Wheel, tilt, tow – wheel alignment

Wheel, tilt, tow – wheel alignment

What is a wheel – camber – tow – wheel alignment

First for those who don’t understand wheel, camber and drag, let me explain. A wheel is how a wheel is in relation to a vertical pin or ball joints. It can be true vertical or -o- degree, positive or negative. Example: the front wheel of a bicycle has positive caster. Note that the wheel extends forward from the axis of rotation. Therefore, you allow the steering to come straight back when you take your hands off the grips. A positive wheel vehicle will do the same. This adjustment is for steering or how it is driven and requires a wheel – gauge to adjust as well as certain manual switches.

Camber refers to the position of the wheel relative to the vehicle, such as in at the top and out at the bottom (negative) or out at the top and in at the bottom (positive). Recommended setting can be minus 1 to plus 1, -0 degrees is straight up and down or true vertical. If it is excessive in one way or another, it will cause wear on the inner or outer edge of the tire and chains may appear. This setup is for tire wear and possibly some handling, also some tools like a top control wrench and a tomcat camber adjustment tool might be helpful.

Once the wheel and camber are set up we go to tow which is also for tire wear and again possibly some steering. Tow is the ratio of adjustment of the left front wheel to the right front wheel. If the tires on the front wheels point slightly towards each other, this is traction. If they are far apart, it is a draw. Before this adjustment is made, the steering center must be made. This is the relationship of the steering wheel to the left front wheel. With the steering wheel set straight ahead (centered), align the left wheel pulled slightly inward or about 3/16 inch. This can be done by using a string drawn from around the left rear wheel and pulled forward using the rear wheel as a guide to get a straight line to the left front wheel, therefore allowing the string will show the position of the left front wheel which pulls out or pulls in. The left wheel should be adjusted first and the right foot wheel adjusted to the left wheel to get about 1/4 inch approximation. There are drag adjustment tools, such as a drag adjuster bar, tie rod spreader, and tie rod assembly that can help make this alignment.

There are times when a shim or setting to move the rear of the control arm out will give the wheel the correct setting if one understands what that movement will do to both settings (caster and camber) at the same time. This knowledge or understanding plus the right hand tools and some experience is all that is really needed. Well, maybe a good trainer would help. However, going back to the movement made by adding a single pad to the rear of the upper control arm (pads vary in thickness by the way) would give less negative caster and more positive camber. Hope this helps! Any questions? Lem Boyd

#Wheel #tilt #tow #wheel #alignment

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