How to Set Pinion Angle on Lowered Truck? [5 Simple Steps]

If you ever own a vehicle you must have heard of the term pinion angle. It plays a vital role for your vehicle to run safely and sound. But, when it comes to setting a pinion angle, things won’t be that smooth.

And, add to that, if you’re trying to set that angle on a lowered truck. Oh boy! You’re in for an adventure! 

So, how to set a pinion angle on a lowered truck?

Setting up a pinion angle is a crucial part of a vehicle yet the steps are pretty simple to follow. All you need to do is to take the measurements appropriately. Next up you need to measure the angular difference too. Then, add/subtract the angles and adjust the control arms.

That’s just the scratch, though! There’s more, obviously. So, in the following discussion, we have simplified the whole process of setting a pinion angle in 5 simple steps. Let’s begin with it.

What Is a Pinion Angle?

Pinion angle is a very important term for a vehicle to run safely. In simple words, the pinion angle is the connection between the transmission centerline and the pinion centerline.

Standardly, the pinion angle should be parallel to the transmission. The reason behind this is that the pinion is wrapped with respect to the energy. And this is the mechanism of how the U joint is being designed.

In usual cases, the shaft of transmission output is located at the centerline of the pinion angle. 

When the axle and the rear suspension move up and down, with this change, the pinion and the transmission output shaft is changing accordingly.

It is difficult to set one perfect pinion angle as there are thousands of opinions about it the right angle.

That said, a perfect pinion angle is important. But, why? Because it will ensure how much traction your vehicle will have while on the track.

What are the Tools You Will be Needing While Setting a Pinion Angle?

Before setting up the perfect angle, first, you will be needing the perfect tools. To make the preferable adjustments and specific suspensions you will be needing wrenches of different sizes, a precise angle finder, a measuring tape, etc.  

Things to Keep in Mind Before Setting Up a Pinion Angle

There are a few things you need to check on while setting up a pinion angle. Some of those are-

  • You have to make sure that the wheels of your vehicle are positioned at the center of your wheel opening.
  • The gap between the tire and the opening should be equal on both sides. 
  • The rear end of the car should be in the center under the car.
  • In case, if the rear end is not centered, before setting up the pinion angle you have to fix the distance it from the center. You can make the changes by electing adjustable suspension at the rear suspension. To verify whether the rear end is right at the center, you can manually measure the exact center of the car and take the measurement from the rear end. If they come with the same measurement, you are good to go. 
  • After checking all the measurements you are good to start changing the pinion angle if the driveline is at zero.
  • To determine the current pinion angle, your angle finder should point to the yoke coming from the rear end and add from the yoke and driveshaft angle.

One added tip before starting, you can make your own draft of the driveshaft to calculate the preferable pinion angle. 

How to Set a Pinion Angle on A Truck?

After ensuring that the rear is centered along with the wheels from side to side you are good to start with the adjustment of the pinion angle. Let us know the 5 steps of how to set a pinion angle-

Step 1: Taking Measurements

First, you need to determine the true center of the car. The first measurement should be taken from the centerline to the back point or at the bolt and note the measurement. Repeat the step on the other side as well. 

Both the measurements should be equal. If they are not the same then you have to make adjustments accordingly to ensure the rear end is perfectly centered.

Step 2: Measuring Angular Difference

Next, you have to be sure that the driveline angle is straight, and examine the transmission at the driveshaft angle with the angle finder. We would find the angle at the driveshaft. 

Take the measurement of the angle that is downwards towards the back. Then, we have to come to the front of the crankshaft to take the angle from there. 

Now compare the difference between the angles of the transmission and the driveshaft. The preferable angle distance is zero degrees. 

Step 3: Adding/Subtracting Angles

Thirdly, you will find if the driveshaft is downwards. If so, then the reference is at the downhill or negative angle toward the pinion. 

Now, we have to measure the actual angle of the pinion and check if it’s also negative. If both the angles are negative, we have to add two of them as they both have the same sign.

Step 4: Adjusting Control Arms

Now we have to make adjustments to the upper control arms. We have to lengthen each control arm by using flats with hexagon adjusters. 

While adjusting with a wrench, you have to count each flat. You have to repeat the process on the other side and maintain the same number of flats.

Thus, the rear end won’t move side to side and the rear angle would be in the same position. Now we have to measure the pinion angle to see what changes have occurred by the flats and if we need more adjustment on the control arm. 

Step 5: Setting Pinion Angle

Finally, you have to repeat the final step as many times as it’ll require to reach the optimal pinion angle. Once you have got your perfect pinion angle you have to tighten up the jam nuts firstly with your hands.

And then, use a wrench to make it tight enough. The ideal pinion angle should be 1 to 3 degrees. 


Why is it important to have a perfect pinion angle for your vehicle?

It is very important for a vehicle to have its perfect pinion angle. It plays a vital role in your universal joint’s life. The wrong measurement will shorten your universal joint and create vibration. 

How to determine if the pinion angle is positive or negative?

Do not overcomplicate the angles about the pinion, all you need to know is if the driveshaft angle is going down towards the pinion, it’s negative. On the other hand, if the driveshaft is going upward toward the pinion, it’s positive. If the pinion is going down toward the driveshaft it’s negative and if going upwards, it’s positive. Finally, you always have to add those two angles.

Final Words

We hope you got the overall picture of the steps. Following those steps, you would get your answer to your query about how to set a pinion angle on a lowered truck? 

One added tip for you, measure the angles as precisely as you can with time. Then the end result would be closest to perfect.

Have a safe journey!

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