Caster correction on stock height suspension

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Sep 2, 2019
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I have a 97 LC with Dobinson stock height suspension/springs, shocks, steering damper. I had my alignment done after I installed it all.

Caster: 0.0 on both sides
camber: 0.2 left, 0.0 right

The LC does seem to dart easily at highway speed. I was hoping to correct that by getting my caster back into spec.

I've read through a bunch of bushings posts and caster correction posts but I'm still not sure what I need to do. From what I've gathered, I shouldn't need a caster correction product (correction bushings, caster plate, etc) with the stock height suspension. My caster does seem to read closer to what is experienced after a mild 2" lift or so. I'm not sure why.

Could the original bushings just be worn out enough to cause this caster? Would replacing with OEM bushings in the radius arms get me back into spec theoretically (2-4 degrees)? I don't hear any noises commonly associated with really worn out bushings, but when I looked at them they do seem dried out with micro cracks all over.

Thanks for the help
 

cruisermatt

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I have a 97 LC with Dobinson stock height suspension/springs, shocks, steering damper. I had my alignment done after I installed it all.

Caster: 0.0 on both sides
camber: 0.2 left, 0.0 right

The LC does seem to dart easily at highway speed. I was hoping to correct that by getting my caster back into spec.

I've read through a bunch of bushings posts and caster correction posts but I'm still not sure what I need to do. From what I've gathered, I shouldn't need a caster correction product (correction bushings, caster plate, etc) with the stock height suspension. My caster does seem to read closer to what is experienced after a mild 2" lift or so. I'm not sure why.

Could the original bushings just be worn out enough to cause this caster? Would replacing with OEM bushings in the radius arms get me back into spec theoretically (2-4 degrees)? I don't hear any noises commonly associated with really worn out bushings, but when I looked at them they do seem dried out with micro cracks all over.

Thanks for the help

Well, you're at 0, so you need to do something. My recommendation would be new OEM bushings as they last the longest, and a caster plate kit. You'll probably end up at 3-4 degrees and it will drive great.
 

Irish Reiver

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Those readings are indicative of a 1.5" lift over stock. I guess that is roughly in line with what others report when fitting aftermarket "Stock" height springs. I'm surprised you ended up with 0 caster but as @cruisermatt says you need to do something and a set of @landtank plates for a 2.5-3" lift should do the trick and get you where you need to be.
 
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Wanted to chime in that I'm in a similar situation with my '97. My 80 measures close to 21" inch from wheel center to flare bottom on all 4 wheels and I have a touch over 0 degrees caster (less than .5 degrees both sides). I added a little toe to stop the post-bump shimmy that I would get occasionally but that was just a short-term fix while I consider caster correction options and if I want to add any lift long term.

To add more caster I purchased plates but they are the dobinson plates and seem like overkill for my current ride height though they would allow me to safely add more lift in the future. I'm considering the washer mod since I have a welder and it's not as invasive (ie. easier to undo/change) as most of the lower lift plate setups. I like the close to stock ride height and tire size after a few years with it so may never go larger. I'd love to bump caster up around 4 degrees, even close to stock height, but I don't want to get into driveshaft vibe territory.

I'll be watching to see what you do and how it works out.
 

landtank

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you guys should check the lower knuckle studs. If they are loose they will influence your caster readings. It they aren't loose then my 2.5" plates will put you around 4* of caster and you should set toe to avoid scalloping the tires. Ideal toe is 0, but everybody adds a little to be safe.
 

JunkCrzr89

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I have a 97 LC with Dobinson stock height suspension/springs, shocks, steering damper. I had my alignment done after I installed it all.

Caster: 0.0 on both sides
camber: 0.2 left, 0.0 right
IIRC, from @GW Nugget master suspension thread, those “stock height” Dobinsons coils are only stock height if you have 150-200 lbs of stuff bolted to both the front and rear of the Cruiser (e.g., bumpers). If not, then you’ll get 1.5” lift out of them, because they have a higher spring rate than the factory coils.
 
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IIRC, from @GW Nugget master suspension thread, those “stock height” Dobinsons coils are only stock height if you have 150-200 lbs of stuff bolted to both the front and rear of the Cruiser (e.g., bumpers). If not, then you’ll get 1.5” lift out of them, because they have a higher spring rate than the factory coils.
Good to know. I’m all stock bumpers.
 
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Thanks for all the info. Looks like I just need to do a 2” lift caster correction due to having no aftermarket bumper or weight on my stock height kit.

Waiting to hear labor cost quote as I don’t have a hydraulic press for bushings or welding abilities for the caster plates. I could install new delta radius arms with pre installed bushings myself, but I’ll only pursue that if labor costs for brackets and bushings is crazy high.
 

landtank

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Thanks for all the info. Looks like I just need to do a 2” lift caster correction due to having no aftermarket bumper or weight on my stock height kit.

Waiting to hear labor cost quote as I don’t have a hydraulic press for bushings or welding abilities for the caster plates. I could install new delta radius arms with pre installed bushings myself, but I’ll only pursue that if labor costs for brackets and bushings is crazy high.
If you can install my plates yourself you can then drive to a shop to have them stitched. A lot of people have done that.
 

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