BADASS of New England

An automobile club for the enthusiast who enjoys the last of the big GM cars. The rear wheel drive B and D bodys. Chevrolet Impala SS, Caprice, 9C1, Buick Roadmaster, Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser, Cadillac Fleetwood
 
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 Car "wanders" with wider tires and wheels

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Matt Trakker



Posts : 5075
Join date : 2009-07-30
Age : 35
Location : Reading, MA

PostSubject: Car "wanders" with wider tires and wheels   Mon Apr 05, 2010 8:51 pm

Since I put the SS wheels and tires on the car last week, I noticed that the car had remarkably pronounced bump steer and wanders around as a result of banking and ruts as well as other imperfections in the road. I was expecting this to happen because I know wide tires in general can do this, but it's still a pain.

I'm assuming it could also be worn parts that didn't exhibit a problem with the 215s on there. But with those skinny tires it did track excellent in comparison and handled fine, just a little soft around corners. Or it could be because I have a base Caprice and the SS may have come with more beefed up front suspension linkage in addition to the steering box, etc.

My car now has 63K on it, I'm sure the front end parts aren't mint anymore. It does turn tight though. Maybe this could be the sway bar end links or something like that? The car seemed to pull a little to the right, but other times now I've noticed that it pulls left too and I think it's because of when there's a berm in the asphalt from tractor trailers and such.

Anyone have any tips on rectifying this?
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Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: Car "wanders" with wider tires and wheels   Mon Apr 05, 2010 8:56 pm

The wides will expose anything loose in your steering and suspension. It will also track differently, finding ruts and slopes in the road. But they will also help it stick to the ground better. I would suggest finding anything with excessive play and replacing it now, along with an alignment to ss spec if their is a difference.
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Matt Trakker



Posts : 5075
Join date : 2009-07-30
Age : 35
Location : Reading, MA

PostSubject: Re: Car "wanders" with wider tires and wheels   Mon Apr 05, 2010 8:59 pm

IMPALADAKID wrote:
The wides will expose anything loose in your steering and suspension. It will also track differently, finding ruts and slopes in the road. But they will also help it stick to the ground better. I would suggest finding anything with excessive play and replacing it now, along with an alignment to ss spec if their is a difference.

Thanks-

I just found a post on ISSF with an updated spec sheet for the B-bodies to bring to an alignment shop. I'll try to get around to that after I check out my front end. On my brother's RMS he had a problem like this and had to get the end links for the sway bar done, and I think the center link may have been worn as well.
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mean ss



Posts : 648
Join date : 2009-02-25
Age : 58
Location : Nashua NH.

PostSubject: Re: Car "wanders" with wider tires and wheels   Mon Apr 05, 2010 9:04 pm

check the idler arm, mine went thru a few of them and some tires a worse than others
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boojum



Posts : 2152
Join date : 2009-01-21
Age : 29
Location : NH

PostSubject: Re: Car "wanders" with wider tires and wheels   Mon Apr 05, 2010 9:06 pm

If you can't find anything:

and I were you I'd look at the SmartCamber gauge (download their instructions) and notice that they use a SmartTool level. Buy a SmartTool level and build my own jig.

Digital levels can be found for less that $100 now.



http://www.smartracingproducts.com/catalog/alignment.htm
http://www.amazon.com/M-D-Building-Products-92346-SmartTool/dp/B0000225AL/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&s=hi&qid=1270515524&sr=1-5
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Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: Car "wanders" with wider tires and wheels   Mon Apr 05, 2010 9:55 pm

Get the center link with hole in it from a rm or fw, and weld a couple tabs on the frame to give yourself a steering stabilizer. This will help a lot once everything is tight. Very Happy
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toomanytoyz
Club President


Posts : 6870
Join date : 2009-01-20
Age : 40
Location : East Hampstead, NH USA

PostSubject: Re: Car "wanders" with wider tires and wheels   Tue Apr 06, 2010 9:26 am

I HATE the way the Marshmallow drives with the Imp's wheels (275-40-18's) on it, but I love the way it looks.

Welcome to the land of wide tires. Wink

_________________
Bill "The Verb" Crovo - Resident Car Slut & Unicorn Hunter

A Toasted Marshmallow, A Long German, A Lame Suburban and expensive dreams...
Missing all my previous B's, D's and V... Sad
American Ricer
www.badassofne.net
"Ooooh! Look! Something shiny!"
NO MORE UNICORNS!!!!!

LOWER IT!!! Wink
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LiveFreeorDieTryin



Posts : 90
Join date : 2009-02-14
Location : Monroe, Wisconsin

PostSubject: Re: Car "wanders" with wider tires and wheels   Wed Apr 07, 2010 9:56 pm

225/70/15's FTW!
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GasTT



Posts : 2675
Join date : 2009-01-19
Age : 28
Location : Treasure Coast, FL

PostSubject: Re: Car "wanders" with wider tires and wheels   Wed Apr 07, 2010 11:27 pm

Since I put the 235/70's back on my front end feels like trash! Time for a rebuild.
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Matt Trakker



Posts : 5075
Join date : 2009-07-30
Age : 35
Location : Reading, MA

PostSubject: Re: Car "wanders" with wider tires and wheels   Fri Apr 09, 2010 3:49 pm

Holy crap! This thing is TERRIBLE in the rain, not traction, but the wandering! Laughing

I felt like the car was trying to take over and drive itself! Next sunny day this is going up on the jackstands, I gotta get to the bottom of this. The Impala is an old car and has 255s but has never even done this, surprisingly...

Billy, I remember seeing the stabilizer on my brother's car, I couldn't believe those actually came with one!
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toomanytoyz
Club President


Posts : 6870
Join date : 2009-01-20
Age : 40
Location : East Hampstead, NH USA

PostSubject: Re: Car "wanders" with wider tires and wheels   Fri Apr 09, 2010 8:21 pm

Hate to say it Matt, but I don't think you're going to find anything wrong with the front end. Especially if those tires are BFG's.

_________________
Bill "The Verb" Crovo - Resident Car Slut & Unicorn Hunter

A Toasted Marshmallow, A Long German, A Lame Suburban and expensive dreams...
Missing all my previous B's, D's and V... Sad
American Ricer
www.badassofne.net
"Ooooh! Look! Something shiny!"
NO MORE UNICORNS!!!!!

LOWER IT!!! Wink
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http://impalass.uniquekind.net/
Matt Trakker



Posts : 5075
Join date : 2009-07-30
Age : 35
Location : Reading, MA

PostSubject: Re: Car "wanders" with wider tires and wheels   Sat Apr 10, 2010 12:51 pm

toomanytoyz wrote:
Hate to say it Matt, but I don't think you're going to find anything wrong with the front end. Especially if those tires are BFG's.

Crying or Very sad lol

They're actually the Nittos I got from Doug. It doesn't seem like they're bad tires at all though, you can kind of sense that something in the front end has to be loose, yet the steering itself is tight as far as turning the wheel and getting feedback. And vice versa, something bumps the front wheels and I get instant feedback from the steering wheel...
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GasTT



Posts : 2675
Join date : 2009-01-19
Age : 28
Location : Treasure Coast, FL

PostSubject: Re: Car "wanders" with wider tires and wheels   Sat Apr 10, 2010 5:36 pm

A friend of mine has a 96 imp. Its all over the road, recently replaced some front end parts idler arm ect.. Nothing wrong with the front end. Its the tires or something.
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Cadet57



Posts : 4476
Join date : 2010-03-14
Age : 29
Location : Chicopee, MA

PostSubject: Re: Car "wanders" with wider tires and wheels   Sat Apr 10, 2010 6:03 pm

Dumb question, but are the tires balanced right? When I swapped 15's for 17's on my VW the kid I bought them off balanced them like s**t and the car was all over the place until I got new tires and had them rebalanced.
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mean ss



Posts : 648
Join date : 2009-02-25
Age : 58
Location : Nashua NH.

PostSubject: Re: Car "wanders" with wider tires and wheels   Sat Apr 10, 2010 6:08 pm

GasTT wrote:
A friend of mine has a 96 imp. Its all over the road, recently replaced some front end parts idler arm ect.. Nothing wrong with the front end. Its the tires or something.

he needs to put new tires or the rears on with a new front end parts because the tire have worn
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Matt Trakker



Posts : 5075
Join date : 2009-07-30
Age : 35
Location : Reading, MA

PostSubject: Re: Car "wanders" with wider tires and wheels   Sat Apr 10, 2010 7:16 pm

The tires are actually balanced well, they used the bang-on weights which I hate on wheels like this but actually balance the wheels better IMO. It rides real smooth aside from a very slight vibration around 62, and I think that might be a bad U-joint.

I took a look underneath quick at the sway bar links, they're pretty rotted and look like pretzel rods about to snap in half, and the rubber is all cracked and degraded... Shocked
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GasTT



Posts : 2675
Join date : 2009-01-19
Age : 28
Location : Treasure Coast, FL

PostSubject: Re: Car "wanders" with wider tires and wheels   Sat Apr 10, 2010 9:17 pm

Buy OEM spec end links then get the Energy Suspension poly bushings kit.



That's the combo I have on my Olds 88 and the bushings are still perfect a year later. When its cold they squeek a little when parking. When I replace them on my Caprice ill do the same.
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Matt Trakker



Posts : 5075
Join date : 2009-07-30
Age : 35
Location : Reading, MA

PostSubject: Re: Car "wanders" with wider tires and wheels   Wed Apr 27, 2011 7:41 pm

I still have this problem-

Last year I had the lower ball joints and idler arm done along with the end links, all Moog Problem Solver beefed up pahhts too. I just put the SS wheels back a week or two ago, and it's driving me nuts again. It went great with the skinny tires.

I had the car looked at by a guy I know and he told me the front end couldn't be any more tighter! Laughing He did say it could be that the SS uses a bigger sway bar or something like that.

I think it might be the design of the Nittos. Might need to find another kind of tire but I'll probably just hang onto these. I think they're out of balance too! Also, I think I'm going to put Bilsteins in this car. It just feels so weird with the flabby Sensatracs compared to the sticky tires.
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sdstick



Posts : 4278
Join date : 2009-03-20
Location : Revere, MA

PostSubject: Re: Car "wanders" with wider tires and wheels   Wed Apr 27, 2011 8:01 pm

mean ss wrote:
......... some tires a worse than others
BFG suck for this.
Also, Zacks Moog front end stuff is night & day compared to what you THINK is ok.

_________________
Steve


96BBB 28K 3.42 Bolt-ons
95BBB 100K 3.73 383 New DD...already broke fixt the 4L60E twice
95 Black WB4 Hole...ee...grail
96 Black WB4 No holes in this
95BBB 189K 3.08 Old DD Stolen...by Matt. Cool
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96slowss



Posts : 855
Join date : 2010-06-09
Age : 28
Location : Halifax,MA

PostSubject: Re: Car "wanders" with wider tires and wheels   Wed Apr 27, 2011 8:10 pm

this might push me away from puting the 9.5" rims and 275s up front and doin 11's woth 315s in the rear.. Rolling Eyes
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96Brougham



Posts : 819
Join date : 2009-02-02
Age : 28
Location : Easton MA

PostSubject: Re: Car "wanders" with wider tires and wheels   Wed Apr 27, 2011 9:33 pm

Are the tires directional? ( left, right)

If so, that's your problem. They "feel" the road ALOT. go with an asymmetrical tire( inside, outside) or a regular tire that doesn't matter which way its mounted. Guaranteed it'll fix your problem.
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Matt Trakker



Posts : 5075
Join date : 2009-07-30
Age : 35
Location : Reading, MA

PostSubject: Re: Car "wanders" with wider tires and wheels   Wed Apr 27, 2011 10:49 pm

They are directional! Damn dude I didn't even think of that!

I will say, it would be almost impossible to flip this car with these tires. That being said, I'm not exactly Ken Block, so what does it matter? lol
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Wraith'SS



Posts : 116
Join date : 2011-11-20
Age : 43
Location : South Shore

PostSubject: Re: Car "wanders" with wider tires and wheels   Sun Feb 26, 2012 8:49 pm

You ever solve the wandering of the front end? I know this is an old thread, but I went thru an entire front end rebuild, and now on my 2nd set of tires in 9 months, not including the winter wheels and tires I just took off today.

The issue I had was very much like yours, wandering, and pulling. The worse part was the Kuhmo's 255/50/17 were so bad all the time, they vibrated after countless times back to the shop, they finally agreed to replace them due to a potential issue with the belts possibly being defective.

I couldnt run fast enough from those tires. So.. I went the non traditional route.. got myself some Michelin Pilot Sports. 235/55/17.
I spend a commute now that is bout 50 miles a day. So, its got highway and backroads and I needed a more forgiving size plopped on the stock rim somehow. I dont need to be following every darn rut in the road and wander with out response from the stock tire size on the factory SS rims.

Some people think I was nuts to give up a 1/4 inch of contact patch, but in just the short test drive I did today, it handles great and no wandering. There is only a slight rim/tire lip difference, but I was willing to give that up to keep the stock wheels, after these I might go in a different direction.

Just wanted to post up a relevant solution for people.


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Matt Trakker



Posts : 5075
Join date : 2009-07-30
Age : 35
Location : Reading, MA

PostSubject: Re: Car "wanders" with wider tires and wheels   Sun Feb 26, 2012 9:00 pm

Yep, it was the Nittos being directional, I'm pretty sure. I no longer own the wheels and tires, and since then have had 255/60/15 Firehawk Indy 500s on the front, different type of tire altogether but just as wide and there wasn't a trace of wander at all from those in comparison. The Nittos weren't terrible, and some people probably deal with the wandering for the benefit in grip, but I simply don't need tires like that and I love to have a straight controlled ride.

Were the Kumho's directional?

I just drove my old Impala tonight that has 255 BFG Radial T/A on it, that car doesn't wander either and never has, but the bad roads tend to make some "bump steer" show up and it tends to follow ruts a little more than the 215s on my Caprice. I think my Tahoe is the best driving and handling vehicle I own...it even has a rear sway bar and Panhard rod or whatever. Haha

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Wraith'SS



Posts : 116
Join date : 2011-11-20
Age : 43
Location : South Shore

PostSubject: Re: Car "wanders" with wider tires and wheels   Sun Feb 26, 2012 10:34 pm

Matt Trakker wrote:

Were the Kumho's directional?

They were, but was not the issue. Bad set of tires. And like you said, I like a car to track straight, not have to fight the wheel. If that were the case, I'd think about changing out the steering box and modify the wheel for a closer ratio to carve corners, but 4,500 lbs is a lot of steel to be throwing around.
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Matt Trakker



Posts : 5075
Join date : 2009-07-30
Age : 35
Location : Reading, MA

PostSubject: Re: Car "wanders" with wider tires and wheels   Mon Feb 27, 2012 12:04 am

Another thing might be the difference in steering boxes between my car and an SS...I have the sloppier one, plus it's got 82K miles on it. I will likely try to tighten the big nut on the top in the next couple of weeks out of curiosity...I have heard it helps a lot and I've never tried it. The car goes fine but seems like there could be room for improvement.
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sdstick



Posts : 4278
Join date : 2009-03-20
Location : Revere, MA

PostSubject: Re: Car "wanders" with wider tires and wheels   Mon Feb 27, 2012 6:07 am

Matt Trakker wrote:

....... I will likely try to tighten the big nut on the top in the next couple of weeks out of curiosity
....... I have heard it helps a lot and I've never tried it......

1) Make sure your wheel / tires are centered
2) Loosen the nut while holding the allen in place (or mark it before loosening)
3) DONT over tighten, you'll have terrible drag....Feel it.
Chances are you'll crack that nut a couple of times to get it right.
Dont be afraid to play, just dont take it out on the road overtightened because the wheel wont self center.

_________________
Steve


96BBB 28K 3.42 Bolt-ons
95BBB 100K 3.73 383 New DD...already broke fixt the 4L60E twice
95 Black WB4 Hole...ee...grail
96 Black WB4 No holes in this
95BBB 189K 3.08 Old DD Stolen...by Matt. Cool
Whine..eee...Silver LS6
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Machine-De-Zine



Posts : 512
Join date : 2010-11-16
Age : 60
Location : Wrentham

PostSubject: Re: Car "wanders" with wider tires and wheels   Mon Feb 27, 2012 3:07 pm

sdstick wrote:
Matt Trakker wrote:

....... I will likely try to tighten the big nut on the top in the next couple of weeks out of curiosity
....... I have heard it helps a lot and I've never tried it......

1) Make sure your wheel / tires are centered
2) Loosen the nut while holding the allen in place (or mark it before loosening)
3) DONT over tighten, you'll have terrible drag....Feel it.
Chances are you'll crack that nut a couple of times to get it right.
Dont be afraid to play, just dont take it out on the road overtightened because the wheel wont self center.

I wonder if this thread might be of some assistance. http://z9.invisionfree.com/The_Caprice_forum/index.php?showtopic=361

If you have any questions, I can explain better than I did there on various details.
I also clearly remember that JaySS was (is) very knowledgable on this subject.

You can perhaps do the correct procedure "in the car" (w/the pitman arm dropped), but I've always done it on the bench.
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boojum



Posts : 2152
Join date : 2009-01-21
Age : 29
Location : NH

PostSubject: Re: Car "wanders" with wider tires and wheels   Mon Feb 27, 2012 9:14 pm

I have had good luck with Kumhos.
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boojum



Posts : 2152
Join date : 2009-01-21
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Location : NH

PostSubject: Re: Car "wanders" with wider tires and wheels   Mon Feb 27, 2012 9:15 pm

I have had bad luck with Kumhos.
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