pretty good. That did NOT involve camber and caster changes, though.


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Re: Odd Camber adjustment results. [Re: WobblyElvis] #5384707 03/24/20 03:45 PM
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WobblyElvis Offline OP
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Job's done Moose!
I must have been drinking too much Corona beer yester day as I decreased the camber of the right front wheel when I meant to increase it. I adjust the camber of both front wheels and reset the toe. I just use a 2 foot level pressed against the side of the wheels for Camber and I eyeball the toe by looking across the outer surface of the front tires towards the back tires. This has worked for me many times.

I had a bad experience 25 years ago with two alignment shops that couldn't seem align my Chevy Van no matter how many times I paid them so took it upon myself to figure out how it's done and I've had good luck ever since. I wouldn't try to aligning something that's been in an accident but when changing ball joints and tie rods my methods work pretty well. Took my maybe 5 hours in total [with my mistakes] but I saved over a $100 and didn't have to wander far from my fridge.

Re: Odd Camber adjustment results. [Re: WobblyElvis] #5384834 03/24/20 06:11 PM
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pbm Offline
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WobblyElvis: I admire you for this....I too haven't had great luck with alignment shops (but NY's terrible road maintenance plays a part in that)….I wish I could do my own DIY alignments...


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