Negative camber and motor upgrade

I am the third owner of a 2002 E85 2 seater and am in a first timer rebuild process.

So far I have done the following:

  1. New flooded batteries
  2. changed differential oil
  3. new disc breaks on front - added wheel spacers
  4. upgraded to 7.5 HP (used) motor (controller not reprogrammed yet)
  5. changed out tie rod boots and tie rod ends

After these changes - I am experiencing significant negative camber on front wheels and there is a burning odor coming from either the motor or the controller after first run of about 15 minutes.

Any thoughts on why the negative camber and why that odor is happening with this motor upgrade?

Any help appreciated.


Make sure toe in is correct before trying to correct negative camber. Toe out will make the wheels pull out at the bottom.

If toe is ok put washers between the top 2 spindle holes and the spindle carrier. Thin if a little out, thick if a lot.


Before setting toe: force the front of the wheels as far apart as possible.

WHY: When in operation the wheels will pull in when under power, When coasting or braking the wheels will pull out.

This can cause a bit of instability when coasting if not enough toe.


Just so we are all on the same page

Camber is the Angle of the wheel from the ground UP

Tow is the angle of the wheel from front to back.

Most EARLY gems are effected by CAMBER. Not TOW.

Negitive camber on most E-825’s are from wornnout shocks and more specific shock bushings. Replacing shocks that have the correct eye to eye length will make the front wheels track straight up and down. Search here for other ways of adjusting camber

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Your right about the terms. However as GEMs age toe tends to gain toe out. When tow out gets over a 1/4+ of an inch it pulls the bottom of the wheels out and creates negative camber. When a Gem has this condition, if you back up the wheel s will stand up or in extreme cases will go positive camber. This is the reason its imperative to adjust toe before altering camber by shimming.


2007 ELXD with front disk brakes. Replaced all A-Arm bushings, installed new adjustable shocks, adjusted to proper toe in. Put it back on the ground and noticed that it has approximately 3/4" negative front end camber. Checked the ball joints and they are warn out. Ordered up new ones that are being shipped today. Question is, If I still need to take more negative camber out, how do you do that with the knuckle assembly. Thank you in advance and I’m a better carpenter than mechanic!

You can add washers between the hubs and the spindle to space or “shim” the hub so it has a better angle. I would recommend some sorta shim that supports both the top and bottom of the hub. Example a spacer that looks like the shape of a door stop or wedge

Thanks Grant! Good info