Tires rubbing on turns - Impala Tech
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-04-2020, 04:20 PM Thread Starter
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Tires rubbing on turns

Hi all. Bit of a situation I am scratching my head over.

Details:
66 Caprice
stock configuration

Problem: Tires rub strut rods on full turns

Prior to my problem, the car did not need any work. I just decided to replace all of the front end bushings to refresh the car. I know my car and its history, no weird accidents, frame issues, etc. The car ran and turned fine before I replaced all rubber in the front.

The problem I have now even after 2 alignments from 2 separate shops is that on a full left or right turn, the tire will rub the strut rod. The wheels are the factory 14" with standard tires, nothing offset or too fat, etc.

When this happens, the tire can obviously be seen giving way to positive camber. This only happens on forward motion. Meaning that if the car is still and I turn the wheel all the way the camber is 0, tires remain vertical and no rubbing of the strut rod. If I drive backwards I can turn all the way on either side - same result: no change in camber and no rubbing of the strut.

It is almost as if the lower control arms were buckling in when I move forward and turn, but they are not budging. All other suspension components are in order and torqued to spec. Strut rod and caster is good. Alignment readouts are well within spec.

Someone suggested my steering wheel may be turning too far. I get about 2 and a quarter turns on my steering wheel each side. Can anyone else confirm how many turns before it doesnt go any further?

Any other insights appreciated. I'm going back downstairs to get under it again.....
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-05-2020, 06:52 AM
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Something has to be flexing if you have good clearance at a stand still and going in reverse. Could be a control arm bushing, a Tie rod end, or something else. I would go back and check torques on tie rod ends and such as you need to get enough static crushing force on these items or they will allow more movement when pulled or pushed on by a couple hundred pounds of force. They could appear tight enough that a person can't move them with the front end jacked in the air, but the forces you can personally exert compared to what is exerted on them in motion are two different things.
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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-05-2020, 10:45 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deadwolf View Post
Something has to be flexing if you have good clearance at a stand still and going in reverse. Could be a control arm bushing, a Tie rod end, or something else. I would go back and check torques on tie rod ends and such as you need to get enough static crushing force on these items or they will allow more movement when pulled or pushed on by a couple hundred pounds of force. They could appear tight enough that a person can't move them with the front end jacked in the air, but the forces you can personally exert compared to what is exerted on them in motion are two different things.
This makes sense and I agree. You got me thinking about bushings or even ball joints. I tack welded the lower control arm bushings to the arms so they aren't moving. I ordered an entire front end kit for this project from Classic Industries. But I suspect some of the rubber in my kit has been sitting on the shelf for some time. The new ball joints actually developed cracks, almost like dry rot, in one day. I wonder if my ball joints, though new, are shot and possibly giving way or allowing excessive movement.

Your advice is sound. Just because I've checked specs before doesn't mean I didn't miss something. Sometimes it takes several passes to catch something. I will keep checking. I was hoping maybe it was something more common that someone has seen before on these cars.

Any other ideas welcomed while I am still putzing around with this....
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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-06-2020, 06:48 AM
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I would say if the new rubber is already cracking something is either wrong with the rubber or the installation of it. You could try going with poly and see if that helps any.
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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-06-2020, 07:55 AM
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Any chance your lower ball joints have a steering stop bolt built in like the (slightly) later cars? Leaving that off would allow the tire to push in about another 3/8"

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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-07-2020, 01:27 PM Thread Starter
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So I got under the car this morning, checked torque specs and everything looks normal so far. I use my service manual for references.

I decided to do some measurements and testing. I marked the position of the strut rods and tie rods using a white pen, and noted the position of the camber bolts on the lower control arms. I then took pictures of the car before and after. I started with the car in normal camber, then reproduced the problem and took pics and measurements after. Here are some of the results (hopefully the pictures go inline):

Initial markings:





Here is a picture of the car first with the tire upright (normal) on turns when standing still or in reverse, then the second picture with the tire bowed in when moving forward:




Pictures of the car with normal tire camber (again, when standing still on turns or going in reverse):



Then a picture of the tire camber when moving forward:



Next post continues....
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-07-2020, 01:35 PM Thread Starter
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In all cases, regardless of the position of the camber in forward or reverse turning none of my markings moved on either the strut rod, tie rods, and even lower control arm:



tie rod markings intact can be seen in the subsequent pictures below.

So the car can only be moving from the knuckle and balljoints is my best guess. Here is a picture of the car when rubbing in forward, and not rubbing in stationary or reverse. Notice the strut rod and lower control arm actually hit the tire. It appears as if it is giving away at the bottom:



not rubbing


My only conclusion is that somehow these brand new balljoints from Classic Industries, which already show signs of cracks (possibly old stock sitting on shelf for ?? years), are the culprit. But I dont see much of a difference in the angles when the car is positive or normal camber. And, the likelihood that both balljoints on both sides are bad would be rare in my opinion. Also the tie rod markings can be seen here as the same in both before and after:



Maybe someone can see something I am missing here. My inclination is to replace the balljoints either way since they show signs of cracking and have only 1 week of install and 2 miles of driving. But if anyone can confirm what they should look like on turns with a picture that would be helpful.
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-09-2020, 07:12 AM
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That lower ball joint movement doesn't seem right. How does the angle change on the upper?
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-09-2020, 10:04 AM Thread Starter
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The angles appear ok on both top and bottom, to be honest. Even the lower ball joint doesn't "look" like it is moving that far to cause this issue. But I can't see inside the boot and maybe I was sent a compatible part but one that is not quite right for my car which has excessive movement.


I am disappointed with Classic Industries on this purchase. I don't even want replacements from them as they will most likely just send me from the same stock. I went ahead and ordered replacement MOOG ball joints since they are all cracking and dry anyway.


I would, however, still like to hear from you guys on how many turns is normal on the steering wheel. Modern cars average about 1 and a quarter turns, the older cars have a bit more room. Mine has exhibited anywhere from 1 and 3 quarter turns to 2 and a quarter turns of the steering wheel. While the potential for my wheel to turn too much does not explain the camber issue, I just want to know to make sure all is in spec.



I wish I had taken notice before I took it all apart.
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-09-2020, 09:10 PM
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wow that picture from the front/lower in a forward turn looks extreme to me,....but I'm just going on gut, your other pics and what I think my car does.


Now, I realize this is going to sound crazy but I'm just trying to think outside the box here....
Are there any odd thunks or odd knock sounds?

Did either alignment shop put shims on your upper control arms? (really just a curiosity question - but on each arm, shouldn't be drastically different front bolt to back bolt)

Is there any chance that the L/R arms got put back in on opposite sides as original? Factory stock upper-arms or tubular with relocated ball-joints?
When the tire is off the ground and you grab the top and bottom, is there movement? Given your description - I'd use mega force on this test. A long pry-bar against the ground to help.

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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-10-2020, 08:41 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BA. View Post
wow that picture from the front/lower in a forward turn looks extreme to me,....but I'm just going on gut, your other pics and what I think my car does.

Now, I realize this is going to sound crazy but I'm just trying to think outside the box here....
Are there any odd thunks or odd knock sounds?

Did either alignment shop put shims on your upper control arms? (really just a curiosity question - but on each arm, shouldn't be drastically different front bolt to back bolt)

Is there any chance that the L/R arms got put back in on opposite sides as original? Factory stock upper-arms or tubular with relocated ball-joints?
When the tire is off the ground and you grab the top and bottom, is there movement? Given your description - I'd use mega force on this test. A long pry-bar against the ground to help.

Thanks BA.



No knocks or bumps, just the rubbing sound of the tire against the LCA nad strut rod.
I installed all of the hardware, and verified that it is proper. The LCAs can only go in one way due to the front sway bar.
The upper control arms -- all factory stock. I thought they might be backwards too early on and verified them. They are installed properly but good thinking on that one!

There are no shims on the upper control arms. I almost thought about putting shims in myself on the backside to counter this effect.
Tire off ground -- no movement up/down or side to side. Megaforce is right. We need to recreate the pressure that causes this. I did the pry bar trick the other day to see if I detect any movement or a bad ball joint but everything checks out.


I'm stumped. I'm waiting for my new ball joints to come in but even then, I don't have complete confidence that will fix it....
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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-10-2020, 09:00 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by justjohn View Post
Any chance your lower ball joints have a steering stop bolt built in like the (slightly) later cars? Leaving that off would allow the tire to push in about another 3/8"

If you are referring to the round stop visible on the outside of the lower ball joint bolt on the front side of the lower control arm, the new ones do not have it. The old ones did. This is part of the reason I was trying to verify how many turns of the steering wheel are normal, to see if I am exceeding the turn and putting extra pressure on the ball joint. But even if I hold the car at 1.25 turns (near or before it would even hit the stop) the car still exhibits positive camber. It just doesn't rub but it gets real close.
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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-12-2020, 05:25 PM
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Quote:
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My only conclusion is that somehow these brand new balljoints from Classic Industries, which already show signs of cracks (possibly old stock sitting on shelf for ?? years), are the culprit. But I dont see much of a difference in the angles when the car is positive or normal camber. And, the likelihood that both balljoints on both sides are bad would be rare in my opinion. Also the tie rod markings can be seen here as the same in both before and after:



Maybe someone can see something I am missing here. My inclination is to replace the balljoints either way since they show signs of cracking and have only 1 week of install and 2 miles of driving. But if anyone can confirm what they should look like on turns with a picture that would be helpful.




I can't disagree with wanting to suspect and even change out the balljoints. It's relatively cheap but time consuming. I heard typical internet rumours about poor quality overseas ball-joints failing so, at least you can try for some Moog or something.
BTW - I realize you mentioned that angle of the picture above is ever so slightly different. I can see that but they are pretty close.
Is it that slight angle difference that makes the outer half of that lower control arm look like it's cocked-up more than the other??!??
My green lines are not "Spot-On" but you get what I'm trying to illustrate.......
I had some sort-of similar bad front-end ju-ju going on last year and have posts here about it. My passenger side was drooping by about 1-1.5 inches. Turns out I bent my A-arm and frame-horn on a pot-hole and had to get my frame to an old-school frame shop.
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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-15-2020, 09:33 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BA. View Post
I can't disagree with wanting to suspect and even change out the balljoints. It's relatively cheap but time consuming. I heard typical internet rumours about poor quality overseas ball-joints failing so, at least you can try for some Moog or something.
BTW - I realize you mentioned that angle of the picture above is ever so slightly different. I can see that but they are pretty close.
Is it that slight angle difference that makes the outer half of that lower control arm look like it's cocked-up more than the other??!??
My green lines are not "Spot-On" but you get what I'm trying to illustrate.......
I had some sort-of similar bad front-end ju-ju going on last year and have posts here about it. My passenger side was drooping by about 1-1.5 inches. Turns out I bent my A-arm and frame-horn on a pot-hole and had to get my frame to an old-school frame shop.
hmmm. I think it is the angle of the picture but I will take a look tomorrow night with the car on the ground to see if there is any twisting or bending. I just installed new upper and lower moog balljoints on it today on the driver side. The camber is still off

but at least it doesnt hit the strut rod. the new balljoint stopper seems to make a difference. the LCA comes close to the tire. So it is slightly better but now I have to go back to the LCAs. Sigh....
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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-16-2020, 11:30 PM Thread Starter
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Well, I'm stumped. The lower control arms appear to be fine, no twisting or bending. I know there isn't any flex or give in the suspension. The LCAs do not move and neither do the upper control arms. The car never had shims before on the upper arm so I shouldnt have to mess with that. I went through and did all of the same testing as I did early on to mark and watch for movement.

I keep going back to the ball joints. In particular, I am zeroing in on the top ball joint. This is the most likely to cause the top of the wheel to pop out on turns. I noticed that on both the last "new" replacement and with the new Moog part, the spindle does not ride all the way up the shaft on the ball joint. What I mean is that after installing the upper ball joint and torquing it to spec, there is still a gap between the castle nut and the boot. If I slide up the boot a bit you can see the shaft. But the nuts are at the end of the threads so there is no more tightening available to force the spindle up further. Both parts are the same.

I just can't recall how much of a gap is normal. I've never had to scrutinize that detail before. I've always just installed balljoints and tightened them down to specifications. Does anyone know if a certain amount of gap is normal?
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post #16 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-19-2020, 02:26 PM
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This is my 3rd attempt at a reply. The site keeps saying my token is expired even though I've refreshed so hopefully this one works.




Wow - twice in a row the site has not let me post my reply. Getting tired of typing this out now.

I'm no help on the BJ/Spindle gap thing. What youre describing sounds bad though - the nut running out of threads before it's really seating on the spindle head? Does that mean the spindle head could move on the ball-joint shank at this point?


I thought a picture of my stock A-arm and BJ might help but my camera takes crappy close-ups and crappy indoor pictures. Also, no spindle attached for good proper reference. I have the Global West arms on my car now so no help there either.
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post #17 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-19-2020, 04:00 PM
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The ball joint and tie rods and steering idler and Pitman arm all have a tapered hole (seven degree taper). They are also sized to fit the stud on the ball joint with a heavier vehicle (or a much faster vehicle such as the Corvette) having a larger diameter stud.

The full size car grew progressively heavier with time. Compare the curb weight of a TriFive, with a 1964 X-frame and a 1970 perimeter frame with a Panhard bar to a 1976 land barge that had triangulated rear control arms. The 1977-'90 full size cars are actually a mid size car: comprable to the 1969-'72 Chevelle. But even these years have larger than Chevelle suspension parts because the speed limits on public roads have also increased since 1955 (they also went metric in '85).

Unless you have owned this car since it was new you have no idea what a previous owner has installed on the car. You may have a 1968-'72 Chevelle steering knuckle installed by a previous owner who wanted disc brakes. The fact that they don't fit your car wasn't going to stop him from putting them on. Though it may be the reason he sold the car to you. With a taper it is small at the bottom to accept a smaller steering arm, but not seat in place so the steering knuckle isn't where it needs to be. This could be a source of your problem.

I ran a high performance garage (one that built race engines, HD transmissions and rear ends as well as full cars ready for the track). People drug in a lot of mistakes for me to fix. I used to groan every time a I saw a roll back wrecker pull in with a classic car on the back of it. Electrical problems, wrong application brakes, mismatched parts were a frequent source of revenue for me, but it took a lot of my time that I could have been building something better.

Back in the late sixties to mid seventies I used to live at the dealership. I met a couple of parts men that saved me a lot of time as I could describe a problem and he would say "Yeah he used the wrong part, you need this one!". Today you get a person (usually young, male or female) that has no idea what a classic car is. They wouldn't recognize any part or were it goes on a car.

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post #18 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-22-2020, 11:29 AM Thread Starter
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.....I thought a picture of my stock A-arm and BJ might help but my camera takes crappy close-ups and crappy indoor pictures. Also, no spindle attached for good proper reference. I have the Global West arms on my car now so no help there either.

It does help. Thank you. I can at least compare the ball joint to mine. But if anyone can show a picture of a stock configuration on the car with spindle and gap that would be a plus. I'm sort of stuck at this point with on other options except for maybe considering shims on the upper A arm. But I shouldnt need to do that, and if the balljoint isn't seating fully I may not be fixing the problem entirely....


I wish Big Dave was right in the sense that the car may not have the right parts but unfortunately I know the car's full history and still talk to the original owner I got it from and the car is all stock (part of the reason I bought it). So unless I am getting the wrong ball joints from multiple suppliers I'm not sure what to do. I thought about maybe putting in a riser spacer of sort between the nut and spindle to move it up some.... back to the garage....!
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post #19 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-26-2020, 09:35 PM Thread Starter
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Just an update. I tried a few additional tricks but to no avail.

I should have taken measurements of my existing alignment before having done all of the front end. But at this time my assumption is that the alignment on my car all of these years has been non-standard. That is to say that it was probably not in accordance with factory specifications.

This time around, I asked for the vehicle to be aligned per factory specs. So it was setup roughly with a few degrees of negative caster, about 0 degree camber and 1/16" to 1/8" Toe in. I suspect the negative caster with insufficient negative camber is at fault.

Caster affects straight-line stability and steering wheel return. High positive caster makes the front wheels want to go straight ahead. A normal amount of positive caster provides stability and makes the steering wheel straighten out after turning. Negative caster can help with crowning of the road and ease for turns, while sacrificing stability at higher speeds. But negative caster forces the wheel to turn in on its axis.

So while I do not believe my car has "too much" negative caster, I suspect that the amount of caster degrees I have combined with not enough negative camber is the cause of my problem. I adjusted my strut rods to try and move my caster to 0 degrees or even 1-2 degrees of positive caster but I was cranked all the way with the wheel being too close to the fender and still had negative caster (top ball joint still running in front of the bottom ball joint when looking down on the axis). So I also tried to shim the upper control arm on the rearward bolt only to try and pivot the top ball joint towards the back of the car some more but that still wasn't enough. So I am hoping to go back to my alignment guy with the following specs:

Caster: Minimally 3 to 5 degrees positive
Camber: .5 negative
Toe: 1/16" to 1/8" Toe in

But everything is closed due to Corona so I will have to wait until the shops open up again to see if my new alignment specs will fix the problem. I will update the post then.
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post #20 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-26-2020, 11:21 PM
 
 
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I know itís probably not the case, but are you sure you didnít mix up the upper control arms when you installed them after the re-bush?

I had both of mine laying on the bench at the same time. I thought to myself, I better mark these things or a week from now sure enough Iíll be scratching my head which side was which. Just a thought
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post #21 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-28-2020, 07:26 PM Thread Starter
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I know itís probably not the case, but are you sure you didnít mix up the upper control arms when you installed them after the re-bush?

I had both of mine laying on the bench at the same time. I thought to myself, I better mark these things or a week from now sure enough Iíll be scratching my head which side was which. Just a thought
Yes! Good point. I do the same thing as you. I make sure I have a way to track these things. I have a tendency to mark items or lay them in the way I remove them. Sometimes I take pictures. With the control arms, I always have a mnemonic in my head I use. I always think "bumps to the front". The upper control arms have a raised bump on one side and a recess in the other. The recess area points to the back. The other raised part, the "bump" faces front. That is how I keep it sorted in my head.

Good thinking though. Ironically, I wonder what it would be like if I swapped them.....
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post #22 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-28-2020, 08:25 PM
 
 
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This is so bizarre, there has to be something weíre missing here. For that tire to Rub the strut rod while turning and going forward like it does is baffling. Wish I was there with you to help brainstorm this.
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post #23 of 24 (permalink) Old Yesterday, 11:27 PM Thread Starter
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This is so bizarre, there has to be something weíre missing here. For that tire to Rub the strut rod while turning and going forward like it does is baffling. Wish I was there with you to help brainstorm this.
Yeah. tell me about it. I'm scratchin' my head over it. Ain't never seen anything like it before. All I can do is what to get it aligned with positive caster at this point but given that this is pretty much how they rolled off the factory it shouldnt do this. I'd gladly welcome another set of eyes on it. if you live near south east PA, plenty of music, food and brew is available to he who figures it out!

It may be a few weeks or more before I can try to change the alignment specs again. Things are closed around here just like it is everywhere else. I'll update the post when I can but welcome any epiphanies that anyone may experience!

Thanks everyone so far. I truly appreciate all the input!
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post #24 of 24 (permalink) Old Today, 07:09 AM
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I highly doubt it because it looks like you are using stock steel tires, but could the back spacing on the rims be wrong? From a quick search it does look like GM has wheels with different back spacing in the 60's and of course the aftermarket will make whatever back space you want.
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