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Alignment


Alignment - Recommended Specs

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Street Performance Road Course Drag Strip
Manual Power Manual Power Manual Power
Caster 2-1/2° to 3° pos. 3-1/2° to 4° pos. 2-1/2° to 3° pos. 3-1/2° to 4° pos. 4° to 6° pos. 4° to 6° pos.
Camber 0° to 1/2° neg. 0° to 1/2° neg. 1-1/2° to 2° neg. 1-1/2° to 2° neg.
Toe (total) 1/16" to 1/8" IN 1/16" to 1/8" IN 1/16" out to 1/16" IN 1/16" out to 1/16" IN 1/16" to 1/8" IN 1/16" to 1/8" IN
Our recommended alignment specs are to serve as a starting point for your particular application. Installed components, driver preference and specific application will have a great affect on the chosen settings for your vehicle.


Alignment - Caster

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The measured difference, in degrees, of the steering axis from vertical as viewed from the side of the vehicle. Positive caster places the steering axis intersection point with the ground forward of the tires contact patch. This creates an affect similar to a shopping car wheel in that the tire falls in line with the direction of travel. The greater the distance between the steering axis and the contact patch the stronger the force is pulling the wheel straight. More caster increases straight line stability but also increases steering effort. High effort manual steering cars should reduce the amount of positive caster to lessen steering effort. Conversely, if you prefer a heavier feel to the steering or need to improve the 'return to center', caster should be increased.


Alignment - Camber

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The measured difference, in degrees, of the vertical alignment of a wheel when compared to the vertical plane as viewed from the front of the vehicle. Simply put, this is how much the wheel leans in or out. Negative camber, leaning in at the top, is generally desired in applications experiencing high cornering forces. The wheel is leaned in to help compensate for the tires sidewall deflection or the flexing of the tire as it goes around a corner. A lower profile tire will need less negative camber because the sidewall will not flex as much as a taller tire.


Alignment - Toe

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The measured difference, in fractions of an inch, of the distance between leading and trailing edges of the front tires. This distance is used to determine how much the tires point towards (toe-in) or away (toe-out) from each other. Toe-In improves straight line stability. Toe-Out improves corner entry responsiveness but reduces straight line stability. Excessive toe in either direction increases tire scrub and results in higher rolling resistance and tire wear. In rear wheel drive applications: The front wheels are generally toed in to compensate for suspension deflection allowing the wheels to steer slightly outward while driving. Improved rigidity of the suspension and steering components will require less toe-in.


Alignment - Procedure (Front Coil-Over)

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Suspension must be in ride height position prior to setting the alignment. All adjustments can be made with the wheels installed on the vehicle. If wheels are not yet installed remove shock and use a jack to position suspension so that the upper control arm's bump cap is 2" from the bottom edge of the rubber bump stop.

The following fasteners must be loosened prior to adjusting: upper control arm jam nuts, strut rod jam nuts, strut rod bolts at lower control arm.

  1. Begin with upper control arm at its shortest length. Do not use shims between pivot shaft and shock tower at this time.
  2. Adjust strut rod to position lower control arm square to frame rail.
    1. A string can be used to create a straight line through both ball-joints and pivot mount assemblies of lower control arms..
    2. Make sure there is a minimum of 3/4" thread engagement at the strut rod to pivot assembly stud. Measurement from jam nut to end of exposed threads should be no more than 9/16" or 9 exposed threads.
  3. This step only applicable to vehicles equipped with eccentric adjustable lower control arm mounts. ('67-'73 Mustang)
    1. Using the eccentric eliminator plates set position of each lower control arm to roughly 1 degree more negative camber than desired maximum adjustment range. (ie. Desired setting -1 degree -- Initial setting -2 degrees) Road race / open track cars should use a higher initial setting closer to -5 degrees to give a broader adjustment range.
    2. Set both control arms to the same position of the eccentric eliminator plate of the arm that is adjusted outward further.
    3. If there is a significant difference in the camber at this point the upper control arm shims must be used to bring the side significantly exceeding -1 degree camber closer to -1 degree.
  4. Lengthen each upper control arm adjustment coupler to bring the spindle to the desired camber setting.
    1. One half turn of each adjustment coupler is roughly 1/3 of a degree.
    2. Make sure there is a minimum of 3/4" thread engagement at the arm tube to adjustment coupler stud. Measurement from jam nut to end of exposed threads should be no more than 7/16" or a total of 7 exposed threads.
  5. Begin setting caster by turning the upper control arm adjustment couplers equal amounts in opposite directions.
    1. Lengthening the forward adjustment coupler and shortening the rearward adjustment coupler will increase positive caster.
    2. Make sure there is a minimum of 3/4" thread engagement at the arm tube to adjustment coupler stud. Measurement from jam nut to end of exposed threads should be no more than 7/16" or a total of 7 exposed threads.
    3. If there is not enough adjustment at the upper arm, shorten the length of the strut rod to increase positive caster.
  6. Recheck camber after setting the caster and make any corrections if necessary.
  7. Adjust toe using the tie-rod adjustment sleeves.

Tighten all jam nuts and fasteners to complete alignment.


 

Chassis


Subframe Connectors - How to support vehicle for installation

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Prior to installation of the weld-in subframe connectors, many customers inquire as to whether the vehicle should be supported on a four-post lift so that the chassis is 'loaded' with the regular vehicle weight or if using two-post lift with the chassis 'unloaded' is acceptable. A four-post lift that supports the suspension is prefered but if you do not have access to one a two-post or even jack stands can be used. Pay attention to the body gaps; particularly the door jams to see if there is a significant difference once the vehicle is fully suspended. A chassis in good condition will show minimal changes along the door jam gap. To minimize this flexing, position the arms of the lift as far forward and rearward as possible. If using jack stands, position the jack stands along the frame rails in front of the front wheels and behind the rear wheels or on the axle tubes of the rear end housing.

 

Engine


Motor Mounts - Will they increase vibration?

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The use of a captive mounted poly-urethane bushing does increase vibration transmitted into the chassis but much less than a totally solid mount. The tolerable increase in vibration is necessary to improve torque transfer through the drivetrain and create a separation proof assembly.



Motor Mounts - Small Block - Which style mount?

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Our small block motor mounts use the dimensions and mounting height taken from the OEM mounts used from late 1966 to 1970.

1960 - Early 1966: Cast iron post style, positions motor higher. Cast components of mount assemble are subject to cracking and failure in high torque or applications with frequent shock loads such as drag racing or racing clutches.

Late 1966 - 1970: Stamped steel style, positions motor roughly 1" (one inch) lower than the early style mounts. Structurally more durable than the early cast components but rubber bushing adhesion fails in high horsepower applications. Adhesion failure allow complete motor mount separation.


 

Interior


Pedal Covers - Will they fit my vehicle?

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Our billet aluminum pedal covers were designed to fit 1965-1970 Mustangs but can be used on other vehicles. The overall dimensions for each set are listed below. Check these dimensions against your vehicle to make sure they provide complete coverage over the stock pieces. You may need to remove the stock rubber pedal pad to get an accurate comparison measurement.


 

Steering


Rack & Pinion - Uneven left and right turning radiuses

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A tighter turning radius in one direction indicates that the rack & pinion was not at its center of travel when the toe alignment was set.

Visual Cues:

  • Uneven number of turns at steering wheel from center to full left and full right lock.
  • Tie rod assemblies are different lengths.
    • Can be verified with a tape measure or by counting the number of exposed threads on each side of the adjuster sleeve.
  • With vehicle at ride height, check both left and right steering arms to steering stop clearance at full lock and compare.

Solution:

  • Find center of travel of rack and pinion.
    • With tie rods disconnected from center link, use steering wheel to find center.
    • Count number of turns from lock to lock. Should be a touch over three turns.
    • Turn to full lock, and then back one-half the number of total turns. Just over one and one-half turn.
  • Adjust tie rod assemblies to even lengths then reattach to center link.
  • Set toe, making equal adjustments to the left and right assemblies.
  • Steering wheel may have to be centered once the alignment is complete.
  • Tighten all jam and castle nuts.
  • Insert and bend all cotter pins.


Rack & Pinion - Poor 'return to center'

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Indicates lack of centering force or excessive friction preventing the steering from self centering at driving speeds.

Possible Issues:

  • Rack not 'broken in'
    • Complete first 1,000 miles of street driving and return to center should improve.

  • Pinion adjustment too tight
    • With front wheels raised off ground, check for 'notchy' feeling in steering. Steering should feel smooth and have zero to 1/8" of play at the steering wheel.
    • If 'notchy' or play is more than 1/8" the pinion set screw will need to be adjusted.
      • Loosen large lock nut (15/16" hex) surrounding set screw (5/16" allen) at bottom of pinion housing.
      • The set screw should be tightened while the steering wheel is rocked back and forth until it is seated then backed off 1/4 turn. Fine adjustments may need to be made from this base point.
      • Tighten lock nut while holding set screw to prevent it from tightening further.

  • Not enough caster in alignment
    • Adding another 1-1/2 to 2 degrees of caster to the alignment will help the return to center.
    • Caster can be added by shortening the strut rod or by adjusting the upper control arm to move the top of the spindle rearward.
    • Use the same alignment method for both sides of the vehicle.
    • Be sure to tighten jam nuts after adjustments have been completed.


Rack & Pinion - Steering pulls to one side at driving speed

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Steering will pull to one side at regular driving speeds but is less noticable at speeds below 15-20 mph.

Possible Issues:

  • Uneven tire pressures
  • Steering bias of control valve set incorrectly for application
    • With front wheels off the ground, start engine and check for steering system movement without input from steering wheel and continued movement after minimal input at steering wheel. A noticable pull when driving will automatically steer the vehicle to full lock.
      • CAUTION: Hands and tools must be clear of any moving part in steering system as uninitiated movement may occur.
    • If steering continues to move without further steering wheel input refer to 'Rack & Pinion - Steering effort easier in one direction at slow speed' - 'Solution' section for additional information.

  • Uneven caster settings
    • Early alignment specs may call for increased caster on one of the front wheel. This is done to compensate for the crown of the driving surface, most commonly found on small two lane roads to help with water shed. Modern highways have a less exaggerated crown and require less to no compensating caster.
    • Refer to 'Alignment - Caster'


Rack & Pinion - "Play" or looseness at steering wheel

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The steering system should have no more than 1/8" of free play at the steering wheel before seeing movement at the wheels.

Troubleshooting:

  • Have someone rock the steering wheel through its range of free play while watching the pinion shaft at the rack.

  • If the pinion shaft does not move with the steering wheel, the source of play is between the steering wheel and pinion shaft.

    • Possible Issue: Loose u-joint set screws
      • Tighten each set screw at both u-joints.
      • If you are able to turn any of the screws, remove the screw then apply Loctite™ or similar thread locking product and re-tighten to prevent future looseness.
      • Check for play at steering wheel.

    • Possible Issue: Loose steering wheel nut
      • Tighten the steering wheel nut.
      • Check for play at steering wheel.

  • If the pinion shaft moves in time with the steering wheel the source of play is between the pinion shaft and the wheels.

  • Have someone rock the steering wheel through its range of free play while watching the center link of the rack.

  • If the center link does not move with the steering wheel the source of play is internal to the rack & pinion unit.

    • Possible Issue: Pinion adjustment too loose
      • Loosen large lock nut (15/16" hex) surrounding set screw (5/16" allen) at bottom of pinion housing.
      • The set screw should be tightened (rotated clockwise) 1/8 of a turn.
      • Tighten lock nut while holding set screw to prevent it from tightening further.
      • Check for play or notchiness at steering wheel.
      • Fine adjustments may need to be made in either direction from this point.

  • If the center link moves in time with the steering wheel the source of play is between the center link and the wheels.

    • Possible Issue: Loose / damaged tie-rods or adjusting sleeves
      • Check that all four castle nuts and adjusting sleeve hardware is correctly tightened.
      • Check to see if tie rods are seated properly in their tapered seats.
      • If no looseness is detectable by moving the tie rod assemblies with your hand use a pry bar or large screw driver to initiate movement.
        • Any movement of the tie rod besides its normal rotation about the center point of the ball will require that the faulty component be replaced.
      • Check for play at steering wheel.

    • Possible Issue: Loose / damaged ball-joints or wheel bearing
      • With wheel raised off of ground and suspension hanging freely:
      • Try rocking the wheel vertically by grabbing the top and bottom of the tire.
        • Any movement indicates a worn or loose upper or lower ball joint or wheel bearing. You should be able to pinpoint looseness at the ball joints with a pry bar.
        • Check that all four castle nuts are correctly tightened.
        • With vehicle on ground:
        • Check for play at steering wheel.
      • Try rocking the wheel horizontally by grabbing the left and right edges of the tire.
        • Movement at the wheel without moving the steering wheel indicates a bad wheel bearing or a loose tie rod that was previously missed.
        • Rotate the tire to listen and feel for a bad wheel bearing.
        • Tighten or replace wheel bearing.
        • With vehicle on ground:
        • Check for play at steering wheel
 


Rack & Pinion - Steering stiff with wheels off ground

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Refer to Rack & Pinion - Poor 'return to center' - "Rack not 'broken in' "and "Pinion adjustment too tight" sections



Rack & Pinion - Steering effort easier in one direction at slow speed

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Uneven steering effort in each direction indicates the control valve bias is adjusted incorrectly for a street vehicle.

Solution:

  • There are two set screws positioned 90 degrees apart located on the pinion shaft just above the red anodized cap.
  • Adjustments are made in 1/12 turn increments.
  • Increase left bias: Unscrew left set screw and tighten right set screw.
  • Increase right bias: Unscrew right set screw and tighten left set screw.
  • Remove all tools prior to starting engine.
  • CAUTION: If bias is set to high the system will steer itself to full lock without steering wheel input
  • ENGINE MUST BE OFF PRIOR TO ADJUSTING


Rack & Pinion - Steering is too easy or stiff

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Variations in tire sizes and vehicle weights will change the amount of effort required at the steering wheel.

Possible Issues:

  • Tire pressure too low
    • Verify that your tires are within the tire manufacturers recommended pressure range.
      • Lower pressure
        • Larger contact patch between tire and road
        • Increased traction
        • Higher steering effort
        • Lessens side wall stiffness
      • Higher pressure
        • Smaller contact patch between tire and road
        • Reduced traction
        • Lower steering effort
        • Increases side wall stiffness

  • Caster setting incorrect for your application
  • Pump flow valve not suited to your application
    • Change flow valve at pump.
      • The pumps flow valve can be changed to increase or decrease the amount of assist as needed.
      • The power steering pump is fitted with a 2.11 gpm (8 lpm flow valve.)
      • Available flow valves range from 1.32 gpm (5 lpm) to 3.17 gpm (12 lpm).
      • Refer to 'Rack & Pinion - Poor 'return to center' - 'Not enough caster in alignment' section

  • Steering-bias-adjustment set screws are loose
    • There are two set screws positioned 90 degrees apart located on the pinion shaft just above the red anodized cap.
    • Tighten each set screw in 1/12-turn increments until both are tight.
    • Once tightened verifty that steering effort is equal in each direction.
    • If steering effort is uneven, refer to 'Rack & Pinion - Steering effort easier in one direction at slow speed'.
    •  



Power assist fades after car is warmed up

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Steering will become progressively harder to steer as the engine temperature rises. Loss of power steering may also be intermittent or jerky. Excessive under hood temperatures or radiated heat is easily transferred to the power steering fluid through the aluminum components and the hoses close proximity to the exhaust system.

Solution:

  • Re-route power steering lines to increase clearance around heat sources.
    • Refer to Hose Kit installation guide for routing information.
  • Increase airflow across the power steering components.
    • The aluminum pump and reservoir efficiently transfer heat into and out of the power system.
    • An air duct directed at either of these items will help.
  • Add Inline oil/fluid cooler.
    • The addition of an aftermarket fluid cooler is rarely required and is generally reserved for race vehicles with limited air flow at the foward portion of the engine compartment due to aerodynamic components. The cooler must be mounted in an area of adequate airflow but safe from road debris.


Can I use my original power steering pump?

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We do not recommend using the factory power steering pump with our power rack and pinion. We have experienced many technical issues using factory pumps that generally include excessive hydraulic noise, over boosted power assist and lack of reliability. Our pump is designed using current technology and manufacturing capabilites which results in a superior pump in terms of reliability, efficiency and tuning capability. The power steering pump and rack & pinion control servo have matched flow rates to optimize performance and offer an excellent range of adjustment using the optional flow valves.



Which power steering fluid?

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The only medium recommended for use in our rack-and-pinion system is petroleum (OIL). DO NOT USE SILICONE SYNTHETIC FLUID, any automatic transmission fluid, or any fluid containing a “resealing” additive. Materials such as silicones, brake fluids, water-or glycol-based hydrostatic fluids, and phosphate ester-based aviation hydraulic fluids like Skydrol are incompatible with the seals in the servo and cylinder and will cause them to swell, shrink, crack, or even dissolve. Damage or leaks caused by use of these fluids voids the manufacturer’s warranty.

If the label does not say “Contents: Petroleum Oil” do not use it.

  • APPROVED FLUIDS
    • United States - NAPA Brand – PSF 9832 (1 qt.), PSF 9801 (1 gal.), NHF 85401 (1 gal.)
    • Canada - NVO 15040 (10 liter) -
    • Europe - Pentosin CHF7.1 - 1404106 (BMW/Audi dealerships)

Suspension (front)


Coil-Over - Ride height adjustment

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Ride height is roughly 2" below stock ride height depending upon vehicle weight and selected spring rate. The lower spring collar be used to change the ride height of the vehicle within about a 1" range. Adjustment exceeding this range results in significant reduction of available compression or extension of the shock. Frequent bottoming or topping out of the shock will cause seal damage. The supplied VariShock has 4-1/4" of available travel. We recommend reserving a minimum of 2-1/2" of travel at the wheel in either direction from ride height.



Lower Control Arms - Adjusting camber with eccentric eliminators

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Camber can still be set at one of eleven positions using our three-hole eccentric eliminator plates. Each position changes the camber angle by roughly 1/2 degree with a total adjustment range of over 4-1/2 degrees. Our recommended alignment specs allow a maximum 1/2 degree range of 0 - 1/2 degree negative camber for street use or 1 degree range of 1 - 2 degrees negative camber for track use. If a more precise camber setting is required the eliminator plate will need to be set at an increased negative angle so that the upper control arm can be shimmed at the pivot shaft. Shimming the upper control arm is the only method for setting camber on vehicles prior to 1967 and your alignment shop should be very familiar with this procedure.



Upper Control Arms - Benefits to lowered mounting position

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Lowering the mounting point of the upper control arm our recommended 1" has two distinct advantages over the stock position; camber gain and roll center height.

Stock Position:
Many auto manufacturers design the front suspension of their vehicles to introduce positive camber during hard cornering. As the body rolls, suspension compresses and the outside tire begins to deflect the top of the wheel is pushed outward, lifting the inside edge and reducing front end traction. A vehicle tuned to understeer is less likely to spin-out but at the cost of cornering ability and driver satisfaction.

Lowered Position:
The lower mounting position at the shock tower places the upper arm at an inclined angle which draws the top of the wheel inward at the suspension compresses. This is known as negative camber gain and the improved geometry now keeps the tire in better contact with the road. The inclined angle of the upper control arm also moves the roll center of the front suspension upward, closer to the center of gravity of the vehicle. The closer these two points (roll center and center of gravity) are together the more effective the stabilizer bar and springs are at controlling the vehicles tendancy to roll when cornering. Reduced body roll also help to keep the tire in better contact with the road, increasing traction and greatly improving its cornering ability.

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