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So I'd bought this alignment gizmo from SC&C, and guess what?
Well, it took a while, and I actually had to read the directions, but it WORKED!!

Over the past several days, I have successfully and accurately aligned my front end.
Camber = -.5 degrees
Caster = +5 degrees
Toe = 1/16"

The gizmo can be adjusted to compensate for the car sitting on an uneven surface, and you do need to read the directions to do caster. I also rolled the car back and forth 20 feet a bunch of times to let everything "adjust" after making changes, I don't have those cool zero friction pads a real alignment shop has, and particularly when doing camber, adjusting it binds the tire against the floor.

For the toe, I cut some aluminum square tube to 24" and attached them to the tires with bungees, low enough so I could pass a rule all the way from tire to tire. Was originally gonna use folding carpenters rules, but they were not rigid enough, ended up using a tape measure, which worked fine.

Car now goes straight, and the steering feels great.




 

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Cool Deal.
I usta' have a set of those zero friction pads, but got rid of them when I got out of the business :noway::pout: Didn't tink I would ever get back into workin' on cars again (burnout). Wish I had them back now. :confused:
 

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Good post. I'll be looking into one of those. SC&C lists the toe adapter on their website. Did your square tubing replace this part? I've spent the last 5 years building my 69 from the ground up and its almost done. The thought of taking it to an unknown alignment shop has been bothering me all along. I think I'll give this a try. :thumbsup:

Rick
 

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Thanks for the info.
 

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it's also amazing what you can do with a couple of jackstands, some string, and a tape measure.
i had my Nova almost right on with that method- i did it when i did the front suspension and drove it like that for a few months. my cousin worked at a shop with a nice alignment rack, so we decided to put it on there after work one day to see how close it was. the only thing that was off was the camber- and that was only about a degree off..
 

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I've heard of people cutting and using two stacks of mill poly, 2' square, 4 sheets to a stack to use under the wheels as reduced (not zero) friction pads. Make sure the concrete is clean and smooth underneath. If not, use a square of sheetmetal under the poly.
 

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Good job, JimM. You can also use two floor tiles under each tire, the older kind glued to the floor in the kitchen.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Jim, I'd like to have one of those, how much are they?

Mike
It cost $150, I bought it from Mark at SC&C (http://www.scandc.com) but I believe this and similar devices are readily available from many places, particularly circle track suppliers.
 

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a couple days to do an alignment?
as many alignments ill do its cheaper to take car to the shop lol.
I feel the same way, but from reading Jim's previous posts I think he's going for the "Do it yourself" thing which is more about principal than time.




Good Job.

Rich
 

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Discussion Starter #14
The last time I paid for an alignment, it took the guy 3 hours, charged hourly.

I spent 2 1/2 days, but those were evenings before and after dinner with the family, watching American Idol with the wife, various other interuptions, forgeting which way I was supposed to turn the adjustment, trying to reach the tie rod adjusters with the crossmember 4" from the ground, stuff like that.

Maybe 5 hours worth of real time, and probably 2 of them were just getting the hang of the machine.

As Rich said, doing it myself was worth it.
 

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Speedway Motors sells a very nice magnetic bubble gage that is under $120.
http://www.speedwaymotors.com/p/2698,234_Magnetic-Caster-Camber-Gauge.html

If you can't fit it on your hub due to the wheel getting in the way there are screw on adapters, or you can just stick it to your brake rotor if you have 17" wheels with spokes that clear it. The advantage of this gage is you can have large amounts of neg camber and still read large amounts of positive caster. Some other non-racing gages don't read caster at high neg camber settings.

There is also one by Smartlevel that is very nice and it's digital. Gaging the amount of wheel turn for setting caster is the hardest part to get right. A slight error in wheel turn will throw it off. It's hard to get repeatable results even with turntables. By the way, Harbor Freight sells turntables on their website.

Most alignment shops want to do two cars per hour for straight alignments. Not much time to get it exactly right but they get more money for any faults they find and that generates more money for them.
David
David
 

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Jim :thumbsup:

I used the old string around the car and adjusted the tie rods so the string touched all the tire edges. I took it to the shop and waited 3 hours for them to do the rest :( . I am gearing twards doing what you have done. Great job :)

Kev
 

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I will need to do this! Last time I took my truck for alignment it came back squealing around every turn, Went back dropped it off and got a call from the manager saying my idler arm was too loose, I needed a coolant change and fan belts changed. I told him the idler arm was well within GM limits ( I just rebuilt the front end and checked this prior to the alignment) he said that limit was so GM didn't have to pay warranty. and I can't bring it back again if it still had problems... right... Went to pick it up and the tech commented how far the toe was off...

I hate having people work on my equipment!

TTFN
Mat
 

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Hey Jim I may need to see if I can shanghai your tools. If nothing else it's a good excuse to get together again. I did my car last year the hard way. 2 levels, string, straight edges, tape measure and a calculator. It's very close, but I would like to check it just to make sure. I don't trust taking my car to these quick-lube or tire places for an alignment, and I haven't found anyone I'd trust to do the performance alignment yet anyway. Most shops I talked to either only do to factory specs, or say they won't guaranty steering response, drivability, or tire wear without using factory specs.
 

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I ordered the Fastrax from Mark at SC&C. Always a pleasure talking to him.

Thanks for the feedback, Jim!
 
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