Author Topic: Reinstalling strut rods and alignment questions  (Read 456 times)

Offline taintedsaint

  • Posts: 18
  • Name: Joe Slater
Reinstalling strut rods and alignment questions
« on: November 09, 2017, 03:06:52 PM »
Replaced strut rod bushings on my 68 SDV last spring and couldn't find any info on how they should be done. Meaning, with large nut and washer on each side of the crossmember, the strut rod could be moved back and forth and locked in place. The assumption I had which was confirmed by someone else, is that the strut rod is used as part of alignment adjustment.
However, when I went to local shop with tech that everyone swore up and down was the "old car " specialist, he said the strut rods aren't used as part of alignment, but control arm shims instead. Now I was really confused. So my questions are two-fold.
How to set proper position of strut rod upon reassembly and whether they are used in alignment or are control arm shims used.

Thanks for any help.

Joe S
Nokesville, VA 20181

Offline P. Manoogian

  • CLC #29766
  • Posts: 212
  • Name: P.Manoogian
Re: Reinstalling strut rods and alignment questions
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2017, 03:12:35 PM »
I believe the strut rods are used to adjust the caster .
1961 Eldorado - Shell Pearl/Mauve
1959 Coupe DeVille - Vegas Turquoise
2012 CTS Coupe- Crystal Red
1970 AMX

Offline "Cadillac Kid" Greg Surfas 15364

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Re: Reinstalling strut rods and alignment questions
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2017, 03:14:53 PM »
Joe,
Find another shop.  The strut rod adjustment is definitely part of the alignment process. Caster adjustment to be specific.
Greg Surfas
Cadillac Kid-Greg Surfas
CLC #15364
66 Coupe deVille (now gone to the UK)
72 Eldo Cpe  (now cruising the sands in Quatar)
73 Coupe deVille
75 Coupe deElegance
76 Coupe deVille
79 Coupe de ville with "Paris" (pick up) option and 472 motor
514 inch motor now in '73-

Offline Dave Shepherd

  • Posts: 1922
Re: Reinstalling strut rods and alignment questions
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2017, 04:45:46 PM »
Correct, tightening them in board increases caster,  but you cannot go to far as you can bind up the lower arm.

Offline savemy67

  • Posts: 739
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  • Name: Christopher Winter
Re: Reinstalling strut rods and alignment questions
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2017, 07:02:37 PM »
Hello all,

The original post underscores the need to purchase the shop manual for your model year regardless of whether or not you plan to do any work yourself.  A quick perusal of my '67 Shop Manual adequately describes how the strut rods, camber eccentrics, and tie rods are adjusted to obtain proper alignment.  I believe the '68 front end is the same.

Many shop manuals can be obtained from different sources from between $20 and $50.  This is perhaps the single best purchase you can make for your car.  Why search high and low for information ("Replaced strut rod bushings on my 68 SDV last spring and couldn't find any info on how they should be done") when the information you need is in the Shop Manual?  Why rely on hearsay as to the abilities of a tech (when I went to local shop with tech that everyone swore up and down was the "old car " specialist, he said the strut rods aren't used as part of alignment, but control arm shims instead)?  The tech may be an old car specialist, but an old Cadillac is different than an old Chevrolet in many respects.  Armed with the information from the Shop Manual, one can determine if the tech is competent.

Please accept my comments as constructive.  Many people on this forum are willing to offer assistance, but I believe that due diligence, and doing one's homework are the first places to start.

Respectfully submitted,
Christopher Winter
Christopher Winter
1967 Sedan DeVille hardtop

Offline Bob Hoffmann CLC#96

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Re: Reinstalling strut rods and alignment questions
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2017, 08:42:36 PM »
Christopher,
 VERY well put. I hope that lots of new posters take note of it. 
Bob
1941 62 coupe custom maroon
1970 DeVille conv. triple black
1968 Eldorado slick top ,white/red interior
2015 Holden Ute HSV Maloo red/black interior.
             
Too much fun is more than you can have.

Offline 64CaddieLacky

  • Posts: 234
  • Name: C.Asaro
Re: Reinstalling strut rods and alignment questions
« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2017, 08:57:33 PM »
I replaced my strut rod bushings on my 64 last year on my own, as the originals were disintegrated. The job sucked big time! The bolts were rusted and took forever to remove.

After I replaced them, I took it a good shop locally and they did my alignment. I asked the tech randomly if he took care of the strut rod adjustment, and he said "yep, they looked like they just got replaced and the specs were way out of line". At first, I didn't even mention that I replaced the bushings so the tech knew from experience that it was vastly important to make sure that the rods are properly spec'd as it also has an effect on the ride quality and how much the wheels move from hitting pot holes and bumps on these old Cads.

That is what is different on old Cadillac's up into the 70's and 80's RWD Broughams, is that they used strut rods to allow for additional fore and aft wheel movement to counter bumps and help cushion the ride even more which is why these cars rode so nicely, and if they are out of adjustement, it can severly affect the ride quality.

It does matter, and you need to go another shop if they tell you otherwise.
1964 Sedan Deville
1994 Fleetwood Bro
1972 Sedan Deville (Sold)
1968 Coupe Deville (Sold)
1978 Lincoln Continental

Offline P. Manoogian

  • CLC #29766
  • Posts: 212
  • Name: P.Manoogian
Re: Reinstalling strut rods and alignment questions
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2017, 09:12:08 PM »
And if you press in the lower control arm bushings too much or too little that too will cause issues. BTW, do NOT buy Mexican Moog lower control arm bushings as they do not have correct taper resulting in one end being loosey goosey. Moog knows this but will not recall the pieces.
1961 Eldorado - Shell Pearl/Mauve
1959 Coupe DeVille - Vegas Turquoise
2012 CTS Coupe- Crystal Red
1970 AMX

Offline 64CaddieLacky

  • Posts: 234
  • Name: C.Asaro
Re: Reinstalling strut rods and alignment questions
« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2017, 09:25:18 PM »
And if you press in the lower control arm bushings too much or too little that too will cause issues. BTW, do NOT buy Mexican Moog lower control arm bushings as they do not have correct taper resulting in one end being loosey goosey. Moog knows this but will not recall the pieces.

Then what are we supposed to do? Moog bushings are all mostly made in Mexico now. Are their other brands that you recommend? I actually bought a pair of Moog lower control arm bushings and plan on getting them replaced next year.
1964 Sedan Deville
1994 Fleetwood Bro
1972 Sedan Deville (Sold)
1968 Coupe Deville (Sold)
1978 Lincoln Continental

Offline Glen

  • Posts: 2254
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  • Name: Glen Houlton
Re: Reinstalling strut rods and alignment questions
« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2017, 10:38:57 PM »
From the 68 Shop Manual:
Glen Houlton CLC #727 
CLCMRC benefactor #104

Offline TJ Hopland

  • Posts: 6791
Re: Reinstalling strut rods and alignment questions
« Reply #10 on: November 10, 2017, 09:45:21 AM »
Typically you use shims or there are eccentrics when the arms are the A frame design.    The rods are typically used when the arm is more of an I design.   
StPaul/Mpls, MN USA

73 Eldo convert w/FiTech EFI
75 Eldo rusty but trusty
80 Eldo Diesel
And other assorted stuff I keep buying for some reason

Offline chrisntam

  • Posts: 1235
  • Dallas, Texas
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  • Name: C. Jessen
Re: Reinstalling strut rods and alignment questions
« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2017, 04:51:31 PM »
Hello all,

The original post underscores the need to purchase the shop manual for your model year regardless of whether or not you plan to do any work yourself.  A quick perusal of my '67 Shop Manual adequately describes how the strut rods, camber eccentrics, and tie rods are adjusted to obtain proper alignment.  I believe the '68 front end is the same.

Many shop manuals can be obtained from different sources from between $20 and $50.  This is perhaps the single best purchase you can make for your car.  Why search high and low for information ("Replaced strut rod bushings on my 68 SDV last spring and couldn't find any info on how they should be done") when the information you need is in the Shop Manual?  Why rely on hearsay as to the abilities of a tech (when I went to local shop with tech that everyone swore up and down was the "old car " specialist, he said the strut rods aren't used as part of alignment, but control arm shims instead)?  The tech may be an old car specialist, but an old Cadillac is different than an old Chevrolet in many respects.  Armed with the information from the Shop Manual, one can determine if the tech is competent.

Please accept my comments as constructive.  Many people on this forum are willing to offer assistance, but I believe that due diligence, and doing one's homework are the first places to start.

Respectfully submitted,
Christopher Winter

I too rely on the shop manual, but I come here for tips, tricks, insights and also rely on other's first hand experience.  The shop manual is sometimes vague and every so often is not 100% correct. 

I'm about to get into replacing the steel fuel lines on my '70, FSM basically says undo the clips, remove lines.  To install, reverse procedure.  The fuel lines were installed prior to the body being set on the chassis.  It ain't gonna be that easy.

I'm just sayin'.
1970 Deville Convertible  MTS 507
Dallas, Texas

Offline Scot Minesinger

  • Posts: 4220
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Re: Reinstalling strut rods and alignment questions
« Reply #12 on: November 11, 2017, 07:34:24 AM »
I have replaced all suspension parts on my 1970 Cadillac which has the same basic set up as a 1968 Cadillac.  The rods are part of the alignment.  The shop manual is clear about this.

You really have to be careful with these shops because some of these mechanics love to talk, but hate to read.  Unfortunately do not have much respect for them in the area where I live.  I became my own best mechanic out of necessity.

Chris, I have replaced the fuel lines on three 1970 Cadillacs.  I bought the pre-bent sets from in-line tube (use steel, NOT st st), and they are a little difficult to puzzle in.  You will have to remove the top body mount bushing above rear axle on passenger side to do it without splicing, and even then, you may have to splice.  Two line sets I was able to install without splicing, but the third one there was just no way.  Make sure you have a nice flaring tool.
Fairfax Station, VA  22039 (Washington DC Sub)
1970 Cadillac DeVille Convertible
1970 Cadillac Sedan DeVille
1970 four door Convertible w/Cadillac Warranty

Offline P. Manoogian

  • CLC #29766
  • Posts: 212
  • Name: P.Manoogian
Re: Reinstalling strut rods and alignment questions
« Reply #13 on: November 11, 2017, 07:41:54 AM »

I strongly advise that you buy USA Made NOS Moog or TRW. You can find them on E Bay or Then and Now Automotive in Weymouth MA.  I just did a front end rebuild on a 62 and a 67. I can assure you, with 100% certainty, that the Mexican Moog lower control arm bushings will be LOOSE on one end. When I called the MOOG tech line they were aware of this, had NO suggestions, and advised NOT to use them. I suppose you could tack weld the end in, but do you REALLY want to do that???


It's the same part number so it should not be hard to find.





Then what are we supposed to do? Moog bushings are all mostly made in Mexico now. Are their other brands that you recommend? I actually bought a pair of Moog lower control arm bushings and plan on getting them replaced next year.
1961 Eldorado - Shell Pearl/Mauve
1959 Coupe DeVille - Vegas Turquoise
2012 CTS Coupe- Crystal Red
1970 AMX

Offline taintedsaint

  • Posts: 18
  • Name: Joe Slater
Re: Reinstalling strut rods and alignment questions
« Reply #14 on: November 13, 2017, 07:04:03 AM »
I appreciate all the input guys. I do use my shop manual regularly, and took it with me to the local shop. The one technician they had that had any experience with cars made before 1980 swore up and down that using the strut rods was the ALTERNATE method, shims were first. I knew better, grabbed my keys and left. I have found that there are fewer and fewer shops in my area that A) can do the work B) accept that just maybe the customer knows a thing or two.
Thankfully, the alignment was almost unchanged after replacing bushings and the car was only going to be on the road a couple months before the restoration that is in progress.
My main reason for posting the question was to establish what would be a good starting point during reassembly to get relatively close for safety while taking it to be aligned.
Nokesville, VA 20181

Offline Chas

  • Posts: 187
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  • Name: Chas Sergewick
Re: Reinstalling strut rods and alignment questions
« Reply #15 on: November 13, 2017, 10:44:24 AM »
Went to have the alignment done on my 1970 CDV. Brought it to what many in my area consider the most knowledgeable shop. I took the alignment spexs straight out of the factory manual, jotted them on a piece of paper, and brought them with me to give to the technician. All that I changed was the caster....I wanted +1.5 degrees due to the fact the car now runs radials. Get the car back along with the printout from the alignment machine. Drive out onto the highway, and the car is walking all over the road. Compare the printout to my handwritten note......and they totally disregarded what I wanted! Immediately bring the car back to the shop and show the desk man my notes compared to the printout. Asked him why they didn't follow my instructions. His response?: "95% of the people that walk in here don't know what they're talking about. We never pay attention to them".
1967 Coupe DeVille
1970 Coupe DeVille
1976 Coupe DeVille
1983 Coupe DeVille
1977 Harley Cafe Racer
1991 Harley Fat Boy
1957 Harley Hardtail
1949 Lusse Bumper Car
If you're 25 years old and not a liberal, you have no heart. If you're 45 years old and not a conservative, you have no money!

Offline TJ Hopland

  • Posts: 6791
Re: Reinstalling strut rods and alignment questions
« Reply #16 on: November 13, 2017, 11:12:35 AM »
Ever watch them drive over or drop their alignment tools then proceed to do the alignment and give you the printout showing its perfect when you can see with your naked eye that its completely wrong? 
StPaul/Mpls, MN USA

73 Eldo convert w/FiTech EFI
75 Eldo rusty but trusty
80 Eldo Diesel
And other assorted stuff I keep buying for some reason

Offline 35-709

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  • Name: G. Newcombe
Re: Reinstalling strut rods and alignment questions
« Reply #17 on: November 13, 2017, 12:05:30 PM »
Chas, that is just wrong on so many levels!  I would have been mad as hell, especially after the desk guy's remark!

* They didn't road test the car?!?  If they did, how could they say it was OK?!?  P-- poor!
*They don't KNOW that radials often require different specs from what was done with bias-plys --- especially caster.  And also especially when the owner points it out to them!?
* I assume they put it back on the rack and did it RIGHT and to your satisfaction?
* I would not go back there for love nor money!   
1935 Cadillac Sedan resto-mod "Big Red"
1973 Cadillac Caribou - Sold
1950 Jaguar Mark V Saloon resto-mod

Offline Chas

  • Posts: 187
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  • Name: Chas Sergewick
Re: Reinstalling strut rods and alignment questions
« Reply #18 on: November 13, 2017, 05:41:09 PM »
Yes......I was spittin' fire........and yes, they immediately put it back on the rack to correct their mistake. Looking back, I'm sorry to say that I wasn't too surprised with this chain of events. This is what I've come to expect for "service" in this day and age.
1967 Coupe DeVille
1970 Coupe DeVille
1976 Coupe DeVille
1983 Coupe DeVille
1977 Harley Cafe Racer
1991 Harley Fat Boy
1957 Harley Hardtail
1949 Lusse Bumper Car
If you're 25 years old and not a liberal, you have no heart. If you're 45 years old and not a conservative, you have no money!

Offline Serdontos

  • Posts: 2
  • Name: R Lay
Re: Reinstalling strut rods and alignment questions
« Reply #19 on: November 14, 2017, 08:19:22 AM »
I strongly advise that you buy USA Made NOS Moog or TRW. You can find them on E Bay or Then and Now Automotive in Weymouth MA.  I just did a front end rebuild on a 62 and a 67. I can assure you, with 100% certainty, that the Mexican Moog lower control arm bushings will be LOOSE on one end. When I called the MOOG tech line they were aware of this, had NO suggestions, and advised NOT to use them. I suppose you could tack weld the end in, but do you REALLY want to do that???


It's the same part number so it should not be hard to find.


Ran into the same issue on my 64, Mevotech MS50491 is the correct diameter lower control arm bushing, they are available from Rockauto.
1964 Coupe Deville
1964 Fleetwood Sixty Special
1966 Coupe Deville