Suspension Alignment-Caster Camber Plate Question

hello_newman

New Member
Jun 21, 2018
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Madera, CA
Have a 93 LX 5.0 convertible 178,000 miles. The car sits lower than stock, not sure if it has drop springs or the OEM springs are just old and sagging, but I like the ride height. A year ago, I added a set of the 17" Saleen SSC replica wheels, 17x8 front on 245 Sumitomos, and 17x9 rear on 275 Sumitomos. When I was getting them mounted/balanced/aligned, the tech called me over and said he could not get the right alignment spec, and that I could "get a kit" that would allow him to do it, or as an alternative, he could just completely remove the stock top plate, giving him room to get an extra turn or two on the three bolts. I went that route, so the top plates are now removed, and the three bolts are just screwed directly into the painted portion of the strut tower (no top plate). It was aligned to the OEM spec, the wheels look pretty straight, the ride is fine, I haven't noticed any handling issues. The car is just a weekend cruiser, never driven hard, maybe a couple thousand miles a year.

Now, a year later, after reading here and learning all about the alignment problems with lowered fox bodies, caster/camber plates, etc, I am re-thinking this. I know the set-up I have now is not the best case scenario, but am I damaging anything by not having a top plate? I am wondering if those three bolts on each side torqued directly onto the thinner metal on the strut tower could cause me a big problem later. What do you guys think? Any thoughts would be appreciated.
 
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Mustang5L5

Mod Dude
Feb 18, 2001
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its probably ok as most Caster Camber kits don't use a top plate the touches the tower. My maximum motorsports plates contact the tower by three small spacers and the top plate hovers.

But...I want to see a pic before say it's fine. I personally wouldn't do it this way
 

hello_newman

New Member
Jun 21, 2018
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See pics. My alignment specs were Front Left: -1.3 Degrees Camber, +1.5 Degrees Caster......Front Right: -0.9 Degrees Camber, +1.3 Degrees Caster. 500 Miles since alignment, tires seem to be wearing fine, no complaints with ride/handling outside of the normal lowered Fox Body issue.
 

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hello_newman

New Member
Jun 21, 2018
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My bad. I ran it for a year with no top plates. Just last night. I grabbed some bolts and put the original top plates on the top. Sorry for the confusion.
 

Mustang5L5

Mod Dude
Feb 18, 2001
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Top plate not really doing much there if they are just sitting on tightened nuts.

Not sure how safe that really is, but I don't think it's a huge risk of catastrophic failure. It's a little bit hack though.

You probably should change to proper Caster Camber plates at some point.


LMR has a 10% code through the 31st. Of course you'll need an alignment as well
 
Apr 30, 2019
3
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65
Midwest, USA
Years ago, local alignment shops weren't able to correct the way the tires kept wearing out quickly on the insides. I wanted to set camber to nearly zero but there wasn't enough adjustment. I ended up slotting one hole in the steering knuckles with a big, coarse, rat-tail file where the struts mount. Yes, it was a total hack, but it was zero cost and I was able to get the wheels straightened up. I made sure the bolts were torqued to spec (300 ft-lbs, if memory is correct). I was concerned about whether it would slip over time, so after everything was tightened up I put JB Weld around all the edges to serve as witness references. It solved the tire issues and the bolted joints have never budged.
 

hello_newman

New Member
Jun 21, 2018
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Madera, CA
Ok, ordered the SVE caster/camber plates, had them installed and the car aligned. See the pictures attached, the threads on the top of the strut seem to stick up way higher than any other ones I have seen. Could this mean something is installed wrong? The hood clears them, but its pretty close.

Besides that issue, couldn’t be much happier with them. The ride is way better, I hadn’t realized how much bump steer there was with the old set up.
 

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Wayne Waldrep

5 Year Member
Apr 14, 2003
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Cuba, AL
If they clear the hood then they are fine. You space them down with the spacers that should come with the plates. I've never had SVE plates so someone correct me if I'm wrong. My MM plates had different thickness spacers for that reason.
 

Mustang5L5

Mod Dude
Feb 18, 2001
30,515
7,023
224
Massachusetts
I would concur. If it's not pushing the hood up, you are fine. You want them as high as possible to maximize strut travel.

C/C plates don't really do anything for bumpsteer though. You probably are just seeing the benefit of added caster in how it reduces the car's tendency to follow ruts.