Alignment service, where ta go?

Discussion in '1978 - 1981 Specific' started by Eric Tuggle, Jun 10, 2021 at 1:51 PM.

  1. Eric Tuggle

    Eric Tuggle New Member

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    Hello, all.
    New member, long time lurker prior to my recent purchase of a blue on blue ‘79 Z28, Van Nuys built, mostly original, just mild cam / high rise intake, block bored .030 over, shift kit in rebuilt TH350. I’m the 5th owner now. Owned a 1980 Z28 from Jan. of 1980 till sold her in 2005. Don’t regret it, was right to do at the time, but always missed driving / tinkering with her. Now, as time and finances have allowed, I was able to make a deal on Big Blue, last month with a private seller and bring him home.

    Camaro was well restored about 5 years prior by 2nd owner, just little things left to fix, repair or replace, so I am having fun doing that and cruising my back country roads once again.

    Funny issue I have run into is trying to arrange a front end alignment from local service centers. Most all commercial facilities now use digital programming of course, loading up vehicle VIN to machine and letting the computer take over. Unfortunately, this only applies to post 1995 cars, so no go. Did find a former Chevy dealer that still has a machine that allows a manual control alignment, but the “ targets “ a device that attaches to each front wheel to assist in alignment process will damage painted steel wheels, which my Z has, as they are pretty firmly pressed against wheel. Evidentially, there are pads of some type that fit on the targets to protect painted wheels, but they didn’t have anyon their equipment. They recommended a specialty shop in a nearby city, but same issue when I called that business, no pads to protect wheels, the targets will leave a circular impression in the paint.

    Not a big deal as yet, just think the car is over steering just a bit, not sure when it last had an alignment / thrust angle check performed, so, it’s a quandary to me…

    Any a y’all out there run into concerns like this, any suggestions? Happy to hear ‘ em. Thank you. Have a great day all!

    Erick
     
  2. Zspoiler

    Zspoiler Veteran Member

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    I would check with your friends and or your insurance company for refrerences.
     
  3. BonzoHansen

    BonzoHansen Administrator Lifetime Gold Member

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    I never scratched a wheel doing an alignment. Not sure what those guys are doing unless they said that to scare you off.

    Your best to walk in with specs in your hands, stock or not.

    Go to local cruise nights and ask around
     
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  4. Lowend

    Lowend Administrator. .a car, a man, a maraca. Staff Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    Where are you located?
    In general, I'd look for the alignment shop the local roadracing SCCA guys use.
    Our car's use alignment shims, which compared to a modern car is a massive PITA to align. Most shops just don't want to deal with it
     
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  5. Knuckle Dragger

    Knuckle Dragger Mayor of Simpleton Staff Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    Assclowns with little or no regard for what they are working on scratch wheels all the time, at least with the Hunter stuff I used. I saw it happen all time "back in the day". You have to pay attention when connecting the heads and use a barrier between the foot and the wheel. The really old stuff used threaded rods on the feet and it was a real PITA.

    I don't get what you are saying about "manual alignment" to my knowledge there is no "automatic" machine that sets the angles. All the machine does is measurements, calculations and specs. Anyone with real knowledge can set the alignment to your specs regardless of what the machine says the specs are. You need an old school front end shop; most box store tire shops have bunch of kids that only understand the red and green numbers on the machine and have zero clue how they relate or what they effect. They do their best to dumb it down so they can hire the cheapest kid right off the street and rake in the bucks setting toe and letting them roll. When they come across a vehicle with real adjustments it's easier to scare them away like they did you.

    I have shops I trust in the Phoenix area and Southern California but you don't have a location listed.
     
  6. Eric Tuggle

    Eric Tuggle New Member

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    Thanks to all for replies. Gainesville, Florida area. First shop was an old Chevy Dealer that had an older machine and fella that did the alignments was around my age, mid 50’s, seemed competent and experienced, honest. He showed me the parts that would attach to front wheels, did look like they would make an indention in the paint. He suggested a specialty shop that only does alignments, but they also advised equipment they used would damage painted wheels. I’ll ask around, as some suggested. There is a performance shop nearby that builds motors and installs drag and circle track oriented parts, they might have a suggestion for where to go. Thanks again.
     
  7. Zstar

    Zstar Veteran Member

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    Ocala here. I used European Car Clinic on Silver Springs. Very knowledgeable about old school stuff. Hard working crew that works on a lot of old european cars.
     
  8. Eric Tuggle

    Eric Tuggle New Member

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    Hey, Zstar. Thank you. Good info, will give them a call.

    Eric
     
  9. Lowend

    Lowend Administrator. .a car, a man, a maraca. Staff Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    Recommended specs for a streetcar
    1-1.25 deg negative camber
    1/8 to 0 toe-in
    As must positive castor as the chassis will allow (probably ~ 3 deg, but if you can get more, take it). ​
     
  10. Eric Tuggle

    Eric Tuggle New Member

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    Hello, Lowend, and thank you for the specifications you listed. I wasn’t really sure what they might be, so this is very helpful! Thanks, again.
     

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