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How to do an Alignment at Home

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Old 03-01-2014, 12:16 PM   #81
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Originally Posted by Mach375 View Post
Wouldn't setting toe be a whole lot easier by eyeballing the sidewalls?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OzN0Z2HupcM



Good write-up. I'll have to remember this process next time.


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Old 03-02-2014, 01:39 PM   #82
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Jberry I was wondering if you can help me with a little clarification on my 2nd gen. On the adjustment for the cam washers if I were wanting to maximize caster before I install my lr uca's. To do this I would rotate the washers on the front end of the truck with the marks towards the center of the truck and the bolt would be towards the outside? And on the rearward facing washers I would wAnt full positive by having the same as the front to where the bolt is closest to the wheels and the center mark is facing toward the center of the vehicle?

Anyone have an answer for this?
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Old 09-27-2014, 03:02 PM   #84
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I am not a car person, so forgive me if I'm missing some information, but as a math person, this particular bit jumped out at me:

"First, true spec is measured midway up the tires. If for any reason you cannot measure half way up because of bumpers or skid plates or whatever, take the front and rear measurements 1/4 of the way up the tires, then double that to get the true toe as it would be in the center of the tires."

This seems to be off due to the geometry of a circle. By the time you reach "1/4 of the way up the tires" you would have covered (sqrt3)/2 of the horizontal distance, which is about 86%. If you then multiply by 2 you are finding 172% of the number you are looking for.

If instead you measure 1/4 of the diameter toward front/back from the center of the tire, that would yield a number which you can simply multiply by 2.
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Old 09-29-2014, 05:10 PM   #85
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Callipygous View Post
I am not a car person, so forgive me if I'm missing some information, but as a math person, this particular bit jumped out at me:

"First, true spec is measured midway up the tires. If for any reason you cannot measure half way up because of bumpers or skid plates or whatever, take the front and rear measurements 1/4 of the way up the tires, then double that to get the true toe as it would be in the center of the tires."

This seems to be off due to the geometry of a circle. By the time you reach "1/4 of the way up the tires" you would have covered (sqrt3)/2 of the horizontal distance, which is about 86%. If you then multiply by 2 you are finding 172% of the number you are looking for.

If instead you measure 1/4 of the diameter toward front/back from the center of the tire, that would yield a number which you can simply multiply by 2.
You're right, it's 1/4 of the way along the radius. However, even that's not going to be exact. Tires are not a perfect circle when they are loaded by the weight of the truck. My tires flatten over 1" on the loaded side of the tire. I have always taken toe measurements based on the center of the hub to the ground and made my marks on the tires at whatever I measured (typically around 15-16" depending on how much tread I have left and tire inflation psi).

More importantly, the goal is to have total toe at 0 (if your driving habits are like mine). At most, alignment shops will do 1/16" toe in. If you set your total toe at 0, it's not going to matter where you take your measurement from. If your goal is 1/16" total toe in, and you measured 1/32" (and then "double" it as I mentioned) at 1/4 of the way up the vertical distance, you're only going to be off by about 1/32"..and still minimally toe'd in. At such fractions of an inch, it's not really going to matter. There's a larger variance by just not putting the tape measure in the same spot.

Along the same note, I originally drafted this such that anyone who had basic tools in their garage could do it. Since then I've stopped measuring toe with this manual method. I bought a set of Toe plates about a year ago and have been using those since. Way faster and definitely more accurate.
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Old 09-29-2014, 07:00 PM   #86
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Flattening would cause an error if you measured based on the stated diameter of your tire. However, if you loaded the tire then measured how wide it is in its flattened state and measured at a quarter of that, horizontally, you could end up with a very precise answer.

So you say the greatest alteration they might aim for is 1/16 toe in. This seems interesting to me, do they do it by a set measurement like that, as opposed to a degree, or a measurement relative to the tire size? That is, 1/16 in is a different angle on a small tire than it is on a larger one right? I guess on that scale it doesn't make much difference.
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Old 09-29-2014, 07:06 PM   #87
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Originally Posted by Callipygous View Post
Flattening would cause an error if you measured based on the stated diameter of your tire. However, if you loaded the tire then measured how wide it is in its flattened state and measured at a quarter of that, horizontally, you could end up with a very precise answer.

So you say the greatest alteration they might aim for is 1/16 toe in. This seems interesting to me, do they do it by a set measurement like that, as opposed to a degree, or a measurement relative to the tire size? That is, 1/16 in is a different angle on a small tire than it is on a larger one right? I guess on that scale it doesn't make much difference.
That's what I was insinuating.
As for degrees vs inches...it depends on the shop. Some machines go by inches, some go by degree. Easy to calculate the other based on tire diameter. In the end...it doesn't matter. You're not going to get perfect with a manual method....but you can get close.

I got new meat on my tundra last week (my grocery getter) so I did my home alignment right after. Took it in to Les Schwab just to make sure (i hate buying tires), and they didn't charge me anything. Put it on the machine, read the numbers and didn't change a thing. I did use toe plates tho.

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