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Discussion Starter #1
I just want to get to the bottom of the correct way of doing an alignment on my Camry. Every time I've taken my car to do alignment (indy shop), they use Hunter machines and just twist some nuts/bolts (i assume tie rod ends) until the system tells them to stop. From reading more into alignment online and reading some threads here, I'm understanding that technically they should also take my wheels off and adjust cam bolts (the ones that hold the strut together)? Is this correct? Because nobody has done this on my car when doing alignment. Also, the bolts holding my strut together to the knuckle don't have that special washer either. I really would like to get my camber and toe-in alignment done the proper way and now I'm really confused.

Ideally I'd like to adjust camber on my own to the proper spec. I understand that its easier than doing toe-in on your own.
 

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For a majority a majority of Toyota Camry's, but in this case we will just focus on just the Gen 6 Toyota Camry, only toe is adjustable. Camber can be adjusted via special bolts and/or washers and caster is not adjustable at all. Most shop's are likely only gonna adjust toe as shop's are not gonna have the specific parts needed to adjust for camber assuming it needs to be adjusted and a majority of times, camber does not need adjustment. The camber would have to be noticeably bad to really require it. If camber is just that bad, then it is far likely something is bent. If your tire's are wearing unevenly, then I would maybe look into camber adjustment. In other words, don't worry about it because unless there is a need to do camber, there is no need to do camber.

Keep in mind, doing toe is likely way easier than camber because much like the alignment machine you can just "eye" the alignment. Camber is a different story that I have not done and is not something I worry about. Don't worry about it until you need to worry about it.

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Discussion Starter #3
For a majority a majority of Toyota Camry's, but in this case we will just focus on just the Gen 6 Toyota Camry, only toe is adjustable. Camber can be adjusted via special bolts and/or washers and caster is not adjustable at all. Most shop's are likely only gonna adjust toe as shop's are not gonna have the specific parts needed to adjust for camber assuming it needs to be adjusted and a majority of times, camber does not need adjustment. The camber would have to be noticeably bad to really require it. If camber is just that bad, then it is far likely something is bent. If your tire's are wearing unevenly, then I would maybe look into camber adjustment. In other words, don't worry about it because unless there is a need to do camber, there is no need to do camber.

Keep in mind, doing toe is likely way easier than camber because much like the alignment machine you can just "eye" the alignment. Camber is a different story that I have not done and is not something I worry about. Don't worry about it until you need to worry about it.
so you're saying by adjusting toe the camber adjusts as well? because my tires are being worn out on the outside currently. i did a bunch of work on the front end including strut assemblies, ball joints, steering rack and one cv axle. from videos i've been watching and reading online i think i can just loosen my strut bolts and pull out the knuckle a little to give it more negative camber to straighten out the angle.
 

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so you're saying by adjusting toe the camber adjusts as well? because my tires are being worn out on the outside currently. i did a bunch of work on the front end including strut assemblies, ball joints, steering rack and one cv axle. from videos i've been watching and reading online i think i can just loosen my strut bolts and pull out the knuckle a little to give it more negative camber to straighten out the angle.
No, those adjustments are separate and at most any variation with one or the other will have a minor effect. If you want to do that you can, whether or not it helps is a different issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
No, those adjustments are separate and at most any variation with one or the other will have a minor effect. If you want to do that you can, whether or not it helps is a different issue.
i found this topic here, which looks like its from the toyota service manual. i'm still trying to understand some of the things in there how to do, but looks like moving the axle back and forth while loosening the bolts can change camber quite a bit. i'm gonna play around with this tomorrow for sure. maybe use an angle measure app on my phone to see how well that works.
 

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on most car, lower control arms on the back and front ball joint are fixed and non adjust able, and to adjust your camber, u need adjustable ball joint for the front or camber bolts , for the rear u need adjustable lower control arm. but for your camry from 2003 and up, i did saw adjustable lower control arm in the back straight from the factory( i was at firestone getting my lifetime alighment done), and so there are adjust ability for ur rear camber there . with my 06 accord, even though the stock rear lower tie rod( control arm iow) is none adjustable , but it can still adjust the camber by moving it back and fort a little in the slot but not much, -0.5 to +1 degree i believe. but i did replace my stock ball joint and rear lower tie rod with adjustable ball joint and adjustable rear lower tie rod.
 

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If you know your camber readings then you can adjust them by increasing the diameter (slotting) either the top or bottom bolt hole in the strut itself. beyond moving it to the best location. If it is out of specs more than a couple degrees then the strut itself is bent (most likely). Try another strut to see if it changes the reading for that wheel.
To calibrate an alignment machine use a rear axle on a pickup which is always 0 for caster camber or toe since it is a straight axle. If the machine gives you that reading it is calibrated to 0,0,0.
Caster angle can only be changed by moving the lower ball joint in relation to the body of the car. Since it is not feasible to "move" the upper strut mount it is generally considered non adjustable, but then everything is "adjustable", if you want to go through the effort.
Alignments on most strut suspension cars are limited to setting the toe and letting it go, but there are specifics of the dimensions, when they are not within specs that can lead you to a solution.
Doing collision repair means you are responsible for a proper alignment and must address things not normally associated with a non collision related alignment, but in reality an alignment should last you until the next "collision" of significance enough to bend something. Checking the alignment before any "collision" and comparing the before and after specifications, using the same calibrated alignment machine, can point you to the areas where dimensions have changed, with further measurements to confirm suspicions and pinpoint the repair that must be done to correct the problem.
Most frame straightening processes require a 1 millimeter (.3937 inch) tolerance, and most new cars are close to properly aligned. I have bought two new cars that were NOT aligned properly from the factory and both required warranty repairs to correct the defect.

Advice: Document the alignment of your new car, which means PAYING a quality shop to do the first check, before significant miles are accumulated. This way they can check it again after any "incident" that could affect alignment.
This arms you with data that is hard to dispute with the caveat "it's been hit" and rejection of a warranty claim. Ask them for recent calibration documentation. Any adjustments they might recommend should be relayed to the selling dealership for their warranty repair order.

My two instances of defective manufacturing involved a 2006 Corolla and a 2015 Mitsubishi Mirage.
BOTH involved rear tires that were not pointing parallel to the centerline of the vehicle. In my case both were pointing left of the centerline, significantly, and required replacement rear axles and in the case of the corolla "repositioning" of the mounting holes that held the rear axle in place.

Caveat Emptor: If your vehicle is misaligned, diagnosis can be difficult and in many cases due to lack of calibration, many alignment machines will not be precise enough to be repetitive from shop to shop. Precision and calibration is essential.
 

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I just want to get to the bottom of the correct way of doing an alignment on my Camry. Every time I've taken my car to do alignment (indy shop), they use Hunter machines and just twist some nuts/bolts (i assume tie rod ends) until the system tells them to stop. From reading more into alignment online and reading some threads here, I'm understanding that technically they should also take my wheels off and adjust cam bolts (the ones that hold the strut together)? Is this correct? Because nobody has done this on my car when doing alignment. Also, the bolts holding my strut together to the knuckle don't have that special washer either. I really would like to get my camber and toe-in alignment done the proper way and now I'm really confused.

Ideally I'd like to adjust camber on my own to the proper spec. I understand that its easier than doing toe-in on your own.
Are you being given printouts that show the camber to be out of spec both before and after?
If not, what makes you think it's off?
If yes, what are the shops telling you is the reason they are not adjusting?
 

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Are you being given printouts that show the camber to be out of spec both before and after?
If not, what makes you think it's off?
If yes, what are the shops telling you is the reason they are not adjusting?
Probably the regular, "we don't do this type of alignment" or "it would require a special order of parts" which isn't wrong to say. It really just depends on what the spec's show and how "bad" the camber is and if it is noticeably bad then there is probably a different issue than just a bad alignment.

Every time I do an alignment thinking it would fix my Camry from drifting left at high speeds (that requires me to hold the steering wheel a little bit to the right), nothing ever changes and even with my recent alignment which I got after new struts and new tires it still hasn't changed. Though at this point, I have been driving so long with it like this I don't really care as much anymore. If anyone is interested in seeing my past alignment sheets, I have them.

Keep in mind, I did the first alignment myself while in school. The succeeding alignments were done by Firestone and my last alignment was by an independent shop as Firestone is either too busy, undermanned, or will not let me wait in the lobby.
 

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"Special order" is, to me, no excuse. My local NAPA has 'em in stock, and they could be at the shop in under an hour. I know customers are crazy unrealistic about time frames for repairs, but I think they deserve fairly presented options. Like being told. as soon as the first readings are taken, "We can't bring the camber within specs without a special part we can have tomorrow, and will cost an extra $50. What do you want to do?" Or whatever is true.

On your car, one wild guess...any chance there's a bushing that's weak or failed, only showing up at high speed?
 

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"Special order" is, to me, no excuse. My local NAPA has 'em in stock, and they could be at the shop in under an hour. I know customers are crazy unrealistic about time frames for repairs, but I think they deserve fairly presented options. Like being told. as soon as the first readings are taken, "We can't bring the camber within specs without a special part we can have tomorrow, and will cost an extra $50. What do you want to do?" Or whatever is true.

On your car, one wild guess...any chance there's a bushing that's weak or failed, only showing up at high speed?
Yep, "special order" isn't n excuse but despite that the camber has to be really bad if it does require it. Or if you are into stance. Other than that I had this "issue" since before my front right spring broke, as far as I found everything is as tight as they can be. Not a big deal at this point for me. My own front camber can be better but 🤷‍♀️ , it's within spec.
 

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I just want to get to the bottom of the correct way of doing an alignment on my Camry. Every time I've taken my car to do alignment (indy shop), they use Hunter machines and just twist some nuts/bolts (i assume tie rod ends) until the system tells them to stop. From reading more into alignment online and reading some threads here, I'm understanding that technically they should also take my wheels off and adjust cam bolts (the ones that hold the strut together)? Is this correct? Because nobody has done this on my car when doing alignment. Also, the bolts holding my strut together to the knuckle don't have that special washer either. I really would like to get my camber and toe-in alignment done the proper way and now I'm really confused.

Ideally I'd like to adjust camber on my own to the proper spec. I understand that its easier than doing toe-in on your own.
Does it pull, or is steering wheel off? Camber tire wear is usually smooth, toe is usually feather edged. Are you aggressive on turns, if so, that's where you start.

Cheers from Canada!
 

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No, those adjustments are separate and at most any variation with one or the other will have a minor effect. If you want to do that you can, whether or not it helps is a different issue.
if 2 or 3 adjustments are needed, order: Caster, camber, toe. Camber will change toe. Toe will NOT change camber. Caster will change both.
Caster on front wheel drive cars is adjusted by moving subframe. If subframe has to be removed for any repairs, its position has to be marked.
Check caster here, if left side 2 fingers, right 3 fingers, caster is bad.
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Discussion Starter #14
Are you being given printouts that show the camber to be out of spec both before and after?
If not, what makes you think it's off?
If yes, what are the shops telling you is the reason they are not adjusting?
i took it to the shop on Friday and they said they won't do an alignment because one of my bushings on a control arm is bad, which it is, but that bushing has been like that for a long time and they've done an alignment on my car earlier this year with the bushing being like that. i told the guy this and he said he can't do it. i think he's knew there because i've never seen him there before. but i just suspect camber is bad because the front tires have outer wear quite a bit.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Does it pull, or is steering wheel off? Camber tire wear is usually smooth, toe is usually feather edged. Are you aggressive on turns, if so, that's where you start.

Cheers from Canada!
what do you mean by smooth and feather edged exactly?
 

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i took it to the shop on Friday and they said they won't do an alignment because one of my bushings on a control arm is bad, which it is, but that bushing has been like that for a long time and they've done an alignment on my car earlier this year with the bushing being like that. i told the guy this and he said he can't do it. i think he's knew there because i've never seen him there before. but i just suspect camber is bad because the front tires have outer wear quite a bit.
If you have a bad bushing, that may well be why you have "bad camber". Fix all suspension components before going in for an alignment.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
If you have a bad bushing, that may well be why you have "bad camber". Fix all suspension components before going in for an alignment.
well the alignment was fine until i did a bunch of front end work on the car, which obviously threw it all out the window. but i will be replacing the control arms since the place won't do the alignment anymore. regardless, i still wanted to get the most info on alignment since i've read so many different takes on how and what needs to be done. basically, i do have to find at least one tech that actually knows what he's doing as my first step.
 

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You replaced nearly all of the suspension except for the damaged part. Always make sure the suspension is in good and tight condition before doing any alignment or if you have a bad part that is not obviously apparent whether visual or while driving to not mention it. Make a list of all the suspension parts that you have replaced. They are still gonna align just toe unless there is a reason to align for camber. If you have any old paperwork or when you get the new paperwork, post it so we can see the specs.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
You replaced nearly all of the suspension except for the damaged part. Always make sure the suspension is in good and tight condition before doing any alignment or if you have a bad part that is not obviously apparent whether visual or while driving to not mention it. Make a list of all the suspension parts that you have replaced. They are still gonna align just toe unless there is a reason to align for camber. If you have any old paperwork or when you get the new paperwork, post it so we can see the specs.
i think i may have some old paperwork somewhere. i'll have to find it. i'll post it if i do and i'll definitely post the new one. by any chance, do you know where i can find a good DIY for replacing control arms? i can't seem to find anything decent. found some 4 minute youtube video, but i feel like its missing some steps.
 

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i think i may have some old paperwork somewhere. i'll have to find it. i'll post it if i do and i'll definitely post the new one. by any chance, do you know where i can find a good DIY for replacing control arms? i can't seem to find anything decent. found some 4 minute youtube video, but i feel like its missing some steps.
Front? There are instructions somewhere. All I know is lift engine for access to front left control arm bolts.
 
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