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Old 06-19-2017, 11:14 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Caster angle argument

Ahoi all.
I built a set of BJ60 hybrids. Front flipped for driver drop, spun for pinion angle, and knuckles set at around 2* or so caster (with shims). Running 40x15r15 bias.

Before building, I'd read a ton on the caster for these, as the general consensus is that stock, they only had around 1* caster, which was all that was necessary because of the relatively large KPI. But you see the question posed over and over, and every thread seems to be a lot of argument about whether you need more or less caster for larger tires. Seems like most of the guys who give a long winded explanation, tend to err on less caster required for larger tires because the the larger tire diameter provides more tire trail length, and suggest staying with 1-2* on 40's. Other guys however (most) insist that you should increase caster to 6 or 7* with 40's (but of course don't provide any explanation or theory as to why). The bible just says that 6-7+ is recommended for lifted vehicles, but ... dunno if that's assuming you're not spinning the knuckles or not.

To me, less caster for larger tires makes sense, but fuck, I dunno.

Anyhow, I'm trying to figure this out again because I need to add some spring rate to my pack, but there's not enough room between the tie rod and leafs if I add anything. I don't wanna dial the caster further positive because it seems to induce a shimmy if I go over 4*+. It's undriveable without the ram and >4*. With ram, it just sorta feels like a vibration.
Stock caster for these axles was 1* and I've never seen one run right with more than 4 or 5*.

So which is it? This is my DD so it has to be right. I've gone over fucking EVERYTHING and the alignment is all perfect (except scrub radius is a bit wide). One thing I do notice is that if I put 31's on, it rides dead smooth to 90mph. I figure it's possible the 31's do better because the trailing distance is lower than with 40's, but if that's the case, I feel like the 40's should require LESS caster.

0-2* or 5-7* ? And why?|



Edit: The truck currently rides fine. It's not perfect (mild vibration at around 65mph), but it gets the job done. I'm really only interested in the question of tire size vs caster overall, as I'm not sure it's even possible to keep my axle at stock caster (where it's at now) while also keeping leafs out of the tie rod.

Last edited by blistovmhz; 06-20-2017 at 07:48 AM.
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Old 06-19-2017, 11:34 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Are you sure it's not the tires causing your issue?
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Old 06-19-2017, 11:42 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Are you sure it's not the tires causing your issue?
Not at all sure. I'm going to stick on another set today (finally bought some new shoes for the roomies new build so I've got some more 40's to test with), but LOGICALLY, I feel like I shouldn't have listened to most of the internet when I built the axle, and should have gone with 0-2* caster max for the 40's. I figure caster is all about the pneumatic force of the tire trail, which of course increases with tire size. Plus, more caster means more steering induced camber angle, which again, increases with tire size and offset.

My gut feeling is that I should chop the perches off again, dial them back to where I've got around 1* caster max.

Tires could absolutely be inducing the wobble, but either way I have to get rid of that shim to make room for the pack/tierod interference issue. Now'd be a good time to be damned sure I've got caster right.

Steering does feel heavier than it should, considering I've got hydro assist, and too much caster can absolutely induce shimmy (not DW, but shimmy totally possible), at least from my experience with domestic axles. Toy stuff is just so different from my experience, as they have crazy KPI's which I think decreases the caster requirement.

Just reading through other threads, I think most people get confused:
a. thinking increasing tire size results in a caster change - it of course does not.
b. thinking increasing suspension lift results in caster change - it does, if you don't adjust your caster to compensate, but most guys forget about this second part of the equation).
c. thinking that larger tires REQUIRE more caster - I think people get fucked up here because they add lift, and thus get less caster than stock, and have to increase it to get back to stock. but very few guys are considering what is actually IDEAL for a larger tire).

Last edited by blistovmhz; 06-19-2017 at 11:45 AM.
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Old 06-19-2017, 11:46 AM   #4 (permalink)
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For a DD i'd err on the 5-7* side of things. Why? because the slight added stress on the joints when turning while stopped would be offset by the gain in tracking and stability during braking.

for a dedicated trail rig, i'd go more to the 0-3* range. why? because you get less stress on the joints and less steering effort when everything is bound up. generally low speed so the dynamics are less important. easier to turn the tire if it is bound up without trying to 'push' the rig as much

for a race car, a shit ton. 8+* because who gives a fuck about steering effort and it should all be overbuilt anyways, the extra stability slamming on the brakes should help and it will help keep your steering straight when you are mashing the gas coming out of a corner

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Old 06-19-2017, 11:49 AM   #5 (permalink)
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For a DD i'd err on the 5-7* side of things. Why? because the slight added stress on the joints when turning while stopped would be offset by the gain in tracking and stability during braking.

for a dedicated trail rig, i'd go more to the 0-3* range. why? because you get less stress on the joints and less steering effort when everything is bound up. generally low speed so the dynamics are less important. easier to turn the tire if it is bound up without trying to 'push' the rig as much

for a race car, a shit ton. 8+* because who gives a fuck about steering effort and it should all be overbuilt anyways, the extra stability slamming on the brakes should help and it will help keep your steering straight when you are mashing the gas coming out of a corner

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Are you talking about a domestic axle though, or Toyota? Toy axles rely much more heavily on KPI for stability, whereas domestics typically rely more on higher positive caster. I'd always run at least 4.5-6* on a Dana axle, but Toy stock caster is only 1*+.
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Old 06-19-2017, 11:55 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by blistovmhz View Post
Are you talking about a domestic axle though, or Toyota? Toy axles rely much more heavily on KPI for stability, whereas domestics typically rely more on higher positive caster. I'd always run at least 4.5-6* on a Dana axle, but Toy stock caster is only 1*+.
I'd run those numbers, keeping in mind they are just a generic reference, for any axle. Plenty of Dana axles came factory with 1 or 0* caster (such as IH stuff). With a low steering ratio, slow steering, it is easier to compensate for it in the wheel as you drive. gives it an easy steering feeling.


are you currently at 5-6* with the shimmy or are you currently at 1-2* with the shimmy?

if it rides smooth with the 31" tires and shitty with the 40" tires, i'd be much more suspect of your tires/wheels/balance than the suspension and steering angles


edit: point being, all things considered 0-7* caster shouldn't be enough to cause a shimmy in the front end while cruising down the highway. 0* should wander a bit easier and 7* should be more stable
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Old 06-19-2017, 12:22 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I'd run those numbers, keeping in mind they are just a generic reference, for any axle. Plenty of Dana axles came factory with 1 or 0* caster (such as IH stuff). With a low steering ratio, slow steering, it is easier to compensate for it in the wheel as you drive. gives it an easy steering feeling.


are you currently at 5-6* with the shimmy or are you currently at 1-2* with the shimmy?

if it rides smooth with the 31" tires and shitty with the 40" tires, i'd be much more suspect of your tires/wheels/balance than the suspension and steering angles


edit: point being, all things considered 0-7* caster shouldn't be enough to cause a shimmy in the front end while cruising down the highway. 0* should wander a bit easier and 7* should be more stable
The other thing I forgot to mention is that I run my 40's at 11.5 and 10psi front/rear. Rig isn't heavy enough to go higher, so combine low tire pressure with bias ply, and shimmy happens if anything isn't dead perfect.

The real issue here is that even if my caster is currently correct (it's 2*+ with shim as it sits, and the shimmy is MUCH worse if I pull the shims which lands me at 4.5*+), I have to get more room between the top of the leaf pack and the tie rod. To do so, I either need a thinner pack (but I need the current spring rate maintained), or I need to remove the shims. But then it gets real fucky because if I pull the shims, my caster increases, so I have to spin the perches back, but because the driver perch is half on top of the center section, the u-bolts have to be bent backwards at the top to get through the plate.

At this point I'm thinking the easiest option is actually to just say fuck the leafs and link it. Taking leafs out of the equation solves my original problem of tie rod to leaf interference, and lets me adjust caster all I want.
I am sure that the shimmy is WAY worse with the caster at 4.5-5*+ and got much better when I dialed it back to around 2*. Talking about this with some local toy guys here, they're coming up with the same logic as me, that bigger tires require less caster. So at the end of the day, I think the leafs just have to go. Damnit.
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Old 06-19-2017, 12:32 PM   #8 (permalink)
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jesus fuck, don't run 10-11 psi on the highway have you run them that low regularly with good results? just running 37's, my ride like absolute shit at 10 psi on the highway. to the point that i drive slow like 35 mph max and go the most direct route to more air.

what do you mean the rig isn't heavy enough to go higher? Try it out a 25 or 30 psi and see if that helps, especially with a bias tire.

I have an E rated tire and could put my entire truck on 1 tire weight wise, they do significantly better with more air
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Old 06-19-2017, 12:37 PM   #9 (permalink)
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jesus fuck, don't run 10-11 psi on the highway have you run them that low regularly with good results? just running 37's, my ride like absolute shit at 10 psi on the highway. to the point that i drive slow like 35 mph max and go the most direct route to more air.

what do you mean the rig isn't heavy enough to go higher? Try it out a 25 or 30 psi and see if that helps, especially with a bias tire.

I have an E rated tire and could put my entire truck on 1 tire weight wise, they do significantly better with more air

Every measurement says 11.5 and 10 are correct for my tire. I get no contact patch if I go higher. Like, only half of the inside lugs touch the ground at all. Hell, they still look rounded at 11psi. If I run 20psi, my footprint decreases by 50%. At 11.5psi, I'm just skimming the outside lugs. Trucks only 4500lbs. On a bias, you have to run lower to keep your tread on the ground. There's no belt to keep the tread flat.

My current pressure rides real nice in terms of handling. Practically zero sidewall deflection. Turns and handles very well. INcrease to 20psi and the truck is barely drivable because there's no contact patch, and thus no traction.
I run 1-4psi on the trail. 0-1psi in snow.
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Old 06-19-2017, 12:44 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Every measurement says 11.5 and 10 are correct for my tire. I get no contact patch if I go higher. Like, only half of the inside lugs touch the ground at all. Hell, they still look rounded at 11psi. If I run 20psi, my footprint decreases by 50%. At 11.5psi, I'm just skimming the outside lugs. Trucks only 4500lbs. On a bias, you have to run lower to keep your tread on the ground. There's no belt to keep the tread flat.

My current pressure rides real nice in terms of handling. Practically zero sidewall deflection. Turns and handles very well. INcrease to 20psi and the truck is barely drivable because there's no contact patch, and thus no traction.
I run 1-4psi on the trail. 0-1psi in snow.
it sounds barely driveable as it is currently, does it vibrate and shimmy less at 20 psi? Practically zero sidewall deflection sounds like it could easily be enough to cause issues. plus, it is easy and free to bump of the pressure, shrink your contact patch and see if that helps the shimmy. 40" bias tires aren't the best of choices for a DD and wont' ever ride as smooth as a smaller radial on the highway. you don't need a large contact patch on the highway
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Old 06-19-2017, 12:51 PM   #11 (permalink)
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it sounds barely driveable as it is currently, does it vibrate and shimmy less at 20 psi? Practically zero sidewall deflection sounds like it could easily be enough to cause issues. plus, it is easy and free to bump of the pressure, shrink your contact patch and see if that helps the shimmy. 40" bias tires aren't the best of choices for a DD and wont' ever ride as smooth as a smaller radial on the highway. you don't need a large contact patch on the highway
Shimmy gets much worse with increased tire pressure. And by DD, i mean it's my only insured vehicle. I don't drive much beyond to and from the trail, so it's not a big concern. It handles absolutely fine as it is. The only reason I bring this all up is because I had to increase my spring rate in the front, but the extra thickness of the leaf pack is now interfering with tie rod on droop and steer. I think I'm giving up on the leafs though and just going to link it, as that'll free me of most of the caster issues, let me play with caster without having to re-weld every time, give me room for the tie rod, and overall ride substantially better anyway.
I was just avoiding linking until I found the limits of leafs. I think I've sorta found them.

I may be crazy though. I will try bumping the tire pressure up again just to check, but last time I did, I recall it being much worse. Besides which, higher pressure and smaller contact patch means I'll be wearing out the tread center real fast.

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Old 06-19-2017, 02:30 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Old 06-19-2017, 03:26 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Any thoughts about bigger tires having less effective leverage with concern to tire trail, and thus requiring more caster? Just stirring the pot.

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Old 06-19-2017, 03:29 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Any thoughts about bigger tires having less effective leverage with concern to tire trail, and thus requiring more caster? Just stirring the pot.

Kevin
I've heard that argument, but the decreased leverage should (in theory) be offset by the increased trailing distance.
I originally built my axle for 5-7*+ caster because absolutely everyone insisted that was the correct way to go, but I found it completely undrivable due to massive shimmy, and the steering was WAAAAY too heavy. Heavy enough that at speed, even the ram was a struggle to move. Smaller tires didn't help enough to notice. Dialed it back to the current 2* and it's completely driveable.

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Old 06-19-2017, 03:40 PM   #15 (permalink)
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What are the tires you are running?
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Old 06-19-2017, 03:42 PM   #16 (permalink)
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What are the tires you are running?
39.5x15r15 TSL bias swampers. Again, my truck handles very well as it is right now. There is only a very slight shimmy, which seems to go away with much smaller tires, but that could very well be due to the smaller tire having decreased trailing distance. I'm going to throw on another set of 40's today just to verify, but I'll be surprised if they don't respond exactly the same as my TSL's.
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Old 06-19-2017, 03:46 PM   #17 (permalink)
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39.5x15r15 TSL bias swampers. Again, my truck handles very well as it is right now. There is only a very slight shimmy, which seems to go away with much smaller tires, but that could very well be due to the smaller tire having decreased trailing distance. I'm going to throw on another set of 40's today just to verify, but I'll be surprised if they don't respond exactly the same as my TSL's.
Swampers have all kinds of problems. I'll bet the issue goes away when you try other tires.

As to heavy steering with 5-7deg of caster, I'd expect that due to the size, weight and leverage of the tire.

How are your tre's, spring bushings and knuckle bearings. I hope you already checked them for wear.
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Old 06-19-2017, 03:57 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Swampers have all kinds of problems. I'll bet the issue goes away when you try other tires.

As to heavy steering with 5-7deg of caster, I'd expect that due to the size, weight and leverage of the tire.

How are your tre's, spring bushings and knuckle bearings. I hope you already checked them for wear.
There is absolutely nothing stock about this setup. I built everything ground up, so I know everything is in perfect condition. Definitely nothing loose. Again, the shimmy does go away with much smaller tires, but even if that IS a tire issue, it gets way worse as I increase caster, which is why I shimmed it back to 2*, but that puts my leaf pack too close to the tie rod, which is where I'm at now. It'll be a TON of work to do leaf perches that'll give me the 0-2* caster, without any shims, but I can't fit shims, so when I re-do them, I just want to be damned sure it's right this time.

Keep in mind, Toy axles NEVER come stock with more than 1* caster. Domestics always do because their KPI is much lower and they rely on the caster for stability. Toyotas do it the opposite way.
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Old 06-19-2017, 04:04 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Dude. There are 100 things that can be causing your issue. You want to focus on caster, fine. Given the numbers you are talking, I doubt caster is your issue.

When you shimmed to change the angle, did you recheck your toe? What is your toe set at?
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Old 06-19-2017, 04:07 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Also, I dgaf what a stock Toyota axle runs. How many stock toyotas have 40" tires?
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Old 06-19-2017, 04:43 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Caster alone should never cause a shimmy. Most 40s or swampers will.

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Old 06-19-2017, 06:06 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Dude. There are 100 things that can be causing your issue. You want to focus on caster, fine. Given the numbers you are talking, I doubt caster is your issue.

When you shimmed to change the angle, did you recheck your toe? What is your toe set at?
Yea, 100 simple things could be the issue, if I had no idea what I'm doing and didn't think to check the toe . Trust me (I do), the toe is correct and the shimmy definitely isn't caused by anything other than either the tires themselves, or too much caster. The fact that it gets worse as I increase caster, suggests either the caster is the cause, or increasing it amplifies a tire issue.

I'm also talking to some of the best local suspension techs here and the general consensus is that increasing tire size does not require caster changes, and thus I need to be shooting for 0-1*+ (I'm currently at 2*+ which is already too much).

For reference, here's the dilemma.





Spring rate is too low for my weight. To fix that, I need a thicker pack (or a stiffer metal for each leaf, but I haven't found anyone who really publishes spring rates, let alone pack thickness or metalurgical info ).
Increasing pack thickness results in interference with tie rod. Can't move tie rod up, because that would increase caster. Can't build the perches with more angle because the perch would have to be recessed into the housing (well, fuck, I guess I COULD do that, but I still think linking would probably be easier at that point).
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Old 06-19-2017, 06:43 PM   #23 (permalink)
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I flipped an fj60 axle to drivers drop and swapped it in my Tacoma, Ford f250 steering box, no HA or steering stabilizer, with fj62 RUF leafs and forward shackles and I have 37" ssr radials. I set it up for 5.5* of castor at the knuckle ball, I never remeasured after I shimmed the knuckle as I just shimmed it for axle shaft/spindle alignment. Truck drives fine however I have developed a low speed (25-45mph) shimmy recently as well, im blaming it 95% on the swampers and the rest on my blown out shackle bushings. Point is it probably not the alignment. I would ignore the castor obsession and focus on the bias ply swampers, especially if it drives nice with other tires. Hell my radials would visably bounce down the highway until I tossed some BBs in them and now it's better. I had a friend with bias ply tsls and it felt like you were riding a Sybian for the first 10miles of any drive. I kind of hear you on the tire pressure, I leave mine at 25 front and 20 rear, any higher than that my rear locker goes nuts and it rides and handles like total shit, 30+psi is crazy IMO.

FYI another guy I wheel with was only able to get his truck to stop death wobbling by going up to 12* castor on a mini truck axle.
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Old 06-19-2017, 07:06 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Caster alone should never cause a shimmy. Most 40s or swampers will.

This....
If it runs 90 on 31s.... The tires are the issue.
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Old 06-19-2017, 10:30 PM   #25 (permalink)
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it felt like you were riding a Sybian
Is that some type of horse? Could you please post pictures for visual reference?

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