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Front struts camber ajustment


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20 replies to this topic

#1 frag

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Posted 08 May 2004 - 07:52 PM

I'll be replacing my front struts soon and I'preparing.
I've got amost all of the parts but dont understand how the top holding bolt going thru the knuckle is responsible for camber ajustment.
The two holes on the new strut are perfectly round. Does this mean that the top hole in the knuckle is elongated? The manual says there is a reference mark. Where? On the bolt's head ? on the Knuckle ?
I dont see how tightening a bolt thru an elongated (ovalized) hole would make for a reliable and permanent camber ajustment. Something is escaping me. I want to reinstall the new one exactly like the old so I dont have to pay for an alignment until I replace the rear ones also.
Could someone explain to me the mechanics of the camber ajustment.

#2 cookie

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Posted 09 May 2004 - 12:10 AM

When I changed the struts on my Forester I punched a mark into that bolt head next to the locator mark.
When I reassembled the car I put the bolt head in the same spot. The alignment was so close I really could have passed on the alignment job.

#3 frag

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Posted 09 May 2004 - 11:33 AM

Thanks Cookie, but could you give me more details.
What exactly is there to do to keep the same camber ajustement.
Does it have to do with the tightening of the bolt : the more you tighten, the more camber or the less camber? Or has it to do with positioning the bolt in the Knuckle elongated (is it elongated?) hole ?

#4 Setright

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Posted 09 May 2004 - 11:37 AM

I haven't done it myself. The bolt needs to be in one specific place, it's not tighten for more or less camber.

You would be hard pressed to hit the right adjustment when installing new struts. You might be able to do it when you're re-installing the old ones, but forget it with brand new struts, you can't be sure that they need the same amount of correction as the old ones, so reference points will be useless.

Replace the rears soon, and get it all aligned with a machine.

#5 f15xxx

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Posted 09 May 2004 - 01:07 PM

as i understand it, the upper bolt is smaller in diameter than the lower, thus enabling the movement of the spindle within the shock bracket, and camber adjustment. i know it's flintstonian, but that's the way it is.

#6 frag

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Posted 09 May 2004 - 01:59 PM

I was looking at the wrong ones cause i presumed the longer struts were for the front. In fact the front struts are shorter than the rear ones.
Looking at the good ones, I got an answer to my own question and found a new enigma.
All the mounting holes of the rear ones (the long ones) are perfectly round. The top mounting holes of the front ones (the shorter ones) are like this. On one side the hole is slightly elongated in the vertical axis, on the other side (same bolt) the hole is much more elongated but in the horizontal axis.
??????
There is also a reference mark on each side smack in line with the middle of both elongated holes. The bottom holes are round just like for the rear struts.
I'll probably understand more when I remove the old ones.
Thanks for all inputs.

#7 cookie

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Posted 10 May 2004 - 09:54 AM

You have seen the reference mark on the strut. The bolt head has a number of reference marks around the edge to help a technician figure out where he is for alignment.
If you mark exactly oposite your strut reference with a punch before you turn the bolt to loosen it you will be very close.
Most of the new struts are going to be in tolerence if you use this method.
The bolt has a cam on it that and you move the bolt head to adjust. When you tighten the nut you freeze the adjustment.
Keep in mind I have done about a hundred front ends so it may be a bit easier for me.

#8 frag

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Posted 10 May 2004 - 10:11 AM

Cookie, do I understand that this cam is relatively independent of the bolt, meaning I can set the cam and not move it when I tighten the bolt?

#9 frag

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Posted 10 May 2004 - 10:16 AM

Sorry, I think I get it now. The cam is on the bolt itself, you set camber by rotating the bolt and cam inside those weird elongated holes. When the camber is set, you tighten the NUT whitout moving the bolt itself.
Like my chemistry teacher used to say, it takes a while for Gilles to understand, but when he understands, he really understands! :rolleyes:
Hope I'm not undeserving of the same comment now...

#10 cookie

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Posted 10 May 2004 - 10:45 AM

If you will forgive the quotation.

#11 frag

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Posted 10 May 2004 - 10:58 AM

Thanks prof!

#12 cookie

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Posted 10 May 2004 - 04:16 PM

struts recently I just used a hacksaw to cut the little tabs that hold on the brake lines. I removed the clip and sawed the narrow spot while holding the line out of the way. I then bent the tab over and removed the brake line. When I installed the new ones I cut and bent the tab in the garage before taking the strut out to the car.
I saved quite a bit of time over bleeding the brakes on this job, and if I want to remove the stut later it is easy. On my BMW the brake lines just clip out easily so I don't think this hurts anything. A dab of paint on the cut area will keep it from rusting later.

#13 frag

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Posted 12 May 2004 - 07:57 AM

Thanks for the brake line tip, Cookie.
One last question. Haynes shows a metal «cap» on top of the spring, between spring and strut support and also a rubber «bumber». The part guy at the dealer says there is no such thing and that the spring rest directly on the strut support? What's the scrore here?
Thanks in advance.

#14 99obw

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Posted 12 May 2004 - 09:37 AM

I left the struts intact and removed the brake lines from the calipers and struts. Replaced the copper washers too. It must be the INTJ in me.

I have a little camber guage that allows me to get the struts back pretty close, close enough to drive to the alignment shop for sure. I definately recommend getting an alignment done after replacing the front struts. Match marking works good when putting the same strut(s) back on.

#15 cookie

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Posted 12 May 2004 - 10:15 AM

be different I can just tell you it can be either way. There can be a rubber insulator between spring and strut or not. Some cars have a seperate cap that goes on top of the strut and some don't.
I know that is no help but I have never seen a strut from your type of car apart.
All of them have a cap that holds the top of the spring and the bearing the front stut rotates on.
The nut that holds the whole thing together usually rests on a washer.
As long as no one is listening I will tell you another way to cheat for time that will appall 99.
If I have air available I just compress the spring and spin the nut off with an air wrench. No holding no nothing. When I reinstall I air wrench the central nut back down with a drop of red loctite and the old nut on top of it. So far I have always had room to install the second nut.
I have mechanic freinds who are a shocked to see I don't hold the central rod carefully and torque the nut.

#16 99obw

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Posted 12 May 2004 - 11:19 AM

LOL, how did you know!

I made a strut tool by welding a 14mm socket to the box end of a 14mm wrench, then welding the 1/2" drive part of a cheap socket to the wrench handle. That allows me to get the @#% nut off and use my torque wrench to torque the new strut.

#17 cookie

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Posted 12 May 2004 - 11:31 AM

99 is so tidy!

#18 99obw

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Posted 12 May 2004 - 04:58 PM

Perfectionism is a disease!!!

#19 kmix99

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Posted 13 May 2004 - 08:33 AM

Frag,

I just got done replacing the 4 struts on my 92 Legacy. This was the first time for me. Some problems to look for that the Haynes manual doesn't mention:

1. Make sure you note the position of the upper spring seat before removal on front struts. Mine had two holes which need to face outward, torward the two strut-to-knuckle bolts.I neglected to do this and the strut didn't fit back up into the wheel well; strut touched the body.

2. I had to make my own tool to remove the damper shaft nut while holding the shaft with an allen wrench. The universal strut removal tool I bought at the local discount store wasn't the right size. An impact wrench would work too, but I didn't have access to one. Also, the shaft nuts on my original struts were 17mm, and my new KYB GR2's were 19mm.

Other than that, it was not bad at all.

#20 frag

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Posted 13 May 2004 - 09:37 AM

Thanks Kmix99.
Was there a metal cap between the strut support (piece with the three upward facing bolts and bearing) and spring, a piece that would resemble the spring seat but upside down? And was there a rubber bumper on the damper shaft?
Sorry to ask all these questions, but I usually am far from a parts source and without a spare car when I do these repairs. Dont want to find out too late that i'm missing some essential parts.

#21 kmix99

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Posted 14 May 2004 - 04:57 PM

Frag,
Starting from the top to bottom:
1. Dust cover cap
2. Nut
3. Strut mount (with 3 upward pointing bolts and bearing)
4. Washer (may be tappered or flat)
5. Upper spring seat (this is what has two hole in it which must point outward)
6. Upper rubber seat for spring (may or may not have)
7. Dust boot ( ruffled piece -accordian like)
8. Rubber bump-stop
9. Lower rubber seat for spring (may or may not have)
10. Strut and housing

and of course the spring in the middle

note: I bought new dust boots (KYB) from Tire Rack.com and the rubber bump stop was integrated into the boot (all one piece).




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