Only camber and toe are adjustable on these cars, caster is preset and non-adjustable.
See Figure 1
Camber is the inward or outward tilt from the vertical, measured in degrees, of the front wheels at the top. An outward tilt gives the wheel positive camber, an inward tilt is called negative camber. Proper camber is critical to assure even tire wear.
Camber angle is adjusted on the A-Bodies by loosening the through bolts which attach the MacPherson strut to the steering knuckle in or out. The bolts must be tightened afterwards. The bolts must be seated properly between the inner and outer guide surfaces on the strut flange. Measurement of the camber angle requires special alignment equipment, thus the adjustment of camber is not a do-it-yourself job, and not covered here.
Caster is the forward or rearward tilting of the steering axis from the vertical. A rearward tilt (at the top) is called positive, and the forward tilt is negative. Zero caster indicates that the strut is directly above the ball joint. Caster influences the directional control of the steering but does not affect the tire wear. If you have weak springs or you overload your vehicle this will effect the caster. Caster affects the vehicles directional stability and steering effort.
Caster is measured in degrees like camber. If one wheel has more positive caster than the other, this will cause the wheel to pull towards the center of the vehicle, causing the vehicle to move or lead toward the side with the least amount of positive caster. Caster is not adjustable.
See Figure 2
Toe is the amount, measured in a fraction of a millimeter, that the wheels are closer together at one end than the other. Toe-in means that the front wheels are closer together at the front than the rear. Toe-out means the rear of the front wheels are closer together than the front. A-Body cars are designed to have a slight amount of toe-in.
Toe is adjusted by turning the tie rods. It must be checked after camber has been adjusted, but it can be adjusted without disturbing the camber setting. You can make this adjustment without special equipment if you make very careful measurements. The wheels must be straight ahead.
- Toe can be determined by measuring the distance between the centers of the tire treads, at the front of the tire and at the rear. If the tread pattern makes this impossible, you can measure between the edges of the wheel rims, but make sure to move the car forward and measure in a couple of places to avoid errors caused by bent rims or wheel run-out.
- If the measurement is not within specifications, loosen the nuts at the steering knuckle end of the tie rod, and remove the tie rod boot clamps. Rotate the tie rods to align the toe to specifications. Rotate the tie rods evenly, or the steering wheel will be crooked when you're done.
- When the adjustment is correct, tighten the nuts to 44 ft. lbs. (60 Nm). Adjust the boots and tighten the clamps.