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  1. #1
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    Default Alignment ideas...

    I don't know where I got this link
    http://www.babcox.com/editorial/bf/bf40419.htm but I was re-reading it just now and decided I'd post it with a question about DIY alignments. I've had major headaches getting a decent alignment from local shops so I'm constantly on the lookout for a way to get this done in my garage with minimal labor and expense.

    I've been considering several different types of machines but it appears to me that most of the $200 to $300 garage alignment tools don't do toe adjustments. With that in mind I was thinking of a way to do an easier alignment than using the string method - too time consuming to set up. I had the bright idea of using a laser pointer connected to some home made fixture that would shine forward to a wall or other suitable surface. The point on the wall could be marked and the laser light tracked to measure toe changes more effectively and probably WAY more accurately than using strings on the side of the car. A string would still have to be used to establish the centerline of the car running underneath or somewhere but that wouldn't be as bad as having to set up three strings.

    Anybody got any thoughts on this or seen a system that acomplishes the same thing?
    .
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    lone73
    '73 4 spd
    '04 6 spd

  2. #2
    Member gec's Avatar
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    Default

    I don't know if this will help but it simplified a few things for me & has some great instructions.

  3. #3
    Member norvalwilhelm's Avatar
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    I do all my own alignements after repeatedly being disappointed with factory alignment attempts. I did buy a longacre caster camber gage for setting camber and caster. Toe is difficult so I also bought a toe gage. It was about $100.
    Another way to measure toe and you can also buy these is 2 aluminum plates that you bolt to the hub and then a simple tape measure is used. I do not like this method because the wheels must come off and your ride height is not exact.
    My toe gage measures the center of the tire front and back and is very quick and accurate.
    This is my caster camber gage. About $130.
    You normally leave the tires on but I was setting up coilovers at the time, or was I working on bump steer?????
    IN the picture check out what I had to do to the outer tie rod to eliminate all pump steer. This is not the only change. The tie rod sleeves are 3 inches longer, the center drag link is 6 inches shorter also.

  4. #4
    Member norvalwilhelm's Avatar
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    I tried to find a picture of my toe plates but couldn't. This is one of them being used for the bump steer check. It has a roller bearing on one end and a dial gage on the other. As the toe changes all changes are read on the dial gage. Shims are added or subtracted from the outer tie rod end.
    For toe you have a plate on either side.
    They can be used by placing them against the tire and measuring both behind and infront ans subtracting the two



    Lasers. I to use a laser lever, I project the brake rotor forward and backward to get an idea of trac. I particularly use it on the back. I project both rotors to the front and see if they arrive on the same spot on the front spindle then adjust toe to make them the same and at the same time toe in about 1/16.
    Another interesting theory is maybe our cars should toe OUT not in. In was when we ran bias tires and positive camber. When they went to radials, toe was cut in half. NOw we want negative camber causing the wheel to try and rotate in, not out.
    I sometimes run 1/8 toe out instead of in.

  5. #5
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    Norval,
    Wow, that looks pretty elaborate. I was hoping it would be something simple yet effective.

    gec,
    Thanks for that link. Got it saved to my hard drive.

    thanks for the replys
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    lone73
    '73 4 spd
    '04 6 spd

  6. #6
    Member norvalwilhelm's Avatar
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    Norval,
    Wow, that looks pretty elaborate. I was hoping it would be something simple yet effective.

    Lone73 I spend alot of time on the suspension. Steering is everything. Take some serious woop de doos??? at high speed, have bump kick up and you are in trouble.
    Our cars have over 1 inch of bump. .050 would put any race car into the wall and here we are with over 1 inch. I compromised at .007 over 7 inches and if I wanted to split a washer in half I could be zero.
    I also spend alot of time on alignment and try many different settings from minus 1 degree camber , 5 or 6 degrees positve caster, toe in, toe out,
    I took a whole winter and just worked steering.
    It is not expensive, just very time consumming. You also learn to understand your car.
    Buy a good suspension book on race cars and digest it, learn what you want, then do it. It's not a quick evening job, its a whole winter project.
    I almost learned the hard way. 3 people in my car, running about 100 plus over a bridge with a serious rise and drop, the car almost went sideways due to bump. We almost were killed when the car started to slide.
    Anyway after a winter sorting out bump you can take the same bridge at 100 plus and nothing. The suspension rises and falls, sometime bottoming but the car remains totally true.
    Spend the time, get rid of bump, no alignment shop can do it, only a race shop or you taking the time.
    Good luck.

  7. #7
    Member Ludigdrums's Avatar
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    What is "bump"? Is it the same as "bump steer"?

    Thanks!

    - Jeremy

  8. #8
    Member norvalwilhelm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ludigdrums
    What is "bump"? Is it the same as "bump steer"?

    Thanks!

    - Jeremy
    Yes I was referring to bump steer. It is bad in our cars and should be addressed.
    I want a suspension that moves, one that works, not the stiff thing most C3's have. I do not like stiff springs. You should be running the softest spring that keeps you from bottoming on the worst bump you encounter in driving, not the super rare one but normal bumps. If the suspension is so stiff it doesn't follow the contour of the road, the tires skip over it loosing traction. Not to mention the ride goes all to hell.
    I run 280 pound front springs for years and loved them.
    The problem with a suspension that actually works it that pump steer shows up. If the suspension travels through a range then pump also travels through a range, causing poor steering, loss of control.
    Tie the front end down with stiff springs and bump steer is gone, so is the ride, so it traction to a degree.
    It is just a bandage covering the true problem.
    Bump steering.

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