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Old 10-09-2019, 05:49 AM
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dataway dataway is offline
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Default Quickie front end alignment

I have my rolling chassis (just frame) on the floor and want to get the front alignment somewhere close before I drop in the engine and things start getting harder to access.

I realize I'll have to adjust it when the engine goes in, and when the body drops , but right now the front suspension is just thrown together loosely. I'd like to get it somewhere in the ball park.

Is there a sticky somewhere, or a decent guide for a backyard alignment?
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Old 10-09-2019, 09:54 AM
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Eyeballing it is probably going to be as close as any method without an engine in it. Because the front end uses unequal A frames and it at the upper end of the travel it's an exercise in futility to try to do and caster or camber adjustment. The toe in would be the only adjustment that would be even close at ride height, compared to the springs being extended without an engine.

I use 2, 4X4 blocks to hold a piece of angle iron up and have a couple light duty tarp straps with cord to extend them to keep tension pulling the two pieces of angle iron against the sidewall of the tire (any type of elastic to keep tension on the angle iron will work). One front of the tire and one to the rear of the tire. Use 2 tape measures to set the toe in. Center the steering wheel before you attempt to adjust the toe and you're going to have to eyeball the wheels to see if the wheels are straight ahead when you have your toe set.

FWIW, installing the engine isn't going to make the alignment any harder unless you have an A/C compressor, then it's a pretty minor obstruction to change shims. Installing the engine has zero effect on adjusting toe in as far as obstructions.

Myself, I'd wait until the engine was in to do an alignment, trying to do it while there is no engine in, is pretty much a waste of time. eyeballing the toe in would suffice for pushing it around the garage...…
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Old 10-09-2019, 10:53 AM
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Yeas- caster and camber would be a crap shoot without the engine and body. But for toe in I use two carpenters squares. You need a good flat floor. Place a square long side on the floor and short side aligned with a specific groove in the tread pattern. One square on each side of the car and use a tape to measure between the vertical short legs of the squares. You can lock the tape and just lay it on the floor. Move to the other side of the wheels (front to back or vice versa) and repeat with the vertical short legs of the squares aligned with the same groove in the tread pattern. Do a little arithmetic and you have your toe in/toe out measurement. Adjust tie rods ends and repeat measurement. Done it that way a number of times and had not problem.
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Old 10-09-2019, 02:23 PM
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The wheel track is wider in the back than the front right? So I couldn't use the "string" method?

Thanks for the ideas .... Hopefully I'll have the engine in a month from now.

Kind of dreading doing the necessary wrenching around all the pretty painted parts after the engine is in.
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Old 10-09-2019, 02:47 PM
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Yup I'd just set the toe as well and let the caster/camber fall where they may currently. I like the string method myself if the rear track is wider.

Remember that if you're running rubber bushings in the control arms, you will need to loosen and retorque them once the full weight of the engine and body is on the suspension. If you're running a poly or solid with a sleeve, you can torque them now.

Your toe setting will change as your caster/camber changes, so you will need a full alignment once you have those done.
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Old 10-09-2019, 05:18 PM
younggto younggto is online now
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Since toe is the last alignment adjustment to make personally I wouldn’t bother, but it will roll better if not completely out of whack. Set the tires parallel and forget about it for now IMO. The alignment shop will/should center the steering wheel anyway.

Without the tires being on swivel plates you need to roll the car back and forth 15’ to re-center the tires between each adjustment; layers of newspaper or thin cardboard under the tires haven’t worked well enough for myself in the past. My luck the springs would be different heights and I’d have to take it apart anyway...

And as said about the bushings; 100% correct!

One thing I will add; the fewer times a wrench is put on the freshly painted parts the less chance of damage.
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Old 10-09-2019, 07:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by younggto View Post
Since toe is the last alignment adjustment to make personally I wouldn’t bother, but it will roll better if not completely out of whack. Set the tires parallel and forget about it for now IMO. The alignment shop will/should center the steering wheel anyway.

Without the tires being on swivel plates you need to roll the car back and forth 15’ to re-center the tires between each adjustment; layers of newspaper or thin cardboard under the tires haven’t worked well enough for myself in the past. My luck the springs would be different heights and I’d have to take it apart anyway...

And as said about the bushings; 100% correct!

One thing I will add; the fewer times a wrench is put on the freshly painted parts the less chance of damage.
If you set the toe with the weight on the chassis instead of jacking it up to make the adjustments you negate all the pushing it back and forth after making the adjustments. It's why front end alignment machines are designed to make adjustments most times with the weight on the chassis. The reason there is a pit around the alignment heads is so you can work from below the car with the chassis loaded.
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Old 10-10-2019, 09:16 AM
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Right now all the bushing on the entire car are just hand tight, no shims up front, and those bolts are not tight either, all rubber everywhere. Again I dread crawling around wrenching on all those bushings, front and rear ... without jacking up the car.

Last night I actually pulled off the re-pop sway bar struts and replaced them with Moog parts (rubber actually made in USA). Rubber bushings in the re-pop was already cracking after being installed for about three years. Also used the Moog hardware, bolt is 1/16" larger OD, washers are not pressed garbage .... that "go-to" "correct" re-pop front suspension stuff is just plain horrible garbage ... I'll just have to live with the fact that now it only looks 90% correct
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Old 10-10-2019, 09:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dataway View Post
Right now all the bushing on the entire car are just hand tight, no shims up front, and those bolts are not tight either, all rubber everywhere. Again I dread crawling around wrenching on all those bushings, front and rear ... without jacking up the car.

Last night I actually pulled off the re-pop sway bar struts and replaced them with Moog parts (rubber actually made in USA). Rubber bushings in the re-pop was already cracking after being installed for about three years. Also used the Moog hardware, bolt is 1/16" larger OD, washers are not pressed garbage .... that "go-to" "correct" re-pop front suspension stuff is just plain horrible garbage ... I'll just have to live with the fact that now it only looks 90% correct
If you get a measurement on the ground of where the tire sits in the wheel well you can jack the car up with a floor jack, run a chain around the frame, nd the axle of the floor jack and preload it in the correct position and have it off the ground to tighten the bushings. I also use this procedure to install coil springs in a car without the engine in it.

I also prefer using the nylon sway bar pin bushings as it takes the play out of the mechanics of the sway bar before it reacts.
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Old 10-10-2019, 05:16 PM
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Honestly, I don't see the practical utility in trying to align it as a bare chassis. You're going to have to redo everything anyway, so why bother? That's just creating more work for yourself. I'd just ballpark it and call it good for now until you install everything and the car is at final assembled weight.
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Old 10-10-2019, 06:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dataway View Post
Right now all the bushing on the entire car are just hand tight, no shims up front, and those bolts are not tight either, all rubber everywhere. Again I dread crawling around wrenching on all those bushings, front and rear ... without jacking up the car.

Then, instead of spending the time on work that will totally have to be redone anyway, make a set of these.
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Old 10-10-2019, 06:42 PM
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When it’s all assembled if working space is tight underneath you can build risers out of 2x10s (or whatever width your tires are) three high (or more) to raise it. Bounce the car a few times and tighten away. I made some three high to ease making suspension angle adjustments and to set pinion angle and they work great; wish I would have made them years ago...
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Old 10-10-2019, 06:43 PM
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...beat me to it...
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