The next step was to use my shiny new Camber/Castor tool to set up the new front end… I refused to pay the sort of cash people where asking for a set of swivel plates as a couple of hundred dollars for two plates of steel seemed like madness to me… so I figured I’d make a set, after all how hard could it be..
So I got a sheet of checker plate & a sheet of Teflon.. cut them into 4 squares & then glued the Teflon to the smooth side of the checker plate
Once this was done, then I simply put some grease on the Teflon side of one plate & sat the other plate on top… & what do you know… it makes a great swivel plate..
Gently role the car onto the plates & they slip apart… so push it off again & then push back on even gentler… & they work a treat
The destructions for setting the Caster say to swing the wheels thru 15 degrees left & then right to give a total sweep of 30 degrees, so as my swivel plates don’t have a built in angle gauge (the only reason you would spend the sill money on a set in my mind) I went for the simple approach of using a straight edge & a protractor to mark out 15 degrees left & 15 degrees right on the garage floor.. this way all I had to do was turn the wheel each time to the markings & that was the 30 degree sweep
Now checking the Camber is a simple task, just calibrate the acculevel tool to the garage floor so it understands exactly what level actually is… then attach the gauge to the rim & read the Camber measurement off the gauge… now sadly the Caster & Camber adjustments for the front suspension interfere with each other… so you can’t just set one & then then set the other & then be done… once you set one, you set the other, then you check & in my case reset the first one again… etc..
Setting the Caster is a bit more involved that the simple camber adjustment.. if we focus on the drivers side (left hand side) wheel…. firstly to read the actual Caster angle you turn the wheel 15 degrees to the left & then activate the Caster mode on the gauge & zero the reading
Then you swing the wheel back to straight & then continue through to 15 degrees to the right to give the full sweep of 30 degrees (note other tools may ask for more or less of a sweep angle, but my tool is calibrated for a total sweep of 30) Then you simply read the caster angle off the gauge… recording if it’s Positive or Negative of course
To adjust the Caster angle you have to back off the nut that locks the lower strut arm to the lower control arm
Then using something to protect the nice powder coated paint surface you wind the rod either in or out depending on what your reading was… I was chasing a Positive Caster angle of 5 degrees BTW…
Now some feedback that I would have for the nice folks at Hotchkis is that they should have designed two flat sides into a small section of that strut rod as that would have made turning it without damaging the surface a much much better experience..
---------- Post added at 12:02 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:02 PM ----------
Time for an update, yet again work has prevented me from spending as much time working out in the garage as I would have liked over the last few weeks.. but some progress is still being made..
First on the list for me to fix was the broken & crapply painted front indicator lenses.. I had bought a new set ages ago but just never got around to fitting them, I’ll be replacing them with a clear set at some point but for now I was happy to get rid of the crappy old ones that you couldn’t really see thru anymore & where badly hand painted in the past..
New vs old
Now when you remove the light housing form the car you notice that they are clearly marked as left & right & you also notice that the holes that the holding screws use are offset, again because they are different for left & right fitment… well some previous owner has made another entry into my why Muppets should be allowed to work on cars book that I’ll be writing at the end of this project… they put them in the wrong way around.. now rather than see the big L & R on them & rather than trying them on the other side they proceeded to bend the bloody brackets that hold them in place… so now when I tried to fit them to the correct sides I end up with this sort of seamless fitment
Now I resisted the urge to put them back in the wrong sides, so I spend a while bending brackets in an attempt to get them to fit somewhat well… they are not 100%, far from it… but they are close enough for now.. the front & rear valance panels are badly damaged on this car anyway, so when the respray & roof removal happen next year I’ll fit new panels then…
Next thing to work on was adjusting the new steering box, you will recall that I fitted a new box the other week, well I fired the car up the other day for the first time since & she was in the air on axle stands at the time as I was greasing all the nipples under the car… anyway when she fired up it swung to full left lock all on its own… & if I turned the wheel to full right lock & let go it would swing back full left lock.. so out came the manuals again.. it seems that the location of the valve body on top on the steering box effects what Dodge call self-steer.. the whole valve body must be tapped up the steering box to remove left hand self-steer & down the box to remove right hand self-steer.. now when I say move we’re only talking mm’s here.
So you crack the two nuts that secure the valve body to the steering box, I’m pointing to one with the screw driver here
Then you very gently tap the valve body either up or down.. in my case up.. the manual says to tap on the bolt on the face of the valve body, I’m pointing to it with the screw driver here
It took a tap of I would say 1.5mm max & the steering is spot on now, no more pull to one side or the other…. Job done