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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 6:54 pm 
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The old DIY Alignment thread seems to be missing a few things.
Here's a quick and easy way to do it.
Just get a block of wood, a laser and a flat wall somewhere.
Put it together something like this:
Image
(My cheapo $10 laser/level was too short to reach across the tire, so I added an extra strip of wood.)
Instead of pointing the laser forward, I pointed it backwards and here it's hitting the wooden block at the back of the car. Maybe you can see the red dot.
Image
Might be a good idea to check the alignment before you jack it up. I checked it before, during, and after adjustment. The longer length towards the back of the car might give you a little better alignment than shooting it toward the front if the wall is only 2 or 3 feet in front of the car. Kinda like taking blood pressure, eh?(You can take it on the arm, or you can take it on the foot.) Don't be afraid to shoot the laser to the rear.
Spend 15-20 minutes playing with it, and you can get it nearly perfect; steering wheel and all!
That's about as complicated as I can make it.

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DIY Shocks: viewtopic.php?f=10&t=45483
DIY Wheel Align: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=42479
Once you get the cars dialed-in (compression, leaks, bearings, alignment, brakes) swap in new rubber and glass, you've got something which should last for years!


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:17 pm 
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So you measured toe and then raised it on the jack so you could make adjustment?
We could drive up on 2 boards [ 2"x8" ? ], each sitting on 2 cement blocks and then slide under and make adjustments under load until it has the toe we want.

Now how do you calculate the toe?

I prefer a string under the car from front to back in the center.
and measure from the string to the same spot on the tire tread in front and behind the tire. Some toe spec is in degrees and some are in distance with stock tire size.

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the time i mispent in my youth

daily driver: red 1991 Metro 3cyl 5sp, roof rack, 8 degree advance,
got 61 mpg combined on 14" tires but i prefer 12"

completed frame up restoration: black 1994 Swift GT 5sp -- like new ! 45mpg
image_id: 15741
"respect awe-thor-i-tay!"

The Borg :alien: assimilated my race :( and all I got was a lousy nanoprobe! :ez_sick:
-- reducing the subspace quantum load on the isolinear impulse adhesion. :alien:


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 10:26 pm 
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xrw44 wrote:
So you measured toe and then raised it on the jack so you could make adjustment?

That's correct. Those pictures were snapped with a PM in mind, but this thread was a 'command performance'.

If you know some old truck mechanics, they used to pull a set of 'duallies' out of the side of the truck using an old trick. We'd jack up the set of tires, and then put a well greased piece of plywood under them. Loosen the center bolts, and you can slide the two wheels and tires, axle and all...out in short order. Makes for quick wheel bearing and seal changes.
You could use that trick here by driving onto a couple of thin pieces of plywood which have grease between them. Then you'd have a 'floating platform' to adjust your wheels. It'd be a bit of a squeeze if you weren't in High School, but it'd work.

Using the jack doesn't add that much time to the job, and makes it easy to get under the car.

Your string idea is great. You can also get very nice results just eyeballing it.

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DIY Broken Bolt Removal: viewtopic.php?f=22&t=41042
DIY Clutch Adjustment: viewtopic.php?f=9&t=48281
DIY Wheel Bearings: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=29003
DIY Shocks: viewtopic.php?f=10&t=45483
DIY Wheel Align: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=42479
Once you get the cars dialed-in (compression, leaks, bearings, alignment, brakes) swap in new rubber and glass, you've got something which should last for years!


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 10:39 pm 
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xrx44
.here's some picture to help

Some will disagree .....I dont think you can adjust the camber on are cars without some modification
.
I think phil is trying to correct his toe in and toe out adjustment to cure some shimmy/front end viberation

I don't understand the greased plywood thing..??
you adjust the toe in/out on the ground then jack the car up and do it again..??


.
Image
.
Image
.
.
phil very clever thanks for the post I'm going to try this
.
.
.
.....JV&S
.
.

.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2009 7:55 am 
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If you need to, the camber can be adjusted by simply filing the holes in the bottom of the strut so that they are elongated and then shifting the top of the knuckle in or out as required - be warned - getting it set correctly will be a pain in the butt.

There are a couple of manufacturers that do an eccentric bolt kit that makes the filing unneccessary and the adjustment easier - Ingalls Engineering comes to mind.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2009 2:20 am 
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fordem wrote:
If you need to, the camber can be adjusted by simply filing the holes in the bottom of the strut so that they are elongated and then shifting the top of the knuckle in or out as required - be warned - getting it set correctly will be a pain in the butt.

There are a couple of manufacturers that do an eccentric bolt kit that makes the filing unneccessary and the adjustment easier - Ingalls Engineering comes to mind.

my last alignment guy said he uses smaller bolts in the holes so he can shift things.

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looking for:
the time i mispent in my youth

daily driver: red 1991 Metro 3cyl 5sp, roof rack, 8 degree advance,
got 61 mpg combined on 14" tires but i prefer 12"

completed frame up restoration: black 1994 Swift GT 5sp -- like new ! 45mpg
image_id: 15741
"respect awe-thor-i-tay!"

The Borg :alien: assimilated my race :( and all I got was a lousy nanoprobe! :ez_sick:
-- reducing the subspace quantum load on the isolinear impulse adhesion. :alien:


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2009 2:45 am 
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jaguar,vettes&sprints wrote:
xrx44
.here's some picture to help
I don't understand the greased plywood thing..??
you adjust the toe in/out on the ground then jack the car up and do it again..??
phil very clever thanks for the post I'm going to try this
.....JV&S
.


1. Thanks for trying to help. I know what toe is. My point is: the red dot is on the wall. Now how does Phil calculate the toe? Toe In spec is Distance at Back of Tire minus Distance at Front of Tire. Measured at mid dia. How does Phil get there?

2. the grease allows the suspension to settle and be realistic under load. I have used grease between sheets of 12" floor tiles. Easy to store. Alternatives of some value :roll: : bounce the fender , roll the car back and forth :lol:

3. My car steers much better with 1/16 toe OUT :D
1/16 IN was scarey on turns over 30 mph :shock: everything front and back was checked out 3 times. just MY weird metro and tires. :lol:

4. My 240z cars have shimmed (ed. shimmied) due to bent rims, tire balance, worn steering and bad Tension compression rods. Not toe.

Just my 4 cents

_________________
looking for:
the time i mispent in my youth

daily driver: red 1991 Metro 3cyl 5sp, roof rack, 8 degree advance,
got 61 mpg combined on 14" tires but i prefer 12"

completed frame up restoration: black 1994 Swift GT 5sp -- like new ! 45mpg
image_id: 15741
"respect awe-thor-i-tay!"

The Borg :alien: assimilated my race :( and all I got was a lousy nanoprobe! :ez_sick:
-- reducing the subspace quantum load on the isolinear impulse adhesion. :alien:


Last edited by xrw44 on Wed May 20, 2009 8:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2009 8:10 am 
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Like I said, this is as simple as I can make it.
The laser is a certain distance from the tire.
You shoot it the same distance on both sides of the car, right past the rear tires.
Stand in front of the car and just eyeball it. Kinda fun to do, actually.
No string, no tape, no thermal crayon, no 'nothing'...(well, the laser level). Otherwise it's free.
Just shoot the red dots the same, and go for a drive.
Out here, the sun will destroy our tires before the tread wears out.
And that set of tires has been from coast to coast...on that car. Those tires are 5 years old.
Lots of tread, so the alignment works.
I just made a small adjustment because I got a bit close to a curb, and she was pulling a bit.
Now, no more pull.
Snapped the pictures as an after thought. Maybe it will help if you're poor and if your car pulls to one side, or the tires are wearing funny. Not a $20,000 alignment jig, but this is a DIY thread.
You can use it to check any car. Don't even need to jack it up. I can hear it already, "Honey, you hit the curb again..." :lol:

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DIY Broken Bolt Removal: viewtopic.php?f=22&t=41042
DIY Clutch Adjustment: viewtopic.php?f=9&t=48281
DIY Wheel Bearings: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=29003
DIY Shocks: viewtopic.php?f=10&t=45483
DIY Wheel Align: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=42479
Once you get the cars dialed-in (compression, leaks, bearings, alignment, brakes) swap in new rubber and glass, you've got something which should last for years!


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PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2009 8:00 pm 
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Just like the string method, it's sometimes a little difficult to know the car's exact geometric relation to the wall you are shining the red dot on.

I find it better to place a small piece of plywood against the rear tires as a laser target. That way you always know that the laser is parallel to the center of the car (as long as the rear suspension isn't bent)


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 1:52 pm 
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jaguar,vettes&sprints wrote:
Image


Camel toe:
Image

Homer Simpson toe:
Image

Toe in vs. toe out???
Image

I did the laser adjustment a few weeks ago on the nephew's car.
He took it to a friends, and they used a tape measure.
They came up with one sixteenth toe in.
I told him, his tape measure's smallest increment was one sixteenth.
He and his buddy spent SIX HOURS trying to get that last sixteenth perfect.
:shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock:

_________________
DIY Broken Bolt Removal: viewtopic.php?f=22&t=41042
DIY Clutch Adjustment: viewtopic.php?f=9&t=48281
DIY Wheel Bearings: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=29003
DIY Shocks: viewtopic.php?f=10&t=45483
DIY Wheel Align: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=42479
Once you get the cars dialed-in (compression, leaks, bearings, alignment, brakes) swap in new rubber and glass, you've got something which should last for years!


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 30, 2011 11:36 am 
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After lowering, I had an Alignment done at a reliable shop. Costed $110 but it was bad apparently. After rotating tires I noticed more wear on one side, so good thing I had it done.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 9:34 pm 
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Phil N Ed wrote:
The old DIY Alignment thread seems to be missing a few things.
Here's a quick and easy way to do it.
Just get a block of wood, a laser and a flat wall somewhere.
Put it together something like this:
Image
(My cheapo $10 laser/level was too short to reach across the tire, so I added an extra strip of wood.)
Instead of pointing the laser forward, I pointed it backwards and here it's hitting the wooden block at the back of the car. Maybe you can see the red dot.
Image
Might be a good idea to check the alignment before you jack it up. I checked it before, during, and after adjustment. The longer length towards the back of the car might give you a little better alignment than shooting it toward the front if the wall is only 2 or 3 feet in front of the car. Kinda like taking blood pressure, eh?(You can take it on the arm, or you can take it on the foot.) Don't be afraid to shoot the laser to the rear.
Spend 15-20 minutes playing with it, and you can get it nearly perfect; steering wheel and all!
That's about as complicated as I can make it.


Thank you for this DIY... I'm Going to try this on my Suzuki Swift this weekend, I hope I can do the right adjustments by simply following what you said here.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 7:05 am 
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In preparation for a new set of tires I wanted the alignment to be perfect on my 93 Swift GA so I bought a $16 22" laser level at Harbor Freight.

My method was a bit different to the above but should be slightly more accurate.

Car in garage on concrete floor. Cinder block against each front wheel with board on top so laser level at axle height. 2 small pieces of 1" square steel tubing attached to level with packing tape. These work as spacers between the level and the edge of the wheel rather than touching the tire. Other things could be used as spacers as long as they are exactly the same length.

Center steering wheel. Project dot forward from each front wheel and mark garage wall, then project dot backward from each front wheel and mark garage door. Measure distance between marks at front and back. Turn wheel and adjust tie rods as necessary with car on the ground then repeat projecting and measuring until the distance is the same on the wall in front and the door in back. Now toe in = 0.

With steering wheel centered, on each side project a dot toward the rear onto a ruler held against each rear hub and compare the measurement. If it's equal, the steering wheel will be straight while driving.

Use the same procedure on the rear wheels but adjust so the forward measurement is slightly less than the rearward measurement. Project a dot forward against a ruler held against front hub to check that it's the same on both sides.

Recommended settings for the 93 GA are 0" toe in front and 0.08" to 0" toe in at rear.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2012 12:19 pm 
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Thanks Phil N Ed for this write up. And thanks QDM for your addition, I especially like your idea for using spacers to allow for alignment off the wheel itself.

I'll be doing this procedure soon on my MK1 and these ideas will make it much easier and less frustrating than my old eyeball and measuring tape method.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 7:17 pm 
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An actual laser level has some advantages, but beware using a laser pointer strapped to something square--the laser may not be parallel to the pointer casing.

There are a lot of ways to do this, but I did notice that the previous posts don't mention that you really need your wheels to be on a level surface before you start.

Here are some more tips (not responsible for the anyone's failure to manage risk appropriately--if you don't do this right there is the potential to damage your car or get caught under it if it doesn't stay put):

I am not sure whether the previous posts are recommending that you align the car on the floor or on jackstands, but toe will change as the car is weighted, so doing the alignment on jackstands isn't ideal. If you do it with the car resting on the floor, it's hard to get to the nuts on the retainer nuts on the tie rods, especially if your car is lowered. Further, the car should really be on a level surface, and most garages aren't.

I start with 4 concrete paving blocks to help get a little space to work:

Image

Then you can use floor tiles to make each platform level:

Image

Note: The extra particle board is there because I ran out of floor tile, and it's a funny shape because I had those pieces lying around and didn't feel like cutting them. This arrangement also helps to get corner weights, as you will see shortly.

I normally use vinyl composite tile, which is usually less than $1 per tile, but the only home improvement place near me now doesn't carry it so I had to use self adhesive tile instead--a bonus is that I found I could stick the tiles needed for each corner of the car together and label them for easy reuse.

Once you have the floor leveled, you can grease another pair of tiles to make sliders for the wheels so that the suspension is not binding when you let it down on the the platforms from the jack, and the wheels will turn with minimal resistance when you make adjustments.

Image

Careful. If you didn't get the leveling right, your car could slide right off the platforms at this point! See earlier warning.

Once the car is safely on the platforms you can run fishing line between two rods (I used shelving brackets) so that the lines are parallel and just a bit wider than the car. Because the car is on sliders, you can actually push the car back and forth as well as the line holders until everything is square. Did I mention that this is also best done with new tires inflated to the pressure you intend to use?

Image


FYI, the front track on a Swift is slightly wider than the rear, so you want to get even measurements to the hub on both sides, but they won't be the same on each end. Wheels with center caps are very helpful.

Image

Now you can measure from the string to the rim on each side for all four wheels. If the distance is greater at the front of the rim, you have toe in. If it is greater at the back, you have toe out. Adjust to your requirements.

I run a mm or so of toe out up front to increase turn in, and a mm or so toe in at the back to increase stability, but I am also running an oversize rear sway bar and no bar on the front.

Corner weights:

There isn't much reason to do this unless you have coilovers and can do something about it, but another advantage of the above described set up is that you can replace the concrete blocks one at a time with scales and weigh each corner of the car. Full disclosure: This should work in theory but didn't work so well for me using the scales shown in the pictures. They are supposed to be 300lb scales, but didn't measure consistently near their limits and/or the particle board piece I was using to spread the weight wasn't rigid enough. I couldn't get repeatable results--you mileage may vary, but this should work with good scales:

Image

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 9:20 pm 
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Excellent post and a variation of xrw44's method.

Here is a three year update on my original post:

The Gold Wing

Image
is back in Arizona (notice decal?), and the tires on the Gold Sprint were replaced a few months ago.
That Norco jack still holds a car up for a week in the same place, even with jackstands under it.
Hint: spend a few bucks on a good Norco unit and rebuild it. You'll be impressed.

The tread was essentially the same as in the picture above, so I guess the alignment was spot on or good enough.
The reason the tires were replaced was due to the Southern California desert climate separating the sidewall from the tread area.
They still ran true, but it looked kinda scary and would probably get you a ticket.

No matter which method you use, the point of this thread is that you can do a fairly decent alignment if you take the time to tinker with your car. It probably is time to pull out that laser level of mine and replace the batteries!

Did you notice that we are aligning the cars in the garage at night?
In the desert is simply too hot during the Summer to do anything in the daylight.

Again, great alignment post and thanks for putting it in this thread.
:D

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DIY Broken Bolt Removal: viewtopic.php?f=22&t=41042
DIY Clutch Adjustment: viewtopic.php?f=9&t=48281
DIY Wheel Bearings: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=29003
DIY Shocks: viewtopic.php?f=10&t=45483
DIY Wheel Align: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=42479
Once you get the cars dialed-in (compression, leaks, bearings, alignment, brakes) swap in new rubber and glass, you've got something which should last for years!


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