Adjustable strut rods alignment question 74 Dart

Suspension, Steering and Chassis

  1. George Lawicki

    George Lawicki Well-Known Member

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    Hey guys,

    Ordering the PST adjustable strut rods ANNNDDD I have seen some posts and read that a regular alignment shop wont be able to align the car correctly. They suggest a RACE shop??Now I don't expect Conrad's, or NTB to be able to handle this but Do I really need to go to a race shop"? I have a few good friends that work at dealerships and such that are more tech savvy than the corner in and out tires shop. SOOOO what's the deal???
     
  2. 67Dart273

    67Dart273 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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    Look at "turn of the screw" and look up the "skosh" chart, which gives suggested modernized settings for radial tires. ANY shop that is willing to "not use" the computer settings and dial in their own can do this you just have to find someone willing


    Here

    Turn of the screw: front end alignment for performance...

    skoshchart.jpg
     
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    • 72bluNblu

      72bluNblu FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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      Setting the length of adjustable strut rods is not part of a normal alignment. Honestly it’s not even really part of the alignment. Changing the length of the strut rods will change the alignment, but their length should be set independently from the alignment so that the LCA can travel through the whole range of travel without binding. So, they’re like setting the ride height, changing it will change the alignment but it needs to be set before the alignment is done, the alignment shop isn’t gonna do it.

      So, yeah, a “normal” alignment shop probably won’t want anything to do with them. Especially since they’ll be aftermarket parts you didn’t buy from them. If you want the length of the strut rods set, you’ll need a shop that installs suspension, not just does alignments. And anymore it’s hard enough to find a “normal” alignment shop that will do a custom alignment, ie, use the SKOSH chart instead of the abysmal factory specs.
       
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      • KosmicKuda

        KosmicKuda FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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        Check with Michael's Automotive & Performance. 6162 Wooster Pike Rd. Medina 44256.
        I'm not sure if Mopar Mike does alignments in house but he can recommend someone. He's a Mopar guy and will understsnd.

        10 years ago I had the alignment on my 68 Barracuda done at Parma Tire in Brunswick. I gave them my specs per the skoosh chart and they did it. Tech was very thorough.
         
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        • George Lawicki

          George Lawicki Well-Known Member

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          Thanks gonna hit him up and see if I can get somewhere.
           
        • George Lawicki

          George Lawicki Well-Known Member

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          Never would have thought there would be soo much trouble in just wanting to replace the strut rods on a car geeezuz.. I started out just wanting to go completely stock but NOPE they don't make the rubber bushings for it and poly bushings are too thick. Now it seems ill be hunting for a competent suspension shop. Im gonna need more beer for this shit!
           
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          • KosmicKuda

            KosmicKuda FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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            I used Moog rubber strut rod bushings. Didn't have any issues.
             
          • 72bluNblu

            72bluNblu FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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            For the ‘73+ cars they’ve been out of stock for pretty much over a year now. There has been a couple of times when a few people were able to get them, but none of the major suppliers will let you order set right now.
             
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            • Ceedawg

              Ceedawg Well-Known Member

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              Take the stock rod and measure where the LCA is at ride height then set the adjustable at the same spot. Everyone is over complicating this to the hilt.
               
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              • Ben Drinkin

                Ben Drinkin Hey bartender! FABO Gold Member

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                I'm not the brightest bulb, but why would one need to have adjustable rods if they're just setting to stock length? Wouldn't the stock rod be the same?
                 
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                • Ceedawg

                  Ceedawg Well-Known Member

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                  The adjustable gets rid of the rubber donuts, it’s bolted in now. It needs to be adjustable to allow for manufacturing tolerances.
                   
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                  • Ben Drinkin

                    Ben Drinkin Hey bartender! FABO Gold Member

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                    Thank you.. I like learning stuff from you guys..
                     
                  • 72bluNblu

                    72bluNblu FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                    Sorry no, but it isn’t that simple. The stock rods take advantage of the large rubber bushings, they’re typically not exactly the right length. But that’s “ok”, because the flex in the rubber bushings keeps them from binding up the LCA too badly.

                    With adjustable strut rods, there is zero give. The strut rod has to be adjusted so that there is no binding on the LCA as it moves through it’s range of travel. The advantage to the adjustable strut rods is that when they’re adjusted properly, they reduce the binding/friction you get from the strut rod working against the factory bushings as the LCA travels up and down. And they keep the LCA from flexing forward and backward by compressing/stretching the large factory strut rod bushings to move around. The disadvantage is that if you don’t tune the length of the strut rod, checking the LCA for binding as it moves through it’s range of travel and making adjustments to the length of the strut rod as well as the angle on the front heim you can introduce more binding.
                     
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                    • RustyRatRod

                      RustyRatRod I was born on a Monday. Not last Monday. FABO Gold Member

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                      Just keep in mind as post #3 eluded to, the adjustable strut rods are not meant to adjust caster. They are meant to be adjusted to the optimum length to avoid binding and allow good, fluid movement and that's ALL. Any more or less and you can put the lower arm bushings in a bind.
                       
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                      • Ceedawg

                        Ceedawg Well-Known Member

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                        We said the same thing you’re just long winded about it, it’s not rocket secience
                         
                      • 72bluNblu

                        72bluNblu FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                        Uh, no, we did not. The adjustable strut rods will not end up at the same length as the original struts rods like you suggest.

                        And, just setting the length at ride height isn't enough. You're assuming at ride height the LCA is in the middle of the range of suspension travel, which it may not be depending on the ride height of the car and other suspension modifications. Even if it was, you can't just check the length at ride height. You need to set the length, then cycle the suspension through its entire range of travel to check for binding. Otherwise you're just wasting your money.
                         
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                        • Ceedawg

                          Ceedawg Well-Known Member

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                          Well you just cleared up one thing, you’re wrong. The adjustable strut rod will always bind in either the full up or full down movement of the LCA because the adjustable bars centerline is NOT in line with the LCAs centerline. The two have different arcs because the heim is at least 1” off the original mounting place. So enough of the ‘adjust to no bind’ bs. Adjust the length where the car sits at rest, the best you’ll get, because it’ll pull forward up and down with the LCA movement. Really helps if you set the k-frame on a bench with pieces installed then move its range of motion. A real Eye opener
                           
                        • jbc426

                          jbc426 Well-Known Member

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                          72bluNblu always posts great information on suspension. I wanted to add that when adjusting my adjustable strut rods on both my cars, I had to limit the shortening of the strut rod due to the front wheel being moved forward relative to the wheel opening. That limited being able to pull the front wheel forward before any binding occurred.

                          I like my cars to have a positive rake to them, and with adjustable strut rods I can end up with +3 to 4 degrees positive caster, which lets the car feel much more stable on the highway.

                          I think if the effects of changing caster by visualizing a front wobbly shopping cart wheel (negative caster) versus a motorcycle chopper's stable front end (positive caster).

                          Moog 3.JPG
                           
                        • Ceedawg

                          Ceedawg Well-Known Member

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                          Well it seems the few on here have no clue what I’m doing or setting up. What I MADE has no bind from all the way down to all the way up, and have NO rubber bushings to take up slack or movement. I tried to show a little vid of me using one finger to raise the LCR thru it’s total travel, with all bolts tight, maybe 5-6”, no resistance, no movement forward or back, straight up and down so NO change in toe in, castor or camber. when the wheels come up off the track they’ll be straight and vertical so when it sets back down no steering issues. Would I use this on the street? No it would be too jarring
                           
                        • TJman

                          TJman 1975 Duster 318

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                          I'm installing QA1 adjustable strut rods on my 75 Duster and have questions (stupid ones).
                          Everyone says "adjust it so you can move through the entire path of travel with no binding." I removed my sway-bar, shocks, tie rod ends and cut my strut bars. Passenger LCA moves easily fore/aft and I can see some slop near the pivot. Driver LCA is tight, even with everything removed. Both are difficult to move up and down by hand. Do I need to loosen the ULA bolts to check this?
                          Background: just changed ball joints, UCA and LCA rubber bushings, new .980(?) sway bars, tie rods and the car wanders horribly at highway speed. I had, in the distant past, modified a strut rod with threads and jam nuts to be adjustable and it was stable on the highway before. The LCA pivot on that side had wollowed out it's hole and I welded a repair plate to fix it, the location of which was questionable.
                           
                        • Phreakish

                          Phreakish Well-Known Member

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                          When people say 'no bind', that means no bind in the normal travel. Bumpstop to bumpstop. There can be bind at the extremes of movement due to changing axes - and also due to some mechanical limits (shit runs into other shit). But between the bumpstops, it should move freely and have no fore/aft slop on the pivot pin. I installed QA1 strut rods last winter and that was what I found. I set mine for free travel, and then an extra 1/2 tighter to pull the control arm forward slightly. My thinking was to bias against the deflection that braking will cause. So far it drives great.

                          @TJman if you're wandering, it can be multiple things. Steering axis inclination, toe, caster, they can all influence a pull or wandering. Depending on what kind of parts you're dealing with, all of these can be altered to some extent. There are bubble-level type alignment tools available which can help you get close enough to drive it to a shop. Camber is pretty easy to check with nothing more than a level and a straight edge. Caster is tougher, so I'd check and confirm your toe as a sanity check to ensure there's nothing massively off there to begin with. A difference in ride-height left to right can cause the static steering inclination to differ (result of camber gain), which can result in a pull when going down the road. A pull with a marginal toe setting can cause a concerning amount of wander.
                           
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                          • TJman

                            TJman 1975 Duster 318

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                            Thanks for the reply. Right after I posted, I went home for lunch, loosened the UCA bolts and was able to move it through the range of travel. I tightened the strut until it no longer wanted to drop all the way down and then losened it slightly so it would move again. Since it's now shorter than the OEM strut, I figure I'm improving my caster, in addition to making it more stable. We'll see.
                            I've had it to 2 different alignment shops. They both sent it back to me with the steering wheel turned at 90deg and said there wasn't enough adjustment to correct it. I easily centered it myself - the search for a competent alignment guy continues. The wondering effect was improved with the steering centered, but I'm still white knuckling it at 70 and making constant micro adjustments to stay in my lane. I used to cruise at 90 on 30yo suspension and bias ply tires and now this... wish me luck.
                             
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                            • Ironracer

                              Ironracer Gearhead

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                              I called Moog. They have been classified " obsolete " I got REALLY Blessed when I found a set in a warehouse some where last year.....
                               
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                              • Phreakish

                                Phreakish Well-Known Member

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                                Step 1 on any torsion bar alignment is ride height. If the shop screwed with that, it could be part of the issue. With a swaybar, adjusting one side will also affect the other - it's very important to make the ride height adjustment with the bar disconnected. I could see an inexperienced shop skipping that step.

                                Raising the front end can help increase caster and stability to some degree too. If the incompetent shop lowered the front, it could be compounding your issue.

                                If you reset your own wheel, it's possible the toe is slightly off. Shouldn't be with equal adjustments per side, but I've seen stranger things. Lengthening each adjustment sleeve a 1/4-1/2 turn and seeing if your situation improves might not be a bad idea. It's what I'd do, but I rarely have to drive 70mph these days.
                                 
                              • TJman

                                TJman 1975 Duster 318

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                                I didn't have the sway bar disconnected when I set the ride height, but I can see how that would cause me to adjust one side differently than the other. I raised it up and messed with it along with straightening the steering wheel and it was much better. I'm hopefull that with the adjustable strut rods, setting the height with your advice, and another (3rd) alignment, I'll have it riding better. I also ordered new 1.03 torsion bars, just to eliminate that variable, as I got mine used and suspected them of being different from side to side (which may just be the sway bar deal that you mentioned). In the mean time, I had had the wrong (too small) bolts in the leaf mounts. I fixed that and replaced the shackle bushings with urethane. I have a rear sway that is yet to be installed. This thing should ride pretty tight if I can solve the riddle.
                                 
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