XJ6 Series 1 Camber

My front tyres were wearing quite noticeably on the outside and so I had my alignment checked. This highlighted that my camber was way out:

Left 2.26’
Right 8.19’

The left is bad, but the right is ridiculous - doesn’t that require a 2" shim LOL.

The toes were just above zero, so OK curiously. The garage didn’t check the caster!

I did strip down and rebuild the front end a few years ago, so nothing is very old and nothing was obviously damaged. I’ve had a lot of engine troubles until recently (touch wood), so haven’t had the luxury of looking at other issues until now.

Not sure what shims are there at present, even possible that I forgot them, but surely even then, shouldn’t it be quite a small amount.

Far out! Can you just look at the car and tell that the camber is off? I imagine it would look like some of those front tractor wheels.

IIRC the camber shims pull the upper control arm inward, so that thicker shims mean less camber. In the archives are discussions where folks have made very thick shims in attempts to get zero or negative camber. There’s also an interaction on the Series 1 between caster and camber settings. Often, you can’t have both where you want them (lots of caster, 0 or -1 deg camber). They changed control arms on later XJs to correct this. Also in the archives. Good luck!

Highly suspicious, Derek - Jaguar likely made the set-up for minimum use to get the camber correct…

The first step is of course to check shimming right and left, comparing numbers - to at least check if shim numbers is a possible cause the difference. Did you actually check front geometry after the rebuild? Any sign of slack in the front suspension…?

I agree with Robert - a visual check, including plumb line to sort of verify there is not, however unlikely, a measuring fault…:slight_smile:

xj6 85 Sov Europe (UK/NZ)

As an aside, the toe should be zero to negative - ‘toe in’…


Positive or negative ?
8.19’ = 8.3°
This is a ridiculous amount of Camber… I think that it’s not even possible unless something is very seriously bent… En plus, it would be quite visible.
Specs are -0.25° to -0.75° (SIII) !!

Did you use the ride height tools ?
Did the mechanic roll the car after he put the lasers on the wheels ?

There is something very wrong here…
Tyres wearing on the outside means either super excessive positive Camber either too much Toe-in.

To put it in slight better words, thicker shims mean more negative camber.


I checked for shims and found 1/8ths on both sides. The wheels do indeed look a bit V shaped. I basically put the suspension back how it was including caster shims, but with new springs, shocks, bushes and ball joints. There doesn’t seem to be any play where there shouldn’t be. The toe was measured as: -

Left 0.07°
Right 0.05°

All the measurements were positive

There was a thread recently where a fellow got something backwards when refitting his control arms. Can’t remember if it was left-right or front-rear. There was a photo and it didn’t look quite right–that’s why he posted.

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Barring a booboo at the alignment shop, Derek; I sure second Aristides ‘something is very wrong here’.
Accentuated by the large difference with the same shims…

Unless you have ‘in-house’ access to proper alignment tools; you need some crude method for measuring camber - if you want to make changes…

The camber change, measured on the rim, is around 3,3 mm/degree - or a tad under 5/32". Measured at the shim - about 2/3 of that. Or, crudely; your 1/8 shim should equal about 1 degree. (SE&0 - someone should certainly verify those calculations!)

The point of this is both that your camber fault should be easily, if crudely, measured ‘in-house’ - and is far to big to be rectified by shimming…

Bent ‘towers’ on the crossmember has been observed - however, this should move the camber even more negative.

The suspension is designed for minimum camber change with suspension travel. And while the setting tools should indeed be used, as Aistides says, for setting suspension; the difference with setting tool and the car just resting on the wheels is small.

In short; you somehow have to independently check camber measurements before proceeding…

xj6 85 Sov Europe (UK/NZ)

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Adding a 1.6mm shim will increase Negative Camber by 0.25°
Taken from Jaguar Repair Manual.

As @Robert_Wilkinson said it’s possible to install the upper control arms upside down… They have a caster offset that may affect camber too if one is upside down… Something to look at that is easy to confirm.

I printed a picture of an S1 I found online and compared it to mine, and the control arms were orientated the same. I’ve added two 1/8ths each side that should bring me back a degree each. I’ll perhaps get another check done at a different garage - it’s surprising how many local garages won’t touch an old Jag.

Well you’re better off – if they’re afraid of this simple layout I wouldn’t have much confidence in their work. The only thing weird about Jags is the use of washer-like shims as opposed to a regular alignment shim.

Just for the heck of it and because I had it in my computer handy, here’s a pic of the Left side front suspension (US driver’s side) with the upper control arm offset positioned properly.

Which then roughly means that a couple inches of shims would be required, required to correct 8+ degrees, Aristides.

Which is ridicules corrective action…:slight_smile:

xj6 85 Sov Europe (UK/NZ)

I still think you should do a rough camber measurement, Derek…

There is no way shimming can correct 8 degrees of wrong camber - that much out will be easily detected…

xj6 85 Sov Europe (UK/NZ)

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Before you spend more money to another garage I suggest that you build your self an angle measuring device and check it your self.
It’s fairly simple, it’s just a bar, two screws or whatever that rest at the edges of the rim, a long needle that pivots at the top and a printed degrees scale.
I could send you the degrees scale file if you would be interested.

Very important:
Best would be to also fabricate the height setting tools, or somehow determine that the car is indeed parallel with the floor at the front.
That’s because camber changes drastically with suspension travel and factory specs are given for that position.
Second, and more important, they make sure both wheels are at the same travel position.

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Here’s a jig I made up to check mine after changing all the front suspension isolators. Level floor, roofing square and photographed the offsets. A little bit of trigonometry and I’m within 0.25 degrees positive on both sides.

I would be interested in yours (and anyones) opinion on whether the car must be sitting perfectly level, or what effect a “slope” has on measurement of both castor and camber.

I have the issue of a down slope of ~1* and cross slope ~ 0.5*

can I and do I need to use trig, or does a slope totally invalidate any attempt ?

meaning I must level the car with spacers under each tyre prior to measuring ?

I have an electronic angle finder…which is helpful for these measurements

‘Perfect’ is the enemy of the ‘good’, Tony…:slight_smile:

You have 8 degrees from the alignment shop. Either that is misread by the shop, or your camber is incredibly wrong. In which case some serious investigation is required to clarify ‘why’ - it is way beyond what can be done with shim adjustments…

This takes precedence, and can be easily clarified - 8 degrees makes your 0,5 degrees immaterial. If indeed the alignment shop has made a gross error, easily verified; there are simple ways to compensate a sloping floor…

A spirit level will give true vertical and floor slope - and simple ad and subtract will get you into the ballpark. Or, for finer points; you move the car to some place where the floor is flat.

The increased precision with height setting tool is not worth while for home-made rigs. The difference in height between a normally laden car and with the setting tools causes barely noticeable camber change - barely detectable with professional rigs…

That said, while an alignment shop may be apprehensive in handling an old Jaguar, it does not relate to the actual measurements taken - which is pretty standard procedure for any car. Their reservations would be lack of Jaguar specs and/or the wherewithal to do adjustments…

xj6 85 Sov Europe (UK/NZ)

some slight confusion with the OP here Frank, my camber and toe are satisfactory

castor hasnt been set by me, I need to measure it very accurately as the shims are quite different on each side

thats where the 1* down slope comes into it…thats roughly 2" over a Jag wheelbase

I think I need to have the base on which tyre rests level with each other to do this ?

As to the OP issue, 8* is incomprehensible, I would verify that by one of several methods outlined in this thread, something is very wrong there, or the alignment place is incompetent

Sorry about the confusion, Tony - the caster is a very different kettle of fish…

The standard test of caster is to measure the change of ‘camber’ as the wheels are turned to specific angles. Only the front wheels are involved - and as each caster angle is set separately - the wheel base is immaterial if the floor is sloping evenly…

Assuming a measured floor slant; similar computations to camber measurement may be done to compensate for that. But honestly; camber is best done by an alignment shop…?

The caster shims are not necessarily evenly distributed ex factory - but uneven distribution either side certainly warrants a caster check. It may imply wrong caster - or some fault that requires different shimming…

xj6 85 Sov Europe (UK/NZ)

A level floor is absolutely essential Tony.
Ride height tools as well.
I’m in the process of doing exactly that and any deviation on suspension height or floor level can distort your measurements as much as 0.5°
A bucket and a clear tube is all you need to level the floor, plenty of videos on the net.