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Front end work, caster issue

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    Front end work, caster issue

    Inspection was due and I figured I should change out some front end components for safety (233k all original). I did both sides, upper control arms with ball joint, lower ball joints, outer tie rods (the tool I had for the inner tie rods was incorrect, checked for play and there really was none so figured I could come back to that)and torqued all the points to spec.

    Of course I counted the number of turns of the tie rod, and brought it to get aligned and inspected.

    On the drive there I took it easy, noticing a change in the steering wheel but I said hey that will be fixed when its aligned.

    Shop calls me and says they got it aligned but the caster is off the charts, wheel won't return to center on its own. They said I need a "caster shim kit" and "we don't get into all of that here because its a pain in the ass" they then told me they couldn't inspect the car because the check engine light came on. I then had to explain to them it is an OBDI vehicle and is exempt from emissions testing in my state, it only requires safety. After me telling them the state laws, they did a safety inspection on it and passed.

    So basically, can anyone tell me where to start with this caster issue? Before I changed the parts it was fine. The shop told me they were probably so worn out I couldn't tell. After putting a few hundred miles on it, it seems to have gotten slightly better, but it is freaky to drive. Especially on the highway doing 75mph, it feels like the wheel just wants to fall over. The shop assured me its not a safety issue and my tires won't wear unevenly.....So just coming to you guys to back up that statement lol.

    So is my steering rack shot? What does that kit entail? Am I missing something easy?

    Thanks in advance!
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    #2
    Someone can correct me if I am wrong, but sounds like the shop is correct. It's your radius rods that adjust the caster and the bushings on our old cars do wear out. This would give you negative caster. Shops don't want to touch this with a 10 foot pole as the bolts seize and you have to find replacement parts, etc. One can easily mess things up if everything is seized.

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      #3
      If anyone still makes a traction bar for the CB7, this would be a great time to upgrade! The bar replaces the radius rods.
      I had one installed on my old car, and it was great.






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        #4
        Thanks for the info, makes sense. Still safe to drive? I don't mind assisting the wheel back, I just use the vehicle to commute to work 50mi a day. Potentially in the future a complete overhaul, I just want to enjoy driving it for a couple years before I get too crazy into the project aspect of it. Its great saving 250/miles a week on my truck

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          #5
          I would be cautious, and don’t drive it more than necessary until it’s fixed.
          I would look for replacements. Either a traction bar or good stock replacements. I may even have my old ones knocking around somewhere… though they may have gone in the trash when I moved a few years ago.
          Raf99 is absolutely correct that they can be a nightmare to replace if something goes wrong.






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            #6
            Thanks for info. Can you point me in the direction of a DIY video or step by step, or part #? Id be willing to try and free up the stock bar, this vehicle has zero rust underneath. Ill have to get my eyes on it and see what I am dealing with. I appreciate the help with where to start!

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              #7
              You could also free up the bolts yourself, buy the shim kits or replacement bushings and replace it yourself. It's just bushings like my picture. But if the bolts are rusted and not moving be careful as then you need to cut them out etc.
              You could also find a shop that will do this and the alignment as well.

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                #8
                New bushings on order, I feel like I should be able to get everything loose to pull the rod and replace the bushings. Any heads up on what I may run into? Do I need to move anything to get access to the two bolts on the control arm?

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                  #9
                  The forward bolt that goes through the crossmember is tough to get loose due to the location. It will likely require removing the splash shield to get proper access to these bolts.
                  http://www.hondanews.com/releases/19...d-introduction

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                    #10
                    Ya.. soak it in WD-40 for a week Then get a very big impact gun. But if you can't get it off I'm not sure how you would get it off. Cut it out with a torch... but not even sure that's possible. You should just try by hand first, maybe the bolt will move.
                    Also make sure you can buy the parts you need first.

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                      #11
                      I did find the actual arm to buy, but I just ordered the bushings for now. This car is just my project/commuter its not my main source of transportation so no big rush. ill probably wait until the weather gets a little warmer and move it outside to work with more room if I have to take the splash guard off, etc. I'll soak the bolt good and try hand tools with a cheater bar if I can get it on first. I have high hopes because of the lack of rust on the vehicle, she's so clean underneath. I'll check back in when I attempt to remove it. Thanks for the help

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                        #12
                        What were the caster measurements? Off the charts high or low? Every CB7 I owned (12) had just one washer/shim on each radius rod. Adding shims reduces caster - removing shims increases caster. If I remember correctly, the bushings are different thicknesses (they are different); I think the thicker one was supposed to be on the back of the crossmember and the thinner one in front - if these are reversed it would tend to increase the caster. I remember I had to move something out of the way to get one of the two bolts out at the lower control arm, but I don't remember what.
                        90 LX 4dr 5 spd 396,014 (sold 1/1/2022) - MRT: http://www.cb7tuner.com/vbb/showthread.php?t=201450
                        08 Element LX FWD AT 229,000 - MRT: fleetw00d : 2008 Honda Element LX - CB7Tuner Forums

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