Alignment out of whack

Finally took my 1988 XJ-S in for a front end alignment after replacing subframe and rebuilding suspension (I went to an expert alignment place, but no I did not use the mid-laden tools, please I don’t want to get into a debate about this) This post is more for a laugh.

Sooo…I eyeballed the Toe-In. Total out was 1.05"!!! (Supposed to be no more than 0.12" total out)

And…I accidentally put the Camber shim/washer on the wrong side - it’s supposed to go between subframe and upper control fulcrum, I must have been rushing that day and put it on the back side with the nut! So my Camber was 1 degree Positive!!! Supposed to be around -0.5 degrees Negative.

No wonder the car has driven quite strange the last couple weeks! :slight_smile:

I am also adjusting the Caster shims while in there. Supposed to be 3.25 to 3.75 degrees. The Left is 3.75 and the Right is 3.25. The ROM says moving one of those four 1/16" shims moves the Caster 0.25 degrees. (Right now there are 2 rear and 2 front) So I’m going to move them so both are the same at around 3.5 degrees, not sure if that will make a noticeable difference, but may as well try.

They will readjust Toe-In once I make these changes.

Gregma error strikes again :wink:

That’s great, I feel your pain. I just went through a set of
Tyres on one side die to slight alignment issue (I assume).
I’m forced to buy a new set , but my question would be is
The average alignment tyre shop familiar with all this shim
Business. BTW my next set wont be unidirectional. Your
Limited to front back rotation on one side. (Maybe I should go
To redlines?)

Do I have this straight?

Caster shims:

Camber shims:

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check out the extensive Camber thread on the E Type forum…Lots of good info…some may transfer…some not…but a good education on camber and set up.

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Yes, that is correct.

I only put in the one thick camber spacer (make sure both front and rear use the same spacers). I hope that’s enough, I think that’s all mine came with. Pain to do.

The caster shims are piece of cake.

I was quite surprised, the alignment shop did know what to do. They even drew me a picture where to put the camber shim/washer that I erroneously placed.

I only drove it a few hundred miles like this, but they said that’s enough. I feathered the outside edges of the tires with that positive camber. Oh well. Still plenty of tread elsewhere, but I’ve probably lost some time.

They also told me to move 1 shim forward on Right and 1 shim backward on Left to bring both casters to the same value. So they must know each one moves it 1/4 degree.

I took it to an independent alignment shop that’s been around for 30 years. Most of the guys in there are in their 50s and 60s. I trust them. Very hard to find old school mechanics these days, a rare breed.

I gave up going to places like Firestone and such a loooong time ago.

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And get them to give you a printout of the final values

That’s why there are wheel aligners. I set my cars up manually but always get them checked and corrected professionally.

If you use a stringline from the rear wheels, with practise you can get the toe in to within 1/16" quite easily. It’s amazing how far out you can get by eye alone.

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Shims are a pretty standard way of adjusting camber and caster. They’re cheap and repeatable. Most GM and Ford cars in Australia still use them.

Where they will get confused is if you have a screw arrangement, like the castor adjustment on the E type. I’ve had a shop adjust castor by using unequal numbers of camber shims front and rear on the top wishbone on an E Type. This is a perfectly legitimate way to do it, but they simply didn’t know about the threaded fulcrum pin.

Just put those tyres on the rear of the car.

I’ve done the shims for camber and caster. Can’t really tell much difference driving, although it’s probably more about tire wear at this point. I need to bring it back Friday to check if it’s good, and they said toe-in will have to be readjusted again. I’ve got printout, and will get another.

Rear was decent, a few readings were out, but only by a hair.

At least the car no longer pulls going over man hole covers!!!

Happens to all of us…!
No error, no learn.

Uneven Caster would cause the steering wheel not to want to sit straight and the car would have a tendency to pull on the side with less positive Caster, most apparent on highway speeds.

Can’t agree more, and they do seam to be competent.
But make sure that the roll the car after they install the lasers on the wheels because if the rear does not sit straight none of the measurements will be correct.
Even though there are rolling plates at the rear of the alignment lifts, their travel is limited and quite often they reach their limit with the Jag, or my Range Rover, and negates their purpose.
That’s a lesson learned after spending lots of money on failed alignments… now I do them myself.

If you want the rear to have the correct Camber do your self a favour and fab a set of rear mid-laden tools.
You have done so much work, why this shortcut?

Putting the feathered tyres on the back is not a bad idea, they will even out as they wear.

Post the print out.

Caster is commonly set differently, left side versus right side, to compensate for the effect of road crown. If you have heavily crowned roads in your area you’d want a bit less positive caster on the left side. In essence you’re setting up a tendency for the car to pull left…to compensate for road crown pulling the car to the right.


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and if you spend most of your time in the passing lane of an Interstate highway, with the left turn signal permanently on, wearing a hat, then the opposite caster setting is required.

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Mine was set up the opposite, slightly more positive on the left side. Perfect for driving on the left side of the road in England!?

Our road crown isn’t bad, and I want casters about the same. I’d rather have it drive perfect on flat roads, and have to fight any road crown myself.

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Here is the print out. Will get final print out Friday.

Since you live in one of the citadels of political correctness, you should know that they are no longer referred to “manhole covers”. They are now “personnel access covers”.

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The only thing that doesn’t sound right is rear Toe (sorry to be a pain…)
Left: -0.01" = 0.25mm
Right: +0.06" = 1.52mm
Doesn’t sound much, but it is… giving a total Toe of 1.77mm and more than half a degree of thrust angle.
Total toe is not so much of a concern (even though it’s positive), but the 0.5° thrust angle is.
This would cause wear on the Outside of the RH front tyre, have a look and see.
I had the exact same problem.

Another thing is not enough rear Camber, I don’t remember which way it goes, but without the mid-laden tool you will never know… (yes, I am a pain, I know)

Also, there is a 0.25mm difference on the rear Left Toe between the Initial and Final values (without touching anything) so I am really very curious to see if you are going to have the same values when they re-measure.

Keep us posted.

Ha, don’t worry about it. You’re just being thorough and concerned, I appreciate it.

We shall see if fixing the front camber and adjusting front caster affects rear at all or not. I’ll post print out later today. I really don’t want to get into aligning rear if I don’t have to, and like you said, the mid-laden tools are probably more important for that. I’ve already replaced my rear radius arm bushings, but the rear mounts are original, although in decent shape. I plan on replacing those later this year, perhaps I should re-check alignment in the rear after that.

Front Camber could effect rear Toe, but a minuscule amount.
Caster should not.