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Discussion Starter #1
I was reading an old issue of MM&FF, about how to change your front end alignment. I was wondering what would be a good gauge to buy? I found a Longacre gauge, is it any good?
What is the correct way to adjust your caster, camber and toe-in?

Thanks.
 

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alignment

I'll eyeball some specs but if I am taking a car to a road course and seeing triple digit speeds I don't trust my do-it yourself alignment. My advice is take it to a good shop that has a computerized alignment rack. Its kind of like building your own airplane just because you can do it does not mean its a good idea.
 

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With a reasonable set of tools and patience you can get results comparable to computerized machines, and better than many shops will do. I do triple digits comfortably while cornering at 2-3g in my formula car with a DIY alignment. The big difference is you can do it much quicker with a real rack.

Justin
 

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Although I have very limited experience, I often wonder how much a .01 degree difference really matters. At least with autocross Mustangs. I can see it on a really precise car like an open-wheeled formula car.
 

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I have the longacre gauge and really like it. With that and a home-made toe gauge I've been doing my own alignments for 8 or 9 years. At about $135 it pays for itself pretty quick.

David
 

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TennGT said:
I'll eyeball some specs but if I am taking a car to a road course and seeing triple digit speeds I don't trust my do-it yourself alignment. My advice is take it to a good shop that has a computerized alignment rack. Its kind of like building your own airplane just because you can do it does not mean its a good idea.
I have to disagree with everything above. While a shop may have quicker equipement, the technicians are not all the same. Most dont even spend the time required and just "Toe and go" or have the knowledge of how alignment changes affect the car. I have had shops that would refuse to do alignments when they saw the C/C plates or if I told them I wanted to use my specs and not their listed specs. I would rather spend my money on equipement than repeated services. With my car going on the track I feel safer knowing that everything is done correctly than trusting someone else.

As for equipement at home I use the SmartCamber gauge. It is really quick for caster and camber. Works very well on none level surfaces (great for the track).
http://www.smartracingproducts.com/alignment.htm
For toe I would suggest the same thing MFE uses to set toe. A quick search for posts by MFE with "alignment" in them should come up with his DIY writeup.

Also, what is wrong with building an airplane? Why isnt it a good idea? Seems like a judgement with little information. Homebuilt aircraft aren't that hard to build. Sure it takes some knowledge but many people build. I am building a Van's RV8 right now.
http://www.vansaircraft.com/
 

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With about 60 bucks in tools (toe gauge is home made), I do all my alignments at home. My tire wear is much better than any shop alignment I have ever had. It is really pretty easy, but takes a bit of time and repeat checking. I also set the car up more agressively for an auto-x, and don't have to worry about having to pay someone to change the alignment back and forth. Pretty soon we will have a brand new alignment rack at work however, so I will likely take advantage of that.
 

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TennGT said:
Its kind of like building your own airplane just because you can do it does not mean its a good idea.
Tell that to the Wright brothers, Donald Douglas, Glenn Curtis, Larry Bell, Burt Rutan and the rest of the aviation pioneers. Maybe Burt Rutan shouldn't go to space with his carbon fiber airplane. It's just "not a good idea".
 

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I whole heartedly agree with the above. For less than the cost of two shop alignments, you can buy what you need, to do as good or better than most zit poppen alignment jockys.

For the cost of three, maybe four, you can set yourself up with some really nice digital stuff. Plus you can make it back helpin your friends doin their cars.

The first time you try, you'll spend some extra time learning how to get consistent mesurements ect. After that you'll wonder why you ever paid some one else to do it.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I bought a Longacre Gauge, which wasn't a bad deal, for a $120.00 shipped to the house. But, now I got to looking at my truck and wife's car, I don't see how I can use it, can not mount it to the bearing hub, or disk rotor.
Any ideals?
I plan on making my own toe-gauge, and I found MFE's alignment.

Thanks Chad.
 

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Micha said:
After that you'll wonder why you ever paid some one else to do it.
And won't have the hassle of smoothtalking some rack jockey every time to set it up to YOUR specs and not Ford's. ;)
 

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Oktavius,

I built an RV-8 5 years ago now and love it. Have almost 400 hours on it. I'll shoot you a pic or 2 if you like. PM me on where you are at in the process.

Others contemplating the home DIY alignment. It isn't difficult or even very time consuming after you have done it once or twice. You can do lots after reading MFE's post and it gives you the ability and confidence to easily change the car to your tastes even while at the track between sessions. I've seen toe set at alignment shops using chalk marks and a tape measure. Measure with a micrometer, mark it with chalk, and cut it with an ax is others moto. I use tight tollerances and precision all around and get amazing mileage out of my tires both on and off track.

Scott

edit typo
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I plan making adpters for my other cars, but I was wondering would it be a good ideal to use two gauges, when measuring toe, one in front and back, to speed up the process and to be more precise?

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Discussion Starter #18
I bought, not recieved, a Longacre Caster Camber Guage, with the magnite a base, I plan on machining a mount for the magnite adaptor, or machining an adaptor for the gauge itself. Would this work as intended?

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Do you have any links to the guage in question? I am having a hard time visualizing and therefore understanding what you are getting at. I am sure though if you can machine something you'll be able to get it to work.
 
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