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Do the fronts first      and then the rears.  On the fronts, to get 4 to 5 degrees of negative caster, you will probably have to get the left and right upper "A" arms modified for additional upper ball joint movement and additional shims added to make up for the increased width.  While at it, have the "A" arms modified for ball joint "locks" to hold proper camber adjustment.  Without doing this, you will lucky to achieve 2 degrees on negative caster.  Car will feel more stable with more caster, but steering effort will be increased, especially when parking into a space.

I've owned my car since new in 1974, and I feel this is one of most important mods you can make, especially if you run 17" tires in the front.

"Is there anything tricky about doing a 4 wheel alignment on the Pantera? "

Panteras are not particularly difficult to align unless the car has damage to the frame and/or suspension.  There is also the factor that the cars are nearly 50 years old and some of the cars have rusty or frozen suspension bolts that have not been turned since installation at the factory.

"Can your average mechanic do it?"

It's possible, but probably not.  A typical tire shop that aligns our commuter cars is on a tight schedule.  If your car's suspension has been methodically rebuilt and everything is fresh and clean then the answer is yes.  Nonetheless, when they see a Pantera they will probably turn you away.  There are some alignment shops that are setup to work on classic cars and should be able to make it happen but the cost will be higher.

What is your car's suspension like?  Original or rebuilt?  Is the car pulling? Is there play in the steering rack?  Is the steering wheel centered?  Do you have uneven tire wear?  Sorry for so many questions, just describe what you know.

The suspension has been rebuilt with new components. I have only driven the car around 25 miles. Based on prior owner history, car has very few miles since last aligned so no tire wear evident, yet. My concern is only visual inspection based at this point - steering wheel needs centering, front toe-out seems excessive, and right rear wheel camber seems a bit more negative than the left side.

I felt it was worth getting it done properly to have a good baseline. I do have a good old school local frame shop nearby where I had an older muscle car aligned, so I will see what their comfort level is working on it.

I'll also check with a few local Pantera owner's to see where they go.


I have had success setting the toe with the TrackAce laser.  A link is below and it looks like it is $140 shipped.  I have used it many times and it is quite accurate.  Once the toe is set then centering the steering wheel is fairly easy.

For the camber I use a wheel level to make the sides symmetrical.  The rear should be zero or slightly positive.  A negative rear camber will wear the inside of wide tires on a Pantera.  Each time the rear suspension on a Pantera compresses the camber goes more negative.

Just remember, unless the front "A" arms modifications are done to facilitate additional upper ball joint adjustment, I doubt your alignment guy will be able to get more than 2-1/2 degrees of negative caster.  He will run out of back and forth adjustment on the upper ball joint.  The caster adjustment should be done first, as this adjustment will affect "toe-in" and you adjust your camber by moving the upper ball joint "in and out", which will also affect "toe-in".Its a deleicated "balance" adjustment, with toe-in being last of the three adjustments.  Camber adjustment "locks" are a good addition to add to the upper front "A" frames at this time.  Make sure your guy does his "homework" on Pantera front suspensions to prevent having to do the alignment job several times to get it right.  I recommend buying a separate left and right set of upper "A" arms and having them modified by Performance Automotive Technology in Massachusetts.  About $900 - $1000 a pair including new bushings if you send them a good used set of upper "A" arms to work with.  Buy some additional upper ball joint shims also.

Pete M.

Pete: Positive caster is when the upper ball joint is to the REAR of the lower ball joint. Think motorcycle or bicycle front wheel. It leans to the rear, that is POSITIVE Caster. If you turn a bicycle front wheel from side to side, it will raise the handlebars when the wheel is turned either way from straight ahead. The weight of the bicycle tries to keep the front wheel straight. An automobile works the same way. Lean the front wheels to the rear and the car resists turning either way, thus it has better straight line stability.

You are correct.  Positive caster is when the upper ball joint vertical centerline  is behind the lower ball joint centerline.  This can be a confusing subject term wise,  but I think we finally got it right.  Increasing caster angle on Pantera front suspensions is a good thing, especially if you are running wider rims and tires.

A couple of comments here.

First off if you want to increase the front caster past the 2.5+° recommended, then consider putting power steering in the car. You will need it.

What Ford recommended when the U.S. cars were new is all that you need. Some of the numbers some here are suggesting like 5° would be for VERY HIGH SPEED directional stability like if you were racing at Indy at over 200mph. Other then that, you simply don't need it unless you were subject to sudden dip shit fits and are attracted to trees for no apparent reasons.

Keep in mind that most alignment specs are APPROXIMATIONS. It doesn't matter if someone has a computer guided digital alignment machine. It simply doesn't matter if it is off .001° or even more.

As a matter of fact, if you change tire sizes and even tread patterns you likely will need to alter the camber settings to make the tires work. How much? You need to figure that out by trial and error. No one knows that offhand.

High speed rated tires with aggressive tread patterns will certainly require that at some point.

...and if you move away from original springs and shocks to something like Aldens, the car won't move the same way and you need to discover the right settings all over again by trial and error.

The best of the best alignment guys can only put you in the ballpark with them.

Probably the most important setting for both front and rear are the toe settings. You MUST maintain around 3/16" total toe IN or else you are creating a "spin around" at any time "death trap". ESPECIALLY in the rear. You can't have the rear attempting to steer the car. That will happen if you don't have enough toe in and here's the thing, toe in is APPROXIMATE and depends on the tires.

The Pantera is actually a very simple chassis to align.

Use the weight ballast recommendations of loading the car and if there is a large change required, back it in and out to let the suspension set.

If you are experience with alignments, you can actually do it on your garage floor, presuming that it is flat and reasonably level.

The advantage here is that you don't need to leave it with someone and come back and find they are out driving it "testing".


You are absolutely correct about increasing caster in the front suspension of a Pantera.  Drive one with 4 to 6 degrees of positive caster will make you a believer, especially if you have wider front rims and tires.  Yea, steering effort is increased, especially when parking, but power steering is not a necessity.  This caster thing has to be one best kept secrets from Pantera owners.  It's probably so because the front upper "A" arms must be modified to get more  upper ball joint position  movement, which translates into more positive caster above 2 degrees,  regardless of how "good" your alignment guy is.

I have not driven a Pantera with +6° Caster. Correct.

What I do know from other vehicles is that will increase steering effort, particularly while parking the car.

It is generally done for high speed stability increases for racing purposes.

That's how the Indy cars can run right up against the wall at over 200mph with a steady steering wheel.

I find it difficult to believe that anyone would put +2.5° in the category of a mistake by Ford? I don't see that and frankly, you don't have the credentials to question that, so stop trying to sell it.

I can understand where a wide body Pantera with 10 inch wide front wheels and285-50-15 tires could benefit from it simply because of the need for improved geometry in front on those cars.

Increasing the castor alone should calm the steering wheel giggling created by the bad geometry created by that wide of a front wheel.

I don't have that situation. I have a narrow stock body with 8x15 Campis and 225-50-15 P7's.

I just don't see the need for additional directional stability in my car at any speed. Sorry.

I would expect power steering to be a very desirable addition with that much additional castor.

I've seen the result of the addition caster settings on the R model Shelby GT350's. The steering in those cars is brutal. You can barely turn the steering wheel at all unless the car is moving.

Maybe what the issue here is the use of the word "need"? I'm not sure.

Doug, increased high speed stability and self-centering of the steering isn’t the only benefit to increased caster. Increasing the caster in a Pantera also improves “turn-in” and reduces understeer. It improves steering “feel” too. If you competed in Autocross, you’d love it. Yes, it increases steering effort but I believe most enthusiasts would find the improvements worth the penalty. Ford likely did not.

@davidnunn posted:

Doug, increased high speed stability and self-centering of the steering isn’t the only benefit to increased caster. Increasing the caster in a Pantera also improves “turn-in” and reduces understeer. It improves steering “feel” too. If you competed in Autocross, you’d love it. Yes, it increases steering effort but I believe most enthusiasts would find the improvements worth the penalty. Ford likely did not.

From your lips to Ford's ears.

Ford nixed a bunch of suspension items which make me think they were concerned with creating a race car for the street that their projected buyer would be way over their heads with.

Brakes are another thing.

I autocrossed 40 years ago. Autocross settings are not necessarily if ever good for a street car.

I may "fool" with eps again in the spring (or sooner) and the auspices of that may reopen this for me again. Until then, it's closed.

I've done this, i.e., adding + castor, to other cars. At (only) +5° the tire was so recentered in the wheel opening that it would hit the fender lip in front on turns.

At this moment, I don't want to screw with that under the theory that if it isn't broken, don't fix it.

In that case, in order to center the wheel in the opening,  I would have to split the difference and move the top a-arm rearward and the lower one forward. Then you may have a bumpsteer issue unless you bend the pitman arm down.

At this point, I can find grief in other places but thank you for attempting to share the joy and enlightenment you have discovered with me.

Last edited by panteradoug
@forestg posted:

Pitman arm??

The spindle steering arms. Sorry having a bad day. Covid booster shot 48 hrs of Hell. Still some fog to clear yet.

You are rotating the spindles by increasing the castor and that means the steering arms/tie rod connections are going up.

That could be helping the bump steer but I doubt that?

There is only one way to know.

You have to measure the change in the steering as the suspension moves up and down BEFORE you make the changes, then again AFTER you make the changes.

Often you will need to readjust the length of the rack steering arms (shorten) in order to get the 3/16" toe in.

By doing so you are changing the arc of the steering arm/tie rod end connection point and you may be creating a greater travel outwards during the swing through the arc which is the definition of bump steer.

Increasing the + castor sounds simple but it is not. You need to keep the wheel/tire centered in the fender and you can't increase or adversely affect the bump steer.

Dillara's original design is good. I never measured the Pantera for bump steer. It isn't a simple thing to go and do casually.

Certainly radial tires help the situation. Bias plys increase the sensitivity negatively.

IF you could show me the original design and it indicates a design of +6°, not +2.5°, then I will agree with you wholeheartedly and say do it and blame the +2.5° on Ford, but everything would have to be as the original specs including the originally specified rack and mounting. You can't modify from that. Even the design ride height is involved.

I've done the Shelby 1" drop on Mustangs and I can tell you that the bump steer is increased dramatically.

In my view it is so severe that the tie rod ends connection points need to be modified with 1-1/2" cnc steel billet blocks to make the car driveable.

This also has to do with castor change since in that case happens to increase it at certain points through the suspensions travel through the arc.

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