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"Squirrelly" on the highway?
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QuickNick
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2014 7:46 pm    Post subject:  "Squirrelly" on the highway? Reply with quote

A little hard to describe, but heres a shot-

Under highway speeds (55mph-under) my 04' handles great. However, once on the highway its gets very "loose" if thats the word I'm looking for. Its fine then out of nowhere it feels like a huge gust of wind hits it & I'm all over the place. Its like your doing 70mph & hit a patch of ice. I can get ahold of it, but its very...terrifying..butt-puckering...you got it Shocked

I got the car last spring & it had the problem. I just assumed it was bad tires, as it feels like a tire with "tire squirm." Over the winter the car was parked so I replaced/upgraded EVERYTHING and theres zero difference. Heres what has been replaced-

tubular rear trailing arms
Moog rear swaybar links
new stock tiny rear swaybar
all 4 wheels/tires
all struts/springs
front ball joints/tie rods/control arms/swaybar bushings & end links
all brake parts
added front STB

I upgraded anything that could be upgraded with something better other than the sway bars. It handles better below 50mph, but zero difference above that.

I have NOT gotten an alignment from a shop yet. I'm an old drag racer so I have some cool chassis tools, I have a toe gauge so the toe is set correctly. I even went as far as "stringing" the car to make sure there was no frame damage/wheel stagger issues. I cannot check caster on this so thats where I'm leaning towards. Just a guess, but I admit to being lost.

Do I just say screw it & take it to an alignment shop? I've crawled all over the car & cant find it! I just dont want to blow the $$ on an alignment & have them say "we didnt change a thing." Does anyone check thier own caster here, and how? I'm thinking of stringing the struts themselves, but thats really a pain!

Thanks for any help!
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IffyG
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2014 9:42 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Get the alignment checked out before you replace any more components. If that's good, the next thing I'd check is the wheel hubs. My car was getting looser and looser on the highway until I swapped out the front hubs.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2014 4:26 pm    Post subject:  Re: "Squirrelly" on the highway? Reply with quote

QuickNick wrote:
A little hard to describe, but heres a shot-

Under highway speeds (55mph-under) my 04' handles great. However, once on the highway its gets very "loose" if thats the word I'm looking for. Its fine then out of nowhere it feels like a huge gust of wind hits it & I'm all over the place. Its like your doing 70mph & hit a patch of ice. I can get ahold of it, but its very...terrifying..butt-puckering...you got it Shocked

Thanks for any help!



Tie rods could effect the looseness & tightness
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98ss
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2014 1:35 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

There is no caster adjustment on our cars. If the camber is out then usually the fix is to get the strut bolts with a cam in them. Our cars take 0 to -0.5 of camber (negative which means the top of the tire tips in). If you have access to a digital inclinometer this can be done really easily, if not you can put a level on the side of the center cap, it should be really oblivious if the car is greater than 0.5 because half a degree is like a half to quarter bubble out of tolerance on most levels.

My guess is that the rear of the car is not right, which is what makes or breaks a well handling car. Look for excessive camber/toe there first. If you have a laser it makes finding the toe easy. You can use trig to find the degree, anything over 1 will make that car go crazy.

As another spot check, check the alignment holes in the back of the cradle to see if they are close. Post back up so I know how to help you next.
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QuickNick
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2014 4:55 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Thanks!
I did a little checking. I put the rear end up on jackstands, took off the wheels & measured toe off of the rotors. I got 1/8" (.125) toe OUT-


Then I grabbed a regular bubble level & put it across both rear rotors, suspension hanging to look at camber.

Drivers side, huge negative camber-


Passengers side, also negative-



The suspension was just hanging so I didnt think those were accurate numbers. I made a two 11 1/2" blocks & supported the rear suspension from the rotors like this. Not high tech but thats closer to actual ride height-


Broke out the level again & better..Drivers side with block almost level-


Passengers side with block (hard to tell but its negative)-



..so what am I looking at here? The passengers side has negative camber & its toe is wayyy out?? The offset camber bolts, are those hard to find?

Earlier when I measured the distance from front hub to rear hub it was equal on both sides, so its not dog tracking but everything else isnt looking good. You can imagine how it handles with the rear all whacked out like that Shocked It WAS in an accident before I got it, the rear bumper mounts are pushed over towards the drivers side. Thinking maybe that right rear wheel took a hit also.
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98ss
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2014 4:57 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

The measurements should be taken with the car on the ground. So put the car back on the ground and roll it a bit to get the suspension reset. then take the measurements again. When you say toe out is the front of the wheel pointed out?
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QuickNick
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2014 5:15 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Thanks SS!

Yes, the front of the wheel is out. I'll drop her back on the ground & see what happens.

I did a quick search & found offset camber bolts everywhere, cool. Would a cheap camber gauge like this be any help? Only $20.
http://www.tooltopia.com/tool-aid-61800.aspx
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98ss
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2014 5:21 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

So couple other questions, when you get the car on the ground and roll it a bit. Are you running stock tires/rims, and are both the driver and passenger rear tires; front pointed out (positive toe)?

Based on what you told me I don't think the camber in the rear is going to be the culprit. So were just comparing side to side here to see if something really sticks out.
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QuickNick
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2014 5:47 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Back on the ground, drove it down the driveway & back & did the "level" measure again. The drivers side is almost vertical, top of the tire in just a hair on the level. Passengers side, its way out (looks like the first pic of the passengers side with suspenion hanging). High tech here Embarassed but the bubble was not in the center of the level at all. Looking at the tire, the top of it is in a lot.

It seems to be just that right rear that is "toed out." I just put new wheels & tires on it, maybe 400 miles on them so far. The air pressure is at 32psi on all of them & nothing "wobbles" when its going down the road.
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98ss
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2014 6:09 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

QuickNick wrote:
Back on the ground, drove it down the driveway & back & did the "level" measure again. The drivers side is almost vertical, top of the tire in just a hair on the level. Passengers side, its way out (looks like the first pic of the passengers side with suspenion hanging). High tech here Embarassed but the bubble was not in the center of the level at all. Looking at the tire, the top of it is in a lot.

It seems to be just that right rear that is "toed out." I just put new wheels & tires on it, maybe 400 miles on them so far. The air pressure is at 32psi on all of them & nothing "wobbles" when its going down the road.


That makes some sense because you are getting a some roll steer from the right rear, but it may not be the complete story.

Ok so some things to think about. The lower profile the tire the higher the steering compliance from the front and the rear is going to be, or in simple terms think of the tire like a spring, now its just really stiff so any small thing is going to make it stand out a lot. So, it looks like the camber on the passenger side is near or out of spec. Not a surprise because the car was in a rear impact. So camber bolt should fix that. So right rear should not be toed out, but it should be slightly toed in. I would look to see if any of the rear tie rods are bent, or anything with the Tri-link is fracked. Check those bushings and the straightness of the rods, my guess is one is bent.

Now I'm not saying this is going to fix everything or the whole problem, but you know that its initial appearance does not look correct. I would also assume that the driver side rear toe is better. The camber is the easy one to fix and the camber bolts are cheap. Start there.

The toe is going to be the one that is difficult, so if you do try and adjust it, remember adjust in small increments. If the toe on the right rear is visible, then its pretty far out of wack.
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2014 6:37 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Thanks for all your help SS! I've been chasing this problem ever since I got the car last year. Its been parked for the last 6 months (winter) so I took shots at it. I "thought" it was tires, but as I crawled around it more I found worn parts. I plan on keeping it a few years so I just did "everything" while I had the time.

I'll order the camber bolts tonight & tinker with it during the week. It looks like they have different degrees on them, so I'm going to get the "larger" one & something more mid range so I got a couple to play with. All the other wheels are close to being good so it wont be bad at all.

I'll check out the tie rods while I'm waiting for parts. Thinking if I find one bent then I'll just replace all of them & drag it to the alignment shop. I can make small adjustments & measure them, but doing it all is a pain in the garage!

Thanks again, cant wait to drive on the highway without feeling the need for a helmet Laughing
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2014 6:45 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

I think the camber adjustment is going to be small. so here is what you can do. This is going to be super old school, but if you have time by all means try it. Drop some plumb bobs from the pinch welds or rocker panels. One in the front and one in the back, and get some chalk. Connect the dots on each side. At some point in the front of the car on those lines you just drew, make a perpendicular line and make sure its in the same place on each side. Grab a laser pointer and mock it up in some fashion so that it sits on the outside of the rim so that it hits the perpendicular lines. Measure how far you are off from side to side.

But I agree, the alignment shop would be the best way, but this additional step will save you some trouble and tell you if something else is bent.
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PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2014 4:11 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Crap! Twisted Evil I did everything & its still strange. Its fine until I hit "grooved" pavement on the highway & then all of the sudden its goes crazy (losing the rear end in a hurry). Not a good feeling! You go from 70-75 with one finger on the wheel to <60 and on the brakes in a hurry. 70 isnt possible, period.

Going for an alignment this week. I have camber set at zero on all four wheels, I have to be off on toe somewhere. It feels like the rear sway bar is broken but I know its not, plus its only on the grooved pavement on the highway-perfect everywhere else. New tires so I'm hesitant to say its them, but maybe. Lost as heck on this one! I'll post back after the alignment. Hopefully I just screwed up something along the way. Thanks for all the help!
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PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2014 6:00 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

QuickNick wrote:
Crap! Twisted Evil I did everything & its still strange. Its fine until I hit "grooved" pavement on the highway & then all of the sudden its goes crazy (losing the rear end in a hurry). Not a good feeling! You go from 70-75 with one finger on the wheel to <60 and on the brakes in a hurry. 70 isnt possible, period.


That's called tramlining. It's likely do to something with your tires (pressure not quite right or your treads don't play nice with that groove). My Potenza Grid G009s hated a section of I440 in Nashville so much that I avoided it if I could.

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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 9:17 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Thanks Iffy!
I had to look up tramlining and you nailed it. Car is great till I hit the grooved pavement, then its a thrill ride. Going to play with tire pressure a bit (crossing fingers) since I have a perfect test section of highway right by me - smooth then grooved. Getting to the end of my rope with this darn car!
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