Caster and camber set

Tiny
CORY2427
  • MEMBER
  • 2006 DODGE DAKOTA
  • 98,012 MILES
So, I will be doing upper control arms on my truck. I was wondering if I do not get the caster or camber set right on my truck when putting new arm on if when having a alignment they will set it right.
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Monday, July 23rd, 2018 AT 9:39 PM

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Tiny
DANNY L
  • EXPERT
Hello, I am Danny.

Absolutely! Alignment shops have all sorts of shim sets to correct all type of alignment issues. Just be sure to get it done immediately afterward to keep your tires from wearing bad because no matter how hard you try by just looking the camber will be off the most. Hope this helps and feel free to ask any other questions if needed. Thanks for using 2CarPros.
Danny-
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Monday, July 23rd, 2018 AT 10:08 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Yup. Two of the three critical angles are adjusted by moving the upper control arms. There are some ball joints that can be replaced that do not require an alignment, but not in this case. If you look at your lower ball joint, you will see it is a round ball that sits in a round socket that is perfectly centered in the housing, and that housing gets pressed into a round hole. As long as the alignment was right before the ball joint got sloppy, it has to be right with the new joint because you are putting everything back in the same orientation.

Your upper ball joint is cast as part of the upper control arm, and there is no way to insure the dimensions are the same between the old and new part, and that is where the camber and caster adjustments are incorporated, and there's no way to guarantee you will put them on the same way. This is where an alignment is required.

You can put a little grease on the control arms' mounting bolts and threads, but absolutely do not use any type of anti-seize compound. When tightening those bolts, the clamping force is what holds those adjustments in place. With anti-seize compound, they will slip no matter how tight you make those bolts. In fact, you may snap them when hand-tightening them, and up to that point they will still slip.

Ask to receive a copy of the alignment printout when they are done. The "after" caster and camber readings should be close to the same on both sides. Camber has to be in specs for good tire wear, and both camber and caster have to be right to prevent a pull to one side. If the specialist is in a hurry, a slight camber pull can be offset by adjusting in a slight caster pull the other way, but that can leave you with an annoying steering wheel oscillation when going over large bumps like at a railroad crossing.
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Monday, July 23rd, 2018 AT 10:12 PM
Tiny
CORY2427
  • MEMBER
What do you mean they may slip or snap anyway. How do you fix that? So no matter when I put it back together if the caster or camber is wrong they will fix it right at alignment?
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Tuesday, July 24th, 2018 AT 4:38 AM
Tiny
DANNY L
  • EXPERT
Hello again.

He was just talking about the dangers of using anti-seize on the nuts and bolts. To answer your question, yes, The alignment shop(or tire store with alignment machine) will fix the caster or camber to be within your vehicle's specifications when you replace the control arms. Like I said earlier just be sure to get alignment done immediately after to not run the risk of wearing the tires. Hope this helps and thanks again for using 2CarPros.
Danny-
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Tuesday, July 24th, 2018 AT 5:05 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Hi guys. You are over-thinking this. During the alignment, three things are going to be adjusted on each front wheel. The first two involve jockeying the two upper control arm mounting bolts back and forth until both camber and caster are correct. These adjustments interact, meaning moving one bolt changes both camber and caster. It is not as simple as setting one, and then setting the other one. You have to move both bolts around until both angles are correct, then you have to do the same thing on the other wheel, and both camber and caster have to be nearly equal to that on the first wheel. This can be a real lot of work and frustration, but specialists with a lot of experience know just how much to tweak each adjustment to make quick work of the job.

Once caster and camber are set on both wheels, the last adjustment is "toe", which is the direction that wheel is steering when the steering wheel is straight ahead. If the parts are not rusty, it just takes a minute or two on each wheel for these adjustments.

To add to my story about snapping a bolt, Chrysler has been famous for many years for using "cam bolts" for setting camber on their front-wheel-drive cars. You just loosen the nut, then turn the bolt to make the adjustment. However, on the Dodge Dynasty, they used the same setup GM uses. They have the same two bolts at the bottom of the strut, but no cam, or offset head. You simply loosen the bolts, shove the wheel to the desired setting, then tighten the bolts. The clamping force of the two bolts is all that holds the spindle in alignment, including when the tire hits bumps and pot holes.

A well-meaning coworker installed a pair of struts on a Dynasty, then handed the car off to me to align it. Both wheels were tipped in as far as possible, so first I had to jack up the car and pull them out. I tightened the bolts, set the car down on the hoist, and both wheels slid in again. I repeated this two or three more times and the same thing kept happening, then out of frustration, I hand-tightened the bolts as tight as I could get them, ... Until one snapped. That is when I took everything apart and found he had coated them with anti-seize compound. Those bolts are over 3/4" in diameter, and I snapped one with a hand ratchet thanks to that stuff. That is why I made the comment to not use anti-seize compound on the bolts. Once adjusted, you need the clamping force to hold them there and anti-seize compound prevents that.
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Tuesday, July 24th, 2018 AT 8:01 PM
Tiny
CORY2427
  • MEMBER
So this is new control arm am I supposed to press bushing all the way flesh with metal on part or leave it like it is?
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Wednesday, July 25th, 2018 AT 9:44 AM
Tiny
DANNY L
  • EXPERT
Hello again
They are usually ready to install. You will know the minute you attach to the frame if it needs to be pressed slightly more. They will be a little tight fitting but I seriously doubt you need to make any clearance adjustments. Let us know how things go. Hope this helps. I have attached a how-to link.
Danny-

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/upper-control-arm-replacement
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Wednesday, July 25th, 2018 AT 10:09 AM
Tiny
CORY2427
  • MEMBER
So doing control arms today. Does it matter how I put control arm bolts back in since I have to have a alignment.
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Thursday, July 26th, 2018 AT 7:55 AM
Tiny
DANNY L
  • EXPERT
Hello again
Due to the close proximity to the shock perch the nuts go on the insides. You probably can only put the bolts in one-way. Picture attached. Hope this helps and thanks again for using 2CarPros.
Danny-
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Thursday, July 26th, 2018 AT 12:28 PM
Tiny
CORY2427
  • MEMBER
So I finished doing my upper control arms today. I was wondering if need a alignment, because the bolts on my control arm did not have a special way as to set caster so forth it just had long bolt and a nut with a piece welded on to it so you could brake bolts easier. I think the actual setting is on the front end to set that type of stuff.
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Thursday, July 26th, 2018 AT 6:39 PM
Tiny
DANNY L
  • EXPERT
Hello again,

Sometimes it does work that way. I would have it checked to be sure. Just my opinion. Glad to hear it worked out. Thanks again for using 2CarPros.
Danny-
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Thursday, July 26th, 2018 AT 6:47 PM
Tiny
CORY2427
  • MEMBER
What you mean have it checked? Have it checked to see if its adjustments are front or have a alignment done anyway?
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Thursday, July 26th, 2018 AT 7:02 PM
Tiny
CORY2427
  • MEMBER
Also, did not have time to do sway bar links. Is there a special way or anything I need to jack up to get sway bar links out?
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Thursday, July 26th, 2018 AT 8:09 PM
Tiny
DANNY L
  • EXPERT
Hello again

Yes, after having any front end/suspension work done it is always good to have the alignment checked as a precaution to prevent tire wear. The easiest way to remove the sway bar links is to unbolt both links, remove bolts and then use your hand to move sway bar upward a few inches to remove the hardware. To install put one side hardware in and just set bolt through it so you can move to other side without hardware falling out. Put other side hardware in then insert bolt and then tighten both when done. Hope this helps and thanks again for using 2CarPros.
Danny-
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Friday, July 27th, 2018 AT 3:04 AM
Tiny
CORY2427
  • MEMBER
How much grease do you squirt into ball joints? I put about five to seven squirts in. Did not keep doing it until it came out of boot. Should be alright I think.
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Friday, July 27th, 2018 AT 7:41 AM
Tiny
DANNY L
  • EXPERT
Hello again.

I usually put in enough to see the boot swell and see a tiny bit starting to come out. Wipe off excess and your good. Hope this helps and thanks again for using 2CarPros.

Danny-
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Friday, July 27th, 2018 AT 8:53 AM
Tiny
CORY2427
  • MEMBER
Would it be alright to leave it at what I got it?
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Friday, July 27th, 2018 AT 9:02 AM
Tiny
DANNY L
  • EXPERT
Hello again.

If you still have access to the grease gun I would add until a little bit starts to come out. Better to be safe than not have enough!

Danny-
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Friday, July 27th, 2018 AT 9:14 AM
Tiny
CORY2427
  • MEMBER
So put more grease in both sides boot is bulging out. Should I keep adding or quit? Do not want to bust a boot.
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Friday, July 27th, 2018 AT 10:22 AM
Tiny
DANNY L
  • EXPERT
Hello.
If you put in enough to see the boot bulge you are good.
Danny-
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Friday, July 27th, 2018 AT 11:40 AM

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