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Old 04-15-2019, 08:32 AM
  #1  
NoradIV
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Default Alignment tools

Hello Guys,

My car just came back from the garage with fresh tie rods, rear SKF bearings (no money for the front atm) and an alignment job. (Was -1.0/-0.8 camber, and bad tie rods meant toe going all willignily). Now, the setup is -1.5/-1.5 and 0.05 toe (I believe) and the car is so much tighter. I haven't After speaking with the guy, he said that I could play with my alignment and see how it works on the track. He explained me that there is something I can do with cones and string to do it myself, and I have found a couple links online showing how to do it, but it appears to be something I could mess up easily in the stress of doing it in the lunch time with people running around the paddocs and touching my setup.

I was looking at tools that would help me do the alignment myself on the track fairly quickly and with confidence that I wouldn't be making mistakes. Also, I may sometimes get help from the lady, but I cannot expect to have her every time I go to the track.

I've found this tool. It's not too expensive and appear to be fairly professional. What do you guys use? Any recommendation/advice?

Thanks for your time!
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Old 04-15-2019, 09:31 AM
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davidfarmer
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no special tools required to make measurements, just some brain power and hand tools. I still do alignments very similar to this write up I did 20 years ago, except I have several angle gauges, and I now measure thrust angle with a long straight edge instead of the laser. It's quicker and I can get the tolerance I need without the hassle of setting up any plates etc.

The only real trick is getting consistent.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/680iom3g7m...align.pdf?dl=0
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Old 04-15-2019, 10:25 AM
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Just like davidfarmer said above, there are a couple basic ways to go about it. Some have luck with using trash bags or greased plates as turn plates. Strings have worked for decades as well. The tough part comes in that they're time consuming to set up and their consistency is only as good as the setup used.

We engineer alignment tools that help keep this process extremely consistent and reliable. Our main product is our Precision Hub Stands. They mount to the hub of the vehicle and have an integral turn plate system built in. They adjust to match the tire height of your vehicle and make adjusting the alignment much easier. We also make a laser attachment to take the place of strings which speeds the process up even further as well as improves overall accuracy and repeatablility. We've had quite a few customer who are very pleased with our products. You can check us out: https://csmperformance.com/home/
If you have any questions feel free to ask!

Like David said though, with some basic tools and you can get relatively close! If you plan on making changes regularly or want to ensure overall accuracy we'd be happy to help!

Here's a pic of a C5 racecar on our Original Precision Hub Stands which we have since updated to the Mk II version.


Colton @ CSM Performance LLC
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Old 04-15-2019, 12:34 PM
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Froggy will be doing a video soon using the CSM tools.


Last edited by froggy47; 04-15-2019 at 12:35 PM.
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Old 04-15-2019, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by froggy47 View Post
Froggy will be doing a video soon using the CSM tools.

I will be looking forward to it Froggy! Do you have the laser set-up with it?
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Old 04-15-2019, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by froggy47 View Post
Froggy will be doing a video soon using the CSM tools.

Both Packages should arrive today!
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Old 04-15-2019, 03:40 PM
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cagotzmann
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Originally Posted by NoradIV View Post
Hello Guys,
I was looking at tools that would help me do the alignment myself on the track fairly quickly and with confidence that I wouldn't be making mistakes. Also, I may sometimes get help from the lady, but I cannot expect to have her every time I go to the track.
I don't think it's practical to do alignment stuff at the track., but worth the effort to do alignments before track days.
But if you insist on making track adjustments here is what I have done.

Start with a repeatable process. Setup time / measurements should be less than 5 minutes and be repeatable without stress.

Camber / Caster is the easy process. The gauge you found or a simple IPHONE etc and some sort of straight edge is simple to use.

Toe / Thrust angle is more difficult to repeat accurately.

eg string setup is impossible to repeat the same setup, but lets assume you can get a perfect string setup each time. Here is the problem. When using strings you measure the front / rear of the rim distance from the string.

for a 18" wheel this is a 19" distance. So using calipers / ruler best you can do repeatable is ~ 1/32" over 19" = 0.094 degree's per wheel or total toe = 2.7/32nds total toe. The only way to increase accuracy is to measure over a

distance greater than 19"

Here is what I have posted about my alignment method, Thrust measurement is the same as a previous post.

https://www.corvetteforum.com/forums...alignment.html

So once you can get repeatable measurement then you can start to chart changes and the effect of the alignment.

These steps will only approximate changes.

1. Camber add / adjust Shims / Adjustors known about and measure then approx. changes. Also check the toe changes.
2. rotate tie rod adjusters a known amount and measure toe changes.

chart the changes to have something to reference at the track.

Once you have the setup done, mark all the adjustment points as a reference.

So lets assume adding 1/4 turn on the tie rod adjustment adds / removes 1/32" toe. So if the initial total toe front = 0 total toe and you want to add 1/16 toe out turn each tie rod 1/4 turn in the correct rotation to increase /decrease tie rod length . to return back to 0 toe reverse the tie rod rotation the same amount and back to you reference marks.

But you get the idea, what makes it difficult is 1 change can effect other adjustments.

Last edited by cagotzmann; 04-15-2019 at 05:08 PM.
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Old 04-15-2019, 04:11 PM
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I agree and disagree with above...

First I agree, STRINGS are a mess. Takes longer to set everything up than I can measure multiple times.

Where I DISAGREE, toe and thrust angle are very easy to get repeatable numbers if you have a good process. The only hard part of using hand tools is getting the steering wheel perfect without a test drive. I can get really close, but it's often quicker to do a quick test drive anyway then to measure everything repeatedly.

I should have mentioned before.... Coilover corvettes are much easier to align than leaf springs. Even with good turn plates/sliders, leaf spring cars do not settle and take adjustments quickly. If you ever actually have to jack them up to make changes, you really must go and drive the car. Just keep this in mind. I've been doing alignments for myself and others my entire racing career (25 years).

FYI, 1 "flat" is approx 1/32 (0.1deg) of toe change on a Corvette. It's actually just under that, but I use that so I don't overshoot. Set the camber/castor, set the thrust angle, then set the toe symmetrically.
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Old 04-15-2019, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Mick14 View Post
I will be looking forward to it Froggy! Do you have the laser set-up with it?
Yes

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Old 04-15-2019, 05:38 PM
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Originally Posted by davidfarmer View Post
Where I DISAGREE, toe and thrust angle are very easy to get repeatable numbers if you have a good process. The only hard part of using hand tools is getting the steering wheel perfect without a test drive. I can get really close, but it's often quicker to do a quick test drive anyway then to measure everything repeatedly.
Measureable / Repeatable numbers are easy to get because of the distance measured.

Thrust measurement for my C3 is measured over a 98" distance so ~ 1mm measurement over 2489 mm = 0.023 degrees. But the bigger problem is can the adjustment be made that precisely. eg on my C3 the shims to adjust the trailing arms are not precise enough to make things perfect.

Now for toe measurements. I am measuring 1mm over 2764mm so total toe accuracy = 0.0208 total degrees ~ 1/128" total toe. This is more accurate than the suspension parts tolerances are.

So the process to measure is accurate and repeatable but the suspension doesn't sit in the same location. eg turn the steering wheel left and right and back to center. take readings. Then turn the steering wheel right to left and back to center you will get a different reading. But this is expected since the steering parts move and have a tolerance / play by design. But if I get much different readings then I start to look at worn out parts in the suspension.

Having the steering wheel off-centre by a few degrees has very little effect in total toe measurements. But if you are trying to read each wheel separate to set toe its impossible to be accurate with hand tools.

So to setup the front wheels I first set the steering wheel in the position I call center. Then I adjust each wheel to position the same offset relative to the rear axle. At this point I don't care about total toe, just set each wheel equal to the rear axle. Then I measure total toe, and adjust each wheel (tie rod adjuster ) the same amount to get the total toe I want. Only by looking at tire wear over a number of sessions will you know if it helps or hurts.
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Old 04-15-2019, 08:49 PM
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NoradIV
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I may have forgotten to specify, but my car has stock suspension and chassis. I am mostly looking into playing with camber for now.

I have read all your posts and I will try to compare all the suggestion you guys have made, probably try to measure my current setup in my yard and see how long that took me.
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Old 04-16-2019, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by NoradIV View Post
I may have forgotten to specify, but my car has stock suspension and chassis. I am mostly looking into playing with camber for now.

I have read all your posts and I will try to compare all the suggestion you guys have made, probably try to measure my current setup in my yard and see how long that took me.
If you have any questions in that process feel free to ask! If you need some alignment tools we'd be happy to help with that as well!
Colton
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