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Geoff Wootton
Grand Master
Username: dounraey

Post Number: 493
Registered: 5-2012
Posted on Tuesday, 07 October, 2014 - 07:00:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Most members of this forum have more than 2 cars and are probably active in maintaining them all. So, steering alignment bills can start to mount up over the years, at $70 a pop. What are peoples views on carrying out their own steering alignment. A quick search engine check shows there are several devices available for the home market. I was particularly interested in a product made by Gunson which comes in the form of a flat plate which is placed under one of the front wheels. The car is then slowly driven over the plate and an attached gauge shows whether the wheels are aligned correctly.

http://www.gunson.co.uk/item.aspx?item=1812

Can anyone recommend this device, or any other method for steering alignment.

Geoff
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Bob uk
Unregistered guest
Posted From: 94.197.122.91
Posted on Tuesday, 07 October, 2014 - 09:01:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Place a piece of craft paper on a smooth flat floor. Ink the tyres and drive the car straight very slowly over the paper.

Look at the imprint from the tread it should be well defined. If the print is slurred then it's a sign that the suspension is out.

The various suspension bushes should be central if they are then most likely assuming the settings were right will sti'll be right.

Tracking can be done with a long pole and a tape measure, what ever is used must be rigid to get accurate tracking.

The tyre wear should be even.

To track from back to front use long straight string on poles in ground. Set the front a known distance from the front wheel lip. Then set the string the same known distance allowing for front to rear track difference.

Then check that the rear is toeing out the correct amount.

If the tyres wear even And the bushes are centred and the front toe in is right and the tear toe out is right then the rest such as turns to toe in camber and king pin inclination will be correct.

This is because if any setting is wrong then so will some of the others.

If the tracking is wrong and there is no wear then it maybe another setting that is wrong which is made the tracking wrong.

I reckon every 20k miles the tracking should be checked front to back. If wrong then the whole of the suspension should be geoed on a computer.
if tracking is the same as last time then the rest is ok.

UK price for a total geo on the computer is 60. Just tracking is free with New tyres if you are nice to the tyreman or 10.

There is a complicated way of checking full geo using a digital spirit level. If working on a SY car use a shadow level.

The method will be on the web somewhere and needs a bit of head stratching to understand.

The method was used by RR and others for setting up in the old days.

(Message approved by david_gore)
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Bob uk
Unregistered guest
Posted From: 94.197.122.91
Posted on Tuesday, 07 October, 2014 - 09:32:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Additional.

The Gunson gauge is called trackrite and is as old as the hills. The trackrite gauge did Work ok.

When needing to turn steering stationary place glossy magazines under the wheels.

Remember that steering arms and stuff don't change length unless worn and the bits are strong and robust. Except rubber bushes. So if the settings are out check bushes.

Often cars are set on bad bushes. So fitting new bushes will probably upset the settings, very much suck and see.

If a tyre is run on badly set geo the tyre can take on a memory for the running at that setting. The memory can take a few miles to forget. So when a car is steering horrible because the settings are out. When the tracking is correct it will feel much better and get even better after a few miles.

Remember that heavy cars with light power steering can shag a new tyre in 100 miles if they are set wrong.

(Message approved by david_gore)
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Carl Jones
New User
Username: carl888

Post Number: 2
Registered: 4-2013
Posted on Saturday, 13 December, 2014 - 11:20:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Dear Geoff,

The problem with this device, it's only measuring toe. (That's usually what you get when have your local shop perform an alignment)

To do it properly, you'll need to additionally measure caster and camber as well. Camber can be read easily with a spit level. You can even download an iphone app and use the side of your phone if it's a straight edge, but caster is a little more involved, you'll need a specific caster gauge to measure it.

There is no point what so ever in just checking toe. You must check all three variables, toe, camber and caster.

For this reason, I cannot recommend that device you mention.
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Carl Jones
New User
Username: carl888

Post Number: 3
Registered: 4-2013
Posted on Saturday, 13 December, 2014 - 11:22:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

LOL, I meant "Spirit level" not "Spit Level" :-)