Alignment Adjustment Nightmare
Pictures of how I
did a front end alignment
on my 87-95 Nissan Pathfinder.
This "can" correct drift or uneven tire wear of the front tires.
This is not enough to be a how to, just some pictures of my vacation.
But first, lets pay some bills:
Used an 8" grinder and a vice grip to grind some 9/16" washers to various thicknesses
- for more accurate camber adjustments.
Gathered necessary tools.
Calculated degrees and minutes and fractions and inches and millimeters.
I had a hard time with conversions, so I made this spreadsheet.
You can download it in two versions. I hope it works better for you than it did for me.
You still need the factory service manual for this to be useful.
Open Office has free programs similar to excel, word etc.
- Used factory service manual graph to determine number and placement of shims.
Jacked her up.
Took off the front tires.
- Important: Supported the lower control arms with jack stands.
Removed upper control arm to frame bolts,
one at a time because I didn't want the UCA flopping around and hitting me. That thing is heavy.
A longer grade 8.8 bolt where all the extra shims are going.
Careful, Mr Reverse says these may not be strong enough.
Took out the shims and measured the thickness.
Added the thickness of shims recommended by the Nissan Factory Oija board.
More shims in front increases Caster.
More shims on front AND back increases Camber.
Difficult to start without cross threading.
Extensions let me lift and push and curse and bash fewer knuckles.
My son demonstrating the proper way to add washers inside the socket,
so you can push on the bolts to start them.
- Remeasured and re shimmed!
Proper torque is near the duct tape.
My son demonstrating the proper way to add stuffed turtle feet to greasy sockets.
Toe in!First, string theory. I don't think it works:
Marked level on the tires with chalk.
Tied a string to the hub cap.
Lead the string under the car to the other tire.
Marked it with tape and a sharpie.
Pulled the string out from under the truck.
Rolled her forward a half wheel turn so the chalk is level again.
Brought the string around and lined it up with the tape.
Looks like about 10mm toe out after all that shimming.
FSM says 3-5 mm toe in is ideal.
Toe in again!Second, no strings attached. The way I like it.
- Tires still wearing on the inside. When I look at my front tires, they look like they have negative camber. Then I jack it up, the tires scrape inwards, and the positive camber is back. Easy, bad ball joints. Replace upper and lower both sides. (Didn't help).
- Tires still wearing on the inside, Tires still scrape inwards when I jack it up. I get under the car and jack it up trying to see where the play is and which bushings I should change first. When I jack it up, nothing moves. The tire still scrapes, but nothing else moves. It's just the tires. I have to drive the car forward a few feet to get the tires to "reset" into the negative camber situation. It is the tires, being pulled outward by toe out! I have had toe out for the last 2 years, wondering why I wander all over the road and why my stupid tires are wearing out all uneven and why I am retarded and can not put enough shims in the UCA. I am not retarded at shimming the UCA, I am retarded at tying strings to the tires and adjusting toe in!
- SO, I adjusted toe in by driving it forward and jacking it up to see if the tires scraped, then adjusting toe again, until I could drive forward, jack up the front, and the tires no longer scraped.
- Anyway, tracks way better and does not scrape from neg to pos camber when I jack it up. Looks like huge toe out by eyeball, but tire wear is even for the last 2 years. Sweet.
- Next I prostituted myself to make 02¢
so I can fulfill my lifelong dream of owning a 1994 300ZX with ruined body work.
Or perhaps that nice 1982 380SEC with no interior.
Maybe even, dare I think it, a 2003 Subaru with a blown engine.
But no minivans!
- Then I finished my beer.
The ALIGNMENT section at BeerGarage.com:
Pathfinder IFS Specs
Subaru Camber Adjustment
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Think: Cars are expensive, powerful, and heavy. Before I start work, I face the possibility that I will destroy my vehicle, my own life, and innocent pedestrians' lives. If anyone messes with a 4000 lb machine capable of 100 mph, these are real possibilities. If I get in over my head, I call a professional mechanic. The information on this website is provided only for entertainment purposes, and it is not intended as advice on how to service a vehicle. For all you know I made this up. Don`t believe everything you read on the internet.
Disclaimer: The technical information in these documents is provided without any warranty whatsoever and at no cost. All information is in general terms and is not meant to apply to your particular situation, be current at the time you read it, or even be correct in the first place. Improperly maintained vehicles can lead to serious injury, death, or unavoidable accidents. The author is not responsible for any errors on this site, and does not make any claim at all about the validity, safety, or veracity of the information contained on this website. Any work you choose to do or not to do on your vehicle is done at your own risk. The information on this site is not intended to serve as a replacement for professional advice, professional workmanship, dealer service, union labor, or psychological counseling. The author disclaims any and all liability directly or indirectly arising from the application or use of any information or idea contained on this or any other web site. By opening this page, you agree to never sue anyone ever or allow anyone to be sued on your behalf. The appropriate professional should be consulted regarding your specific condition. BeerGarage.com does not take responsibility for the information posted on other sites to which it links.
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Last modified: 11/22/2014