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aligning a bagged truck

Last Updated: Feb 24, 2015
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Ive been asked many times how to align a bagged truck. Many shops wont even attempt it. So the best thing to do is to do it yourself. Heres the way I do it. Theres also tips on cutting stock control arms to help with camber and balljoint angle issues.

First thing is you will need some flat level concrete. You will need a tape measure, a level, some string, an angle finder and a buddy.

You will need to set the toe first, then the camber, then the caster then probably the toe again. Now put a jack under the front end and jack it up till the pressure is off the wheels. You want to do this at about ride height. put the front on stands under the control arm as close to the balljoints as possible. the back under the rearend and as level as you can get the frame.

1. First measure from the center of one tire to the center of the other tire or go from a certain tread to the same on on the other side. The front measurement needs to be about 1/4" less than the back one. Thats 1/4" of "toe in" and if its not then you need to loosen the tie rod ends. They are left and right hand thread so if you loosen the nuts or clamps (depending on truck model) you can turn the ends until the toe is correct. If your steering wheel is already centered you need to turn both sides the same amount.

2. Loosen the bolts holding the upper arms on. Adjust the arms till the wheels are as level as you can make them. do not tighten the bolts back just yet.

3. Next use the string to make a straight line from the upper balljoint down to the lower balljoint. You need this line to be tilted back about 5 degrees. Get this done and if you had to adjust a bunch to get the 5 degrees you will need to start over at number 1

You should be able to get the alignment very close with this method. If you cant get the camber correct you may not have enough adjustement on the upper arms. You can cut and section them to make them longer and also tilt the balljoints down and solve two problems at once or you can cut the lowers and shorten them. If you choose to cut the uppers you need to:

1. make them a bit longer (1/2" if you do both or 3/4" if you do just uppers) and make the balljoint angle a flat 0 degrees. This is the best balljoint angle for a bagged truck with large wheels. Do this by cutting the arm across just behind the balljoint and add metal there while angling down the balljoint till its flat. reweld and brace the upper. Its a goood time to cut any material thats in the way of your bag mounts at this time.

If you choose to do the lowers instead or do both you need to:

1. cut the lower just behind the balljoint and take out some metal. (probably about a half inch if you do the uppers and lowers and about 3/4" if you do just the lowers)

Id suggest doing both so that you get a little more tire clearance while your at it.

2. Re plate the lowers around the balljoint area and angle the balljoint back toward the frame at about 5 to 10 degrees. 5 degrees if you run a wheel from a 16 to an 18 and and about 10 degrees if you run an 18 to 20. somewhere in that 5 to 10 degree range is the best and it depends on wheel size, drop spindles or stock etc.

This is just my experience and people may tell you different. If you have any other questions on this just ask..


Created By: dhpmike

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