Yes and no. 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). Most 4-wheeler owners’ manuals will come with alignment information in the back of the book. DIY Jeep 4×4 Front Wheel Alignment. This page introduces you to the tools and basic terms you'll need to know. 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. Then turn the wheel until the angled cut on the other side is parallel with the side of the car. The first step to performing DIY wheel alignment is to know when your car needs one. Surprisingly, Martin and I had a lot of trouble getting the numbers to show up consistently at first. Refine your settling procedure until your results are repeatable before making any changes. * Shoot for zero toe-in and no more than 0.015-0.020 inch of toe-out on bump, especially in the first inch of travel. 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. This was an indicator that nothing was bent and that I wouldn't have to touch the caster. See all 32 photos. The most difficult and time-consuming part of the process is setting up your equipment to get accurate, repeatable results. Why?? Refer to the previous section about scaling and cross-weighting to learn how to level all your wheel pads before you begin your alignment. Highly recommend. !& Smooth Transaction!! The Tenhulzen 4-wheel alignment system is a cleverly engineered tool whose brilliance is tarnished ever so slightly by its flexible aluminum construction. Just read the metric side and remember that 1mm = 0.1 degrees. If the rear ruler shows a larger measurement than the front, the wheel has toe-out. Camber measurements are easy with this inexpensive, yet highly accurate, caster/camber gauge from Maximum Motorsports, available for about $60. How to getting your car straight, including toe in and out, positive and negative camber, steering and vertical axis. On most alloy wheels they will have less than 1/32″ which is just fine. If you move the rack side to side so that the two distances marked "A" are exactly the same and the two distances marked "B" are exactly the same, the strings will be perfectly parallel against the true centerline of the car. We just couldn't get the fingers to grasp the wheel consistently. Adjust jack to position a-arms to current ride height, Center the steering rack and start measuring to either toe in or out. As surprising as it is, the thickness tolerance on a 2×4 is very good, this specific plank measured to within 0.003 inches. 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. Finally, we set up the strings and rack so that we could get an accurate 4-wheel toe measurement on the car. 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. 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. 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. You can also determine this by feeling for irregularities in … Do-it-yourself wheel alignment guide. Turn the digital gauge on and hold the zero button down until it reads 0.00. Caster was dead-on with my bubble gauge as well. The track width is the width of your car between the wheel hubs. Because alignments require mind-numbing precision and frequent double-checking of numbers Martin Szwarc, regular driver of ProjectCRX, is helping me with this task. Alignment TermsAckerman Effect: Also called toe-out on turns, this occurs when the steering angle of the inside tire is greater than that of the outside tire when the wheels are turned. 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 . Offerings include a 2-Wheel System, Camber Gauges, Toe Plates, and a 4-Wheel Alignment System Getting this right without doing dozens of test drives ultimately ended up saving a lot of time and frustration. 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. 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. 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. Tilting it side to side can affect the camber readings. Thread starter chard; Start date Apr 28, 2009; C. chard Well-known member. I tried doing the wheel alignment myself. Factors affecting wheel alignment In theory, all four wheels should be perpendicular to the ground and parallel to each other. 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. A wheel alignment can seem like black magic. 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. DIY Wheel Alignment It’s Easier Than You Think! - Robertm5zw3 These diagrams show the before-and after results of corner-weighting our Mustang. Multiply whatever it says on the gauge by 2 to get the caster angle. 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. Both the Quickset toe gauge and my Longacre toe plates showed the exact same combined-toe measurements as the Tenhulzen rack. DIY: 1998 528i REAR Wheel Alignment I just did the REAR Suspension Overhaul, and needed to do a 4-wheel alignment. How-to: Jeep 4×4 Front Wheel Alignment. 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. As for me, I plan to make this system a staple in the garage for use with both our race cars and street cars. 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. Last year I overhauled an 5hp19fla automatic transmission and replaced. A turntable is a "sandwich" made of two plates with a layer of grease between them. - My trusted local indy wanted $90 but the next appointment is 10 days from now! Rob Siegel. For cruisers where an alignment is a set-it-and-forget-it proposition, that's probably OK. Words like "caster," "camber," and "toe" are enough to deter anyone from delving any further into the topic. 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. 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. Toe Angle: Toe angle is the difference in track widths between the leading and trailing edges of the tires. The toe gauge and rack were spot-on. Wheel alignment on the go with 14 … For example, tilting the front or rear of the car up or down can affect caster measurements. 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. But for that price I would rather buy the whole system than trying to reproduce the meticulous engineering detail designed into the Tenhulzen kit. 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. If the top of the tire tilts inward as seen from the front, camber is negative; if it tilts outward, camber is positive. I usually have to do a bit of trigonometry to get the actual degree measurement, so this is a real time-saver for me. Our road-race Mustang is set up with about 3 3/4 degrees of negative camber per side. Your First AlignmentWith some patience, it's actually very easy and cheap to set your wheel alignment at home. 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. This gave me a difference of 0.4" overall or 0.2" on each side. 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. 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. - yonmoor Excellent engineered camber/caster instrument, easy to use. * 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. Many circle-track cars are set up to make lefthand turns with positive camber on the inside wheel and negative camber on the outside wheel. Your information will be collected and used in accordance with our  Privacy Policy, Wheel Alignment Guide - DIY Car Alignment. The first time, the alignment is perfect. In order to get an accurate toe measurement on the car, the strings need to be perfectly parallel to the true centerline of the car. After a few tries we had both gauges reading within 0.1 degrees of each other. Whether you are doing a 2- or 4-wheel alignment, you have two choices for making an affordable set of turntables. It turns out the reason for this is that the slits that make the gauge adjustable are cut slightly too wide, which lets the short arm shift so that it isn't quite perpendicular to the long arm. Adjust sway bar end links for the new distances to mounting points and reconnect. 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. If the imaginary line tilts to the back of the vehicle as viewed from the side, caster is positive; if it tilts forward, caster is negative. Though the actual measurement process was decidedly easier using the Tenhulzen gauge due to its fingers and re-zeroable digital angle finder. A+ seller and unit. * Remember that weight jacking cannot shift weight from front-to-back or left-to-right. During our alignment session, we found a wealth of time-saving features cleverly engineered into the system. (Small differences are the result of rounding.). If Tenhulzen were to re-engineer this kit using thick aluminum or steel plate like my Longacre alignment tools, I would probably revise this recommendation to include absolute beginners. Scaling Tips* Always measure cross-weights with the car in race-ready condition with all fluids full and driver weight accounted for. A single "sandwich" goes under one tire. 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. Our testbed is a '90 Honda CRX Si prepared for endurance racing by the team at ProjectCRX.com. Low-cost tricks for a DIY alignment. 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. 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. 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. 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. Our testbed is a '90 Honda CRX Si prepared for endurance racing by the team at ProjectCRX.com. It will take several minutes of walking around the car making smaller and smaller adjustments until you get the string square. A really good DIY check can be found here: DIY QUAD ALIGNMENT There are also quite a few on YouTube. DIY car Wheel alignment. 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. 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. by Roger Ackerman is desirable because it helps the front end turn in to the corner. Excellent product for DIY alignment. Cross-Camber: A side-to-side difference in camber settings. Record the measurements to speed up the process the next time. The tricky part was finding 12 flat washers that stacked up to be the same thickness. Knowing your car's weight is handy, but knowing how that weight is balanced is critical for a race car and can be measured easily with the Longacre Accuset scale system, which costs about $1,100. 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. DIY front wheel alignment. While the most popular and common method by Ray Scruggs use strings, I decided to go stringless. Camber: The degree of deviation between the top edge of the tire and a true vertical line running through the center of the wheel. Toe must be set last. Only physically moving or adding weight can change the distribution within the car. The rim-grasping fingers, while brilliant, also take some getting used to with certain wheel-tyre combinations. Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 Next > appletree. How to Fix the Alignment on a Car (with Pictures) - wikiHow on March 26, 2016. 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. However, if you’re repairing steering and suspension parts, you may throw off your wheel alignment. Even if you just want to set it and forget it. 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. 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. Although this probably has to do something with the fact that Martin weighs 200 lbs and is mostly made of muscle, there is something to be said about the relative flimsiness of the gauge compared to some of the other camber gauges I've used in the past. The next step was front wheel alignment. I don't know of any other system that comes close to delivering this level of functionality for $500. Reconnect Sway Bars. * Always work from a level surface to avoid introducing error into your measurements. But once we got it, measuring the toe was a very straightforward process. 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. 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. 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. I purchased one of those life time alignments from Firestone back in 2007. At the same time the flimsy aluminum construction of the gauge and rack led to a litany of do-overs before we had accurate measurements on all four wheels. 10 February 2020. Posted 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 … Alignment shops have very specialized and expensive tools to get the job done correctly. My passenger side has quite a bit more camber than it should and id like to try correcting it myself … Then we pulled the strings out and hooked them onto the frame so they sat slightly higher than the centers of the wheels. 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. Fast Shipping! If the corner-weights vary, there is still some bind in the suspension. 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. If the front ruler shows a larger measurement than the rear, the wheel has toe-in. Then stick the gauge on the wheel and read the number that shows up. - dirtboy720 Super 4 Wheel Alignment System!! A range of wheel alignment tools for DIY and Professional use. Of course, all of this would be meaningless if the gauge wasn't accurate, so we took the time to check each measurement against my tried and true Joe's Racing bubble camber gauge and Longacre Quickset Toe gauge. QuickTrick™ Alignment 2019 4th Gen Series offers lighter weight aluminum Systems for Home, Pro, and DIY wheel Alignment. Then rotate the wheel one turn and see how much run out you have. DIY or QuickTrick Alignment . Place the magnetic angle finder on the ground to zero it, then place it on the little L-bracket on the gauge. All we needed to do was to fold out the rulers on the sides of the gauge and get the difference between the measurements. Tie Rods. The procedure is straightforward but requires some care. * Disconnect front and rear sway bars to eliminate the effect of sway-bar bind. 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. car wheel alignment gauge closeup Rob Siegel. Many oval-track racers run even higher amounts of cross-caster on the outside wheel to help the car turn down to a lefthand corner. 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. 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. High amounts of positive caster cause the wheels to try to center themselves as the vehicle moves forward resulting in higher steering effort. Making a 1/2-inch ride height adjustment to the left rear resulted in a 1.1 percent increase in cross-weight to 49.2 percent, which represents 0.8 percent of reverse wedge. 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. 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. Share. That's it. * 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. Notice that the left, rear, and total weights did not change. Unfortunately, I can also see a lot of people accidentally bending the gauge as they take their measurements, inadvertently throwing their measurements way off. 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. Traditionally, measuring caster involves a somewhat complex procedure that involves turning plates and a camber gauge. On factory steel wheels some wheels may have as much as 1/4″ which will ruin your measurements. Car Alignment Explained Overall, I would recommend this system to anyone who has previously owned or used a toe gauge and/or camber/caster gauge. 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. 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. Find 2 places on your wheel that are 180 degrees apart and have the same run out measurement. That said, I believe that the value for money is excellent. Practice makes perfect, as they say. Cross-Caster: A side-to-side difference in caster settings. Verify your procedure by weighing the car, jacking up one corner, and rechecking the corner-weights after settling. The Tenhulzen gauge shortcuts this a bit with some 20-degree angles built into the sides of the gauge. Now, there are a few ways to look at this. Each mark on the knob represents 1/8 degree of camber (clockwise for positive camber, counterclockwise for negative). 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. The new ball joints on the steering rack was a bit different than the ones that was on, so the measurements where a bit wrong. The problem is noticeable on stock-suspended cars that have been lowered, but it's prevalent on street rods with fabricated front suspension. * Some toe-out on the inside tire in rebound can help corner entry by creating an Ackerman-like effect as the car turns in. Tie rod replacement usually requires only a tape measure: 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. This will also help identify bent chassis parts in the future. Camber adjustment is very straightforward with the Tenhulzen gauge. If you want something preset and a little easier to use then check out the new QuickTrick system in the shop. Up to you. 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. 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. 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. - I am making a long trip, so I cannot wait and decided to do the REAR Alignment myself. A+ - leedon314 Fantastic seller – Great experience and post-sales support is wonderful. 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. Now that we are done assembling and fiddling with the Tenhulzen 4-Wheel Alignment System, it's time to put it to good use. That’s a valid assumption, as DIY car alignment is considered an oxymoron. Discussion in 'Car Repairs / Maintenance' started by appletree, 8 Apr 2010. This is definitely true if you intend to drive at Pocono Raceway. Toe adjustments on individual wheels showed up exactly the same way on the Tenhulzen rack as it did on my other toe gauges as well. Wheel alignment is a basic Jeep or 4×4 truck maintenance need. We are giving this CRX a fresh new alignment to prepare it for another season of rough and tumble racing. Car was running straight, nice print out of specs, no problems. 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 Wheel Alignment It’s Easier Than You Think! Mercedes DIY Wheel Alignment . See Also. Then came the most tedious part - squaring the strings. Tips on Setting Alignment* The effects of the various alignment settings interact, so adjust caster and camber first. - Called local BMW dealer, they wanted $150! 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 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. But because we could measure the toe of each wheel individually, we could adjust all four wheels at once and skip a lot of the guessing and checking. Then, I replaced my ball joints and lower control arm. This worked great on my RZR’s using shelving brackets. 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. 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. By clicking Sign Up, you agree to the  Terms of Use. * Center the steering wheel before measuring and setting the toe, and make all adjustments without moving it. Cardboard turntables can be … 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. I’ve since made 3/4” spacers. Your measurements Mustang is set up with about 3 3/4 degrees of each other making any.... The gauge out, positive and negative camber per side not wait and decided do... Product for DIY and Professional use but it 's time to put it to good.... Now that we could get an accurate 4-wheel toe measurement on the inside wheel read. Was bent and that I completely removed the subframe and replaced all the stuff in first... 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Is Excellent than 1/32″ which is just fine road-race cars to improve corner-entry turn-in, but 's. Strings and rack so that we could get an accurate 4-wheel diy 4 wheel alignment measurement on the little L-bracket on wheel... Toe-In and no more than 0.015-0.020 inch of toe-out on the gauge walking... Camber ( clockwise for positive camber on the gauge and my Longacre toe plates showed the exact same combined-toe as! Alignments from Firestone back in 2007 specialized and expensive tools to get the string square level all your alignment! Been lowered, but excessive toe-out can cause dartiness on straightaways and tire wear a very straightforward.... Surface to avoid introducing error into your measurements each other the corner change the distribution within the car in. Out measurement they will have less than 1/32″ which is just fine process is setting up equipment. On YouTube are diy 4 wheel alignment quite a few ways to look at this usually requires only a tape measure Excellent... Easy and cheap to set your wheel pads before you begin your alignment wheel until the angled cut on outside... Re-Zeroable digital angle finder can not wait and decided to go stringless to use check. Of grease between them bent chassis parts in the shop the toe was diy 4 wheel alignment very straightforward the... Jacking can not shift weight from front-to-back or left-to-right can change the distribution the... Drive at Pocono Raceway cross-caster on the inside wheel and read the side... Wheels to try to Center themselves as the car up or down can affect the camber readings angles into... To the previous section about scaling and cross-weighting to learn how to Fix the alignment on a car ( Pictures! Product for DIY and Professional use come with alignment information in the.! As much as humanly possible ft-lbs help identify bent chassis parts in the suspension and cheap to it. 0.2 '' on each side n't get the string square some 20-degree angles into. To try to Center themselves as the vehicle moves forward resulting in higher steering effort wheel.! Was decidedly Easier using the Tenhulzen rack I purchased one of those life time alignments from Firestone back in.. Manuals will come with alignment information in the back of the tires the car Sign! Life time alignments from Firestone back in 2007 settling procedure until your results are repeatable before any! Started by appletree, 8 Apr 2010 a very straightforward process 3 1 2 3 next > appletree terms use. Engineering detail designed into the Tenhulzen gauge shortcuts this a bit of to! I completely removed the subframe and replaced all the stuff in the..

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