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10/13/2013 7:47 AM  #1

65/66 Camber Kit Installation

1965-66 Camber Kit Installation
These instructions detail the installation of the camber kit I purchased from Opentracker Racing Products for my 1966 convertible.  The kit provides for improved camber alignment adjustment by changing the position of the lower control as opposed to the use of shims at the upper control arm mounting points.  The kit does not eliminate the need for shims entirely as they may be required for caster adjustment and fine-tuning of camber.
Important Note:  The camber kit saddles must be properly welded to the lower control arm mounting brackets to ensure safe vehicle operation.  Failure of a saddle mount weld could lead to sudden camber and toe changes that could make the vehicle difficult to control.  Welding should be performed by a qualified person familiar with automobile suspension fabrication.
Read the instructions completely before beginning work.
Included in the kit:
4 – Saddle mounts
4 - #1 camber plates
4 - #2 camber plates
4 - #3 camber plates
4 - #4/#5 camber plates
2 – ½-20 lower control arm bolts
2 – ½-20 lower control arm nuts
4 – ½” washers
2 – ½” thin nylock nuts
Significant disassembly is required to access the lower control arm brackets.  While not absolutely required, the work will be more easily accomplished on a lift.
1. Disconnect the battery.  Since welding will be performed on the frame, isolate or remove sensitive electronics to reduce the risk of damage to these components.
2. Raise the car and position it on jack stands or supports that are appropriate for the method that was used to lift the car.
3. Remove the shock absorbers, springs, upper and lower control arms, spindles, strut rods, brakes, etc.  It is possible to perform this work with the upper control arm in position but it is best to remove everything including the brake assembly.  Remove the caliper or drum brake hose and block and seal the hoses.
4. While removing the upper control arms, record and save the shims at the upper control arm mounting points.  If the car must be driven to an alignment shop, a useable alignment may be achieved if the suspension is reassembled using the original shims and the #1 plates for the lower control arm mounting.
5. The steering linkage restricts access to the rear lower control arm bracket.  It is best to remove these components.
6. The engine cross-member blocks access to the rear lower control arm bracket.  The cross member must be removed for the installation.  If the cross member bolts have not been removed in some time, or ever, they can present a challenge.  The new lower control arm mounting bolts install from the rear forward and the cross-member must also be removed to allow for bolt installation.
7. The benefits of the camber kit are only fully realized when all of the suspension components are in proper working condition.  Inspect all parts and refurbish or replace before reassembly.
8.Inspect the lower control arm frame mounting brackets for evidence of significant rust, distortion, or accident damage.  The engine mount/lower control arm brackets can be replaced if damaged.  The camber kit does not correct any bracket damage.
9. Thoroughly clean the lower control arm brackets.  Remove all paint, oil, grease, and surface rust.  This is needed for to assist in saddle positioning and is required for proper welding.
Trial saddle fitment and cutting slots:
1. Place a #1 camber plate on the bolt followed by the saddle.  The #1 plate positions the bolt in the stock location.  Insert the bolt through the front or rear of the lower control arm bracket through to the opposite side.  Slide the second saddle and #1 camber plate and thread nut until it just makes contact with the camber plate.
=13px2. There are significant differences between cars and even between the driver’s and passenger’s and front and rear lower control arm brackets.  It is not unusual that all four saddles will not sit properly on the brackets.  Working at one location at a time, attempt to position the plate so that the top of the saddle is level side-to-side with respect to the car.  This can be checked and measured with straight edges and/or levels.  Note that the lower edge of the lower control arm bracket may or may not be level with the car so reference off of the frame rather than the bracket.  It is important that the front and rear saddles are level to each other to provide for uniform alignment corrections and to minimize potential binding of the lower control arm bushings.
3. If the saddles do not fit, it will be necessary to modify the lower control arm brackets.  In some cases this may require only slight bending of the flanges.  In other cases, the bracket must be trimmed to allow the saddle to fit flat and in the correct position.  Avoid the temptation to use one of the other camber plates as the offset of the saddle that would be created may restrict needed alignment moves.  Do not grind the saddles to fit the brackets as this may compromise the weld and/or the fit of the camber plates.
4. Once the saddles have been correctly positioned, carefully tack weld the saddles at two corners.  This will hold the saddle in position for marking the slot. 

While the bolts are still in place, mark the centerline of the bolt on the inside of the front and rear lower control arm brackets.  This will aid in the positioning of the saddle for final assembly prior to welding and ensure the slots are the correct length.

5. Remove the bolts and #1 camber plates and set them aside.
=13px6. Use a scribe to mark the outline of the saddle and the saddle slot.  To prevent damage to the saddle slot, it must be removed before any cutting or grinding.  A transfer punch can be used to mark the inboard and outboard extremes of the slot.  Holes can be drilled at these two locations to begin the process of removing material for the slot.  In this case, a simple drill jig made by drilling a hole through a ½” bolt was used to create pilot holes.

The jig was placed at the inboard and outboard extremes of the slot and ¼” pilot holes were drilled.

A 7/16” drill was used to further open the holes.  Because of the proximity of the holes to the original mounting hole, the drill will likely break out.  However, the drill will remove a significant amount of material more quickly than filing or grinding.

After marking the slot and optionally drilling holes, gently remove the saddles.  Mark their position and orientation.

A scribe was used to make a mark approximately 1.25” inboard of the saddle as a secondary means of verifying the position of the saddle during reassembly. 
7. An efficient method to remove the material in the slot is a carbide burr bit in a die grinder.  It is essential that the slot must no wider than the saddle.  The lower control arm bushing or bearing mounts to this surface and if the slot is too wide the bushing may not seat properly.  Check the fit of the slot frequently to confirm the width and length of the slot.  Files can be used for fine tuning the slot as it is easy to be too aggressive with the die grinder.

=13px8. Verify that it will be possible to properly weld the inboard and outboard ends of the saddles.  It may be necessary to bend and/or trim the inboard flange of the bracket to permit welding at the base of the saddle.

Final Fitting and Welding

=13px1. Thoroughly clean all surfaces to be welded on the saddles and the brackets.  Wire brushing works well as it is important to not remove any metal from the lower control arm brackets.

=13px2. =13pxReinstall the saddles, #1 camber plates, bolts and nuts.  Tighten the nuts only enough to prevent the saddles from easily displacing.  Check the position of the center of the bolt to the scribe marks on the inside of the brackets, the perimeter scribe marks, etc.  Look through the inside of the brackets to verify that the slots in the brackets are aligned with the saddles.  Adjust the saddles as necessary.

=13px3. Tack weld the saddles at the four corners to hold them in position.  Allow the parts to cool and remove the bolts and camber plates.  Use the bolt to ensure that it is free to slide to both extremes of the slot.  Be sure to check the non-threaded end of the bolt as it often will often be a slightly greater diameter compared to the threaded end.  The bolt must be free to move but not loose in the slot.  Carefully file any areas where there the bolt hangs up in the slot.

=13px4. At a minimum, the inboard and outboard ends of the saddles must be fully welded to the brackets.  The stresses of cornering tend to produce the highest forces at the lower control arm mounting in a radial direction parallel to ground.  Inadequate welding could cause the saddle to move and cause a sudden change in alignment.  Ideally, all four edges of the saddles should be welded.  While welding, avoid damage or distortion to the camber plate mounting surface.

=13px5. Wire brush the welds to inspect.  Trial fit the #1 camber plates and bolts to ensure that the welding has not distorted the saddles.  Slight filing of the saddles may be needed to ensure ease of assembly and alignment moves.

6. Use appropriate primer and paint to cover all surfaces exposed during the saddle installation.  The camber plates are also subject to rust.  A clear coat can be used to protect the camber plates and will still allow the numbers to be read.
Reassembly and Alignment:
1. The removal and reinstallation of the suspension components will change the alignment of the vehicle even if it is reassembled with the same shims, etc.  If the car is to be driven to an alignment shop and the tie-rod lengths have not been altered, install the upper control arms with the original shims and the lower control arms with the #1 camber plates.  This will closely duplicate the original alignment and will permit the car to be driven for a short distance to an alignment shop.  If tie rods have been adjusted or changed, etc., unless basic alignment tools are available, it may be wise to trailer the car to the alignment shop to minimize possible tire damage and/or unsafe driving conditions.  Install the lower control arms with the bolt heads facing the rear of the car.  This ensures that the bolts will remain in place even if the two nuts fall off.  Use a flat washer, a fine-threaded nut and a nylock nut on the threaded-end of the bolt.  The cross-member must be removed in order to re-position the bolts during the alignment.  Notice the cross-member will not mount with the the threaded end of the bolts facing the rear of the car.  Due to possible frame flexibility, final alignment checks should be made witht the cross-member installed and fully tightened.

2. If the car will not be driven, equal shims can be removed from the front and rear upper control arm mounts.  For example, if the front mount had two 1/8” shims and the rear mount had one 1/8” shim, remove one shim from the front and back mounts leaving the one – 1/8” shim in front.
3. The camber plates provide for 9 alignment positions for camber adjustment. 

The step between each camber plate is approximately 0.1”.  In the scenario presented above, the #2 camber plate would be installed with the offset in the inboard (towards the center of the car) direction.  This would preserve the caster from the previous alignment and will have minimal impact on camber.
4. When the upper and lower control arms are both moved towards the center of the car, a significant toe-in condition will be created.  The tie rods will have to be shortened by approximately the same amount that the upper and lower control arms are moved inboard.  The combined impact on total alignment is why it is best to consider transporting the car to the alignment shop as few home garages have the tools necessary to perform a basic alignment.
5. It is likely that shims will still be required at the upper control arms to provide fine tuning of caster and camber.
6. Each step in the camber plate will produce a camber change of  approximately 1/2 (.5) degrees.


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