DIY Wheel Alignment

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old saaber
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Location: Bromley, Kent. United Kingdom.

DIY Wheel Alignment

Postby old saaber » Sat Jul 23, 2016 6:19 pm

This is an approximate procedure for adjusting tracking. Obviously there's no substitute for having it done properly at a decent wheel alignment centre, but this is next to free and you can do it at home.

Bear in mind the car has to be on a flat surface and you must 'roll' it back and forward so it is 'settled' before you start measuring. Make sure the steering wheel is straight.

Equipment: two long pins or some welding wire. A bit of fishing line or some light string. A steel ruler (ideally) with the graduation marks starting at the tip of the ruler.

1. Jab one of the pins into the rear tyre at the middle so it goes from the side of the car through the tred block.

2. Tie the fishing wire to the pin. Run the fishing wire up to the front wheel and do the same thing there.

3. Adjust the fishing line so it is flat against the rear tyre.

4. Adjust the fishing line so it is flat against the edge of the front tyre which sticks out furthest from the car.

5. Measure with the ruler from the fishing line to the rear of front wheel rim and then do the same at the front of the rim. Measure to the wheel itself, not the tyre.

6. Find the difference between the two measurements. So if the rear is 10mm and the front is 20mm then the difference is 10mm. Half the difference. So the required adjustment would be 5mm with these example figures.

7. Get under the car so you can see the track rod coming out of the steering rack and back off the security nut which is usually tightened against the track rod end.

8. Measure a gap between the security nut and the track rod end. 5mm is the figure we're looking for in our example. This is if you want to toe-out (move the front of the wheel outwards) - if you want to toe-in (move the front of the wheel further into the body) then wind the security nut all the way up to the track rod end but don't tighten it.

9. For toe-out turn the track-rod clockwise into the track rod end until there is no gap between the nut and the track rod end. For toe-in turn the trackrod anti-clockwise until a gap of the right size has opened up between the track rod and the security nut. When you've got the adjustment you want tighten the security nut against the track rod end and you're done.

10. If you only want it roughly right then this will be good enough. But if you want to get it perfect go to a wheel alignment shop and get it done with the proper equipment. This is the process to set it to zero. Obviously if you have a degrees adjustment figure for toe-in or toe-out then you'll have to either guess "a pinch of toe-in, ect" or work it out using mathematics, convert degrees of rotation to millimeters according to the diameter of the wheel.

This is how you set up the fishing line.


This is what it looks like in an actual photo.


And this is looking at the track rod with a gap measured in preparation for toeing-out


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