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Alignment results - 1st Gen, 2.5" lift, Stock UCAs

Discussion in 'Suspension' started by phidauex, Nov 16, 2010.

  1. Nov 16, 2010 at 12:33 PM

    phidauex [OP] Well-Known Member

    Jul 24, 2009
    First Name:
    Boulder, CO
    '96 4x4 V6, manual, 201k
    Small lift and a topper!
    Just got my truck back from the alignment shop (4WheelParts) and thought I would post my settings, for everyone considering parts.

    Note - it took them two tries to get to this point! The first try left it with a strong left pull, the cross caster (difference between the caster on the left and right) was -1.2°! I took it back to 4 Wheel Parts (only chosen because it was walking distance from my office), and they redid the alignment, this time with the service manager working on it, and they got it right. So props to them for taking responsibility and ensuring that they left me happy!

    I don't have initial measurements from after I lifted the truck - but here was my before and after parts configuration:

    Before - Stock front suspension, stock rear suspension, 202k miles. The truck had clearly been aligned several times even with the painfully sagged springs. It was sitting at 34.25" to the fender flare up front (w/ new 31" tires), and a little below that in the back with a topper.

    After - Added Icon C/Os up front, cranked to lift the front to 37" (2.75" lift, though probably close to 2.25" from stock). In the back, added a Wheeler's 3 leaf progressive AAL, and a 2° axle shim, and 5100s. Raised it up to 37" with the topper - perfect!

    My alignment was clearly way off - it pulled to the left a bit, and had so much camber that you could see it walking up to the truck. Drove it for about 100 miles to settle everything in, adjusted the C/Os to level the truck side to side, and took it in.

    Just a reminder:
    Camber - Side to side angle - positive camber means your wheel is leaning out, negative means it is leaning in.
    Caster - Front to back tilt angle (note, you can't "see" caster). Think of the wheel on a bicycle - the steering angle is leaned backwards because the steering pivot is behind the contact patch. This is positive caster. Negative caster means the pivot is in front of the contact patch, like a shopping cart wheel.
    Toe - In/out angle - easy to visualize, positive toe means the front of the wheel is pointing inward, negative toe means it is pointing outward.

    Alignment settings on the first try:
    Camber - Left: 0.2° Right: 0.2° (spec is -0.3° to 0.7°)
    Caster - Left: -0.9° Right: 0.4° (way out of spec, which is 1.8°-2.8°)
    Toe - Left: 0.05° Right: 0.05° (spec is 0.0° to 0.15°)

    The truck drove quite poorly - the cross caster (difference between the caster angles) was -1.2°, and the truck pulled significantly to the left. The tech told me when I asked at the counter after the first pickup that it was for road crown compensation (to keep you going straight on a crowned road). I was skeptical. The low caster angles meant the truck was easily pulled to the side by wiggles in the road, and the cross caster meant it pulled hard to the left - it could still be driven on the highway - but it was annoying, and sketchy during lane changes.

    After complaining and bringing it back in, they spent a few more hours with it, and got it here:

    Alignment settings on the second try:
    Camber - Left: 0.3° Right: 0.3° (spec is -0.3° to 0.7°)
    Caster - Left: 1.7° Right: 2.0 (Left is just slightly out of spec, by 0.1°)
    Toe - Left: 0.12° Right: 0.09° (spec is 0.0° to 0.15°)

    This I'm very happy with! I knew that with stock UCAs, caster was going to be hard to get to spec with the lift - this was as good as I was hoping for, and the truck drives well, even at the bottom end of the acceptable range. Better yet, no pull! This is exactly where I was hoping the truck would get to, and it has saved me $500, because I was worried I would need new UCAs just to get a reasonable alignment.

    Anyway, hope this information helps - it is a good example of why you should do your suspension changes in stages (rather than all at once), and if you think something is wrong, take it back to the company and give them a chance to make it right!


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