bad camber

can anyone tll me if there is a way to adjust my camber by myself... even just a little. i cant even drive my car right now because the old tires wore
through to the wire and i put some new ones on and now when i hit a bumb the car tries to send me into the right side curb. i am new to hondas and this one is a 91 hatch with coil over suspension up front...
please help if possible
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zac s via CarKB.com wrote:

civic, right? don't worry - the civic is one of the most maintenance-friendly cars on the road.
i doubt camber is the problem bumping you off to one side. check the ball joints - bottom one could be seized or a top one could be loose. when you've checked and replaced the defective parts, make sure to get the car properly aligned front & rear - need to do both on any civic 88 through 2000.
when checking, you need to look at/test all suspension rubbers, ball joints, sway bars/sway bar ends & bearings. front & rear - the rear is not neutral in steering on this vintage civic and makes a big difference to handling if a bushing is gone or it's not set up right. also make sure that if you've done any suspension work, on reassembly, you only tighten the bolts on any rubber bushing joints when the vehicle is back full weight on the ground. if you tighten with the wheels not in their normal working position, you can fix a "set" into the rubbers which makes the car handle strange and which will fatigue the bushings real quick.
regarding your question, camber is not adjustable on the honda unless you fit special camber kits. if you have stock ride height, camber kits are not necessary - assuming your frame is straight. good ones are expensive. if your vehicle is stock, i'd spend the money on replacing defective parts first, alignment second, with camber kits a distant fourth behind frame straightening.
just ask if you still have questions.
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thank u so much, i know i have a camber problem because the wires are showing on the inside of the front tires and the outside is almost new, and the temp on the inside of the tires is hot enough to burn u after only 20 min of driving and the outside of the tire is cool. anyway, come to think of it, the boot is distroyed on the left axel conect. to the wheel and there is grit in it, also i havn't checked the ball joits but i sure will now. i dont know what stock ride height is and i have looked for a while on the net, mine is 23 in fr/rr from mid cnter of wheel ground to fender.
again i thank u very much for the help
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That indicates toe-out, which causes the inner edge of the front tires to scuff on the oncoming pavement. Excessive toe-in causes the reverse, with the outer edges wearing.
I once had a Lotus Europa, which had radical fixed camber in the rear wheels (maybe 10 degrees). The tires wore flat but angled - there was no edge wear at all.
Toe-out will cause screwy handling, to be sure. But I completely agree with jim beam's recommendation to inspect all the wear points (ball joints and bushings) thoroughly. Something has changed to cause this situation, and you might suffer a broken ball joint if you don't catch it first - no fun at all for zac.
Mike
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zac s via CarKB.com wrote:

ok, that's not camber, that's toe. toe's easily adjustable, but you have to take it to a shop with the tools to do it. here in california, that's $50 to $70, but you should get at least a 6 month warranty allowing you to take it back - handy if you're doing more work to the car.

you can drive for a little while with a dead boot, [that axle's now dead anyway], but priority one is check the joints, then get it aligned. honda's don't go out of alignment unless hit in some way, so make sure there's no bent or damaged parts when you're inspecting everything.
for ride height, you'd probably notice if it had been lowered. easy test is park it next to another one & see if it looks different. no lowering means you probably don't need to worry about camber.
while you're under the car & have the wheels off, consider checking the brakes for good operation - uneven wear on the pads, etc. depending on where you live & prevailing rust conditions, front calipers are easily re-conditionable. bad brakes can ruin your day. read tegger's excellent faq's.
http://www.tegger.com/hondafaq /
one last thing; unless it's already been done, your vintage civic is likely to have a main relay problem. again, check tegger's faq's on the easy & cheap fix. figure out where the ecu is and how to read diagnostic codes. if you have any stored codes, you can look them up & fix the problem.
***
terminology: for this style civic, alignment priorities are toe [front & rear], thrust, camber & caster. read this
http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tiretech/techpage.jsp?techid=4
so you know what to look for. you can roughly measure camber with a spirit level.
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It's also worth mentioning the CV joint is not involved in the alignment, since the inner CV joint is made to adjust to whatever length the steering demands. The axle does not have to be replaced before the suspension is fixed and the alignment done, but it is probably simpler/cheaper to do both together. Expect about $100 US for the (rebuilt) replacement part, more for a new one if you take it to a dealer. I always do the rebuilt. I also do both sides when one needs it on the theory and experience that the other won't last much longer, but you are probably looking at your bank account with some dismay already.
And just to drive the point home: as you say, there is something specifically wrong that is causing the alignment to be off - simply realigning as it is means trouble down the road.
If this is a DIY project, you can even do a DIY toe adjustment after you fix whatever's broke. Place a strip of tape (like masking tape or duct tape) across each front tire and drive down a straight road a mile or so. Compare the wear from the inner to the outer edges, and adjust the tie rods to bring the fronts in (shorten the tie rods) if the inner edges are wearing more than the outer edges - and vice-versa. It's no substitute for a real alignment, but it'll get you close enough to let your tires survive.
Mike
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Michael Pardee wrote:

in general you're dead right, & i always used to do stuff like this when i had a car with a fixed rear - if you do it right, you can do a pretty good job this way too. but on the 88-00 civics, the rear is not fixed & is /so/ critical to the way the front works, it's not even worth it for the drive to the alignment shop. i wish i had a spare $6k lying around to buy an alignment rig - i hate having to take my car to the shop and having to show the tech what to do. i'll bet you there's not 1 in 10 civics that have the rear done right first time.
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jim beam wrote:

thank u both very much, i see that this must be a toe problem and that the camber isnt the real issue. also today, i will check the rubbers and joints, not to mention that all the shocks are blown because the car is on coil over sleaves and stock struts, i actually traded for the car and know that the guy drove under someone and destroyed the hood and fr fenders, the car was also stolen and striped, he put evrything back togeter and drove it for a while then traded me, i see now why he was eager to get rid of it. so the pulling is probably the toe/ joints and rubbers...and i should make sure that if i tighten them or replace them that its when the car is sitting on the ground... i think i got that much ill def. go rebuilt on the cv joint.. . this is all so new, and again thanks for the help!
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Thanks for the update!
Mike
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Michael Pardee wrote:

another Q' when i get up to about 40mph the front of the car vibrates real bad it makes it hard to controll the car(if it makes u feel any better i dont drive the car much at all because of this problem so dont worry, u wont see me running into anyone... soon), is this the axel, the joints, the allingnment or the tire ballance?
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I'd bet it is whatever is making the toe-out so bad - ball joints or whatever.
Normally, I'd expect to see only one underlying problem - ball joints in this case - and when that was fixed the alignment should be pretty close because it wasn't disturbed initially. From the history you gave us, I wouldn't count on it. First step - identify and replace all broken or bent parts. Second step - alignment.
Mike
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