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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Tore the springs and upper control arms out of my 65 today, installed new uppers, springs, perches, shocks, etc. Basically everything from the top of the spindle up was replaced. Man, those coil springs were nerve-racking.

I've got a question. I did the Arning/Shelby drop with the template from Opentracker. Because the UCA is now more parallel to the ground, I removed several shims from under the UCA bolts to compensate for the ball joint now being farther out (which therefore increases the positive camber). The thing is, I have just one shim left under each bolt and I still have positive camber.

I'm almost certain that removing the one remaining shim under each bolt won't be enough to get my negative camber--or am I wrong? I know that I don't need a ton of negative camber, but right now--with just a single shim under each UCA bolt--the top of the wheel still angles ever so slightly outward. I can't imagine that taking another shim out will somehow give that much flexibility on the alignment, but then again, I don't have a perfect understanding of the suspension geometry on these cars.

If I can find a shop nearby that knows how to align old cars, I'll have them tackle it. If not, I guess I'll bite the bullet and buy some of the tools I need to learn something new. But what must be done when you can't go any more negative? Any thoughts?

Thanks in advance!
Alex
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The lower control is on an eccentric bolt which allows u to dial in ur + or - chamber
That's for 67 and up--right? I've got a 65, with the fixed LCA and static strut rods.

From what I understand:
  • Caster is adjusted by shimming one of the two bolts on the UCA to push the ball joint forward/backward
  • Camber is adjusted by adding or removing shims on both bolts on the UCA to push the ball joint in/out

Please correct me if I am wrong! Doing my best to learn/understand the geometry of this system.
 

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I ended up purchasing some turntables, a wheel mounted level (sorry 4 the incorrect terminology) for setting caster and chamber, as well as a digital angle finder, some kite string to adjust 4 wheel alignment even though the back factory suspension is non adjustable, a couple of 4 foot 2x4’s for setting toe..

a lot of good info.: dazecars.com and many more on how to set alignment yourself in ur garage. I’ve taken my 70’ 4 two $130.00 in the past 4 years and they still couldnt correct my issues.. one place specialized in classics, knew I had the Shelby drop and still aligned it to factory specs!!!

with a little research Ull become a pro and can tweak ur alignment whenever u want….
 

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You got it right. I'm surprised that you get positive camber with no shims. Most often you need several, Shelby drop or not. Are you sure that the suspension is settled and at the correct ride height?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I ended up purchasing some turntables, a wheel mounted level (sorry 4 the incorrect terminology) for setting caster and chamber, as well as a digital angle finder, some kite string to adjust 4 wheel alignment even though the back factory suspension is non adjustable, a couple of 4 foot 2x4’s for setting toe..

a lot of good info.: dazecars.com and many more on how to set alignment yourself in ur garage. I’ve taken my 70’ 4 two $130.00 in the past 4 years and they still couldnt correct my issues.. one place specialized in classics, knew I had the Shelby drop and still aligned it to factory specs!!!

with a little research Ull become a pro and can tweak ur alignment whenever u want….
I love the idea of learning to do it myself. There's a very good chance that I'll eventually cave in and buy the tools I need, because I'm a little bit of a control freak when it comes to having my car work the way I want it to.

As for now, I just want to figure out the shim issue. Not sure what might be going on there...

Thanks for pitching in!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
You got it right. I'm surprised that you get positive camber with no shims. Most often you need several, Shelby drop or not. Are you sure that the suspension is settled and at the correct ride height?
Actually, no. Not sure if the suspension is settled at all. Haven't taken it for a ride at all; car is down on all four tires for the first time in a couple weeks. Would letting the suspension settle make much of a difference? What needs to be done for that--a quick drive around the neighborhood? 50 miles on the odometer? Jump up and down on the fenders a couple times? :p

All the digging I've done indicates that you are correct. It seems to be recommended that you remove 1/16" to 1/8" of shims when doing the drop to compensate for the control arm relocation. Not sure why I'm not getting any negative camber with just a single shim left...

As for ride height--not sure how to check if it's "correct." Everything has been replaced with stock/upgraded OEM components. Performance springs but no lowering or anything like that. Come to think of it, actually, I haven't installed the sway bar yet... would that have an impact on camber!?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Could it be related to my wheels? Recently got new wheels/tires. Wheels are 15x7, 4.25" backspacing. Tires are 215/60r15 Yokohamas all around. There is about a quarter inch of clearance between the UCA and the tire sidewall. Does that sound normal for this combination of suspension and tire/wheel setup or is something amiss..?
 

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That's for 67 and up--right? I've got a 65, with the fixed LCA and static strut rods.

From what I understand:
  • Caster is adjusted by shimming one of the two bolts on the UCA to push the ball joint forward/backward
  • Camber is adjusted by adding or removing shims on both bolts on the UCA to push the ball joint in/out

Please correct me if I am wrong! Doing my best to learn/understand the geometry of this system.
Yes, 65 and 66 both have a non-adjustable lower control arm pivot bolt. It does not have an eccentric.
OpenTracker sells a kit to make it adjustable, but instead of an eccentric bolt it uses a series of offset washers. Seems like a genius idea, and the kit looks pretty comprehensive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yes, 65 and 66 both have a non-adjustable lower control arm pivot bolt. It does not have an eccentric.
OpenTracker sells a kit to make it adjustable, but instead of an eccentric bolt it uses a series of offset washers. Seems like a genius idea, and the kit looks pretty comprehensive.
I like the look of that kit. I almost--ALMOST--pulled the trigger on the adjustable struts but decided to hold off and see what I could do with stock components first. They make some really appealing products... almost got their roller idler arm too but the same reasoning put a halt on that one.

The kit looks nice and may solve my problem (I say may because the tire clearance with the UCA is small enough that I think the UCA would have to move too--I can't just push the bottom of the wheel out, or the increased angle will cause the sidewall and UCA to rub [does that even make sense??] ), but I want to get to the root of it first. If the kit is what I need once I discover what's going on, so be it. I'd like to ensure there are no underlying problems with my suspension first, though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Be sure to roll the car back and forth a few feet to allow the tires to move outward therefore allowing the car to settle to the actual ride height (and actual camber).
Will do this first thing tomorrow. Would sure be nice if that was all it took! Probably should have thought of doing that earlier... whoops.
 

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Someone already mentioned this but the open tracker kit and the adjustable strut rods made my car a breeze to align right now I’m sitting at -1,5 on both sides and it has a mean stance with +3 caster and the car just eats up corners
With this camber kit I’m running no shims on my driver side and 3 1/8 shimson my passenger side to get positive caster from my bent shock tower it sounds worse than it is lol
This is the alignment tool I used and it’s pretty darn good yes a lazer is better but with the mustang style suspension and doing all 3 unlike modern cars you can spend way more than $200 for an alignment so I got these and it took me about a day https://www.amazon.com/Tenhulzen-3300-2-Wheel-Alignment-System/dp/B00PKI0YSU
799216
 

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Not sure why I'm not getting any negative camber with just a single shim left...
It's because you just let the car down off the jack and have not driven it. Think about what happens when you jack the front end. The wheel moves down and the bottom of the tire moves in. Now lower the car. The bottom of the tire is still in as the tire contacts the ground. The friction between the tire and the ground prevents the bottom of the tire from moving out to it's natural location. That goes away once the car is driven. Drive it around the block, then give it a good bounce.

Right now you are trying to solve something that many not even be an issue.
 

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I'm all for DIY....but if you have a really good alignment shop nearby, there's no shame in using it. At least that's what I tell myself.

My DIY alignment attempt ended up pretty wonky. I blame at least some of it on the fact my garage floor isn't poured level. It's all sloped to the floor drains. Anyway...if your car isn't sitting flat when you start, than that bubble in the level doesn't mean what you think it does.

Phil
 

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In my case, on my 65 with stock suspension, I removed 1/8" of shim from each location and was real close to where I needed to be.
 
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Was wondering if you have an export brace and or Monte Carlo bar to keep the shock towers from sagging.
Another trick when aligning... use 3 or so garbage bags under the tire when setting to allow tire to "slip" into position.
 

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Sagging shock towers are very possible, but usually the top goes inwards, which probably makes the lower control arm pivot move outwards (assuming the show tower "pivots" around the frame rail). That would make the camber negative, not possitive.
 

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Be sure to roll the car back and forth a few feet to allow the tires to move outward therefore allowing the car to settle to the actual ride height (and actual camber).

This^^^^ I used 3 mil thick black contractors garbage bags folded up under the tires. Bounce the car a few times to unload the suspension. I have a 66 with the Arning drop and so my own alignments. It's really not that hard. The Ford shop manual has a excellent tutorial on aligning your car. Each 1/32" shim on one bolt will effect caster by 1/2°. A 1/16" placed on both bolts will change camber by 1/3°. Ford recommends no more then 1/8" difference between front and rear shim pack on a control arm. That works out to 2° of caster and 2/3° camber. Almost exactly the Arning, aka Shelby alignment.

Do adjustable struts. I saw you mentioned them. Worth the money. For one it'll allow you to fine tune your alignment. The other, handling and especially braking will be dramatically improved. Your car will stop dead straight, no more darting.

If you do your own alignment I guarantee you that you will take the time to understand, you will take the time to do a good job because it's your car. Your car will drive better since you took the time and set the specs to where you wanted and not what the machine said. Besides feeling empowered by your new skills, you will be able to really fine tune and dial in your car to how you like. I sort of got thrown into the deep end of the pool doing my own alignment. I'm so glad I did! I can't stress enough to do your own alignment. No matter how expensive or fancy the alignment machine is, if the operator doesn't give a crap, that's what you'll end up with, crap.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Someone already mentioned this but the open tracker kit and the adjustable strut rods made my car a breeze to align right now I’m sitting at -1,5 on both sides and it has a mean stance with +3 caster and the car just eats up corners
With this camber kit I’m running no shims on my driver side and 3 1/8 shimson my passenger side to get positive caster from my bent shock tower it sounds worse than it is lol
This is the alignment tool I used and it’s pretty darn good yes a lazer is better but with the mustang style suspension and doing all 3 unlike modern cars you can spend way more than $200 for an alignment so I got these and it took me about a day https://www.amazon.com/Tenhulzen-3300-2-Wheel-Alignment-System/dp/B00PKI0YSU
View attachment 799216
Man, what a great looking setup you've got there. It sounds like adjustable struts are well worth the money, so I'll probably just bite the bullet and get em. Thanks for the tool suggestion; I'll keep it in mind when I look into doing my own suspensions.
 
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