Another "truck pulls to the left after alignment" thread, need advice please!

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The camber numbers don’t look so good. Is this a rather new truck to you?
Hey Rick
No I’ve had it for 12 years. This whole thing started last year after a suspension refresh with a 3” lift and 4” delta arms. Gave me 3.7 degrees of caster and vibrations that went away with the front shaft pulled. You were a huge help thanks for all your time and advice. I ran your dc front shaft and rear extended LCA. Vibes were better but not gone. Went to down to a 2.5” lift and am still trying to dial caster in. Attached is an alignment spec from that 3” lift and 4” arms that started the vibrations. The Camber is different, truck drove strait as an arrow, looks better with more caster…what do you think?
37386C2C-C3DF-4061-AD18-4AD642E95F04.jpeg
 

landtank

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Hey Rick
No I’ve had it for 12 years. This whole thing started last year after a suspension refresh with a 3” lift and 4” delta arms. Gave me 3.7 degrees of caster and vibrations that went away with the front shaft pulled. You were a huge help thanks for all your time and advice. I ran your dc front shaft and rear extended LCA. Vibes were better but not gone. Went to down to a 2.5” lift and am still trying to dial caster in. Attached is an alignment spec from that 3” lift and 4” arms that started the vibrations. The Camber is different, truck drove strait as an arrow, looks better with more caster…what do you think?View attachment 2738381
here is one of the main challenges with the information you are posting, you keep saying you have a 2.5" lift and that is not so. You have 2.5" springs with 1.75" spacers so depending on the weight of the truck you have a lift in the range 4-5". Measure from the hub center to the underside of the fender/flare and subtract 20.5 and that will be more accurate to the actual lift you are running.
 

smritte

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His camber difference is not going to cause this problem. Camber pulls to the more positive number (bigger), Caster to the less. If you notice the right side changed from before to after. I can guarantee the guy who did the alignment couldn't have changed it. Remember, solid axle not independent. We all know what we have to do to change camber on these axles.
Suspension height will have no effect on camber either. Lifting will move the trailing arms dropping caster and pulling on the drag link, moving toe to one side. neither of these will cause a pull. If one side saggs on a solid axle, it "may" cause a slight drift to one side due to all the extra weight on that tire. It wont change camber on a solid axle. I play with balance scales. I have had a couple of hundred pounds extra on the driver side, climb in, add my two hundred and not cause a pull. Slight sag wont be that much. You should see the weight shift adding fuel.

Personally, I think the camber change is due to the alignment head moving due to not being secured properly. Some of the mounts are a pain to get tight.
One clue was he said when he rotated tires it got worse. All tires same size (new/old), pressure, damaged cording due to low pressure and rocks. Vehicle will pull to smallest tire.
Something dragging, tires, driver side shorter than passenger side due to adjustable arms incorrect, bushing issue, Rear housing bent or out of align due to adjustable arms or bushings.

Unfortunately, there's things that some of us check automatically and we forget to mention them. That's the biggest problem with advising on forums.
 

smritte

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Here's something else to check.
Hopefully your fenders aren't bent.
Measure all for tires in the fenders. Center to fender front and rear. See if side to side the tires are in the same spot. You want the distance same. the rear will be critical. If one side is farther forward, your dog tracking (think forklift steering). That would be cause by the rear arms not being even. To pull left, the right side would be farther back some.

I didn't see if you measured wheel length.
 
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His camber difference is not going to cause this problem. Camber pulls to the more positive number (bigger), Caster to the less. If you notice the right side changed from before to after. I can guarantee the guy who did the alignment couldn't have changed it. Remember, solid axle not independent. We all know what we have to do to change camber on these axles.
Suspension height will have no effect on camber either. Lifting will move the trailing arms dropping caster and pulling on the drag link, moving toe to one side. neither of these will cause a pull. If one side saggs on a solid axle, it "may" cause a slight drift to one side due to all the extra weight on that tire. It wont change camber on a solid axle. I play with balance scales. I have had a couple of hundred pounds extra on the driver side, climb in, add my two hundred and not cause a pull. Slight sag wont be that much. You should see the weight shift adding fuel.

Personally, I think the camber change is due to the alignment head moving due to not being secured properly. Some of the mounts are a pain to get tight.
One clue was he said when he rotated tires it got worse. All tires same size (new/old), pressure, damaged cording due to low pressure and rocks. Vehicle will pull to smallest tire.
Something dragging, tires, driver side shorter than passenger side due to adjustable arms incorrect, bushing issue, Rear housing bent or out of align due to adjustable arms or bushings.

Unfortunately, there's things that some of us check automatically and we forget to mention them. That's the biggest problem with advising on forums.
this is possible, I dont like to throw a shop under the bus, and this is a guess, but that shop is so busy (its across the parking lot from my work) its possible the truck wasnt pulled on the rack strait or the alignment head not on or secured right. I remember after one alignment they commented they didnt have time to test drive it after.
 
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Here's something else to check.
Hopefully your fenders aren't bent.
Measure all for tires in the fenders. Center to fender front and rear. See if side to side the tires are in the same spot. You want the distance same. the rear will be critical. If one side is farther forward, your dog tracking (think forklift steering). That would be cause by the rear arms not being even. To pull left, the right side would be farther back some.

I didn't see if you measured wheel length.
Ok I will measure that when i have a helper and post back. Thanks
 

smritte

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this is possible, I dont like to throw a shop under the bus, and this is a guess, but that shop is so busy (its across the parking lot from my work) its possible the truck wasnt pulled on the rack strait or the alignment head not on or secured right. I remember after one alignment they commented they didnt have time to test drive it after.
This is something I see often. Its a common mistake. I traine people in alignments as well as suspension systems. I get students who have been doing it for years to people who don't know the difference in screwdrivers. An advantage I have over a normal shop is, I have to analyze each one where a shop needs to get it in spec as fast as they can so they can get the customers done. My students cars can be salvage titles, bent, modified, perfect, screwed with by a body shop so it drives well but eats tires. The vehicles are everything from small cars to med duty trucks, street to race.

What this means is yea its the techs fault but the mistake is common and doesn't really make much difference on the street. What is blaringly obvious is, the guy didn't drive it after and most likely not before for a comparison. That in itself tells a bunch. Unfortunately alignments not only don't pay well but they need to be done quickly. The tech actually can lose money doing them unless he can fix broken things to make up for it. Do this over several years and they throw it on the rack and get it "close enough".

Sadly, most "professional" techs have no formal training. They have someone in the shop show them how to do something but never know how it actually works. My biggest question is always, who trained them and then who trained that person. If someone doesn't know how it works, how do they know their doing wrong? You can do it wrong your whole life and be "good enough" but when you have a problem you just throw parts at it and blame something else. This is why a "good mechanic" is very hard to find. Just because their good with tools doesn't mean they actually know anything.
 
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here is one of the main challenges with the information you are posting, you keep saying you have a 2.5" lift and that is not so. You have 2.5" springs with 1.75" spacers so depending on the weight of the truck you have a lift in the range 4-5". Measure from the hub center to the underside of the fender/flare and subtract 20.5 and that will be more accurate to the actual lift you are running.
Rick, I have 1.5" wheel spacers. No spring spacers.
Just measured: front hub center to bottom of flare = 23" -20.5 equals 2.5 lift
rear = 24" -20.5 equals 3.5" of lift
A105A828-2528-4F37-9D04-820FD41296BD.png
 
Last edited:
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This is something I see often. Its a common mistake. I traine people in alignments as well as suspension systems. I get students who have been doing it for years to people who don't know the difference in screwdrivers. An advantage I have over a normal shop is, I have to analyze each one where a shop needs to get it in spec as fast as they can so they can get the customers done. My students cars can be salvage titles, bent, modified, perfect, screwed with by a body shop so it drives well but eats tires. The vehicles are everything from small cars to med duty trucks, street to race.

What this means is yea its the techs fault but the mistake is common and doesn't really make much difference on the street. What is blaringly obvious is, the guy didn't drive it after and most likely not before for a comparison. That in itself tells a bunch. Unfortunately alignments not only don't pay well but they need to be done quickly. The tech actually can lose money doing them unless he can fix broken things to make up for it. Do this over several years and they throw it on the rack and get it "close enough".

Sadly, most "professional" techs have no formal training. They have someone in the shop show them how to do something but never know how it actually works. My biggest question is always, who trained them and then who trained that person. If someone doesn't know how it works, how do they know their doing wrong? You can do it wrong your whole life and be "good enough" but when you have a problem you just throw parts at it and blame something else. This is why a "good mechanic" is very hard to find. Just because their good with tools doesn't mean they actually know anything.
That makes a lot of sense. What do you recommend? Take it to an alignment shop? There is a LC "specialty shop" I could go to, or there is always 4 Wheel Parts or Off Road Warehouse, two shops here is SoCal that only deal with lifted modified off road rigs. Only thing is they both charge $250 for an alignment.
Ill do some more measuring too.
Edit- 4 Wheel Parts is where I got the tires and they said they will check that the are still balanced for free. If they need rebalancing its $55.
 

landtank

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Rick, I have 1.5" wheel spacers. No spring spacers.
Just measured: front hub center to bottom of flare = 23" -20.5 equals 2.5 lift
rear = 24" -20.5 equals 3.5" of liftView attachment 2738557
sorry about the confusion. I would go back and recheck the axle. Make sure the knuckle studs are tight, wheel bearings and tie rod ends are all tight. I had a truck with a bad pull brought to me and after 3 alignment shops they all missed a bad TRE. I was concerned with the camber beacuse if this was a new to you truck the previous owner might have used those offset trunion bearings and not gotten them dialed in correctly. And the only way to know for sure would be to tear down the axle and inspect.
 

smritte

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What you want to do is, do all the measuring your self. You have a somewhat modified vehicle. That means you need to be knowledgeable in some of the areas.

This is the list of things that are suppose to be done before an alignment. You will notice, most of your responses want you to check these. You will see why most guys dont do them all.

Test drive over 40 mph (you did this)
Raise the vehicle by the suspension, check brake drag, ball joints, bearing freeplay and drag.
Pry on arms to check for worn bushings.
Measure vehicle length, ride height, set back (wheels centered in well)
Check steering, gearbox and tie rods
Solid axles for offset to one side (panhard rod) as well as panhard bushings.
Set up and calibrate alignment machine, preform alignment and test drive.
You commonly get paid 1 hour time for this.

Things you should know before you touch a lifted solid axle vehicle.
Lift changes caster
Taller than stock tires change caster trail
Lift moves axles to the side due to panhard rod.
Rear panhard rod needs to be parallel with the rear axle or it will cause the rear axle to turn slightly over bumps.
The rear panhard length will effect how bad the rear is steered. If the rear diff is not centered properly, the axle will turn slightly, pointing the rear to one side. This is called dog tracking and is very common on solid axle/ rear panhard vehicles.

Most of these things can be checked with a tape measure.
 
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What you want to do is, do all the measuring your self. You have a somewhat modified vehicle. That means you need to be knowledgeable in some of the areas.

This is the list of things that are suppose to be done before an alignment. You will notice, most of your responses want you to check these. You will see why most guys dont do them all.

Test drive over 40 mph (you did this)
Raise the vehicle by the suspension, check brake drag, ball joints, bearing freeplay and drag.
Pry on arms to check for worn bushings.
Measure vehicle length, ride height, set back (wheels centered in well)
Check steering, gearbox and tie rods
Solid axles for offset to one side (panhard rod) as well as panhard bushings.
Set up and calibrate alignment machine, preform alignment and test drive.
You commonly get paid 1 hour time for this.

Things you should know before you touch a lifted solid axle vehicle.
Lift changes caster
Taller than stock tires change caster trail
Lift moves axles to the side due to panhard rod.
Rear panhard rod needs to be parallel with the rear axle or it will cause the rear axle to turn slightly over bumps.
The rear panhard length will effect how bad the rear is steered. If the rear diff is not centered properly, the axle will turn slightly, pointing the rear to one side. This is called dog tracking and is very common on solid axle/ rear panhard vehicles.

Most of these things can be checked with a tape measure.
Most excellent. I will run down this list and Ricks and report back. Thanks
 

smritte

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Edit- 4 Wheel Parts is where I got the tires and they said they will check that the are still balanced for free. If they need rebalancing its $55.
Wow...didnt see this, uh...they've done 75% of the work already if they check them. So $55 to add on weights.
Sigh.
 
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Wow...didnt see this, uh...they've done 75% of the work already if they check them. So $55 to add on weights.
Sigh.
Great. I’ll have them do this. First I’ll install the front adj panhard and the Delta 3” arms. Then i can take it there for an alignment and wheel balance.
 
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Just to update this thread, I measured a bunch of stuff,
-the rear axle is centered
-wheel length is even
-added Dobinsons front adj panhard
-front axle is now centered

After this the truck now seems to pull left and right, which makes me think caster is now the main issue. The steering wheel is now off center to the right. I guess that makes sense since the axle was pushed to the right.
1CAED7CA-D5A1-42EA-8894-D195156BFB9C.jpeg
 
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Update to keep track of what I've done:
Swapped Delta 2" arm out for Delta 3" arm. Truck still wonders when going strait, but return- to- center is easier now. With the 2" arms my caster was 1.6*. The 3" arms add 1.75 degrees so I should be at 3.35 degrees although I have not had an alignment yet because tie rod ends are next then Ill get an alignment. I'll post that once it is done. At the same time as the alignment the shop is also going to check and re-balance the new tires just to make sure there is not vibrations from those.
-What is interesting about this is that the vibrations were present and no different with the 2" and 3" arms. Or in other words going from 1.6 degrees to 3.35 degrees did not make the vibrations better or worse. which makes me conclude that my pinion angle is NOT too little or too much to create this vibration.
81822A5E-F51C-448E-81E1-5226080060AC.jpeg


Pulled front shaft and test drove, confirmed again that there are no vibes with front shaft out. (driveshafts are oem new) So now thinking tires, or transfer case bearings or diff bearings.
 
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Update:
New 555 tre’s.
Also re-torqued the left front bearings, because the truck still wonders to the left.
DC front shaft next. Then alignment.
2CD17070-A062-41EC-AC85-6EA6632BACCB.jpeg
A4A43639-1208-461A-A34A-C9917D67B0AC.jpeg
 

leonard_nemoy

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3 degrees positive caster is OEM spec, but OEM spec is for a rig that was designed to run tires much smaller and lighter than 35". To accommodate the increased forces applied to your steering from the bigger tires it might be wise to shoot for 4-5 degrees of positive caster.

I feel this is a common mistake made often on this forum.

Also, as other's have mentioned check your front and rear driver's side brakes for a sticking rotor.
 

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