How to do an alignment? - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old Apr 4th, 12, 08:56 AM Thread Starter
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Brian
 
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How to do an alignment?

Can anyone link me to an article or detail procedure that will get me "close" for a home garage alignment? I'll leave it to a shop to do a laser alignment later, I'm looking to just get close enough that my road tests aren't silly. Specifically, my rear tires look out of whack but the eyes can deceive.

1969 Camaro 383
2.02/1.63 & 234/244 Vortec
TH350 / 12 bolt 3.73
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old Apr 4th, 12, 09:31 AM
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Re: How to do an alignment?

Measure the front and backside width of the tires from the same two points. i.e. (second tread block) make sure the front is 1/16 to 1/8 inch inside the back. Lets say front measurment is 56 & 1/16, back should be 56 & 1/8. (those numbers arent right just a guide to use). Thats called your toe.. You should do this with full weight and can be tricky to adjust if you dont have slide plates. It can be done though. Camber is adjusted in your top control arm with shims. A level is a good starting point. Hold it flush to your tire vertically, and see where the bubble falls. If the bottom is in, take shims out, it top is in, put shims in until you get it close to level. And last but not least, make sure before you start anything, your steering wheel is straight..

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old Apr 4th, 12, 01:51 PM
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Re: How to do an alignment?

Basic toe...
Steering wheel locked and centered
take a string line from the front of the front wheel around the rear to the front along the axle line....adjust so have a slight toe in.
Getting camber...very slight lean in at the top..adjusting the shims....
BUT these shims dont just do your camber they also do the caster....
So caution..if when driving that steering is real light, steering real sensitive u have not enough caster...the car can be very unstable even in a straight line at highway speed and lower...
There are other good threads in far more detail describig basic pre alignment shop adjustments.....1 about 3 months ago....including what size shim and how much changes caster and camber.

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old Apr 4th, 12, 03:40 PM Thread Starter
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Re: How to do an alignment?

Thanks to you both. So there is no adjustment to be made in back, it's all just front?

1969 Camaro 383
2.02/1.63 & 234/244 Vortec
TH350 / 12 bolt 3.73
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old Apr 4th, 12, 08:52 PM
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Re: How to do an alignment?

No they are leaf springs and 'fixed'.
Yes the rear can be out of wack.....this is usually detected when setting up the front chassis.....measure diagonals between one of the U clamp bolts and a fixed point on the front of the chassis.....+/- 5mm
You can also measure diagaonals betwen the U clamp and bottom of the front shocks...this will give a general idea as to caster each side and A arms ok.

this will have the 4 wheels center line estblished BUT if the car has been in a big smash, it doesnr mean that the body is sitting square on the wheels...If not u will have mission to get panels to square up.

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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old Apr 5th, 12, 04:06 AM
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Re: How to do an alignment?

Good suggestions given. As said, the level is placed against the tire, but the bottom contact on the sidewall should not be on the 'bubble' of the sidewall. Continue as directed.

Do the rear tires not appear in the center of the opening per side view? Very common.
I have had two Camaro's, a '67 & '68, with one tire forward in the opening. My fix was a soft alum button, 2024 alum, 1/2 inch diameter by 1/2 thick, maybe, and place it in front of the spring bolt after cutting out the pad. This button pulled the wheel back in the opening and car tracked straighter.

You can measure the wheelbase with a tape measure on the ground and bring out the center of the each axle to the tape and compare side lengths.

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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old Apr 5th, 12, 09:31 AM Thread Starter
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Re: How to do an alignment?

I just finished a rear end install. Believe my tires look well centered in the wheel well. However, I have started doing some measurements to be sure everything went in correct and got some weird results (read on) that made me think about whether the rear wheels need adjustments.

For example, I measured the rear bumper- is it level? Dead on, yes. Althought that's more directly influenced by the shocks than the springs but it could be both. Distance from shock pads to the floor- equal. Spring pads evenly squeezed? Yep. Spring pad lips evenly wrapping over the edges of the leafs and tight in the perch? yes.

What is the space between the top of the tire and the wheel opening? Answer- right side seems to have more opening than the left, about 1/2''. But I have a level bumper.... Hmmm..

Since I'm using a converted 1970 Camaro 12 bolt... expecting rear wheels to sit out slightly wider than stock 1969 camaro due to +1'' axel tube length. Do rear wheels stick out even 1/2'' each side ? Answer- no, looks like one side might over shoot by 1/4'' when measuring from tire edge to quarter panel wheel well opening... that's where I was wondering if the top of the tire I measured was truly representing the axel tube length or if my tire was sitting that way because it needs aligned. From what I'm seeing distance between perch edges and tube flange is same.

See fellas- this post got more interesting... glad I can jazz it up. haha

1969 Camaro 383
2.02/1.63 & 234/244 Vortec
TH350 / 12 bolt 3.73
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old Apr 5th, 12, 09:56 AM
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Re: How to do an alignment?

Brian, do not worry about the vertical component of the rear at this time. Aligning the rear is a horizontal measurment. The rockers are the key. Take a vertical line on the tire and measure the distance from the end of the rocker to that line. Both sides have to match. it is not that important on how you measure, but that you measure both sides from the same points. If they are equal, then the rear is aligned with the body. (centered in the wheelwell and height above body is a whole other story!)

Next on the the front, caster is how much the vertical axis of the spindle is leaning fore or aft. That is not easy to do without the proper tools, so lets leave that for now. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caster_angle

Camber and toe can be done. Camber is the the lean of the spindle in and out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camber_angle
for a rough alignment, you want the tire vertical. Just place a piece of wood that matches the dia of the rim, place on the wheel and take a level to it vertically. If the top of the wheel is closer to the engine, add equal number of shims to each of the bolts on the upper A-arm. Wheel top out more than bottom, reduce shims.

Toe, get a peice of straight wood about 6-8 ft long, then get 2 2x4x4 peices and attach them to the long one so the small pieces can touch the tires on each side. Then find another person and a flat section of pavement. drive car as straight as you can and park. Then place the wood on the tire facing foward, have other person mark the pavement at end of wood, then flip and make a mark in the back. Do other side same way. Measure the distance between the front marks and the rear marks. If front is wider than rear, you have toe out. fix by lengthening each tie rod. If front is narrower than rears, you have toe-in, which is what you want.

You can also measure the body against the marks to see if your wheels are straight with the body and then use that to adjust the tie rods in opposition. That is how my dad did his on the cheap

Kevin


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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old Apr 5th, 12, 10:08 AM Thread Starter
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Re: How to do an alignment?

[QUOTE=KevinW;1685743]Brian, do not worry about the vertical component of the rear at this time. Aligning the rear is a horizontal measurment. The rockers are the key. Take a vertical line on the tire and measure the distance from the end of the rocker to that line. Both sides have to match. it is not that important on how you measure, but that you measure both sides from the same points. If they are equal, then the rear is aligned with the body. (centered in the wheelwell and height above body is a whole other story!)

Kevin---- thanks. Didn't think about trying it from the rocker... I've been looking up when maybe I should try looking down. I'll try this. I can hold stick level at the tire edge, ensure it is plumb, then run a string from a point on the level to a point on the rocker and see what I get each side. Easiest rocker position to be consistent with is probably the leading edge of it near the spring eye. Do I accurately understand your recommendation?

1969 Camaro 383
2.02/1.63 & 234/244 Vortec
TH350 / 12 bolt 3.73
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old Apr 5th, 12, 10:59 AM
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Re: How to do an alignment?

Brian, you just need a tape measure |<point on the rocker to point on the tire>| should only be a couple of inches. there is usually an edge treatment you can use on the tire.

Kevin


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