Jim Smart
October 1, 2006

Step By Step

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0610_mump_04z Ford_mustang_alignment Upper_control_arm
First-generation '65-'66 Mustang camber and caster adjustment takes place at the upper control arm using shims. The control arm is moved out via shims; arm angle (caster) is controlled via shims as well.
0610_mump_05z Ford_mustang_alignment Bubble_gauge0610_mump_06z Ford_mustang_alignment Bubble_gauge_close
Alignment shops used to use a bubble gauge mounted on the wheel to adjust camber and caster (spindle angle and wheel attitude). One bubble gauge indicated camber while the other showed caster. Technology has done away with the bubble gauge and brought us laser-guided, four-wheel alignment at most shops across the country. Marlo's Frame & Alignment in Chatsworth, California, still gets outstanding results with the old-fashioned bubble method. The best front-end alignment tool is still a seasoned professional.

Camber can be tricky because it changes as you drive. This is why Ford provided a range of camber to play with. At rest, approximately 1/4-degree negative camber is good for tire wear. If handling is more important than tire wear, you can add negative camber at the sacrifice of tire life.

First-generation '65-'66 Mustang camber adjustment takes place at the upper control arm via shims at the two control-arm attachment points. Add shims to push the arm out toward positive camber and subtract them to allow the arm to move in toward negative camber.

From '67-'73, Ford revised the Mustang's front suspension for easier camber and caster adjustment. Instead of using shims on the upper control arms, Ford went to an adjustable lower control arm. Adjustment is facilitated via an eccentric on each lower control-arm fulcrum. Roll the eccentric to move the arm in or out to change camber.

From '74-'78, the Mustang's front suspension system changed completely to rack-and-pinion steering, with coils and shocks located between the upper and lower control arms. This makes the Mustang II's front suspension more like the '67-'81 Chevrolet Camaro and Pontiac Firebird. The upper control arm on the Mustang II is adjustable, much the same way as its GM counterparts. The upper arm moves in and out to change camber.

In '79, Ford greatly simplified the Mustang's front-end alignment process by eliminating the upper control arm and going with fully adjustable MacPherson struts. To change camber, the strut is moved in and out. The same can be said for '05-'07 Mustangs, which also have MacPherson struts.

What Is Caster?
Caster is spindle angle from top to bottom, or the positioning of the upper and lower ball joints as they relate to one another. If the spindle is tipped forward, it creates negative caster. If tipped aft, it creates positive caster. This controls spindle geometry as the car turns. Think of caster as how the tire/wheel articulates around the axis that connects both ball joints.