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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I checked the posts and there's a lot of info about alignment but still have a question. I'm having one coil cut from my '55 with manual steering to lower it a bit. Will I need to have the front realigned? If so, how does cutting one coil affect the caster/camber. Does it give it more positive or negative? The reason I ask is I have no more shims to remove.

Thanks for any help:)
 

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1957 Chevy BelAir 4 door sedan
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I'm guessing, but cutting one coil off will drop it over an inch and that could throw off your toe-in measurement. It would be best to have it rechecked after the work. Also dropping the front will lessen your caster, but you should be able to get it back by adding the appropriate shims.
 

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Lowering the car with a coil spring cut will change all 3, camber, caster, and toe-in. With 1" of drop, not by a lot though.
 

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Cutting one coil will drop the front by well over 1" since the motion ratio is about 1.7 on a stock suspension. Toe shouldn't be affected much, because if it did you would have bump-steer. Caster should actually increase some due to the slightly angled upper a-arm that provides anti-dive. Camber will be affected too, and I believe it will go slightly more positive as the upper a-arm end raises a little (top of tire outboard).
 

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Caster will decrease since you're tilting the whole car forward. The top ball joint will move forward a slight amount relative to the lower. 1" lowering with the 115" wheelbase is about 1/2º.

You're right on the camber, since the upper control arm will be closer to horizontal - you'll gain a little positive camber.

And as you say the toe change depends on how much factory bump steer there is - I don't think it's much.
 
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Rick's on the money for caster going a little negative and camber going positive. Dropping it will also throw your toe in. I don't recommend cutting the springs though. I'd go with a new set of drops, not very expensive. I've seen springs come unseated when the car is lifted on a hoist from being cut.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It's my understanding that if I'm going to have less caster that means the steering will not track as well and more camber will probably wear the tires. Sounds like I better get the front end aligned. Hope I haven't opened up problems by lowering since there are no more shims to remove to increase caster. I've read the posts on frame sagging etc:(

Hopefully picking up my car tomorrow so I'll be able to see how it handles. Thanks again for sharing your knowledge!

After I get it to an alignment shop I'll post the results.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
That's right Rick. Thanks for that comment because I was thinking caster instead of camber when I said "no more shims to remove"
 

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Actually it's both.

To adjust camber, you remove an equal number of shims at both bolts to get more positive camber. This doesn't change caster.

Once you get the camber set, to get more postive caster, you remove a shim at the the front bolt and put it in the rear. This doesn't change camber.

Either way, when you've removed all the shims at one of the bolts, you've done as much as you can.

Remember too that for the car to track straight naturally on a flat level road, you need the caster to be the same on both sides (actually the camber too but it's less sensitive). I like to run about 1/4 degree more positive caster in the right front than in the left front. This makes the car go straight on a typical crowned road. Your roads and caster may vary slightly.
 
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Actually it's both.

To adjust camber, you remove an equal number of shims at both bolts to get more positive camber. This doesn't change caster.

Once you get the camber set, to get more postive caster, you remove a shim at the the front bolt and put it in the rear. This doesn't change camber.

Either way, when you've removed all the shims at one of the bolts, you've done as much as you can.

Remember too that for the car to track straight naturally on a flat level road, you need the caster to be the same on both sides (actually the camber too but it's less sensitive). I like to run about 1/4 degree more positive caster in the right front than in the left front. This makes the car go straight on a typical crowned road. Your roads and caster may vary slightly.
Good post Rick. They say no more than 1/2 a degree split on caster or the car may pull.
 
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