Vintage Mustang Forums banner

1 - 20 of 26 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
223 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I just finished rebuilding the front end of my 66 Fastback, I now need to get it aligned. Am I crazy to bring it into an America's Tires or Pep boys type of place? Are alignments all the same?Or, should I look into a place that focuses on classic cars? Any recommendations on a place that focuses on classic car work in the inland empire, SoCal?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
35,830 Posts
The 65-66 Mustang requires the use of shims to adjust caster and camber. Unless the technician is skilled in this nearly-forgotten technique, you can get a really bad job.

Side note: if you have not relocated the upper control arm shafts 1" lower as per the Arning/Shelby drop, do it now. It will transform the car.

Arning Drop
 

·
Premium Member
1966 Mustang Hardtop 289 4 Speed
Joined
·
6,074 Posts
If you rebuilt the front end yourself, you are capable of doing the alignment yourself. Check out Longacre alignment gauges. There are lots of useful info on this forum with regards to how to. @Huskinhano wrote an excellent procedure. This is the one I have, there are others. Longacre Caster Camber Gauges 52-78272
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
223 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
The 65-66 Mustang requires the use of shims to adjust caster and camber. Unless the technician is skilled in this nearly-forgotten technique, you can get a really bad job.

Side note: if you have not relocated the upper control arm shafts 1" lower as per the Arning/Shelby drop, do it now. It will transform the car.

Arning Drop
I don't know if I will have the clearance, i have already put in 1" lower 620's, which I cut 3/4 of a coil. What kind of place would you bring it to for an alignment?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
35,830 Posts
I don't know if I will have the clearance, i have already put in 1" lower 620's, which I cut 3/4 of a coil. What kind of place would you bring it to for an alignment?
The purpose of the "drop" in not to lower the car. It does lower the car about 5/8", as a side effect. The change alters the suspension geometry, and causes it to mechanically resist rolling in turns. It also keeps the tire square with the road, dramatically improving road contact with belted, especially belted radial tires, which no doubt you are using. "Radial tuning" if you like. The drop is far, far more effective at improving handling than plain lowering. As for clearance, If your tires hit the fender over a pothole now, you need to make changes. If they don't, the "drop" won't change that.

The history if the drop is from Ford. Klaus Arning designed and tested an independent rear suspension for the new Mustang, Ford was considering it as an answer to the new IRS-equipped Corvette. It worked well, but the front end had to be modified to match the roll characteristics. Shelby's people were aware of the modification. When the bean-counters killed the option (it would have added like 50% to the cost of the car) Shelby American used the drop on the 65 GT350, because most of the improvement in handling was due to the front end mod anyway.

This car has stock GT springs and the "drop".
753104
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
176 Posts
Take classic cars to a shop that knows them and will respect that it's a classic. or you will overpay and may get an unsatisfactory job. I learned the hard way.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,039 Posts
Well, two things:
1. You don't need much room to do the alignment yourself, though it will seem like a fairly large investment to get the basic pieces. I have the Longacre toe plates and a Tenhulzen caster/camber gauge. I found the 'string method' to be a giant PITA so I bought some Superstrut from Depot to make my parallels.
2. Once the suspension settles, and it will, you will need to do it again so consider 2x the cost of a single alignment in your calculations.

As 22GT said, it is a three dimensional puzzle. You put shims up top behind the A-arm bolts and that affects basically all three measurements.Bounce between Camber and Caster on both sides, then check Toe. You will do this at least twice. It will take a few hours the first time, but you can get it down in the 45 minute range with practice. Start with no shims! When I took the 65 front end apart, someone had used some really large shims on the driver's side. The alignment was waaaaaaay off as evident from the tore up front tires. I ended up with a couple of skinnies on that side when I was done. Alignment is forgiving of small errors and dangerous with large ones. It is easy to get it correct though. Be patient. When you sit in the driver's seat, the alignment changes because the spring is now more compressed. Add another passenger, it changes more. Alignment has to be forgiving.

And if you do not have one now, add an Export Brace before you embark on this adventure.
 

·
Registered
1967 Mustang Convertible
Joined
·
973 Posts
Also most places will just plug in your year car and try to set it to stock settings which are terrible for our cars. They don't take account into radial tires vs bias ply tires and usually folks have wider wheels. If you try to ask for different settings they will no do that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,991 Posts
Make sure you ask this: do they have an experienced mechanic who is willing to do the alignment. Because if all they have is Chevy lovers, folks who hate Fords, spend your money elsewhere.
And, don't rule out out the local Ford dealer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
223 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Make sure you ask this: do they have an experienced mechanic who is willing to do the alignment. Because if all they have is Chevy lovers, folks who hate Fords, spend your money elsewhere.
And, don't rule out out the local Ford dealer.
MY ford dealership will do a 1966 Fastback?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,367 Posts
MY ford dealership will do a 1966 Fastback?
My local ford dealership could not do my 70 mustang when I had the 14 inch rims. I was there to get my wife's 2010 serviced, and the shop manager was playing with a new laser alignment machine they had just received. I asked him if he could do my mustang...he said sure...we do "checks" for free. So I returned to have them try. They were unable to mount the 4 sensors/laser devices to the 14" rim. Their adapter was not small enough to fit and grab on to the 14 inch rim...DANG! I was hoping to verify my home alignment specs. Your results may vary......
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,353 Posts
You're best off learning how its done, not really to do it yourself but so that they can't BS you.
The next biggest thing is to ask first if they are familiar with working with "shims."
Its going to take longer than other cars so expect to pay 2-3X more than whatever their standard alignment costs so at that price you can expect a good job and if they will re-check for free after you've driven it a while.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,973 Posts
Nothing wrong with going to the shops you listed, What matters is the guy doing the alignment so call around and find someone who has the skills to do the proper alignment. tell the tech you want to see the before and after print out. this is important so do not forget to ask before they start. You will also tell them you want the Camber to be as close to -.5 degrees as they can get. No positive Camber. 0 degrees is ok but nothing positive is acceptable. Tell them you want the Caster as close to 2.5 degrees positive as they can get. Without aftermarket adjustable strut rods it can be difficult to get a lot of Caster without gaining Camber so it is a compromise as to what they can do. With the 67 and newer cars it is easier to get that positive Caster. Have them set the total toe in at 1/8". So Camber -.5 degrees Caster 2.0 to 3.0 degrees positive and Toe in 1/8" total. Close counts but you want to see the angles close side to side. So if Caster is 2.0 on the Left and 2.3 on the right that is fine. some tech will set the angles to slightly drift left to help the car drive straight as most roads are crowned to the right for water runoff. So you may see a little more Camber or a little less Caster on the Left side. As a general rule the car will tend to drift or pull to the side with the most Camber and least Caster.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,278 Posts
I've rebuilt my front end, and then took it for an alignment. First thing the tech tells me is "you need new ball joints". If they say that, pack it up and walk away. I now do my own alignments.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
83 Posts
I did the front end rebuild last year and bought the caster/camber tool and did my own alignment. It came out great but settled in after a couple months so I will need to make a small adjustment this season. I was a mechanic in my younger single days so I had experience doing alignment. The post referred to that @Huskinhano did is very good and will guide you through the process perfectly. The specs mentioned earlier will be great for most cars. As someone mentioned, if you can rebuild your front end you can do the alignment easily. I am fortunate that there is a place very near me that has mechanics that are familiar with classic cars, especially ford, if I was to need it. But for most things I can do them in my garage.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Huskinhano

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,203 Posts
I just finished rebuilding the front end of my 66 Fastback, I now need to get it aligned. Am I crazy to bring it into an America's Tires or Pep boys type of place? Are alignments all the same?Or, should I look into a place that focuses on classic cars? Any recommendations on a place that focuses on classic car work in the inland empire, SoCal?
As others have mentioned, you can.....
A) Do it yourself
B) Have someone who knows vintage Mustang alignment do it

I know how to do them...... and I get them done professionally. There is a world of difference between an ok alignment and a precision alignment.
You probably won't have any luck getting it done in the IE. There's a few places in LA and Orange County though. (Stokes Tire, Glenn's Alignment)



ex-Global West GM
1991-1995
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
510 Posts
I installed a SorT coilover system on my car. A shop down the road that does a lot of work on classic cars recently installed an alignment "machine". I dropped by well versed in how to align Shaun's kit and worked with the guy doing the alignment to land exactly where I wanted. Another consideration.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
532 Posts
You'd be surprised how close you can camber and toe with just a digital angle gauge and a tape measure. Add an extra 1/8'' - 3/16'' shim to the front for caster and your pretty darn good. It's fairly inexpensive to have it checked at an alignment shop afterward.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
692 Posts
My local ford dealership could not do my 70 mustang when I had the 14 inch rims. I was there to get my wife's 2010 serviced, and the shop manager was playing with a new laser alignment machine they had just received. I asked him if he could do my mustang...he said sure...we do "checks" for free. So I returned to have them try. They were unable to mount the 4 sensors/laser devices to the 14" rim. Their adapter was not small enough to fit and grab on to the 14 inch rim...DANG! I was hoping to verify my home alignment specs. Your results may vary......
Yep I too made this huge mistake of taking my 68' to a Ford dealer. Not only where they jerks, and double charged but they did a god awful job. Luckily I once was a young mechanic and was trained on alignment racks. I told the shop foreman how to move the tie rods which only incensed him further but we got it 90% to center.

Go to a guy who knows classic cars. If you can't drive it far enough due to eyeballing the angles....the regular shops will get it at least so it won't feeling like you're driving a train wreck. But don't expect perfection. There are numerous articles about which degrees to set angles for a modern radial and today's roads. I looked a few of them up and had the Ford guy put in these angles. I'm going again due to swapping out my 68's control valve but NOT to a shop that does modern cars. Find out who the resto shops send their cars to. Those guys will have the experience.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
295 Posts
I also took mine (a 66) to a Ford dealer (after stopping in to ask if they were able to align it on a previous day). When I dropped it off and said I would wait for it, I was told that it would take all day because they had to make the shims. My intuition, which is usually really good, told me that they wanted it there without me so that they could take it out and flog it. I left with the car.

What has always worked for me is asking members of local car clubs where they go to get their cars aligned. I have always been pleased with the results I've gotten going to places that were recommended.
 
1 - 20 of 26 Posts
Top