Last updated: April 3, 2000
Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2000 20:44:02 -0800
From: Dale Thomas (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Subject: (rx7) (all)Aligning your car LONG
I'm sending this out to all the lists so everybody has a chance to see
it. You should all get a camber/castor gauge from Racer Wholesale or
other similar companies. It will cost you the same or less than just ONE
alignment at a shop. The other things you'll need are a roll of heavy
string or twine and I use six jack stands. That's it.
A slightly more detailed article with pictures is available in the book
"How to Make Your Car Handle".
- The first thing you need to do is find the
centerline of the car. Do not assume the body is true, because most cars
aren't built to that close of a tolerance.The suspension pivots are what
matters, and all measurements should be taken from them. Take careful
measurements and mark the spot on the underside of the car that is the
exact center between the two pivots. Do this at the other end of the
- Now, I use a piece of string between two jack stands for this next
part. Stretch the string tight and have it extend past the car on both
ends and raise it until it just touches your reference marks.This is the
centerline of the chassis.
- Now set up four more jack stands with string
and set them so the string is about two inches from the car on either
side. Have the car on the ground and everything just as you would have
it for driving.
- You measure toe from the string to the WHEEL RIM, so
set the string at a height even with the center of the wheels or the hub
is even better. Now, adjust the string so it's EXACTLY parallel with
your centerline string. After you get it all set up, KILL anyone who
trips over them! Toe measurements are made from the reference string to
the wheel rim. Oops, before you measure, make sure your rims are true.
If they aren't you use an average of several toe measurements. This is
very time consuming so hopefully your rims are straight!
this method you are only measuring ONE wheel at a time. So each wheel
will have a toe setting ONE HALF of the total.
Here's an example: if you
want 1/8" toe in, each wheel will have 1/16" toe in when measured to
it's respective reference line. Check the toe setting at the rear by
measuring from the front and rear of the rim to the reference line. The
distance to the front of the rim minus the distance to the rear is the
toe for that wheel. If the toe setting is zero, then the two distances
must be equal.
- Now set the front toe, first making sure the steering is
centered. Checking this is easy with the string, because if it's not
centered, on wheel will have toe-in and the other toe-out. Just turn the
wheel a little and measure again. Take your measurements the same way as
you did on the rear.
Now you should be all set and ready to take on your
favorite twisty road :-) You can also use a much less complicated
method to check the alignment on your motorcycles. If any of you use the
marks on your swingarms when you adjust your chain and you think the
bike is straight, I got a bridge in Brookland I'll sell ya... cheap!