Anybody do their own alignments?

Gearz

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All right, classic water level procedure. But do the tiles go underneath the tires to level the car? I presume they do, but without a picture my mind will not compute.
Yes, once I figure out how many tiles go on each corner I mark an outline of the tiles and the number for each stack on the floor. Jack up the car and put the tiles under the tire and let it down.

Of course, be careful when jacking up the car with tires on tiles. The tiles can slide pretty easy even with the weight of half a car on them and if the jack doesn't roll it can pull the tires off the stack or at least far enough to be unstable. Just be careful with anything that involves you getting under a car.

 

GTIIIL

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That’s what I thought. I have a lift, and was thinking of trying to set this up on the runways and use my hydraulic tray jack. Plus it would be nice to work at waist level instead of being on the ground And have to climb under the car to make adjustments.
 
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brokenblinker

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I am assuming that when iterating on adjustments and putting the car back on the ground, it needs to be rolled fwd/bck to let the suspension reach steady state?
 

Gearz

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I am assuming that when iterating on adjustments and putting the car back on the ground, it needs to be rolled fwd/bck to let the suspension reach steady state?
Yes although if you're using tiles, they have enough slip that you can just bounce the car up and down to settle it.
 

galaxy

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I’m pretty sure I have seen people sit the wheels on two pieces of sheet metal squares with a thin layer of grease between the two sheets to allow for settling and wheel turning.
 

Gearz

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I've done that and it works but it's messy. There's enough slip that you can just bounce the car and it'll settle. The really nice thing about the Magneride shocks is that they're full soft when the car is off and it bounces super easy.
 

Michael_vroomvroom

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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
From what I've read stock setup has decent adjustability for camber on the rear already. Are these mostly a nice thing to have, or you think third-party camber links are necessary at an amateur level (trackdays) too?
 

CJJon

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I’m pretty sure I have seen people sit the wheels on two pieces of sheet metal squares with a thin layer of grease between the two sheets to allow for settling and wheel turning.
A plastic bag works too.
 

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I may be mistaken of course, but suspect that was a joke from JAJ's in lieu of this thread. Verifying the results of an expensive alignment rack with "cheap and primitive" string. ;-)
Yeah that.

I just set up a $20M robot cell that places so precisely that you have to use a microscope to troubleshoot it .......with a cheap and primitive ball of string lol
 

Gearz

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From what I've read stock setup has decent adjustability for camber on the rear already. Are these mostly a nice thing to have, or you think third-party camber links are necessary at an amateur level (trackdays) too?
The primary benefit of the adjustable links is that they are so much easier to adjust. The stock adjustment is a slotted hole on the upper inboard link which is "difficult" to get (requires a long flex head ratcheting wrench) and to adjust the link location you sometimes need to unload the suspension, which leaves you guessing how much you moved it.

With the adjustable links you know how much you changed it and the suspension can be loaded. Since the camber affects the toe, it can take some time.

Be wary of the links that put the threaded part of the joint in bending load. The BMR links and the SPC links are good.
 

JAJ

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I may be mistaken of course, but suspect that was a joke from JAJ's in lieu of this thread. Verifying the results of an expensive alignment rack with "cheap and primitive" string. ;-)
I just set up a $20M robot cell that places so precisely that you have to use a microscope to troubleshoot it .......with a cheap and primitive ball of string lol
Well, it actually wasn't a joke :wink:

First, it's not actually "string" in the fuzzy cotton sense, I use 30 lb test fishing line, which is about 0.5mm thick.

Second, lets talk about what "wheel alignment" actually is: camber is the angle by which the wheel diverges from true vertical when the vehicle is on an exactly flat surface with the tire pressures equalized and the wheels set to the straight-forward position. Toe is the deviation of the wheels measured relative to the vehicle centerline under the same standard conditions.

When it comes to measuring camber, the term "the string never lies" comes from the fact that a weighted string can only ever hang at true vertical. It's incapable of hanging at any other angle. So, if you're careful, you can measure the wheel's deviation from true vertical with considerable precision. With a little care and patience you can easily measure camber to better than a tenth of a degree accuracy.

As for toe, well, if you center the car in the string box by measuring out from the center of each hub center cap, even an easily seen and fixed centering error of 1 mm from end to end is only 0.02 degrees. Again, a little patience, measuring the distance from the string to the wheel can easily deliver better than a tenth of a degree accuracy.

As for the high-end laser systems? Well, they exist because patience is the enemy of profit. They can be accurate for sure, but the reason they're popular with shops is speed. They're intended to deliver a factory-spec alignment in the shortest possible time. It's how the shop makes money.

The problem is that the factory specs aren't particularly demanding - the allowable error published in the factory specs for the S550 are +/- 0.75 degrees of camber and +/- 0.2 degrees of toe.

And that's why I said that anyone with a print-out from a shop's alignment system doesn't actually know what they've got until they've checked with string.
 

Michael_vroomvroom

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The primary benefit of the adjustable links is that they are so much easier to adjust. The stock adjustment is a slotted hole on the upper inboard link which is "difficult" to get (requires a long flex head ratcheting wrench) and to adjust the link location you sometimes need to unload the suspension, which leaves you guessing how much you moved it.

With the adjustable links you know how much you changed it and the suspension can be loaded. Since the camber affects the toe, it can take some time.

Be wary of the links that put the threaded part of the joint in bending load. The BMR links and the SPC links are good.
Thank you, that's useful information.
 

JAJ

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Thank you, that's useful information.
It's very useful information. I have the BMR links installed and they're great, but they (at least mine) require greasing every 1,000 miles or so. I have a set of SPC arms on hand and when I've got a week or two of downtime, I'll swap to the SPC's.
 

kz

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These are the best camber links in my opinion:
SPC Upper Control Links
I have them - not a big fan - inboard mounting bolt isn't counterrotated so you need to hold it while tightening the nut. And that eccestric piece for the fine adjustment that is outboard is really hard to get to with very limited movement angle(+ requires a wrench that most people typically don't have) - I wrote a post about them somewhere here.
Plus is locking out movement in the inboard slot so it doesn't just rely on the bolt clamp to hold it.

To be fair - haven't tried anything else aftermarket.
 

 
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