Anybody do their own alignments?

Chhris

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brokenblinker

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Thanks for your feedback everyone!

I've been out of the "work on your car yourself" game for a while. In high school, I had to drop the engine on my 1996 civic a couple of times because I couldn't afford to get it fixed (and it was fun), but moved to California for grad school and haven't really had a garage space or car to make doing these things yourself worth your while until recently.

Now that I have my own space, and I car I will enjoy tinkering with (and I will almost certainly take to the track), I look forward to trying out recommendations I saw here (and also my prior shop alignment luck on the C6 Corvette I had wasn't so great). I bought a jack and ordered jacking rails and jackstands. Hopefully I get to spend some time evaluating where the setup is at here in the near future.
 
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brokenblinker

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Follow up ignorant question:

I understand what the various properties are (camber, toe, thrust, caster, etc.). What is the best resource for understanding all of the "knobs" that influence these parameters?

For example, I know that people get front camber plates. Are these necessary? Are there already ways of adjusting the camber for an in-between street/track setting as factory for the 2019 GT350?

My searches have yielded surprisingly little for some of these topics. Maybe I'm searching non-optimally.

Edit: I think I finally found a really helpful thread. Linking it here for any others that are searching:
https://www.mustang6g.com/forums/th...e-alignment-possible-without-cc-plates.97155/
 
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kz

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Follow up ignorant question:

I understand what the various properties are (camber, toe, thrust, caster, etc.). What is the best resource for understanding all of the "knobs" that influence these parameters?

For example, I know that people get front camber plates. Are these necessary? Are there already ways of adjusting the camber for an in-between street/track setting as factory for the 2019 GT350?
If you car is stock, factory manual is what shows how to do the alignment - there isn't really much to it .

Didn't handling pack '19+ GT350s come with camber plates (dealer installed) ? If you don't have them, it's likely same adjustment as any other S550 - you can try to move the struts to maximize the camber (and slot strut holes), tie rods to adjust toe in the front, moving camber arm in a subframe slot / adjusting toe link in the rear. Like Gearz wrote above - adjusting rear sucks, even more in home conditions when you car isn't at the ride heights with a suspension loaded and wheels can't move freely while you're adjusting it.
 

Gearz

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You don't need anything extra to adjust the toe. You'll want camber plates to make the front camber changes easy. You can slot the struts and change the camber at the knuckle/strut joint but that is more difficult and reduces clearance between the tire and the strut body. Camber plates are the easy method. You can use the Ford Performance ones that come with the handling package or go with aftermarket ones, I'd look at the Vorshlag ones.

For the rear it's the same deal. You don't need anything to set the toe but you'll want to use an adjustable upper control link if you want to change the camber. There are some you'll want to steer clear of. See Honeybadgers build thread for what can happen and why.

These are the best camber links in my opinion:
SPC Upper Control Links

And Vorshlag Camber Plates:
Vorshlag camber plates
 

Michael_vroomvroom

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Very interesting thread. First video when I used the search string from sigintel was this one, which make this look a lot easier than I expected:

Looks like I won't even need the math, but can just use some pre-calculated tables referenced in the video.
 

Weyland-Yutani

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I did my own back when I did track days and autocrossing. It's one of those things that only de-mystifies itself once you start doing it. It isn't Dark Arts and there's no good reason why it can't be accurate. It demands some time commitment and patience, but it's also pretty satisfying work.

One bonus is: Even if you decide it's too much trouble, you'll be able to speak intelligibly to whatever speed shop you get to do alignments in the future.
 

Norm Peterson

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Very interesting thread. First video when I used the search string from sigintel was this one, which make this look a lot easier than I expected:

Looks like I won't even need the math, but can just use some pre-calculated tables referenced in the video.
For me, the initial learning came out of Fred Puhn's softcover book "How to Make Your Car Handle". Same place the sta-bar stiffness estimator that almost everybody uses even today came from. Bought my copy for $4.95 - back in 1976 or so, videos were well off into the future. I'm convinced that having to read for comprehension was way better for me than merely watching and hoping that learning by osmosis is a real thing. Still have that book, still refer to it from time to time.

Here's some other camber measuring methods I've used.

Started with this
full.jpg


Which evolved into this, where I wanted to lengthen the base enough to catch the wheel flanges at further-apart locations

full.jpg


Along the way, I built this, which actually has slightly better resolution (around 0.05°) than the typical digital angle finders at 0.1°. That was a fun little project in and of itself.
full.jpg



Oh yeah, I still have that Mustang poster too.


Norm
 
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The Rooster

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Also - I think you have unfortunately little distorted view of "professionals" how you called them - vast majority of shop will just get the readings within spec, not really trying that hard to get camber/toe on both sides (relatively) equal. If you have any aftermarket part (camber plates, toe links, camber arm), most will decline doing anything (since they pull up manual and look up what manufacturer specifies as adjustments), also how calibrated their rack is...

You can do it more accurately at home that probably 70-80% shops out there.
Im quite aware of the fact many if not most shops should not be trusted to work on these or any other performance cars. I don't take my Shelby to express lube for oil changes... "Professional" is a term with a lot of shades of grey.. maybe I should have used specialist.
Do your homework and find a tech that knows what he's doing. Some even work at dealerships.

YOU may be able to do it better at home providing you have the knowledge and tools required. Average Joe with no experience, a ball of string and info from YouTube.... good luck.
 

Norm Peterson

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Post #40 edited to provide the correct second picture.

Damned if I know how what went wrong the first time . . . but then again IT things isn't something I can picture nearly as well as I can mechanical and geometry stuff.


Norm
 

kz

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Do your homework and find a tech that knows what he's doing. Some even work at dealerships.
LOLOL. You're funny. My car is currently aligned with equal camber to a tenth of a dgree and toe to a hundrenth of an inch between left and right wheel - on a well calibrated Hunter rack. I am not looking to get an alignment, I have plenty of places to have it done at. Meantime you keep writing in this thread about things you have already shown you don't know much about.
 

JAJ

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LOLOL. You're funny. My car is currently aligned with equal camber to a tenth of a degree and toe to a hundredth of an inch between left and right wheel - on a well calibrated Hunter rack. I am not looking to get an alignment, I have plenty of places to have it done at. Meantime you keep writing in this thread about things you have already shown you don't know much about.
Have you confirmed the Hunter rack report with string? If no, then you don't actually know what you have.
 

The Rooster

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LOLOL. You're funny. My car is currently aligned with equal camber to a tenth of a dgree and toe to a hundrenth of an inch between left and right wheel - on a well calibrated Hunter rack. I am not looking to get an alignment, I have plenty of places to have it done at. Meantime you keep writing in this thread about things you have already shown you don't know much about.

Get your head out of your ass and read what I said. YOU with You're knowledge, tools and experience im sure are capable of doing the job correctly.
Someone without proper tools and experience is best to leave it to someone qualified. Why is that so hard to understand SHM
 

 
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