Adjusting Front Wheel

Have a 91 Dodge D150 with a 5.2L. This is a get-r-done truck so it’s mainly just a workhorse. Several years ago I had replaced the bottom control arm on the right side. I threw it together and just went down the road. The alignment is waay of as it eats the outer edge of tires. I’ve been throwing used tires on it and replacing as soon as it looks like it’s gonna pop. I want to semi straighten the tire and was wondering if I just need to loosen the upper control arm and shift it inward or loosen the lower control arm and shift it outward? Or do I loosen both and get it centered up?

I will eventually get it aligned properly but would like to get the tire a little closer to the center so the tire will last a little longer than what I’m currently getting out of it the way it sits now.

I’m thinking that if you can’t figure out how to do an alignment using simple home garage equipment, you should probably leave this to the pro’s. Lots of web sites and videos on the subject.

@CapriRacer Yes I would have just taken it to the “pro’s” and not bothered asking but I’m sure one of the regulars here has encountered this same situation and has some insight on getting this done. I believe I have the general concept down for doing this but was hoping somebody could guide me on getting it done with “simple home equipment”.

I’ve replaced motors, transmissions, timing belts, heads, alternators, etc.,etc. This is about one of the only things I have not done on a car or truck and was just asking for tips.

Never done it myself, but this might help you out:

A diagram shows camber is adjusted by rotating eccentric bolts on the upper control arm. The truck has too much positive camber based on the outer edge of the tire scrubbing off.

Altering the camber also affects toe and even a DIYer in a level driveway will need a small carpenter’s level and a tape measure to get into the acceptable ballpark range. The camber will have to be sorted out before the toe.

As soon as I get the fuel filter replaced, I’ll begin the wheel straightening. As I mentioned earlier, I just need to get it closer to center as it is way too far out.

Due to manufacturing tolerances the control arm distance from the bushing to the ball joint will vary. when you replace the lower control arm, this can throw off the camber and the toe.

The camber must be set first. If you have struts, and I don’t think you do, I haven’t seen them on trucks, you can adjust the camber with the strut.

The last time I worked on a Chrysler front end with upper and lower control arms, the spring was provided by a torsion bar and the ride height had to be set first. If you have coil springs, you don’t need to worry about that.

Chryslers used to use an I beam type lower control arm and an A type upper control arm. The bushing end of the upper control arm is mounted with concentric bolts. You loosen the nut and turn the bolt to adjust the camber and caster. Turning both bolts in the same direction should move only the camber, turning them in opposite directions changes only the caster, but that is true only if the bolts were in or near their initial set up position. I don’t remember what that position was, but somehow, the 12 o’clock position comes to mind, can’t verify that though.

To set the camber, the truck has to be absolutely level. If you jack it up, jack the front by the lower control arm and the rear by the axle. It must be level when measuring the camber. You can use a carpenters level for this.

Here is my quick and dirty way to set the toe, do this on the ground.

What I usually do to get the wheels is approximate alignment is to set the front wheel so I can sight along the tire to the rear wheel. Adjusting the camber so the front time parallels the rear is not too hard.

I haven’t figured out a good way to eyeball the caster so move the camber eccenterics the same amount to adjust the upper control A in or out.

Once the camber is set, you can get the toe reasonable close by pointing both tires straight forward and sighting down the sides of both tires to see where they fall with respect to the rear tires. If you know the track of the front an back are the same, adjust the tie rods until each tire just sights along the rear tire with the steering wheel centered.

When you get a coupon for an alignment, take it down for a two wheel alignment.

Researcher, that how my grandfather used to do it. I prefer something a little more measurable myself.

U could look under truck at suspension bolts on opposite side? The a-arm mounting points should have identical hardware and might even be adjusted the same.

I was able to get the camber straightened out. It does have the eccentric bolts and got it very close. I took some before & after pics with my cell phone and trying to figure out a way to extract them. Just from eyeballing it, it’s 90% better. Thanks @ok4450 after reading your post, I took my “simple home garage equipment” and got it done.

It’s eating tires because the toe-in is wrong. If true, it is eating money due to reduced fuel economy. If an alignment is done, you could get two more miles per gallon.


The problem with line of sight is that the front and rear tracks are usually different. That automatically introduces an error.