Tech Article Title Author Date
DIY Alignment Bernie Benz 2009

For Camber measurements you’ll need a carpenter’s framing square and a level. Also a 5’ straight edge and a fairly level garage floor.
For Total Toe measurements, two steel tape measures, and a pair of home made toe boards. I’ll describe mine as follows:
Two flat and straight 1 x 6 x 24” pine boards. Saw slot the ends 1”
deep, parallel with and ½” in from the edges, to accept the tape blades.

The DIY alignment procedure is an iterative process that can be very time intensive the first time if misalignment is gross and adjustments are frozen, but it is possible to better that of sophisticated equipment in the hands of the unknowing using gross factory tolerances.

1. Calibrate your level in degrees per bubble movement as follows:
On a flat table surface, shim the low end of the level to center the bubble.
Flip the level end for end on the shim. The bubble should remain centered. If not your level is NG!
Now add a measured shim to move the bubble one division or one bubble length.
This added shim thickness divided by the length of the level is the tangent of the level’s one bubble angle.
Look up this angle in your trig tables and mark the level as such. X deg./ bubble.

2. Check the floor for level.
Chalk scribe the tire contact patch areas where camber is to be measured.
With the 5’ straight edge across the two contact areas (shim equally if straight edge high centering is a problem) check the straightedge for level. Note what portion of a bubble it is off level and in what direction. This correction factor will be applied to subsequent camber measurement values.

3. Camber measurement, one axle.
With the tires for the axle to be checked on the patch areas, hold the square edge vertical against the tire side wall, contact points just fore or aft of center to avoid the contact bulge, check bubble with level on horizontal leg of square. Apply the floor correction factor and you have Camber for that wheel in bubbles, which can be converted into degrees using your level calibration figure. Repeat for second wheel on that axle. If the camber angles of each wheel are not equal, equalize them by moving the subframe before attempting to adjust individual wheel camber. After any camber adjustment, back the car off of the contact patch areas and reposition prior to the next measurement. Make all necessary camber adjustments before proceeding to Toe measurement.

4. Total Toe measurement, one axle.
Position car on contact patch areas with steering wheel in exact neutral position. Place toe boards edge on floor against and centered on wheels. Stretch tapes under the car fore and aft of wheels in the toe board slots. With tape ends hooked into the opposite toe board, pull tapes tight against measuring side toe board. The difference in tape lengths is the Total Toe angle in inches per 24”.

This Total Toe angle must be centered on the chassis such that the car goes straight down the road, not crabbing. To check this, hold your straight edge horizontal at axle height across the tire side wall‘s two contact points and measure the distance between the straight edge and the base of the B pillar. Repeat for the other side. These two measurements should be equal.
So, when correcting Total Toe angle make your adjustment on the side required to also center toe on the chassis. After each adjustment, the car must be backed off the alignment patches and the patch position reestablished for another measurement.

After measuring and correcting the alignment for the first (front) axle, repeat the whole iterative process for the second (rear) axle.

Alignment Specs for maximum tire life:

Front and Rear:
Camber: Zero. Identical L. to R. No tolerance.
Total Toe: Zero, no tolerance, Centered on the chassis.

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