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Lift with alignment issues

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Old 05-13-2013, 08:24 PM   #1
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Lift with alignment issues

Got my lift put on a few weeks ago. Icon Stage lift put on with Tube style UCAs. I had a free alignment from my dealership where I got my truck. I had confidence in them until I got my truck back and it drives like crap. The steering wheel is slightly turned left when it suppose to be straight. They told me that because of my lift they cannot adjust the caster anymore on my truck. I got adjustable UCAs from Icon to make sure I could get it aligned well because I was doing a 3 inch lift. I did a lot of research prior to buying my lift and everytime I've seen some one with and icon lift they never say anything about not being able to get lift in spec. I put 285/70/17s on my stock sport wheels too. Here are the numbers. They said I needed longer caster bolts. Do you think this is true or try elsewhere? It's alarming they said it would go out anymore to make it in spec.
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Old 05-13-2013, 08:31 PM   #2
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Ya that doesn't look good, try taking it back. Looks like you might have to much caster at the upper control arms, i didnt know icon made adjustable UCAs. How much preload are the coilovers set at? Like how much lift did you get?
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Old 05-13-2013, 08:32 PM   #3
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I think that caster is too high for our trucks, does it wander on the freeway?
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Old 05-13-2013, 08:38 PM   #4
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Here is why to much caster can be bad according to the iternets

Effects of Positive Caster

Vehicles usually have some positive caster specified since this promotes directional stability, however, excessive positive caster can cause two problems. The first is that excessive caster will cause a high level of road shock to be transmitted to the driver when the vehicle hits a bump, etc. The second problem is that a tire/wheel assembly with positive caster has a tendency to toe inward when the vehicle is being driven. If one side has more positive caster than the other, this causes it to toe inward with more force than the other side. This will cause a lead or pull to the side with least amount of positive caster.

Effects of Caster on Tire Wear

When set with a substantial amount of caster, the spindle travels in a vertical arc, causing it to move up and down and raise and lower the wheels as the steering wheel is turned. Because of this, camber changes occur. With a high amount of positive caster, the camber changes that occur, especially at low speeds in tight turns, cause the tires to show wear on their shoulders. In high speed cornering, the vehicle tends to continue straight ahead when the steering is initially turned. Due to this, and the amount of camber change that takes place when a spindle travels through its arc of travel, the shoulders of the tires on a vehicle may scrub and wear. When a left turn is made at a fairly high rate of speed with a vehicle which has positive caster, the caster of the left front wheel changes toward positive but the momentum of the vehicle is in a straight ahead direction. This causes the inside of the left front tire to scrub as it is turned. Just the opposite effect takes place on the right wheel as the vehicle is turned left at high speed. The right front wheel's camber will go negative but the outside edge of the tire is scrubbed because of the vehicle's momentum to go straight. On some vehicles setting caster more than +2.5° will cause scrub problems.
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Old 05-13-2013, 08:45 PM   #5
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^That info is wrong / misleading. It is quite possible to design out bump-steer and have large caster at the same time. Caster is good for handling because it restores some of the lost camber from body roll. The lift causes the front suspension to be more susceptible to bump-steer, because the tie rods are now at an angle, but that's not fault of the UCAs.

SVLeonard85: It's possible they didn't center the steering wheel when they made the toe adjustments. Go to another dealer. "Free" is never what it seems.
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Old 05-13-2013, 08:56 PM   #6
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the part about tire lean when cornering is correct tho right? Regardless his alignment looks pretty off and the caster is higher than it should be
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Old 05-13-2013, 09:00 PM   #7
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^But the lean is good for performance. Because the body will be rolling outward, tires have to lean inward to stay perpendicular to the road.

Which part of his alignment looks off? Front toe is about perfect. Caster differs by only 0.2 deg side to side, and isn't very high (I'm running about 5 deg of caster with no issues). There's some positive camber but it's about equal side to side.

Likely causes of truck needing some left input to stay straight:

1. Dealer didn't have the steering wheel centered when they measured toe.
2. The left rear wheel's 0.3 deg toe-in (i.e. pointing right) has an effect. Rear toe is obviously not adjustable. However, you can ask the alignment mechanic to do a "thrust angle" adjustment to the front toe to compensate for the rear toe.
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Old 05-13-2013, 09:06 PM   #8
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Him having that much caster would be fine if there was more camber designed into control arms. The tech that performed that alignment should have sacrificed a little caster to get some of that positive camber out of it. Camber should be sitting at 0. 1 degree positive will start to wear out the outer edge of your tires quick. Anything more than .4-.5 degrees of positive camber will wear the tires out prematurely.
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Old 05-13-2013, 09:11 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KenLyns View Post
Which part of his alignment looks off?
I thought caster should be under 3* and camber close to 0.
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Old 05-13-2013, 09:13 PM   #10
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Caster is often more than 3 deg when using aftermarket UCAs.

Camber should be 0 for best tire wear, but shouldn't cause the truck to drift to the right.
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Old 05-13-2013, 09:21 PM   #11
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There is no such thing as longer caster bolts on these trucks. They are a cam between two tabs. It doesn't look like your truck should pull at all. They more than likely didn't straighten the steering wheel before they did the toe.
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Old 05-13-2013, 09:53 PM   #12
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There seems to be a lot of mixed opinions but I definitely appreciate them. I am gonna have another shop look at it for sure. I would like to know people's opinions on being able to get longer caster bolts so I can bring that back to the dealer and tell them. I know one person said that is not true of our trucks. Is that right?
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Old 05-13-2013, 10:03 PM   #13
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Both caster and camber are adjusted via eccentric cam-bolts that connect your lower control arms to the frame.

- Rotating both cams inward or outward changes camber.
- Rotating the front cam inward and the rear cam outward changes caster slightly while also disturbing camber slightly.

The length of the bolts has nothing to do with the alignment. Either the mechanic is bullshitting you (a "free" alignment may mean he's paid less for the job) or he means something else (bigger cam lobes, longer tie rods, who knows).
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Old 05-13-2013, 10:15 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SVLeonard85 View Post
There seems to be a lot of mixed opinions but I definitely appreciate them. I am gonna have another shop look at it for sure. I would like to know people's opinions on being able to get longer caster bolts so I can bring that back to the dealer and tell them. I know one person said that is not true of our trucks. Is that right?

I'll tell you as an tech with an ASE cert in steering/suspension, brakes, and electrical that the tech you talked is full of shit and you should go somewhere else. You can not change the cams to get more adjustment. Like I said before he could have given you a great alignment if he took some caster out to get the camber correct. Then he should have straightened the wheel and locked in place while doing the toe as the last adjustment.
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