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  1. #1
    Enthusiast GTS Dean's Avatar
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    Rear Caster Angle measuring and adjusting

    If there is one recurring theme here when it comes to properly measuring and setting the rear suspension - it's CASTER ANGLE. Whether it's front or rear, the Viper's is individually adjustable and I don't know of any commercial alignment machines that have the capability of measuring the rear at all.

    Looking at wheels from the side of the car, caster angle is the relationship of the upper and lower ball joints from a line perpendicular to the ground. Positive angle means the lower ball joint is ahead of the upper joint. Positive caster provides straight line stability and helps the steering wheel return to straight ahead. Any imbalance will cause the car to drift toward the side with the lower angle. Roadways are built with "crown" or cross-slope to help shed rain. A common angle is 1.5 to 2.5 degrees. Most alignment shops will put a few tenths more positive caster on the right side so the car will naturally drift slightly uphill, (left) against the cross slope. This is called cross-car imbalance and up to about 0.3 degrees is not considered significant.

    Camber is the angle that tires tilt in or out when viewed from the front or rear. Negative camber is typical and that means the tops of the tires lean in toward each other.

    Our Vipers's suspension adjusts by moving the lower wishbones inward or outward by means of eccentric cam bolts. The bolts move in horizontal slots in ears on the frame. Everything is pretty well designed around having the wishbones centered in the slots with the cams facing fairly straight up. Negative camber rolls the bolts outward together. Once camber is set, then positive caster happens by rolling the front in and the rear out by equal amounts to hold the camber reading desired.

    I will be focusing specifically on the Gen 2 cars here. The factory dials in Caster of +6.0 at the front and +1.0 degrees at the rear. The Camber angles are very modest - less than -1.0 degree. This causes the inside shoulders to be loaded a little heavier than the outside shoulders. All commercial machines determine caster by turning the front wheels 20 degrees left/right and measuring the camber angle change. There's no room at the rear to do a "caster sweep" on a Viper.

    Dodge's 6990 Viper Service Tools contain adapter brackets for both front and rear knuckles that rest against machined flats. Inclinometers screw directly to the adapters, wires go to a junction box, and then to the DRB-III computer. The inclinometers read the caster angle directly off the knuckles without having to do a sweep. There are quite a few Vipers running around that have the eccentric cams adjusted incorrectly after pothole or curb strikes. All the shops can do is camber and toe-in at the back.

    A fellow VOA member brought his '97 by complaining of very unstable/unbalanced handling under cornering or rolling on and off bridge abutments. He was basically 2-fisting the wheel all the time to stay under control. The "before" pictures below paint an ugly picture of how it started. Then "after" pics show the final arrangement. It took 6 adjustment iterations to get both the caster and camber set to 1.0 and -0.7 degrees respectively. We took a drive afterward and he was grinning ear-to-ear at the improvement. Pay particular attention to the cam orientations and DRB readings before/after. From MORE THAN 6 DEGREES CROSS-CAR to only 0.1 degrees!
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    Last edited by GTS Dean; 11-14-2021 at 06:03 PM.
    96 GTS. Viper Days Modified Class. Fresh motor 10-2020!

  2. #2
    Enthusiast GTS Dean's Avatar
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    Here are the final results:
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  3. #3
    Enthusiast Steve M's Avatar
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    Wow on those initial adjustments

    Thanks for taking the time to post this. Since DRB-IIIs are becoming hard to come by, would it be possible for someone to duplicate the mounting bracket and make it so that you could use a regular digital angle meter? Or is there something more complex going on here?

    It would obviously need to be properly designed/machined, but I'm sure someone like Doug Shelby or TKO could make something provided I'm not missing something...
    2008 SRT-10 Coupe - Venom Red Metallic w/ White Stripes - 1/4 Mile Passes (YouTube)
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  4. #4
    Enthusiast GTS Dean's Avatar
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    This guy:
    https://driveviper.com/forums/thread...prepping+track

    Gen 1's are +6.0/-6.0. Gauges are simple gravity style and have magnets to stick to the cast iron knuckles on the early gen cars. It pays to search eBay Motors from time to time for deals.
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    Last edited by GTS Dean; 11-14-2021 at 07:34 PM.
    96 GTS. Viper Days Modified Class. Fresh motor 10-2020!

  5. #5
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    ViperSRT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve M View Post
    Wow on those initial adjustments

    Thanks for taking the time to post this. Since DRB-IIIs are becoming hard to come by, ...
    Gee, is my DRBIII becoming valuable? I only use it to reset MILs and calibrate tire sensors. Not much else, so it is in very good condition.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve M View Post
    Wow on those initial adjustments

    Thanks for taking the time to post this. Since DRB-IIIs are becoming hard to come by, would it be possible for someone to duplicate the mounting bracket and make it so that you could use a regular digital angle meter? Or is there something more complex going on here?

    It would obviously need to be properly designed/machined, but I'm sure someone like Doug Shelby or TKO could make something provided I'm not missing something...
    Great Point Steve !
    I've heard of some making up a bracket and using an inclinometer on it to measure with good success.
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  7. #7
    Enthusiast Steve M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ViperSRT View Post
    Gee, is my DRBIII becoming valuable? I only use it to reset MILs and calibrate tire sensors. Not much else, so it is in very good condition.
    You could try putting it on Bring a Trailer?
    2008 SRT-10 Coupe - Venom Red Metallic w/ White Stripes - 1/4 Mile Passes (YouTube)
    High Flow Cats | Gen 5 Intake Man. | UDP | HPT | 3.55s | MCS | DSS Axles | Nth Moto Clutch | 11.027 @ 130.06 (Vid), 1.78 60' (+1,622 ft DA, w/ 3.55s & Hoosier Drag Radials)

  8. #8
    Can use the mopar brackets with magnetic inclinometer.. no need for a drb

  9. #9
    Thanks for the write up. I've been having issues getting the front aligned after replacing the ball joints, bushings and stabilizer links. I welded up my own camber gauge with a digital angle finder and some skid plates, 1/2 ball bearings sandwiched between 1/4' steel plates. It got me close but I just can't get it dialed in. I have caster on both sides at around + 6* and camber -1.7* L and -1.5* R. Toe-in is around -1/8" L and R, that was done using the string method, multiple times. I must have adjusted it over 10 times, jacked it down, rolled it and checked again. It still pulls a little to the right and just doesn't feel tight. At higher speeds it feels darty. Not sure how much of that is because of my tires, they're pretty worn but it handled better before. I'm in Laredo and I don't trust the alignments shops here. Let me know if you can look at mine. I'd drive up there and obviously pay for your time.

  10. #10
    Enthusiast GTS Dean's Avatar
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    Are you still on stock bushings? Improper bushing preload can cause some significant dartiness.
    96 GTS. Viper Days Modified Class. Fresh motor 10-2020!

  11. #11
    I just picked up a DRBIII and the alinement sensors....


    Quote Originally Posted by ViperSRT View Post
    Gee, is my DRBIII becoming valuable? I only use it to reset MILs and calibrate tire sensors. Not much else, so it is in very good condition.
    - - - Updated - - -
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  12. #12
    Enthusiast GTS Dean's Avatar
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    Good job! Hopefully, it will have the PEP module on the back.
    96 GTS. Viper Days Modified Class. Fresh motor 10-2020!

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by GTS Dean View Post
    Are you still on stock bushings? Improper bushing preload can cause some significant dartiness.
    Polyurethane bushings from energy suspension.

  14. #14
    Enthusiast GTS Dean's Avatar
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    What are your rear settings? Assuming you did bushings F/R, I would be sure to center the wishbone cams in their slots at each corner, check and set camber, then toe.

    Your front camber and toe are very aggressive for street use and is probably generating camber thrust issues. I don't run over about -1.2 camber and just a touch of toe.
    96 GTS. Viper Days Modified Class. Fresh motor 10-2020!

  15. #15
    not sure it matters but even the base Gen V front camber is higher than that at -1.4.. HAs and ACRs much higher...?

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by GTS Dean View Post
    A fellow VOA member brought his '97 by complaining of very unstable/unbalanced handling under cornering or rolling on and off bridge abutments.
    This sounds like my car. If I hit a dip in the road or drop off a bridge (because TxDOT doesn't know how to make things flat, apparently), the rear end feels like it kicks out to the right.

    I'm in the process of replacing all my bushings though. I'll have to keep this in mind though. Great informative post.
    1997 Dodge Viper GTS || Matte Bentley Silver | 62k miles || Project Thread

    2005 Chevrolet Cobalt SS || 2002 Audi TT Quattro || 1986 Volkswagen GTI

  17. #17
    that's sounds more likely the dynamic toe that's off.. aka bump steer. can be set in the rear of the Viper.. its a bit of a process but not too bad.

    When rear caster is off the snake seems to do weird things when accelerating and braking
    Last edited by SRT_BluByU; 11-17-2021 at 02:28 PM. Reason: weirdo auto correcting corrected

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by SRT_BluByU View Post
    that's sounds more likely the dynamic toe that's off.. aka bump steer. can be set in the rear of the Viper.. its a bit of a process but not too bad.

    When her caster is off the naked seem to do weird things when accelerating and braking
    Rear bump steer correction is real easy. Front bump-steer correction is also very easy

    TKOSROD1439K 2013-2017 VIPER REAR TOE LINK 483.13
    2013-2017 VIPER REAR TOE LINK
    TKO Motorsports 5th Gen Viper Rear Toe Link is a simple and effective performance upgrade for any 5th Gen Viper. Decrease the negative effect of the factory rear bump-steer. Improves initial corner turn-in and mid-corner stability.
    • Precise handling and a better feel for the driver
    • Decreases unsprung weight and improves suspension performance
    • Ease of adjustment
    • More precise corner entry and mid-corner stability
    • For extreme competition, use our heat shield kit; recommended for any track day Viper (SKU: TKOSROD1450K [link:

  19. #19
    Enthusiast GTS Dean's Avatar
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    Your bump steer kits are fantastic for the serious track hounds and there is no debating the quality provided.

    Even for a pretty serious enthusiast like me with a dual-purpose street/time trial car, bump steer measurement and determination of the correct adjustments required is a very time- and effort-intensive exercise. IMO, getting the baseline alignments accurate and balanced, along with balanced ride heights are by far the most important thing for a street car. If they have been smacked hard enough for frame damage, or lowered dramatically, THEN bump steer becomes an increasingly important measurement to verify and adjust for correctness.

    Your mileage may vary.
    Last edited by GTS Dean; 11-17-2021 at 10:34 PM.
    96 GTS. Viper Days Modified Class. Fresh motor 10-2020!

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by SRT_BluByU View Post
    Can use the mopar brackets with magnetic inclinometer.. no need for a drb
    Brackets are aluminum.
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  21. #21
    incorrect.. they are tool steel. I own a set. You are probably thinking of the spindles on the car which are aluminum. In my opinion every Viper owner should own a set of these.. I wont let anyone attempt an alignment without them having these and understanding how to use them AND dynamic toe (what to do and what not to do). This was an expensive lesson for me.. Now finally sorted.


    These are for the Gen V.. but ive been told they are the same back to Gen III
    IMG_5642.jpg
    Last edited by SRT_BluByU; 11-18-2021 at 09:23 AM.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by SRT_BluByU View Post
    incorrect.. they are tool steel. I own a set. You are probably thinking of the spindles on the car which are aluminum. In my opinion every Viper owner should own a set of these.. I wont let anyone attempt an alignment without them having these and understanding how to use them AND dynamic toe (what to do and what not to do). This was an expensive lesson for me.. Now finally sorted.


    These are for the Gen V.. but ive been told they are the same back to Gen III
    IMG_5642.jpg
    Who sells the adapters ?
    Thanks !
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  23. #23
    Got 'em from the dealer.. thats the part number right on them.. (you need both they are side specific). They're not cheap. But the headaches a messed up alignment can cause I see them as required tools.

  24. #24
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    Can you explain or post instructions on what exactly to do with that tool?

  25. #25
    "Use these adapters, along with a magnetic Digital Angle Gauge, while performing alignment procedures on the 2013 SRT Viper (ZD)."

    https://www.moparessentialtools.com/...003&type=tools
    1997 Dodge Viper GTS || Matte Bentley Silver | 62k miles || Project Thread

    2005 Chevrolet Cobalt SS || 2002 Audi TT Quattro || 1986 Volkswagen GTI


 
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