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Discussion Starter #2
View attachment 1231 The rear bumper of the Dakota hit the rear tire and wheel and bent the lip in on the wheel. Worst thing though, is that it forced the lower A arm towards the center of the vehicle and bent the frame where the lower A arm mounts. Caused a bad case of "toe in" on the left rear wheel, and also changed the caster/camber of the wheel. I couldn't tell how much pressure this out of alignment condition is putting on the outer CV joint, but my alignment fellow said it was enough to cause premature wear of the joint and wheel bearings.
View attachment 1232 It may be hard to see from this view, but this is looking from under the vehicle upwards toward the frame where the lower A arm is bolted to the frame. If you look closely and ignore the water droplets, you can see a buckled frame (bowed upwards) where the force of the impact caused the frame to bend instead of the A arm.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thankfully, I didn't do, it was my brother-in-law, and thankfully his insurance. He had his 80th birthday and 50th wedding anniversary party Saturday and Sunday. Took the ACE over to his house (even if it is across the street), and all the relatives loved it. He was taking one of his grandchildren back to the airport, and he didn't look when backing. It was parked about 3 foot off of the road, across the street from his driveway, past the shoulder, and he actually went way back farther than he usually does hitting it in the front of the left rear wheel, pushing the back of it towards the ditch off the shoulder of the road. The ACE stood up pretty good, considering. The right bumper mount on the truck bent back and the right side of the bumper is now about .030" from the right corner of the fender. It must've taken quite a lick to bend a bumper mounting bracket!

Sad day, I had to leave the poor ACE with my frame & alignment guy to have the lower frame straightened and align the rear wheels and A arms. He said he gets about 4-5 ATVs a year to straighten out. Mine is #3 for the year.... Oh, well....what can you do?

Got to order the plastic pieces and a wheel tomorrow. Any suggestions where to get them at a good price? I can check my dealer here, just wondering if anyone has a better source so I can save him some money...
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Well, as an update on the ACE repair, I got good news on Friday, when all the parts I had ordered to replace the broken stuff, came in. Received everything in perfect condition. And thanks to Scoundrel, I had ordered the package of 40 plastic rivets from Amazon, so I saved quite a bit of money there. All parts received were packaged well and in perfect condition. Better yet, the dealer assisted me with the shipping charges, which was greatly appreciated! Thanks to Dave @ Kevin Powell Motorsports in Winston-Salem, NC.

This morning, I received a call from my Frame & Alignment fellow, and told me he had gotten the ACE back in good nick, and was very pleased with the results. If I wanted, I could come by at lunchtime and view the results. So I did. When I got there, it was still up on the rack, and the big chain and hooks were laying below it. He explained where the frame was bent, what they did to pull it back out, and how they straight-edged all the brackets, frame, and control arm hinge points. He showed me that everything checked out just perfectly when he took the straight edges and fit it across brackets and beside frame members. Everything looked parallel and true!

I explained to him how I had originally found the front toe way out of alignment, and how I followed his directions to get it set to 1/16" toe out on the front wheels. He said it checked out perfect! Man, I felt good about that!

He then proceeded to show me the camber measurements on the front wheels. The left front wheel has negative 0.75 degree (3/4 degree) camber, and the right front wheel has 1 degree negative camber angle. That means that the tire at the bottom is out just ever so slightly farther than the top of the tire on both sides, with only a quarter of one degree difference between them, and this negative camber helps in stability when cornering. He told me to get in the seat and we'll see if there is any difference, and there wasn't.

Then we went to the rear wheels. He straight-edged the rear wheels and checked them with a 6 foot straightedge towards the front wheels across the center of each rear wheel and parallel to the ground. With the steering wheel straight, front tires straight, there was an equal distance from the rear lip of both front wheels to the straight edge. The rear wheels were set perfectly straight ahead with no toe in or out, parallel to the center line of the vehicle. Measurements to the frame underneath proved that the rear wheels were equal distanced from the center line of the vehicle and are now pointed perfectly straight ahead. (No more scuffing the left rear tire!)

Next, he showed me the camber of the rear wheels. After he pulled the frame back out where all measuring points were perfect, the left rear wheel (the side which he worked on) showed to measure a 0 degree camber, which means the top and bottom are perfectly plumb vertically. When I sat in the seat, it changed less than a quarter of a degree negative. He said that is perfectly normal, and the way he would like to see it. The right rear wheel (the side which he did not have to pull or do anything to) came in with just under a +2 degree, positive camber. When I sat in the seat, it went to just over 1.5 degrees positive. He said it will be just fine, and that it would not make any difference.

All of the brackets and frame on that side was perfectly parallel and true, and did not require any adjustments. The difference in the camber from the right to the left side apparently is in the manufacturing tolerances of the control arm parts, which could be adjusted or accounted for if they had used an eccentric bolt in the top or bottom of the control arm mounts through the wheel bearing carrier. Adjustment of that eccentric bolt could have provided this adjustment, but they didn't put one in there. In his professional opinion, it won't make any real difference. I will trust his judgement since he knows all about vehicles, frames, alignment, and what it takes to make it work.

I hope to get it back tomorrow and start replacing the plastic parts. That shouldn't take too long.

After getting back to my desk, I began thinking, has anyone else ever looked at their rear wheel camber? What do you have on your ACE, positive or negative? I wonder what the factory specification is for the camber?
 

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I've never had mine measured, but to me my rear camber looks positive. I'm not sure if it zero's itself out when I sit in it though or not. I thought that was kind of weird.
 

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I should measure mine. maybe its deceiving but the tops look like they are pitched in at the top a lot more that .75-1 degree and there is no adjustment. I did find the toe was out on the right side which made it pull funny depending on which tire had the most load on it. With the toe adjusted properly it drives a ton better.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Mine was so far out if you weren't flogging the accelerator, it would stop. No coasting to it. Setting the toe made all the difference in the world.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I've never had mine measured, but to me my rear camber looks positive. I'm not sure if it zero's itself out when I sit in it though or not. I thought that was kind of weird.
I went home last evening and looked at my pictures taken of my ACE in the trailer when I purchased it, (pre strapped down), and I can't really tell from that how the rear camber was originally due to the lens distortion of cameras and the perspective. I seem to remember that the rear was a little bit positive with the shocks at the lowest setting, which isn't really a bad thing. As was explained to me, anywhere between 0-2 degrees positive camber should not cause any improper operation or problems.

I remember working on old beetles, and when you'd take the engine out, they had a lot of positive camber! Really funny looking!
 
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