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How to do an Alignment at Home

Discussion in 'Suspension' started by jberry813, Dec 7, 2012.

  1. Dec 7, 2012 at 4:46 PM
    #21
    Taqoma

    Taqoma Well-Known Member

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    awesome stuff, thanks Jason :)
     
  2. Dec 7, 2012 at 6:32 PM
    #22
    RelentlessFab

    RelentlessFab Tacoma offroad armor fabricating beast Vendor

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    Eric
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    Had tons on the Taco's.... new truck is pretty stock
    nice how-to Jason!
     
  3. Dec 7, 2012 at 6:38 PM
    #23
    OZ-T

    OZ-T Did you get your precious photos ?

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    Great thread
     
  4. Dec 7, 2012 at 6:43 PM
    #24
    Steves104x4

    Steves104x4 Well-Known Member

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    BUCKLE UP! It makes it harder for Aliens to pull you out of your Truck.
    Jason for President. Well done.
     
  5. Dec 7, 2012 at 6:59 PM
    #25
    Large

    Large Red

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    This. Great job.
     
  6. Dec 7, 2012 at 7:02 PM
    #26
    jberry813

    jberry813 [OP] The Mad Scientist

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    Something's wrong.
    There's been nothing but accolades and kudos in this thread. Where are all the "constructive criticism" and trolling.






























    Oh yeah....Whipper's perma. :p
     
  7. Dec 7, 2012 at 7:49 PM
    #27
    maxamillion2345

    maxamillion2345 Go home if you don't like guns liquor and whores.

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    Interesting method to get the caster, never knew how to do it!

    Very nice.

    FWIW I believe that when you have the wheels turned a direction they won't be turned to the same degree, this is the ackerman effect or whatever the hell. ... just for reference.
     
  8. Dec 7, 2012 at 7:53 PM
    #28
    jberry813

    jberry813 [OP] The Mad Scientist

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    100% correct.
    I figured if I went into the Ackerman geometry, I'd most likely derail the goal of the thread and inherently I would describe it incorrectly.
     
  9. Dec 7, 2012 at 7:56 PM
    #29
    maxamillion2345

    maxamillion2345 Go home if you don't like guns liquor and whores.

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    Haha fair enough! Well done though.
     
  10. Dec 7, 2012 at 8:00 PM
    #30
    maxamillion2345

    maxamillion2345 Go home if you don't like guns liquor and whores.

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    Tuner.








    Haha anal. Not straight, haha.
     
  11. Dec 7, 2012 at 8:05 PM
    #31
    jberry813

    jberry813 [OP] The Mad Scientist

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    Goddammit.

    Oh well...when in Rome



    [​IMG]
     
  12. Dec 7, 2012 at 8:08 PM
    #32
    bjmoose

    bjmoose Bullwinkle J. Moose

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    Awesome. :headbang:

    One point to add - for second gen guys with VSC - if the steering wheel ends up in a non-centered position, the VSC will be more likely to activate when turning left or right. If it's sufficiently off - it'll throw a code and deactivate ABS and VSC.
     
  13. Dec 7, 2012 at 8:12 PM
    #33
    Taco'09

    Taco'09 Well-Known Member

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    Bravo OP!

    You wanted some constructive criticism, so here it is...... Actually, I don't have any only just a few observations after doing my own DIY home alignments for about five years, including four on my Taco and adding/refining stuff along the way to improve accuracy.

    Make sure the vehicle is level front-to-back and side-to-side; a carpenters level and the floor tile for shims will work on many floors. Great idea of yours for shims. Make sure tire pressures are correct. These are important because if your truck is sitting on an angle, it will introduce errors in the angle gauge in both camber readings and the calculated caster readings. My concrete garage floor looks level but has about a 3 3/4" slope from the front wheels to the back wheels.

    I found that it was necessary on my Taco to lock the brakes while doing the caster sweep because sometimes tire walk would occur and will give inconsistent readings. A 2x4 or something else wedged between the seat (protect the seat) and brake pedal works good.

    If you really want to get fancy, you you can introduce a simple string box around the truck and do thrust angle alignments as well. I use cheap-o polyester dayglo orange thread from Wal-Mart, jack stands, and steel rulers graduated to 1/128 in. to measure from the string to the centers and edges of the rims. Doing this you can get a truck that tracks straight as an arrow, correct for thrust angles and get a straight steering wheel.

    Not my intent to thread jack here but say don't be afraid to do a DIY alignment. The first one takes the longest and it gets easier each time.
     
  14. Dec 7, 2012 at 8:21 PM
    #34
    jberry813

    jberry813 [OP] The Mad Scientist

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    Sounds like an advantage to me :crapstorm:

    Excellent points! We're in complete agreement about the surface being being level, both left to right and front to back.
    Locking the brakes is something I didn't think to mention but definitely an important point. Any measurable walk with the truck while doing the alignment will skew the end result.
    The string box method is a whole separate way to measure toe, but not one that will work on my truck and often complicates things for those guys running wheel spacers. I used the string box method with my old track car. However with this truck, I have extended UCA's and LCA's which pushes my front wheels out +3.5" over each side. As for the rear I have a Tundra axle which is only +3" over each side. String box method is less than perfect for people that have suspensions modified in the same manor as I. The spray paint and scribed line works regardless of modifications. As long as the wheels are not out of round, you can get a very accurate measurement. It's not nearly as accurate as string box, but it'll do!
     
  15. Dec 7, 2012 at 8:23 PM
    #35
    maxamillion2345

    maxamillion2345 Go home if you don't like guns liquor and whores.

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    http://www.circletrack.com/techarticles/ctrp_0709_chassis_alignment/viewall.html

    You talking about something like this?

    We had to lay out right triangles in my HD PM class but I don't recall exactly how to do it. Something roughly like one of those pictures.
     
  16. Dec 7, 2012 at 8:53 PM
    #36
    Taco'09

    Taco'09 Well-Known Member

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    Yup. Nice write up in the Circle Track article.

    For my first string-box alignment I stole a write up from an Elantra forum that has great pictures and is easy to follow.

    But I heartily agree with the OP's comments above about the simplicity factor. The idea is not to scare anyone away from trying it, and IMHO his write up does a good job at this.

    For me, I simply got tired of getting burned by incompetent alignment shops and vehicles that pulled hard one way or another despite being "within specs." If you do a Google search you will find that many are similarly tired of being burned and have resorted to DIY techniques.

    I reached the point of anger one day after going to three different shops, same day, and getting totally different numbers at each shop. Car still pulled hard right.

    So I called Hunter Engineering and had a nice lengthy conversation with one of the engineers to ask why I was getting poor alignments despite wiz-bang lasers and computers from expensive machines.

    The answers amazed me. These things must be calibrated regularly and that costs substantial money for shops to have the factory techs come out. So many skip it. Also, if a head is dropped, or handled roughly, forget assuming the machine is in calibration. Is their rack level? Don't even assume so.
     
  17. Dec 7, 2012 at 9:25 PM
    #37
    Taco'09

    Taco'09 Well-Known Member

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    bjmoose is correct in post no. 32 above.

    The FSM says you must do a Zero Point Calibration for the VSC/ABS whenever you do anything at all to the suspension, steering, and following alignments. The steering wheel has to be centered to do this, and the truck has to be level. Of course the stealership is more than willing to do this for you.......for a substantial fee.

    But it is easy to do yourself. I'm too lazy to look for a thread on this now, if there is one, but have it worked out on my '09 that has all the electronic nannies.
     
  18. Dec 7, 2012 at 9:35 PM
    #38
    jberry813

    jberry813 [OP] The Mad Scientist

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    Pffffffft. The dealer can kiss my shiny white ass.
    I did a zero point calibration on my wife's runner with a paperclip. Again, attaching relevant section of the FSM. Skip to step 4.
     

    Attached Files:

  19. Dec 7, 2012 at 9:40 PM
    #39
    Taco'09

    Taco'09 Well-Known Member

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    Ha. I love it. The paper clip is the expensive SST referred to! Good job.
     
  20. Dec 7, 2012 at 9:58 PM
    #40
    KenLyns

    KenLyns Lord of War

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    Caster is a PITA to measure accurately. Camber and toe are relatively easy.
     
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