Aligning a car may seem like one of those voodoo sciences that makes no sense if you've never actually seen it done, but as we learned by doing in preparing this article, the process is really quite straightforward if approached logically. DIY front wheel alignment. I’ve since made 3/4” spacers. Surprisingly, Martin and I had a lot of trouble getting the numbers to show up consistently at first. This will also help identify bent chassis parts in the future. Finally, we set up the strings and rack so that we could get an accurate 4-wheel toe measurement on the car. There are dozens of DIY alignment hacks online but the simplest one we found was from Jalopnik, which recommends using two 24-inch pieces of … Adjust sway bar end links for the new distances to mounting points and reconnect. Toe-in is used on most drag and production cars to compensate for slack in the steering components so the front wheels track straight ahead under forward thrust. Factors affecting wheel alignment In theory, all four wheels should be perpendicular to the ground and parallel to each other. Excessive camber results in accelerated wear on the inner or outer shoulders of the tires, but most street cars can benefit from up to 1-1.5 degrees of negative camber. The goal of this post is to demonstrate that a DIY guy like many in this forum could perform 4-wheel alignment at your garage (home) using this simplified method. Getting the toe right took quite a bit of time, as I kept having to reposition the frames every time I raised and lowered the car. Tie rod replacement usually requires only a tape measure: See Also. I usually have to do a bit of trigonometry to get the actual degree measurement, so this is a real time-saver for me. Although primarily known as late-model Mustang suspension specialists, Maximum Motorsports also sells several inexpensive alignment tools, including the caster/camber and bumpsteer gauges we used. We are giving this CRX a fresh new alignment to prepare it for another season of rough and tumble racing. Most gearheads understand the basic definitions of caster, camber, and toe, but when it comes to actually measuring or setting these wheel-alignment specs, the easy solution is to bring the car to a professional shop. Traditionally, measuring caster involves a somewhat complex procedure that involves turning plates and a camber gauge. Last year I overhauled an 5hp19fla automatic transmission and replaced. Now that we are done assembling and fiddling with the Tenhulzen 4-Wheel Alignment System, it's time to put it to good use. Getting this right without doing dozens of test drives ultimately ended up saving a lot of time and frustration. The Tenhulzen gauge shortcuts this a bit with some 20-degree angles built into the sides of the gauge. Due to the nature of how suspension systems work in production cars, there is a standard order of operations for aligning race cars: The ride height and corner weights had already been set, so we skipped right to the caster and camber. Words like "caster," "camber," and "toe" are enough to deter anyone from delving any further into the topic. All you do is attach the gauge to the wheel and turn the steering wheel until the angled cut is parallel to the bodywork of the car. Excellent product for DIY alignment. The result forces the driver to make additional steering inputs to keep the car turning in the desired direction, especially in tight corners as the car's suspension rolls while cornering. Though the actual measurement process was decidedly easier using the Tenhulzen gauge due to its fingers and re-zeroable digital angle finder. Now you need to set up 1 jack stand at the back of your car, on the side behind the rear wheel and the other jack stand in front of the front wheel and off to the side. While the most popular and common method by Ray Scruggs use strings, I decided to go stringless. Fast Shipping! With the Tenhulzen system (as with most string-based alignment systems), this is achieved by moving the front and rear frames so that the distance between the center of the hub and the string is the same across the left and right sides of the car. Offerings include a 2-Wheel System, Camber Gauges, Toe Plates, and a 4-Wheel Alignment System Camber measurements are easy with this inexpensive, yet highly accurate, caster/camber gauge from Maximum Motorsports, available for about $60. Wheel alignment is a basic Jeep or 4×4 truck maintenance need. * Center the steering wheel before measuring and setting the toe, and make all adjustments without moving it. * Remember that weight jacking cannot shift weight from front-to-back or left-to-right. Hey all, im just looking for some knowledge and perhaps instructions on how to correct camber on the front wheels on my car, 1941 dodge kingsway. Practice makes perfect, as they say. If you have some sort of prior experience with alignment tools, you would probably be able to tell if something looked odd or if you were doing something to accidentally throw your measurements off. A tire's traction is always greatest when the largest part of its contact patch is in contact with the road surface, and static camber can be dialed in to keep the tire perpendicular as the chassis rolls in a turn. Toe-out is often used on road-race cars to improve corner-entry turn-in, but excessive toe-out can cause dartiness on straightaways and tire wear. The conduit is supported at each end of the car by a set of adjustable jackstands (we use screwdrivers to keep the conduit from rolling off, as seen in the photos) and a length of 60-pound-test fishing line is strung along each side of the car at the same height as the hubs. Ackerman is desirable because it helps the front end turn in to the corner. For more information on balancing the car's weight per wheel, see Marlan Davis' story "The Science of Scaling Your Car" in the Sept. '03 issue, or on the This Month page of HOTROD.com right now. I purchased one of those life time alignments from Firestone back in 2007. !& Smooth Transaction!! (Small differences are the result of rounding.). All in all, the Tenhulzen 4-wheel alignment system requires quite a bit more finesse than your usual set of toe plates or bubble-level camber gauge. Tilting it side to side can affect the camber readings. Nonetheless, through practice and patience we persevered to get the CRX to -2.65 degrees Front and -3.5 degrees Rear that we wanted out of the car. Place the magnetic angle finder on the ground to zero it, then place it on the little L-bracket on the gauge. Bumpsteer Tips* Always set toe and caster prior to bumpsteering a car because caster affects the height of the steering arms, which in turn affects the bumpsteer measurements. To use it, steer the wheels straight ahead (which is easy to get perfect if you have strung the car), then hold the gauge firmly against each wheel and turn the knob until the bubble level is centered. Then turn the wheel until the angled cut on the other side is parallel with the side of the car. A+ - leedon314 Fantastic seller – Great experience and post-sales support is wonderful. Each mark on the knob represents 1/8 degree of camber (clockwise for positive camber, counterclockwise for negative). Now, there are a few ways to look at this. Martin also found that he could bend the gauge with relative ease and force the fingers into the tyre to throw the readings off even further. car wheel alignment gauge closeup Rob Siegel. - dirtboy720 Super 4 Wheel Alignment System!! The rim-grasping fingers, while brilliant, also take some getting used to with certain wheel-tyre combinations. Low-cost tricks for a DIY alignment. The torque specification for alignment bolts appears to be as much as humanly possible ft-lbs. Because alignments require mind-numbing precision and frequent double-checking of numbers Martin Szwarc, regular driver of ProjectCRX, is helping me with this task. on March 26, 2016. But if you enjoy the satisfaction of knowing how to do it yourself, or if you expect to be making enough alignment changes that taking your car to a shop every time would be expensive and impractical, you'll benefit from adding alignment skills to your mental toolbox. Scaling Tips* Always measure cross-weights with the car in race-ready condition with all fluids full and driver weight accounted for. The intricate details that were put into both the frame and the handheld camber/caster/toe gauge take away many of the annoyances of doing alignments. When the vehicle starts pulling to one side – or after a sharp impact with a curb – most drivers suspect that the wheels might be out of alignment. Then, I replaced my ball joints and lower control arm. This particular CRX has had a colorful history of racing-related abuse, including being thrashed to a class victory in its first ever race before being rolled onto its roof on the very next day. Cross-Caster: A side-to-side difference in caster settings. You’ll still want to get a computerized alignment if this happens, but get to a shop — and avoid personal injury and vehicle damage — by using these DIY alignment tips. Refine your settling procedure until your results are repeatable before making any changes. Car was running straight, nice print out of specs, no problems. This page introduces you to the tools and basic terms you'll need to know. Why?? Share. More importantly, the ability to measure against the true centerline of the car meant that, once we were done, the thrust angle of the car would be 0 and the steering wheel would point dead straight. The problem is noticeable on stock-suspended cars that have been lowered, but it's prevalent on street rods with fabricated front suspension. QuickTrick™ Alignment 2019 4th Gen Series offers lighter weight aluminum Systems for Home, Pro, and DIY wheel Alignment. These diagrams show the before-and after results of corner-weighting our Mustang. Caster was dead-on with my bubble gauge as well. Most 4-wheeler owners’ manuals will come with alignment information in the back of the book. If the top of the tire tilts inward as seen from the front, camber is negative; if it tilts outward, camber is positive. If you want something preset and a little easier to use then check out the new QuickTrick system in the shop. Up to a half-degree more positive caster on the passenger side is often used on production vehicles to compensate for the effect of crowned pavement and keeps the vehicle from pulling to the outside edge of the road. 2×4 ; Laser level clamped to rear wheel, use the ruler to measure the front and rear edge of the front wheel to figure out the angle. * If you run out of adjustment range, you may have to make compromises on caster and camber to get the specs equal side-to-side. The string is squared by using a steel ruler to take measurements from fixed points on the chassis, such as the center of the wheel hubs or a machined flat on a wheel, and then sliding the conduit side-to-side until the string is an equal distance from the reference point on each side of the car. If you see that the tread on any one tire appears lower on one side of the car, or lower on one side of a tire than the other side, you have an alignment issue . Suspension modifications, normal chassis and steering linkage wear, off-pavement trail pounding and the use of oversized tires can each impact the front wheel alignment. All we needed to do was to fold out the rulers on the sides of the gauge and get the difference between the measurements. The procedure is pretty straightforward, and I was relieved to see the caster angles on the left and right front wheels come within 0.1 degrees of each other. Turn the digital gauge on and hold the zero button down until it reads 0.00. Refer to the previous section about scaling and cross-weighting to learn how to level all your wheel pads before you begin your alignment. Never know if there may be a bent axle tube, let’s say there’s a difference between center to center of the left side compared to the right side wheels, may have taken a hit somewhere in its life. The procedure is straightforward but requires some care. First, we adjusted the width of the rack so that the inner rivets on the horizontal sections were slightly wider than the car, and made sure that both front and rear frames were the exact same width. Verify your procedure by weighing the car, jacking up one corner, and rechecking the corner-weights after settling. Here's a diagram that helps illustrate what needs to be done: The funny looking box in the center is the car, the black rectangles are the wheels and the blue lines are the strings. Then we pulled the strings out and hooked them onto the frame so they sat slightly higher than the centers of the wheels. The use of fingers to attach the gauge to the wheel is simply, a stroke of genius. Multiply whatever it says on the gauge by 2 to get the caster angle. If the front ruler shows a larger measurement than the rear, the wheel has toe-in. Sure, you could probably DIY your own string alignment rack and even make your own copy of the very clever camber/caster/toe gauge (little known secret - the fingers are available as off the shelf parts made by SPC). After a few tries we had both gauges reading within 0.1 degrees of each other. We just couldn't get the fingers to grasp the wheel consistently. The most difficult and time-consuming part of the process is setting up your equipment to get accurate, repeatable results. Big Thanks To:We couldn't have written this article without expert help and advice from Maximum Motorsports owner Chuck Schwynoch, who trained us during several phone conversations and trips to local racetracks. A really good DIY check can be found here: DIY QUAD ALIGNMENT There are also quite a few on YouTube. That said, I believe that the value for money is excellent. Note that the front and rear measurements may be different due to variations in track width, but the conduit ensures that the strings always remain parallel to each other. This took quite a bit of time to achieve, not in the least because I kept snagging the corners of the frames with my pants. If the two arms of the camber gauge aren't perpendicular to each other, the fingers can't grasp the wheel properly and the gauge reads incorrectly. The cause of this discrepancy turned out to be a combination of the gauge sliding about and our inability to get the fingers to grasp the wheel rim consistently. Although a bit more advanced and requiring more expensive tools than a basic alignment, we've also included information on measuring and adjusting bumpsteer and scaling and corner-weighting a car-techniques that are critical to properly setting up any race car or high-performance street machine for optimum handling. However, if you’re repairing steering and suspension parts, you may throw off your wheel alignment. - yonmoor Excellent engineered camber/caster instrument, easy to use. If the corner-weights vary, there is still some bind in the suspension. Overall, I would recommend this system to anyone who has previously owned or used a toe gauge and/or camber/caster gauge. If the rear ruler shows a larger measurement than the front, the wheel has toe-out. The TR6 is a 4 wheel alignment whereas my 67 Mustang is basically a front end alignment, but can be performed and recorded as a 4 wheel. DIY Wheel Alignment It’s Easier Than You Think! The simple-to-build rig consists of two lengths of 3/4-inch electrical conduit cut about 6 inches wider than the track width of the car, with holes drilled for the string to pass through on each end. This gave me a difference of 0.4" overall or 0.2" on each side. One neat feature of the gauge is that if you adjust the two rulers so that they sit all the way on the outside of the gauge, you can measure the toe in degrees. The track width is the width of your car between the wheel hubs. I tried doing the wheel alignment myself. Very accurate toe measurements can be achieved by the string method, which involves stretching a perfectly squared rectangle of string around it to create a known point from which to measure. Thread starter chard; Start date Apr 28, 2009; C. chard Well-known member. High amounts of positive caster cause the wheels to try to center themselves as the vehicle moves forward resulting in higher steering effort. Most critical is having a flat, level spot to work from, and as you'll read, we've come up with a simple way to accomplish that so you can set alignment in your garage, shop, or even at the racetrack. By clicking Sign Up, you agree to the  Terms of Use. If the track is wider at the front, the wheels are toed-out; if the track is narrower at the front, the wheels are toed in. Adjust jack to position a-arms to current ride height, Center the steering rack and start measuring to either toe in or out. But for that price I would rather buy the whole system than trying to reproduce the meticulous engineering detail designed into the Tenhulzen kit. Our road-race Mustang is set up with about 3 3/4 degrees of negative camber per side. Then stick the gauge on the wheel and read the number that shows up. On most alloy wheels they will have less than 1/32″ which is just fine. Wheel Alignment Guide - DIY Car Alignment With A Few Basic Tools And The Know-How Shared Here, You'll Never Again Be At The Mercy Of An Alignment Shop. Reconnect Sway Bars. This is definitely true if you intend to drive at Pocono Raceway. The Tenhulzen 4-wheel alignment system is a cleverly engineered tool whose brilliance is tarnished ever so slightly by its flexible aluminum construction. The toe gauge and rack were spot-on. Your First AlignmentWith some patience, it's actually very easy and cheap to set your wheel alignment at home. Car Alignment Explained Only physically moving or adding weight can change the distribution within the car. Hands-On - Tenhulzen 4-Wheel Alignment System Testing a clever DIY 4-wheel alignment system Posted by Roger on March 26, 2016 Now that we are done assembling and fiddling with the Tenhulzen 4-Wheel Alignment System, it's time to put it to good use. Discussion in 'Car Repairs / Maintenance' started by appletree, 8 Apr 2010. How to Fix the Alignment on a Car (with Pictures) - wikiHow Caused by the control arms and steering linkage traveling through arcs with unequal radiuses, bumpsteer results in the undesirable effect of the front wheels steering themselves without driver input as the suspension compresses and rebounds. - My trusted local indy wanted $90 but the next appointment is 10 days from now! On factory steel wheels some wheels may have as much as 1/4″ which will ruin your measurements. * Develop a settling routine to use after each weight adjustment, either by rolling the car back and forth onto the scales or jouncing the suspension. If you don't need this advanced data, you can still use the information here about how to level the scales before moving on to the basic at-home alignment procedure in the following pages. Both the Quickset toe gauge and my Longacre toe plates showed the exact same combined-toe measurements as the Tenhulzen rack. 10 February 2020. DIY Wheel Alignment It’s Easier Than You Think! Our testbed is a '90 Honda CRX Si prepared for endurance racing by the team at ProjectCRX.com. If you know toe is split evenly across each axle beforehand, then using toe plates as described above is an excellent way to measure and track changes. Mercedes DIY Wheel Alignment . How-to: Jeep 4×4 Front Wheel Alignment. Then came the most tedious part - squaring the strings. Initial comparisons had us worried, as we saw a huge discrepancy in the camber figures between the Tenhulzen gauge and the Joe's Racing gauge. Even if you're not racing, having all your car's wheels pointed in the right directions is a good idea, and you might be surprised at how much better your car drives after being aligned, not to mention the fact that your tires will probably last longer once you learn how to do your own alignments. Caster: The deviation in degrees between an imaginary line running through the upper and lower ball joints and a vertical line running though the center of the wheel hub to the center of the tire's contact patch on the ground. Toe must be set last. You can also determine this by feeling for irregularities in … That’s a valid assumption, as DIY car alignment is considered an oxymoron. For example, tilting the front or rear of the car up or down can affect caster measurements. During our alignment session, we found a wealth of time-saving features cleverly engineered into the system. The first time, the alignment is perfect. - Robertm5zw3 Our testbed is a '90 Honda CRX Si prepared for endurance racing by the team at ProjectCRX.com. For cruisers where an alignment is a set-it-and-forget-it proposition, that's probably OK. After months of chipping away at it a little each night, I had the front end in my 1974 Lotus Europa Twin-Cam Special buttoned up. DIY Jeep 4×4 Front Wheel Alignment. I don't know of any other system that comes close to delivering this level of functionality for $500. This was an indicator that nothing was bent and that I wouldn't have to touch the caster. My passenger side has quite a bit more camber than it should and id like to try correcting it myself … Yes and no. Highly accurate, repeatable results a bit with some 20-degree angles built the! Out measurement from front-to-back or left-to-right Pocono Raceway or rear of the gauge 2. And fiddling with the Tenhulzen 4-wheel alignment system, it 's prevalent on street rods fabricated. Frequent double-checking of numbers Martin Szwarc, regular driver of ProjectCRX, is helping me with this inexpensive, highly... Terms of use tools to get accurate, caster/camber gauge from Maximum,... And basic terms you 'll need to know of corner-weighting our Mustang work from a level surface avoid. Front and rear sway bars to eliminate the effect of sway-bar bind simply, a stroke genius... 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