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Old 12-20-2008, 07:44 PM
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MnTom MnTom is offline
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Dodge 4WD Alignment Specs

Copied and pasted from DodgeRam.ORG

4WD Alignment Specification Changes

From a Babcox publishing article Keep Vehicle Use in Mind When Aligning Light Trucks & SUVs in the October 2001 issue of Brake & Front End :
  • 1994-and-up Dodge 1500 4X4 pickups have a tendency to drift to the right. Aftermarket offset joints are available for this application that provide 1/2 to 2 degrees of caster/camber correction.
  • From On the 1994-and-newer Dodge Ram two-wheel drive trucks (except the 3500 Cab Chassis), camber/caster corrections are made using the slotted pivot bar on the upper control arms. On the 4WD trucks, camber is preset at the factory. On the Dana 60 axle, the ball joints have a zero degree steel bushing, but on the Dana 44 axles there is no bushing. Though Dodge says no camber adjustment is available on either the Dana 44 or Dana 60 front axles, there are aftermarket offset bushings for the Dana 60 axle and offset ball joints for the Dana 44 axle. Caster adjustments are provided, though, by a cam at the front of the lower suspension arm.
From Brent - ASE Certified, Gold Certified Chrysler tech.
(This tidbit has been posted to numerous mail lists and message boards)
Specifications (my personal settings for every Ram I align): Setting Left Wheel Right Wheel Caster 3.2° 3.5° Camber -0.10° -0.10° Cross Caster -0.3° Cross Camber 0.0° Toe Standard specs, (maybe a little out if you tow a lot, they will pull in as the front end lifts up). Discussion:
In a previous posting, people were complaining about a shimmy in their Ram 4x4 after striking bumps in the road. I suggested that the front end alignment has either too little or too much caster, thus causing a caster shimmy. He did not like my response and changed his concern from a "shimmy" to a "bounce" (big difference), and insisted it was the shocks. Maybe it is, I haven't driven it. He also said the alignment "checked out". Here's the problem: Alignment programs (and service manuals I believe), give a wide acceptable range for front caster on the 4x4 Rams. I believe the range is 2 degrees to 5 degrees (if that's not correct, it's pretty close). The problem occurs when the alignment tech (independent or dealer) tells you that the measurements "checked out fine", just because they were in this broad range of acceptance.
Caster readings that fall on either end of the scale are subject to caster shimmy, even though they are "acceptable". I had to align some 30 trucks and attend a 9 hour "Dodge Ram Chassis Dynamics Diagnostics" training session (fancy name, ehh?), before finding out that 3 degrees to 4 degrees is the optimal caster setting for 4x4 Rams that eliminates caster shimmy.
Above are the specifications I set Ram trucks to. First I want to give a little more info on correct Ram alignments so you can see if you had a job well done, The eccentrics on the lower control arms ARE NOT for individual wheel caster adjustments (even though our alignment machine says they are). The eccentric sleeves in the upper ball joints are for adjusting individual camber and total cross caster (difference in caster between two front wheels). This is why replacement eccentrics are positionable in eight different ways.
Once camber and cross caster are attained with the eccentrics, the lower control arm eccentrics are then used to swing the caster readings into specifications. The two eccentrics must be swung in the SAME direction in EQUAL amounts. If they are not, it will create a setback condition (one front wheel further forward than the other). FYI - Comparing between the two front wheels, caster will cause a pull to the smaller value and camber will cause a pull to the larger value. A truck set up with caster pulling in one direction and camber pulling in the other direction, can lead to a wandering truck; even though it is "in specifications"!!!!!!
If the eccentrics on the lower control arms of your truck are not pointing the same direction, the alignment was done incorrectly and the axle was "twisted" or "forced" into position to attain the acceptable values (seen them from the factory this way, go figure). A correct alignment will set the truck up with a slight negative cross caster (truck has slight pull to left) to compensate for right hand road crown. Camber will be equal side to side slightly on the negative side. This will help maintain acceptable camber when hauling heavy loads, as the truck tends to lift in the front when towing. Camber will then fall slightly positive when towing.
Just because the alignment shop says "it's in specifications", that does not mean it is set up for proper performance and handling!!!!!!!!!
__________________
1996 RED Ram, 2WD, GOERENDS Auto, timing at 16.5*, #100 plate, 300 Injectors, 365hp 833tq, 28' Dutchmen fifth wheel, and a 16' boat behind that!

Last edited by MnTom; 12-20-2008 at 08:58 PM.
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