CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

1972 Plymouth Scamp (Dart) -Suspension question for the hot rod folks

I have a 72 Plymouth Scamp (Dart) A body, car is a drag race only car and sent it out for a front end alignment, and came back looking my ex wife did it, on one side of the car the inner tie rod is showing almost no threads and outer on looks like it is holding on to 5 threads, and the car goes straight as an arrow, on problems, car runs 10.60s at 125mph, with 1.49 60 ft.is this something I should worry about coming apart, oh ya got to tell it takes he front of the car 2 1/2 feet off the ground, carries them out about 30ft. before setting them back to ground. can you tell me if I can adjust that out to give me some “breathing room”

Whoever did the alignment botched it. This this needs to be redone ASAP. Yes it can pull apart even on a street car much less a hot drag car. It takes both sides to adjust it out properly.
As a diehard Mopar fan I salute you. Go get 'em… :smile:

1 Like

I’d guess the steering box is not centered. Start from straight ahead… count the turns to lock to the left and then the right. They should be very close to the same… If they are not, the toe needs to be re-done so the steering box is in the middle and the tie rods have about the same number of threads in the adjuster. If they are the same, something is bent and you need to find out what that is.

Absolutely correct. If the shop that did it won’t make it right, find a better one.

Take the car to another shop. Don’t trust the shop that delivered the car to you in that condition to do any work. Only an idiot would be so careless.

1 Like

IIRC, the inner and outer tie rod ends are ball joints with external (male) threads and are connected with a inner threaded (female) sleeve. The sleeve has a slot or gap that runs the length of it and two collars, one on each end with a nut and bolt that tightens the sleeve around the tie rod ends.

You can loosen the nuts and turn the sleeve so that you can look into the gap and determine if the sleeve is centered, that is about the same amount of threaded tie rod end in each. BTW, these are contra threaded which means at one end the threads are lefty tighty where the other is the normal righty tighty.

If both sleeves are reasonably centered and the steering wheel is centered but one sleeve has the tie rod threads almost touching and the other only engages a couple of threads for each of them, the steering rod maybe a tooth off (or more) where it attaches to the steering box. You will need a special puller to pull the steering arm off and move it to the correct splines. Then both sleeves will need adjustment to get the steering wheel centered and another alignment.

If both sides are barely hanging on, then I’d guess that you have had some modifications done that have widened the track of the front wheels other than just offset rims. If this is the case, you need a new set of sleeves that are longer, maybe for a same year Belvadere or Road Runner.

You may also want to learn how to do a drag race front end alignment. It is very simple. Get a 6 or 8’ long 2x4 and a straight edge that is about 2’ long. A straight piece of 2x4 or 1x4 should work. Center the long 2x4 in front of the wheels standing on edge. Lay the straight edge along the outside of the tire and mark where it crosses the 2x on the ground. Repeat on the other side. Then move the 2x centered behind the tires. Lay the straight edge along the outside of one tire and adjust the 2x until the mark lines up. Got to the other side, lay the straight edge again but this time make a mark. If the mark is inside the first mark, you are toed out. If it is outside, then you are toed in. The distance between the marks is the amount. For this vehicle shoot for about 1/8" toe in.

Take the five thread side down, lengthen by turning the sleeve five turns then screw the five thread in five turns. If it looks unbalanced, do it some more. Then reinstall the end. You can suggest that to the alignment shop if you don’t want to do it yourself.