The Jalopy Journal
Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 54GMC, May 24, 2011.
How much caster should there be? How much is too much and what will happen with too much?
What are you trying to do?
What ever the spec is, is what its supposed to be. Too much caster makes it steer heavy, and won't corner as well at the limit. Not enough caster and the steering wont come back to center out of a corner. Too much caster on one side will make it pull to that side. Usually caster within 1 deg. of each other is fine. I've seen spec's anywhere from .5 deg to 2 deg. Depends on the car. I'm guessing you don't have a mustang II so on a hot rod I'd set it at 1 deg or 1.5 deg. and see how it drives.
Whatever your setting, make sure you have some hash marks on the top hat for the upper arms to grab onto. If not, they will slip out of adjustment.
afther market frontend calls for 1 degs to back.I see a real mustang welded to early frame and the springs were facing in wrong direction.Those pintos had to be angled 3degs back to get 1deg and more backwards.
Its on a 48Willys VJ2 and I am trying to make it a little less reactive ,its at 4 now
I'd go around 2 degrees. Don't forget toe setting will change when you change caster.
Are you running a power rack? If so, what pump are you running with it? If you are running a gm pump with a ford rack you will have a twitchy steering. Gm pumps put out too much pressure for a ford rack.
In most cases, 4 degrees of caster is not enough. Most front ends like 5-7 degrees.
If you find you have a pressure problem, they make valves to install into gm pumps, or in line to drop the pressure.
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Holy Crap! We ran 7 deg but that was the bonneville car with a straight axle, It didn't have to turn well.
Here are the Heidts recommended settings for a Mustang II:
caster 1° positive
camber 1/2° positive
toe in 1/8" plus/minus 1/8"
I like a little negative camber but that's just me. If 4 deg of caster isn't enough to keep it in a straight line something else is wrong!
It is power and the pressure and flow have been addressed, It is driveable but just not what I am used to ,At pressent its at 4.5 deg caster -0.5 camber,Right at TCIs specs for power racks, The + 1deg is for manual racks, Right now I am just trying to take a little edge off and am getting responses eleswhere of +6 to 7 deg is normal
Sorry, I assumed manual rack. Your 4.5 degrees is about right. You could go to 6, see how it feels.
I have been driving My 53 Willys Wagon (84 Ramcharger Chassis) and 55 Willys Truck both of which are slower and sloppy. It might just be that I need to get used to it whether I want to or not
Thank You for your help so far
You should set up per the spec. Then again if you put in an M2 into something heavy or put in adjustable shocks you may get a bit of odd feel out of the front end.
If it's set up wrong you get some jumping and chirping at tight steer situations, a bit of drift when you bang the gears under heavy acceleration as you load and unload the front end and a bit of panic drift at high speed where you just don't seem to have "full" control of the car.
You may be able to tweak your numbers and see how the car responds, a half degree here or there. Some may disagree but is there really a spec written for an M2 in some of these older cars that is going to cover variable weights and steering systems? most likely not, so a bit of responsible tuning of it may work well. It has for me.
I talked to the guy at Heidts about the numbers for a super ride 2. Caster 3 may go to 4 or 5. Camber 1/4 degree positive. toe 1/8 degree. this was a power front rack.
It tracks the about the same at 6 as it does 4.5. Don't get me wrong it does go straight just fine. It is just quicker,and more sensitive that I am comfortable with, Sneeze and your gone. I have thought of using a steering quickner backwards but am afraid it will go to far in the other direction. Heidts call for positive camber ?
TCI says 0-1/4 negative
I'm running a heights guess about 1 degs manual steering any more would be harder to steer.There is no play you just aim this car,don,t even have to move the wheel at all.
That's what the guy said, perhaps he was incorrect. maybe I heard him wrong, I 'm not 20 anymore, Huh? a bit deaf. He thought that a power rack would need less caster. If it didn't return fast enough add more.
I got a bit of a lesson on the life of these springs and spring rates that these units are sold with, Seems my springs lost a lot of love over the winter. The coils got sort of tight. Stepped up to a higher load rate.
You may want to investigate that, very hard to set the old gal up right if the springs are fading.
I noticed this in tire wear pattern. With the power rack it felt fine, couldn't feel it in the springs, looked at the tires and wear pattern. You can have your springs tested to see how they fare.
TCI Front Suspension Alignment Spec:
Toe In 1/16” Per Side
Caster Power Rack 4-5°
Caster Manual Rack 3-4°
The only thing left after addressing the pressure and aligning it at 5+ pos caster is switching to the early 80's T-bird rack. That rack is 3 turns lock to lock instead of 2.5 like what you have now.
FWIW: I have driven and aligned quite a few of the TCI MII's and the most positive caster I have been able to run was right at 6 degrees before having to modify the alignment slots. Even on the lighter cars like the Nova I have never seen a need to go more than 6. Plus, you start effecting bump steer with the steering arms angled back that far.
Throw a digital angle finder across the flat area just behind the 2 alignment T-bolts(front to back) and see how much anti-dive you have. TCI does not make a kit specifically for your vehicle so I want to rule out the possibility of caster going the wrong direction during suspension compression.
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