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Discussion Starter #1
looking to see which exact tools are you guys using to do your own alignment...

setting caster and camber

setting toe

are you using alignment plates if so did you make you own

are you happy or would you get something else knowing what you know now?

any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
 
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I dont autocross. I am just against having other people work on my car because nobody cares and people damage things.


Anyways because of that I did my own alignment on my Crown Victoria after swapping out the front brakes and suspension to 2002 componants from 1987.

I used toe plates and longacre caster camber gauge Longacre Digital Caster Camber Gauge 78298

I found specs online and just matched them.

I have since picked up ball bearing turn plates if I need to do things again. Should make things easier.

I am happy because I was able to do it myself. It is A LOT of work though as I had to learn how to do everything and there is A LOT of back and forth work..mainly with setting toe. I am happy with how the car drives and how the steering wheel is pointed. Just a lot of work.

The caster camber gauge I used (linked above) needed to be more securly fastened to the wheel so I have to hold it onto the wheel with a bungee cord.
 

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thanks 87gtVIC that's the very same caster camber gauge i've been considering, or this one from spp

and either the standard or deluxe toe plates from longacre
Longacre Toe-In Plates 52-79501

for cheap diy toe plates i've seen guys take ceramic tiles, put them face to face, and some oil between them although it would be nice to have toe plates with some easy angle indicators
 

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I dont remember the brand of toe plates I have but I dont know how much better one can be compared to the next.

The turn plates I got from quicktrip. I got a really good deal so said why not. I have degree indicators on the plate and base plate.
 

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If you want to do an alignment on your car the best way to set toe is with 4 jack stands fishing line plumbing bobs and 2 10ft long pieces of electrical conduit and a really good ruler. When you want to do camber caster its best to have a gauge from someone like longacre.



This is a good video that explains it.


I use this online utility put in the measurements I take from the car to give me the toe settings and tell me if the car is square.

DIY Alignment Calculator

If you want to spend some money you get a kit like this one from BG Racing which I started using when I swapped the car to an IRS.



It attaches to the car and it makes it easier to work around. Getting something like a basic camber caster gauge like the one in this link helps get the camber caster set.

Longacre Caster Camber Gauge 78260

You can also go over board like I did and get their digital one that mounts to the rim.
 

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I took an old street sign post and c-clamped two framing squares to it. I slid the framing squares to the rotors and adjusted the tie rods until they were squared to sign post. I eventually had a shop do it but it wasn’t off enough for their concern
 

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Discussion Starter #8
thank you guys
 

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I used MFE's method for years but eventually purchased Longacre toe plates and their digital CC gauge and wheel mount (referenced above). I tried the string method but for my needs that was too cumbersome. I do make certain the surface I'm using is either level or can be made level with various thicknesses of wood and vinyl squares. I mark the floor with tape so I use the same position each time. For caster, I use a pair of vinyl squares under each front wheel to help allow the wheels to turn more freely.
 

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For camber (and indirectly, caster)

1065589


For toe (measure at the front and at the back and convert to degrees or toe at the tire OD as necessary).

1065590



I've been using this or generally similar methods since the early 1980's.

As an alternative to shimming under low-side tires, you can measure the slope of your setup area and adjust the camber readings accordingly. As long as your setup area is close to being uniformly sloped, anyway. If the side to side slope is less than 0.1°, it's hardly necessary to bother doing the correcting when the resolution of your camber measuring equipment is only to the nearest 0.1°.


Norm
 
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thank you norm

can you elaborate little on your process for the caster
Here you go . . . snipped (and lightly edited) from a write-up I did some years ago.


Caster is most easily determined by taking camber readings with the front wheels turned right, then again with the wheels turned left the same amount, taking the algebraic difference and applying a factor. This factor depends on the steer angle you use. If you can get 30° steer out of the front wheels, this factor is 1.00. At 14.5° (a much easier angle to obtain), it's 2.00, and a 20° steer angle uses 1.46 as a factor (meaning that SmartCamber's 1.5 factor is pretty good, being less than 0.2° off in 6° caster, and the 1.5 factor actually comes up at 19.4° steer). FYI, what I've been calling 'steer angle' here is generally referred to in SAE papers as toe, but if you find any of those papers don’t confuse the wider use of the term the paper uses with the small values of toe as used with respect to alignment.

There used to be a discussion/SAE paper of the general solution on the Hunter Engineering site (the alignment rack people) with the exact formulas, but the factor ends up being pretty close to 0.5/[sin(steer angle)]. This paper wasn't available the last time I looked over on the Hunter site.


Norm
 
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Discussion Starter #13
thanks again norm

what do you use to determine the steer angle?
 

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I used to use a jig made from steel strips welded at 14.5°. These days I'd be inclined to use the digital angle finder referenced to parallel lines/strings.

Truth is, I haven't found caster to ever vary by much, and I really don't want to chase big caster settings and then have to fix a bumpsteer issue either.


Norm
 
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