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Another Alignment Thread; question about caster

Discussion in '1st Gen. Tacomas (1995-2004)' started by steve o 77, Jun 4, 2010.

  1. Jun 4, 2010 at 11:19 AM
    #1
    steve o 77

    steve o 77 [OP] braaap

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    So I went and got my alignment done at Firestone a few days ago and Im kind of concerned about the numbers. I only lifted about 2 inches so I shouldn't need UCA's, but these caster numbers seem really bad to me. From what I understand, caster does not affect tire wear but rather steering stability at high speed and steering returning to center after a turn. My truck seems to drive great all the way up to 70 mph and the steering returns nicely.:confused: So whats going on? Should I go back and tell them to get these numbers in spec?

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Jun 4, 2010 at 2:23 PM
    #2
    steve o 77

    steve o 77 [OP] braaap

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  3. Jun 4, 2010 at 3:12 PM
    #3
    ShadowFalken

    ShadowFalken Well-Known Member

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    The caster angle is too steep. This may cause a vehicle that does not like to hold a track going down the road, is more sensitive to cross winds and feels like it darts. The steering response will feel quick at low speeds compared to one with a higher caster angle. 1.75 should be the reading you see there.
     
  4. Jun 4, 2010 at 3:25 PM
    #4
    steve o 77

    steve o 77 [OP] braaap

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    Thank you. I think I'll take it back to Firestone tomorrow (I got the lifetime alignment) and let them know how I want it.
     
  5. Jun 4, 2010 at 4:39 PM
    #5
    ShadowFalken

    ShadowFalken Well-Known Member

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    When you take it back, give the tech credit for getting the the toe and camber centered as well as the sheet shows. Some techs will do a Visine alignment (just get the red out). This one at least got the tire wearing angles in the ideal area not just inside the gap to turn it green.

    Let us know how it works out. By the before readings it looks like you got a "toe and go" adjustment. The camber was not changed
     
  6. Jun 4, 2010 at 4:42 PM
    #6
    steve o 77

    steve o 77 [OP] braaap

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    will do. Im going tomorrow morning.
     
  7. Jun 7, 2010 at 10:48 AM
    #7
    steve o 77

    steve o 77 [OP] braaap

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    I went back to firestone yesterday and he didn't want to mess with it. He said that if it drives good then don't worry about it. I agree with him since the toe and camber are set so good, I don't have to worry about irregular wear. I haven't taken it on the freeway yet but driving around town, it drives great.
     
  8. Jun 7, 2010 at 11:27 AM
    #8
    Digiratus

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    It seems on 1st gens to get that higher caster number (2.0 to 2.4) we do need to have an aftermarket UCA. Otherwise the adjuster is maxed out.

    I didn't see this thread the other day when you first posted but tonight I will look at my sheet from Firestone. Right now I can't be certain but I think my numbers were much the same as what you got. And the tech told me much the same as you were told.
     
  9. Jun 7, 2010 at 4:48 PM
    #9
    toycar18

    toycar18 Well-Known Member

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    What should each number read at?

    I am lifting my Tacoma in a week and it will need to be aligned. I'd like to just give the tech the numbers so I know it is right.

    Thanks
     
  10. Jun 7, 2010 at 6:32 PM
    #10
    BRP27

    BRP27 When I grow up I want to be just like Me

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    Camber can be sacrificed to get caster up. You can get camber in spec and caster better. Ask the alignment tech to get the caster numbers up. Caster being low makes it wander. it is not a big deal until you get caster up around 1.5 and notice how much better it drives. I told him that the camber could be sacrificed a little to get the caster higher. My goal was to get Caster around 1.5

    I ended up with these numbers
    Camber -0.2 0.0
    Caster 1.2 1.6
    Toe 0.07 0.05

    No where near > 2.0 on the caster but I can live with these numbers.
    It was very interesting working with the tech and seeing that caster and camber are inter related. Toe is no problem. The machine was new and cost $35,000 with the lifts. That was the forth alignment after I lifted the truck. 1) to align after I lifted first time. 2) to align after I lifted it to a full 3 in. 3) Lowered it 3/4 in to keep CV angles more reasonable. 4) to get the caster higher.

    I drove the truck today > 80 miles and the caster helped. Not a big change in driveability but noticeable. Caster being off is really no big deal. I can't see why 600 for a UCA would be needed for just caster.
     
  11. Jun 7, 2010 at 6:47 PM
    #11
    steve o 77

    steve o 77 [OP] braaap

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    Wow, thanks for the replies. I took the truck on the freeway today and it does seem to wander a bit if I let go of the wheel. I also have some driveline vibes to fix. I guess I need to go back again to get that caster a bit better. Good thing I got the lifetime alignment!
     
  12. Jun 7, 2010 at 9:53 PM
    #12
    Digiratus

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    You may find that the caster cannot be made to go any higher on your truck. At least not without compromising toe.

    I was looking at my report from Firestone. The tech was able to get the toe and camber right on 0.00 for both on both sides. However, the best he could do with caster was 1.03 on the left and 1.10 on the right. Both these numbers are outside the spec (1.28-2.78). Because the adjuster is maxed out, he said the only way to get the caster higher, would compromise the toe.

    Bottom line for me (at least so far) is the truck drives acceptably. If tire wear is good, as it should be with these toe and camber numbers, I'll be happy. I can't justify (yet) laying out $600-$700 bucks for aftermarket UCAs. I reserve the right to change my mind on that. :eek:
     
  13. Jun 7, 2010 at 10:39 PM
    #13
    steve o 77

    steve o 77 [OP] braaap

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    Cool, I think I'll head over tomorrow and tell the tech that it is wandering a bit on the freeway. Ill see what he says and report back. I really don't want to get UCA's either and can deal with wandering if I need to.
     
  14. Jun 8, 2010 at 11:09 PM
    #14
    steve o 77

    steve o 77 [OP] braaap

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    okay, I went to firestone today and left with these numbers. He says the caster adjustment is maxed out.

    I want to know how the toe got so messed up in just a few days. I did do some light offroading.

    [​IMG]
     
  15. Jun 8, 2010 at 11:15 PM
    #15
    scocar

    scocar Scouting the perimeter for weakness

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    I dunno. They didn't tighten it enough after the last alignment?

    Hey, I just noticed the top of the readout says "except off road." To me, that means not off road. Are they using the right spec? Did you check the spec ranges on the printout against the FSM?
     
  16. Jun 8, 2010 at 11:18 PM
    #16
    steve o 77

    steve o 77 [OP] braaap

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    I did not but these numbers seem good besides the caster, which I can live with. It just likes to wander a bit on the freeway.
     
  17. Jun 8, 2010 at 11:25 PM
    #17
    scocar

    scocar Scouting the perimeter for weakness

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    Man, it's gonna bug me if mine wanders, because that is what the crappy struts and have partially been causing. But you have bigger tires (I'm at stock), so that may have some affect and the handling. I hope I don't end up wishing I got the 880s instead. I am still two weekends away from being able to do it...going nuts.
     
  18. Jun 8, 2010 at 11:29 PM
    #18
    rzimm001

    rzimm001 Tearmytaco

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    If you want to check it yourself get under the truck and look at where the lower control arm bolts to the frame of the truck. The two big bolts holding each arm on have camber lobes which appear as giant washers with little degree marks on them. You'll notice each of the bolts is off center in the washer. When you rotate the washer/camber lobe, it pushes or pulls that leg in or out. That is how the adjustment is made. If any of the four camber lobes/washers, appear to be to the extreme left or extreme right side of the vehicle than you are maxed out and no more adjustment can be made.
     
  19. Jun 9, 2010 at 6:17 AM
    #19
    steve o 77

    steve o 77 [OP] braaap

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    Just putting the tires on (before the suspension) did make it wander a bit more. And the wandering really isn't bad since it took me about 5 minutes to even realize it was doing it.


    Thanks, Ill check it out.
     
  20. Jun 9, 2010 at 6:25 AM
    #20
    AeroCooper

    AeroCooper Half the strength of ten (microscopic men)

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    Just for the record, the toe didn't really change from the first to the second visit. When you left the first time, it was .13 total toe (which is the most important toe reading, in regards to tire wear and handling), and the 2nd time initial reading was .14.
    The difference side to side just means the steering wheel was slightly off center (cosmetic).
     
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