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DIY alignment tools recommendation

 
Old 07-02-2019, 10:53 AM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by Luke42_02 View Post
This is exactly how how I feel, I can get close, but the numbers keep changing slightly. I will try starting the car, I have not done that. Can you do a piece by piece rundown of what brand of equipment you are running? Do you need turn plates to go under the hubs?
Poorsha did a step by step on the forum here and I just followed what he said. I ended up with a different brand of Hub Stands than CSM but I got them before I'd heard of CSM. These guys are forum vendors and they've been very helpful to anyone that's had a question. If I were buying today I'd buy their hub stands. For me they're worth it in time, and aggravation, saved. I'm not doing alignments because it's my passion I'm doing them because it seems to be the only way to get my alignment where I want it. It's made all the difference in the world in handling, tire wear, etc both on and off the track. For anyone that wants to use turn plates and side sliders hit me up. I have a set of each that I've only used once.
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Old 07-02-2019, 12:38 PM
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Default DIy alignment

Here is a brief writeup of my DIY method and tools. I would like to own a set of hub stands, maybe some day.
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Old 07-02-2019, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by k24556 View Post
Here is a brief writeup of my DIY method and tools. I would like to own a set of hub stands, maybe some day.
Great writeup with details on what could cause inconsistencies! We do have a pretty big 4th of July sale going as well

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Old 07-03-2019, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by k24556 View Post
Here is a brief writeup of my DIY method and tools. I would like to own a set of hub stands, maybe some day.
K...6, wow. The write up is fantastic! Thank you. After studying the notes and reviewing the pictures, going to the dealer and paying $450 seems easier. The local dealer has the right tools and personnel to set up for track alignments. I love wrenching on cars, but limited on time. Thanks again for your great write-up and best of luck on getting your hub stands.
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Old 07-03-2019, 11:48 AM
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The nice thing about doing it yourself is finding that sweet spot that works good on the track and still allows you to drive on the street. It's hard to do when someone else is doing the alignments. Also if you use the AMT camber kit, like I do, you can easily go from a pure track setting to a street setting and only have to worry about toe when you make your changes. Trust me, a lot of shops don't know how to deal with the camber plates.
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Old 07-04-2019, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by k24556 View Post
Here is a brief writeup of my DIY method and tools. I would like to own a set of hub stands, maybe some day.
You know where there is a set of hub stands you can use whenever you want.
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Old 07-04-2019, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by badhabit_wb View Post
The nice thing about doing it yourself is finding that sweet spot that works good on the track and still allows you to drive on the street. It's hard to do when someone else is doing the alignments. Also if you use the AMT camber kit, like I do, you can easily go from a pure track setting to a street setting and only have to worry about toe when you make your changes. Trust me, a lot of shops don't know how to deal with the camber plates.

I agree. Dialing in the right alignment using shims under the upper control arms is an iterative process that makes hub stands worth the investment. It would be cost prohibitive to pay for an alignment service to do it right.
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Old 07-04-2019, 11:59 AM
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Eric has the setup for sure. If you are serious, his setup is the way to go. I'm 71, and with the years remaining, I may just borrow from Eric since he offered.

Now a little personal experience on the upper control arm washers. On the C5's and C6's the upper shims (washers with a rubber center to hold them onto the bolts) are exactly the same as the ones on the C7. They are right at 0.1 inch thick. On a C5 or 6 they will add 0.3 deg of negative camber upon removal. On a C7 they are worth 0.4 deg.

My rig is a Z51 with 19/20 factory wheels and MPSS's for the track, and AS/3's for the street. The OM says to remove a max on one under each UCA support bolt, Z51, and none in the rear for GS and Z06. I asked a young engineer at a Museum HPDE why this is, and the answer is that under certain conditions of suspension unload the wheel can rub on the UCA. Also, when you got to aftermarket wheel diameters and offsets, the risk goes up for contact. I gave Eric a Point-by between T3-and T4 at ViR and chased him into the snake until his S/C plussed in. At 5A he was way up on the gator, and his RR wheel was off the ground maybe an inch. So, if his shock allowed full displacement of his suspension AND he had washers removed, he might have rubbed.

Now If you have the OEM rear toe links, it is possible to get the claimed track settings, of -2.0 camber and the specified caster on a Z51. Further, if you get close to these camber/caster settings, you will never get toe with the limit of the OEM link. Well, at least true for the 4 different C7 Z51's I have aligned. In fact, the best you can do leaving both washers in is -2.0 on the LR and -1.9 on the RR. Then you have to have the granatelli bars to be able to have camber and caster as independent settings AND get the needed toe setting. I trailer my car to the track, but as long as you can accept a 0 toe front and rear, you should be able to drive to the track with these settings.

People forget about tire inflation, The best guide whether you can drive in town with a given setting is what your corner wear looks like, what center wear looks like, and whether there is feathering on the corners (an early sign of too much toe either way). Slicks or close-to-slicks with big tread blocks will still scrub the corners if the toe is wrong, instead of feathering. So, if you are really scrubbing the corners on the track, then you probably need more camber, or change your driving style. If you are scrubbing the corners on the street, then you have either a toe setting problem, inflation problem, or poor driving habits. Often drivers that apex early will also scrub tire corners unnecessarily. This is because you need to add more steering and are probably at the fringe of understeer. So your car has had time to settle into a good body roll, and you now have to ask for more turning to get through the corner. With a lot of body roll, the limit of camber gain due to suspension compression is done, and the tire contact patch begins to diminish. Same deal on the street. Always think late apex at every intersection where you turn. You will eventually find yourself making very crisp and efficient turns, and will be in oncoming traffic for a shorter duration.

I have resigned myself to -2.0camber/0caster LR, -1.9camber/0caster RR, 0toe rear; -2.2 camber/-7caster, 0toe both fronts. This is without removing any washers. I was starting to get nervous about removing the UCA bolts so many times to add/subtract washers. The sight of little metal slivers on the bolts was the first sign that this is beginning to be a really bad idea. I'm not opposed to having to put a helicoil in every once in a while, but once you put one in and then screw that helicoil up, your options go way down. Besides the thought of buying and installing 16 is not particularly appealing.

This reply is NOT a testimonial for the Granni links. In fact they are hateful as all get out to use and make adjustments due to the fact that the jam nut on the outer link is in the barrel of the wheel and a bear to get tight with out gouging the wheel.

I hope we haven't strayed away from the OP's original question. I just want to help with some observations of aligning nuances and driving habits seen in others.
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Old 07-04-2019, 12:43 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by k24556 View Post
Eric has the setup for sure. If you are serious, his setup is the way to go. I'm 71, and with the years remaining, I may just borrow from Eric since he offered.

Now a little personal experience on the upper control arm washers. On the C5's and C6's the upper shims (washers with a rubber center to hold them onto the bolts) are exactly the same as the ones on the C7. They are right at 0.1 inch thick. On a C5 or 6 they will add 0.3 deg of negative camber upon removal. On a C7 they are worth 0.4 deg.

My rig is a Z51 with 19/20 factory wheels and MPSS's for the track, and AS/3's for the street. The OM says to remove a max on one under each UCA support bolt, Z51, and none in the rear for GS and Z06. I asked a young engineer at a Museum HPDE why this is, and the answer is that under certain conditions of suspension unload the wheel can rub on the UCA. Also, when you got to aftermarket wheel diameters and offsets, the risk goes up for contact. I gave Eric a Point-by between T3-and T4 at ViR and chased him into the snake until his S/C plussed in. At 5A he was way up on the gator, and his RR wheel was off the ground maybe an inch. So, if his shock allowed full displacement of his suspension AND he had washers removed, he might have rubbed.

Now If you have the OEM rear toe links, it is possible to get the claimed track settings, of -2.0 camber and the specified caster on a Z51. Further, if you get close to these camber/caster settings, you will never get toe with the limit of the OEM link. Well, at least true for the 4 different C7 Z51's I have aligned. In fact, the best you can do leaving both washers in is -2.0 on the LR and -1.9 on the RR. Then you have to have the granatelli bars to be able to have camber and caster as independent settings AND get the needed toe setting. I trailer my car to the track, but as long as you can accept a 0 toe front and rear, you should be able to drive to the track with these settings.

People forget about tire inflation, The best guide whether you can drive in town with a given setting is what your corner wear looks like, what center wear looks like, and whether there is feathering on the corners (an early sign of too much toe either way). Slicks or close-to-slicks with big tread blocks will still scrub the corners if the toe is wrong, instead of feathering. So, if you are really scrubbing the corners on the track, then you probably need more camber, or change your driving style. If you are scrubbing the corners on the street, then you have either a toe setting problem, inflation problem, or poor driving habits. Often drivers that apex early will also scrub tire corners unnecessarily. This is because you need to add more steering and are probably at the fringe of understeer. So your car has had time to settle into a good body roll, and you now have to ask for more turning to get through the corner. With a lot of body roll, the limit of camber gain due to suspension compression is done, and the tire contact patch begins to diminish. Same deal on the street. Always think late apex at every intersection where you turn. You will eventually find yourself making very crisp and efficient turns, and will be in oncoming traffic for a shorter duration.

I have resigned myself to -2.0camber/0caster LR, -1.9camber/0caster RR, 0toe rear; -2.2 camber/-7caster, 0toe both fronts. This is without removing any washers. I was starting to get nervous about removing the UCA bolts so many times to add/subtract washers. The sight of little metal slivers on the bolts was the first sign that this is beginning to be a really bad idea. I'm not opposed to having to put a helicoil in every once in a while, but once you put one in and then screw that helicoil up, your options go way down. Besides the thought of buying and installing 16 is not particularly appealing.

This reply is NOT a testimonial for the Granni links. In fact they are hateful as all get out to use and make adjustments due to the fact that the jam nut on the outer link is in the barrel of the wheel and a bear to get tight with out gouging the wheel.

I hope we haven't strayed away from the OP's original question. I just want to help with some observations of aligning nuances and driving habits seen in others.
Brian,
I replaced the dog bone bolts with studs so I could avoid the problem of wearing out the threads in the frame. Got studs from Summit and nuts from Grainger. That way I can go from a track alignment to a street alignment at the end of the track season and back the other way in the spring. With my car I add an equal number of spacers behind the dog bones front and rear to get camber change without affecting caster. Then adjust toe.

Here is the info on the studs and nuts:
C7 Upper Control Arm

Double Ended Stud for Dog Bone:
Short Side 15mm of thread, Blank Section 15 mm, Long Side 35 mm
Dorman 675-576 Double-Ended Stud

Harbor Freight shims:

PITTSBURGH® AUTOMOTIVE

Body Shim Assortment 144 Pc

Two 1/8, One 1/16, One 1/64 = 8.41 mm or about 3.272374 GM shims or about 1.3 degrees in camber.

Lock Nuts
Grainger:
FABORY
M10-1.50 Nylon Insert Lock Nut, Zinc Yellow Finish, Class 10 Steel, Right Hand, D985, PK100
Item #26LJ98 MFR Model #M12450.100.0001

One thing that needs to be done to get to the rear dog bones in the rear wheel wells is to cut the wheel well liner so you can get a socket wrench on the bolt/nut. An Exacto Knife works quite well to cut the liner.

Bill

Last edited by Bill Dearborn; 07-04-2019 at 12:47 PM.
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Old 07-04-2019, 02:08 PM
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how are you settling the suspension?
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Old 07-04-2019, 02:25 PM
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You can also get a stud kit from Mark at AMT that has everything you need. It works great. I left them in my 15 so I'm ordering a new set for the 19. If an y of you are going to VIR with HOD in September look me up. I have a 19 z06 in cry.
Herman
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Old 07-04-2019, 03:07 PM
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Originally Posted by vettenutchas View Post
how are you settling the suspension?
So, when talking about "settling the suspension" what comes to mind is ride height. The ride height is set by adjusting the spring reaction studs so that the lower control arms are parallel to the ground. Yes you can lower the car with these same spring reaction studs, but when you do, you are reducing the spring force on the suspension, and therefore un-matching the spring rate to the shock dynamics, and getting close to suspension travel exceeding the shock travel limit. The bogey I don't have a clue about is mag ride. I'm still trying to wrap my old-fashioned paradigms and opinions around what they do and when.

There are really only 2-3 practical reasons why the car at rest would not be at the intended ride height. One would be a high friction bind in one or more of the control arm bushings, a bind in the sway bar, and some residual restraint in the shocks. Since we're in the C7 section, and assuming we are not talking about coil-overs, then the #1 reason is there some retained force in the shocks. Usually if you disconnect a shock, it will become shorter as this residual is relaxed.

So the short answer is a small pull down on the cradle and a small push up will "settle" the car to a consistent ride height. Of course, this is one of the sources of error and repeatability we all face. This is assuming zero friction of the tire to the surface, so you are either on a greased griddle, turn plates or hub stands. What I find more important than jouncing the car, is to lower the car on the turn plates with the turnplate locking pins in place, then tap the back side of the turn plate until the locking pins can be easily pulled out. Then I know my tires are free to camber as they want and roll enough to allow adjustment. I've tried the stack of grocery bags, poly sheets, but turn plates will give me good repeatable outcomes, even when I forget to "settle" the car.

I guess everyone knows that the Corvette suspension is a "short arm/long arm double wishbone suspension" When camber is set at the static ride height, this is the minimum camber any tire will see, when the car is going straight with no steering input. Any loading or unloading will increase camber. The exception is the inside front wheel in a turn which goes positive camber upon turning. This can be seen in the measuring of front caster. There is a good animation on You tube about this suspension and worth watching.
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Old 07-05-2019, 02:21 PM
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I hope we haven't strayed away from the OP's original question. I just want to help with some observations of aligning nuances and driving habits seen in others.[/QUOTE]

K....6, your detailed reply with the specific washer thicknesses and their correlation to change in camber are very helpful. Thank you. You've inspired me along with the other posts to take a hard look at the special uca bolts and shim kit. That also means getting hub $tands. Last week, I took the car to the dealer to set up a track alignment. Yureka, I have a new amazingly planted car. Since the car was purchased, it never felt planted. I came from a '15 Z51, and the Z06 did not feel right from an alignment perspective. After the track alignment, WOW! The technician walked me through the specs and now the rear caster is +.9. The rear lca are marked with yellow paint indexed to the lower edge of the cradle.
I see a need to adjust the alignment back to street settings and the posts offered here are a tremendous help. Thanks again everyone for chiming in! First lapping experience in the Z06 at Pacific Raceways was phenomenal.





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Old 07-05-2019, 02:36 PM
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This forum is a great place for us to learn about all aspects of our cars. Regardless of the amount of work we do ourselves it is very beneficial for us to know how and why mechanically. I know a lot of people have complained about the c7 but, in my opinion,it's the best vette yet. Lots of the problems can be solved by just making sure everything is adjusted to the proper specs. Even the issue with heat can be mitigated by driving in a way that uses torque rather than rpm to get the job done. Glad you got your car sorted out!
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Old 07-05-2019, 02:52 PM
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Glad it is working for you. as badhabit says this is a great place to find info. The trick is to make sure the info matches up with your need. If you get into it, it will not take long for you to be able to assess when you have a good alignment. The tires will also tell no lies. Temps across the tread can tell you if settings are good and if tire pressure is right . Every one of us have slightly different driving habits, and how we drive has a big impact on brakes tires, and whether the alignment is right for you. The person that says alignment has to be such and such, probably can only speak for the recipe that works for him. So the best advice i can offer is to be your own critical task master. Only you should be allowed to cuss out you.
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Old 07-08-2019, 10:22 PM
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I'll risk another alignment-noobie question. If purchase a longacre camber/caster gauge, could I attach the magnetic base directly to the rotor and get a decent reading for camber? Assumes level car.
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Old 07-08-2019, 10:24 PM
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Originally Posted by bhk2 View Post
I'll risk another alignment-noobie question. If purchase a longacre camber/caster gauge, could I attach the magnetic base directly to the rotor and get a decent reading for camber? Assumes level car.
You need to have the car sitting on the wheels or hub stands with the weight on it to set the camber. Not sure how you'd do that and attach the base to the rotor.
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Old 07-08-2019, 10:42 PM
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Thanks for the very helpful answer. The reply helped me to avoid ordering something that would only create frustration and embarassment. Connecting the dots...my options for alignment are hubstands or an external bracket mounted to the wheel. Got it!
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Old 07-08-2019, 10:52 PM
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Glad to help. I had to learn it too
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Old 07-09-2019, 07:28 AM
  #40  
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One quick note for those with the Tractive shocks. When they are off they go to full stiff which is the opposite of the factory MR shocks. So you need to power the car up to get them to settle.
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