Camber Kit?

I’ve just finished replacing the struts and shocks on my 91 Buick LeSabre, and brought it into the shop for an alignment. An hour later, they called to tell me that they will have to order in a camber kit, which he explained as a package of shims. They’ll also have to elongate some of the mounting holes - I presume in the front strut towers.

The replacement front struts looked identical to the originals in shape and size. The new rear shock bodies were about 1/8 of an inch longer than original, and the shaft was about 1/2 an inch longer.

Before the suspension work was started, the alignment was very good - no pulls to either side, and the tire wear was very even. Are these guys just making work up, or does this sort of thing often happen when suspension parts are replaced?

This kit shouldn’t be required.

The lower strut mounting bracket to the steering knuckle has a lower hole that is slotted. This is where the adjustment is made for camber.


Agreed. The only thing I can think of is that the rubber pad on the very top of the strut assembly was rather torn up when I pulled the struts. Would this be what he’s talking about? They tell me they can’t do the alignment without this kit.

That rubber pad that was all torn up is part of the upper strut bearing.

I think you need to go back and replace both upper strut bearings. Then they should be able to align the front end without this kit.


Erm… let me be clear on this. The upper strut bearing is a round plastic and rubber ring in two pieces, that slide concentrically on eachother. The rubber pad that I’m talking about is a half square, half round layer less than 1/8" thick, between the top of the mount assembly (with the three bolts) and the bottom face of the strut tower. Since its so thin, I can’t imagine that unevenness caused by a tear would through out the alignment that much.

I have a feeling that it’s a moot point now though - the shop went halfway through the alignment procedure, so they’re going to want money anyways, even if I take the car somewhere else.

Oh, and so much for Luongo’s shutout tonight.

It turns out that this camber kit consists of special bolts that have non-circular washers built into the heads, so that the leading edge of the washer presses against the flare on the outside of the strut mounting flanges. Why is this needed, if the original struts didn’t have this kit? They tell me that without this kit, it could take them an entire day of trial and error to get the camber correct. The really annoying thing is, I just spent $75 replacing these nuts and bolts at both front corners, straight from the dealer. Now this kit will more than double the price of the alignment.

At least they won’t have to cut the strut tower slots longer - the guy just assumed that the existing mounting points weren’t slotted already.