Alignment (Part 3)

Remember I said camber adjustment on the 308 is a pain… Well, it really proved to be exactly that.

Alignment shims

I went back and measured the wheel that was previous -1.95° and found it had changed to -1.65°…  which is still too much negative camber but the variation was worrying. I had already started adjusting the camber on the right-hand side and now those readings no longer made sense either. This was clearly going to take a lot longer than I anticipated and seemed suspiciously error prone. However, I was determined to get it right and so decided to remove all shims and start afresh. 

Because the of the way the QuickJack lifts the car, each time it goes up and down, there is the potential for the car to move slightly forward or slightly back. It does not lift the car straight up like a regular lift, but instead diagonally. Every time I lifted the car, I have to check the pads are still aligned with the chassis members. It was literally a pain in the backside but still better than using a jack and jack stands. I wondered if this movement on each lift was causing problems between readings. I then decided each time the car is raised or lowered, I would check the car was level again according to the gauge. 

The camber is adjusted with shims slotted between the wishbone and the chassis so the lower wishbone (green) needs to be moved away from the chassis to insert the shims (red). For that, the pressure on the lower wishbone needs to be removed which means the shock absorber and spring(not shown) need to be disconnected by removing the main bolt (purple). Then the bolts (blue) holding the suspension forks (orange) can then be backed off and a strong screwdriver inserted in the shim slot to leve the fork outwards to make room for shim addition or removal.

Ferrari 308 camber adjustment
The components involved in camber adjustment

So, the complete process to adjust the camber on one wheel is:

  1. Remove the wheel to access the suspension components
  2. Remove the bolt holding the bottom of the shock absorber to the lower wishbone (purple)
  3. Drop the end of the shock out of the wishbone
  4. With the shock detached, the lower wishbone (green) does not have force holding it in position.
  5. Undo the bolts (blue) holding the suspension forks (orange) to the chassis
  6. Lever the suspension forks away to get at the shims (red) through the slots in the chassis
  7. Perform steps 5-1 in reverse order.

The one advantage of all this faffing around was that I got quite quick at lifting the car, getting the wheel off, the shock disconnected, the suspension fork bolts backed off, the lower wishbone loose, shims changed, fork bolts tightened up, shock reconnected, wheel back on and the car back on the ground. I could soon do this in less than 15 minutes using my QuickJack to raise and lower the car.

Ferrari 308 camber adjustment
-0.75 was the least negative camber I could get

With no shims, my camber was -0.75° left and +0.50° right. This means the left side cannot be adjusted within factory spec – even with no shims present, there is too much negative camber to be within factory specs.

I think this might be because the car is lowered and/or because that was the corner that needed a new suspension fork a couple of years ago – maybe the new fork was a slightly different shape than the original.

A second problem was the right-hand side that had quite a lot of positive camber and would need a large shim to bring it back to negative camber. I was not sure if there would be room for enough shims to get the camber comparable with the other side. 5.5mm was the most I could shim each fork and still do up the nyloc nut securely. With 5.5mm shims, the camber now consistently measured -0.65°. 

This was close enough for me. So my final camber measurements were -0.75° left and -0.65° right. I cannot set less negative camber as I have no shims on the left side and I cannot set more negative camber as I am out of threads on the suspension forks on the right.

As the original alignment shop was prone to say: “It was quite a way out at the front but we got it nailed down eventually.”

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Disclaimer: 308restoration.com describes the restoration work I perform on my car and only my car. I am not a professional mechanic. The website content is presented for entertainment purposes only and should not be seen as any kind of advice, information, instruction or guidance for working on any other car. The opinions stated here are my own and no-one else’s.

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