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Old 02-11-2019, 11:18 AM   #91
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I'll just add that lejeep's control arm etc. does not look like what in the '97 to '02 series van. There's some photos of my '97 in this topic: http://www.classbforum.com/forums/f8...ings-4136.html

1996 was the changeover year so I always refer to the series as 1997 - 2002. Some 1996 vans would be like the 1997 vans.
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NEW FOR 1997:

* Vehicle completely re-engineered with body-on-frame construction (became available as a 1996 model in the latter part of '96 model year)

Something similar may have occurred in the latter part of 2002.

lejeep's van is most likely the newer 2003 style van and is a 2003 model year even if manufactured in late 2002.
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Old 02-11-2019, 03:26 PM   #92
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It is very hard to measure spring length in a hurry, especially if they have some bow to them or one of the ends is closed up tighter than the other. The big thing is what it came out for height, and you are still a bit high, but it likely will go down some in a while, and when you load the van fully. If it is even side to side, or even a bit high on the right, which is kind of common, I wouldn't worry to much about it. You could settle in at about 35.5" like most have, but 36" should not be an issue if it stayed there.

I am having a bit of struggle figuring out you charts, so I am just going to assume the second one where it says actual is what you got today?

I think the plus camber is way high. I like .12 to .25 and no higher or you will start to see tire wear on the outside edges, but it will handle nice because it is always on the outside edges. No negative on either side and no cross camber is good.

The van probably goes pretty straight on a right lane crown as the cross caster is on the higher end and caster itself is high enough. It would likely lead left on a left crown, which is typical. You were in a lot of wind, so pull and tracking are very hard to check well under those conditions. So good on caster.

Toe is ridiculous to be so far off because it is easy to set compared to the other adjustments. If I did my math right that is over 3/8" toe out and will take off the inside of the tires very quickly. It should have made the van get a bit funny in steering response, but the correct caster and the too high camber may helped hide it. Toe out should make the steering have a soft middle and then quick dart once turned a bit. You turn the wheel a little and not much happens so you turn it a bit more and too much happens. With that much toe out you would get a larger soft spot before it darted. Of course you are used to driving the van as it was before, so it may not be as noticeable to you as it would be for someone who had a much better handling unit before hand.

All that said, especially for toe, worn parts could be contributing, although worn parts would usually make a rear drive toe out more driving than when sitting, so backwards. If he had set more toe in, I would say he was compensating for worn tie rod ends.

I would do a quick check at home of the tightness of the toe. Just put a chalk mark or a hunk of tape with a line on it anywhere on the tread of the front of the tires, about the same height up from the ground on both sides. Push the front tires in as far as they will go from each side without straining too hard. Measure the distance between you lines with a tape measure. Now pull the tires out as far as you can and measure again. Tight parts will not really move much, so if you see anything much more than 1/16-1/8 inch, you have worm parts. No change would be good.

It is also possible that the number he gave you are wrong, as I am certain I got one set of bad readings on my last alignment. You should be able to see the front wheels tilting out at the amount of camber listed, so that could be an indicator. The need to rescan every change they make, but often at the end of their allotted time the skip the rescan and just print what is on the screen.

I fear you are running into the same thing many of us have been lately with alignments, that being that with the new machines and poor help it is nearly impossible to get a decent alignment. The last 5 I have gotten have all been less than stellar.

If you can find an old school mechanic or even better truck shop, that uses mechanical gauges or the electronic version that just reads like manual gauges on the front only, I think you will be much more likely to get decent results on the van.

Good luck, and keep us posted how it turns out.
Thanks for the explanation on how the steering should feel with these numbers.

I did have the time to look at the new springs and take pics. It was after that I was told I was not welcome in the shop. There is no bow to the new springs and I measured 17 1/2", that I am sure of. So my question still stands about manufacturing length tolerances of +/- 1/4". Has the industry become so loose on quality control in the name of cost cutting ? But as you say, it's the end results that count and I am happy with whatever is in there.

Sorry for the confusion about the chart, you are right, actual is the numbers the mechanic gave me but everything was in french and I wanted you guys to comment. Both charts have the same actual numbers. Difference is the top one is written with the mechanics machine printout with specs for 96 to 02 vans. Bottom one I pulled the specs from a past alignement done for 03 to 04 vans to see difference in tolerances. Also aim represents the center of the tolerance specs, meaning a perfect alignement IMO. So if the numbers he gave me are right here are my comments.

About camber; Tolerance sweet spot (aim) for 96-02 is +0.50deg. For 03-04 it is +0,25deg. Something in the geometry logically has changed to lower camber. Maybe stiffer suspension so the 03-04 van does not squat as much as before from load so you can have the same tire contact with the road with less camber. I will do a visual check as proposed. Good thing everything is frozen here it will make it easy to move the wheels around. Any comments?

About caster; I will take the van back for a test drive now that it's calm, but it seems to drive just as before I started the project, meaning real nice. Also the specs for 03-04 vans (aim) ask for +1,0deg more caster than the 96-02. Any comments?

About toe; Again, it drives so nice I have a hard time believing those nombers are my van's. I will do a check for toe tightness for sure. I cannot believe a mechanic who has a class 3 certificate AND an alignement certificate hung in the waiting room would let a vehicule leave with one wheel in and the other one out as per the printout.

One last thing, when I asked if he used the cams to adjust, I was told that if he had to change that setting it would be because something was off and he would cheat the geometry if those were moved.

I will post back once I get more answers. TBC
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Old 02-11-2019, 04:46 PM   #93
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Originally Posted by markopolo View Post
I'll just add that lejeep's control arm etc. does not look like what in the '97 to '02 series van. There's some photos of my '97 in this topic: http://www.classbforum.com/forums/f8...ings-4136.html

1996 was the changeover year so I always refer to the series as 1997 - 2002. Some 1996 vans would be like the 1997 vans.

Something similar may have occurred in the latter part of 2002.

lejeep's van is most likely the newer 2003 style van and is a 2003 model year even if manufactured in late 2002.
Thanks for the input. Looking at the bump stop, I see they are different than mine(sorry no pic). My bumpstops are beehive shaped and placed further inboard on the c/arm. I would need to inspect carefully but is seems the arms are also shaped differently.
On another note, I am now almost certain that I was given another set of whatever instead of 81004.
I looked at your pics and noticed both your spring (81006) ends were tangential(open ended) and this website confirms it;
https://www.fme-cat.com/PartSpecific...G%20ATTRIBUTES
That same website specifies mine (81004) should be also tangential on both ends. I clearly see that I have one tangential and one squared end on mine.(see pics)
They are also 17 1/2" free length instead of the 17 3/4" specified on that site. I also count 9,2 coils instead of the 8,7ish I was told on the phone by Federal Mogul.
Did you take free length on yours before install ?

About build, I did have a chat with chevy USA a while ago, (more like a machine spitting out generic answers to your query) and was confirmed that while it was built in late 2002, I had a 2003 chassis. Also looking at your pics again, I can say we have the same passenger style footsteps but different front grille and bumper.
I will keep posting until I run out of interest or money.
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Old 02-11-2019, 05:44 PM   #94
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I know for sure that I measured the old OEM coil springs. I had two carpenters squares with me for that and used them like a big caliper. I'm fairly certain I also measured the new 81008 coils (1997 van) and they must have been what I expected else I would have noted it in the post. One end was a bit flatter than the other but not like what your latest photos show.
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Old 02-11-2019, 06:04 PM   #95
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...........................
Just to clarify, are lejeep and myself the only people having trouble getting a final alignement? .............

Matt - You probably already know about the camber/caster knock-outs on our series van. I just thought I'd mention it in case you didn't. After I installed the longer and stiffer coils on my van, the alignment place said they had to punch-out the camber/caster knock-outs to allow greater adjustment.
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Old 02-11-2019, 06:35 PM   #96
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Thanks for the explanation on how the steering should feel with these numbers.

I did have the time to look at the new springs and take pics. It was after that I was told I was not welcome in the shop. There is no bow to the new springs and I measured 17 1/2", that I am sure of. So my question still stands about manufacturing length tolerances of +/- 1/4". Has the industry become so loose on quality control in the name of cost cutting ? But as you say, it's the end results that count and I am happy with whatever is in there.

Sorry for the confusion about the chart, you are right, actual is the numbers the mechanic gave me but everything was in french and I wanted you guys to comment. Both charts have the same actual numbers. Difference is the top one is written with the mechanics machine printout with specs for 96 to 02 vans. Bottom one I pulled the specs from a past alignement done for 03 to 04 vans to see difference in tolerances. Also aim represents the center of the tolerance specs, meaning a perfect alignement IMO. So if the numbers he gave me are right here are my comments.

About camber; Tolerance sweet spot (aim) for 96-02 is +0.50deg. For 03-04 it is +0,25deg. Something in the geometry logically has changed to lower camber. Maybe stiffer suspension so the 03-04 van does not squat as much as before from load so you can have the same tire contact with the road with less camber. I will do a visual check as proposed. Good thing everything is frozen here it will make it easy to move the wheels around. Any comments?

About caster; I will take the van back for a test drive now that it's calm, but it seems to drive just as before I started the project, meaning real nice. Also the specs for 03-04 vans (aim) ask for +1,0deg more caster than the 96-02. Any comments?

About toe; Again, it drives so nice I have a hard time believing those nombers are my van's. I will do a check for toe tightness for sure. I cannot believe a mechanic who has a class 3 certificate AND an alignement certificate hung in the waiting room would let a vehicule leave with one wheel in and the other one out as per the printout.

One last thing, when I asked if he used the cams to adjust, I was told that if he had to change that setting it would be because something was off and he would cheat the geometry if those were moved.

I will post back once I get more answers. TBC

My understanding is that the previous generation van had a larger engine compartment so it could fit the big blocks in, and that leaves less room for suspension. It is very likely the previous generation had shorter A arms and a different geometry in general. The extra camber in the callout could be that the suspension in the older ones goes more negative than the new ones in compression. Staying at the 1/8 to 1/4 degree is where it should be, I think, to prevent excess tire wear.


Each generation of vehicle, especially the rear drives, seem to go higher in caster, probably because everything now has power steering so no need to worry about too high of effort. The vehicles almost all will track better with high caster.


I agree on the toe, and why I mentioned it might be a printout error. Nobody in the business should let it out the door with those readings.


I will requote this again as it is pretty unbelievable.



Quote:
One last thing, when I asked if he used the cams to adjust, I was told that if he had to change that setting it would be because something was off and he would cheat the geometry if those were moved

This has to be the single silliest excuse I have ever heard. This a body on frame 5 ton truck and anyone who has been around any body on frame vehicles knows that the alignments go out over time. It is a way of life and not unusual at all. If this were a unibody car, I might agree with him, as I have not seen many that ever needed an adjustment other than toe. They didn't put the cams on their for good looks, they are meant to be adjusted.


It sounds like he put it on the rack and went to lunch, then came back and said he was done. If the cams haven't been touched there was no change to the caster or camber, and the toe is so bad he is either totally incompetent or didn't touch that either.


Sad to say this is getting to be the norm these days for alignments.
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Old 02-11-2019, 08:32 PM   #97
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Originally Posted by markopolo View Post
Matt - You probably already know about the camber/caster knock-outs on our series van. I just thought I'd mention it in case you didn't. After I installed the longer and stiffer coils on my van, the alignment place said they had to punch-out the camber/caster knock-outs to allow greater adjustment.
I was not aware of these. I looked it up and now understand how these could be useful. I will add this information to my mental encyclopedia for future reference for my next visit to the alignement shop!
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Old 02-11-2019, 09:53 PM   #98
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I know for sure that I measured the old OEM coil springs. I had two carpenters squares with me for that and used them like a big caliper. I'm fairly certain I also measured the new 81008 coils (1997 van) and they must have been what I expected else I would have noted it in the post. One end was a bit flatter than the other but not like what your latest photos show.
Thanks Marcopolo,
Now I'm sure that for the second time I do not have the springs I ordered and the installer insists on getting them himself. After the first wrong in the box I suggested I get the new ones, but nooooo. Now he had to get new ones probably in order to get reimbursed the first wrong in the box.
So if I ask again for a replacement, I will have to deal with him again.
Like Booster said, what matters after all is the end result. If I get the lift I want, I will probably let him go.
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Old 02-11-2019, 10:39 PM   #99
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My understanding is that the previous generation van had a larger engine compartment so it could fit the big blocks in, and that leaves less room for suspension. It is very likely the previous generation had shorter A arms and a different geometry in general. The extra camber in the callout could be that the suspension in the older ones goes more negative than the new ones in compression. Staying at the 1/8 to 1/4 degree is where it should be, I think, to prevent excess tire wear.

Each generation of vehicle, especially the rear drives, seem to go higher in caster, probably because everything now has power steering so no need to worry about too high of effort. The vehicles almost all will track better with high caster.

I agree on the toe, and why I mentioned it might be a printout error. Nobody in the business should let it out the door with those readings.

I will requote this again as it is pretty unbelievable.

(Stuff about cam not to be used except for cheating)

This has to be the single silliest excuse I have ever heard. This a body on frame 5 ton truck and anyone who has been around any body on frame vehicles knows that the alignments go out over time. It is a way of life and not unusual at all. If this were a unibody car, I might agree with him, as I have not seen many that ever needed an adjustment other than toe. They didn't put the cams on their for good looks, they are meant to be adjusted.

It sounds like he put it on the rack and went to lunch, then came back and said he was done. If the cams haven't been touched there was no change to the caster or camber, and the toe is so bad he is either totally incompetent or didn't touch that either.

Sad to say this is getting to be the norm these days for alignments.
I did a toe tightness test as suggested. There was at the most 1/8" play from in to out(more like 1/16" really). The wheels were on the ground but on ice, so easy to move if any play.(see pics)
I have to say that while the wheels were off the ground while replacing the springs, the mechanic showed me the play on the pitman and idler arms. I would guestimate a total of 3/16" at the most from what he showed me. I suppose that when the van is on the ground the linkage tightens as the suspension squats down. This would explain why the last alignement outfit told me there was no excessive play or else the machine would not have being able to align the van properly.

Since it was a nice day with dry roads, I did another road test with no wind this time. Sad to say but the wind fooled me good. The steering wheel is straight but the van pulls to the left. Only slightly at first but as soon as I am out of the ruts and start to embark on the crown it noticeably pulls more to the left. No matter what lane I use it constantly pulls in the same fashion. Sooo, the printout might be right after all.
Would this pulling explain the numbers I posted ?

As for the cam explanation, what can I say. It was probably a friday afternoon answer. I just hope they will have forgotten that explanation when I go back there, or else they will not be able to use the cams if need be.

Also if you look closely at the pics, it looks like there is a lot of camber and uneven from left and right side. I'm no alignement expert but it looks odd to me. Strange since the numbers show even but high camber. Any comments ?

I took another appointment at the alignement outfit this friday. The service man seems to be openminded and did not try to weasel his way out. Can't wait to see what he has to say about his printout since half of his numbers are in the red. I will also strongly suggest he uses the 03-04 specs this time.TBC
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Old 02-11-2019, 10:54 PM   #100
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I did a toe tightness test as suggested. There was at the most 1/8" play from in to out(more like 1/16" really). The wheels were on the ground but on ice, so easy to move if any play.(see pics)
I have to say that while the wheels were off the ground while replacing the springs, the mechanic showed me the play on the pitman and idler arms. I would guestimate a total of 3/16" at the most from what he showed me. I suppose that when the van is on the ground the linkage tightens as the suspension squats down. This would explain why the last alignement outfit told me there was no excessive play or else the machine would not have being able to align the van properly.

Since it was a nice day with dry roads, I did another road test with no wind this time. Sad to say but the wind fooled me good. The steering wheel is straight but the van pulls to the left. Only slightly at first but as soon as I am out of the ruts and start to embark on the crown it noticeably pulls more to the left. No matter what lane I use it constantly pulls in the same fashion. Sooo, the printout might be right after all.
Would this pulling explain the numbers I posted ?

As for the cam explanation, what can I say. It was probably a friday afternoon answer. I just hope they will have forgotten that explanation when I go back there, or else they will not be able to use the cams if need be.

Also if you look closely at the pics, it looks like there is a lot of camber and uneven from left and right side. I'm no alignement expert but it looks odd to me. Strange since the numbers show even but high camber. Any comments ?

I took another appointment at the alignement outfit this friday. The service man seems to be openminded and did not try to weasel his way out. Can't wait to see what he has to say about his printout since half of his numbers are in the red. I will also strongly suggest he uses the 03-04 specs this time.TBC

If toed in 1/8" you would be OK with that looseness, I think.


The cross caster should make it pull left, the question is just how much. I know that at .3 or .4 higher on the right, our van just about holds straight on a right crown, and you have near double that so it may be contributing. Really hard to tell for sure if also have mismatched and way to much plus camber and toe. I would not get very concerned about most driving issues until you get the numbers reading right.


If they said they shouldn't move the cams, then your alignment changes from lifting over 2" weren't taken care of, and they do change. Do the cams even look like they were touched? How about the tie rod adjuster sleeves?


Checking for looseness with the wheels off the ground won't tell you much except for the ball joints, and even then it is not real accurate.
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