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Unread 03-27-2014, 02:33 PM   #1
robncar
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DIY Alignment Kit and Steps w/Pics...

Performed an alignment this morning and thought I'd share my DIY alignment kit and method that I use to set toe-in on my TJ.
I was never happy with the "scribe a line", "bungee to the outside of the wheel", or "measure from one tire seam or lug to another" processes.

The kit contains:

2 - 48" Steel Square Tubes (marked at the center points and at tire diameter)
4 - Large Pony Clamps
2 - Small Pony Clamps
2 - Tape Measures
6 - 1/2"-20 Nuts with Washers
2 - Bullet Levels

Steps:

1 - Place on jack stands close to ride height and remove front tires.



2 - Use nuts and washers to secure rotors to unit bearings. <-- IMPORTANT!!! If you don't, you can't achieve any accuracy.



3 - Center steel tubes on the lower side of each rotor and clamp with large pony clamps.

4 - Use bullet levels to place bars into same horizontal plane.



5 - Run two tape measures from one set of steel tubes to the other at the marks representing the tire diameter, clamp one end of the tapes with small pony clamps making sure to not affect the tapes ability to record an outside measurement, and let the other end hang suspended above the ground.



6 - Compare the measurements of the two tapes. In my case, I've targeted the front to be 3/16" smaller than the rear for my 35's (toe-in). The actual measurement does not matter, just the difference between the front and back tapes.

Front = 57-10/16"



Rear = 57-13/16"



7 - To adjust, loosen the clamps on, and rotate the tie-rod until you reach your desired setting. You'll see the tapes slide on the tubes as the tie-rod is turned. I use the inside edge of the tubes for my measurements so that I'm not fooled by the curvature of the tape outside the tube.

8 - Once you're happy with the delta of the front and rear tapes, tighten the clamps on the tie-rod, keeping in mind the clamp positioning relative to any moving parts that may come into contact with them.



9 - Then, you can center the steering wheel by loosening the drag link clamps and rotating the link until your wheel is centered. Once it's centered to your liking, tighten the clamps on the drag link, keeping in mind the clamp positioning relative to any moving parts that may come into contact with them. You may need to repeat this step a couple of times after test driving the Jeep to get it just right.

Easy as pie...

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Unread 03-27-2014, 05:58 PM   #2
tjsean0308
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Excellent write up thanks for taking the time. I vote to add this to the end all alignment thread.
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Unread 03-27-2014, 06:11 PM   #3
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That's a good write up. I do mine very similar except I only have one tape measure so I have to go back and forth a few times. It looks easier with two for sure.
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Unread 03-27-2014, 07:14 PM   #4
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Nice write up & pics...I do the same with two old hockey stick shafts(nice and straight)use bungee cords to hold to tires/rims and measure across...definitely looks easier to measure without tires in the way, but more work jacking and removing..
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Unread 03-27-2014, 07:53 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RubiDee View Post
Nice write up & pics...I do the same with two old hockey stick shafts(nice and straight)use bungee cords to hold to tires/rims and measure across...definitely looks easier to measure without tires in the way, but more work jacking and removing..
Yep, I tried the bungee cord on the outside of the tire method too and found it to be not as accurate due to tire sidewall variance. This method, with the bar under the rotor hat, is easy to duplicate. When you're trying to hold tight dimensions every bit counts, this method seems to be accurate and repeatable. To get that, I don't mind a little extra work.

Thanks for the comments, glad to help.
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Unread 03-27-2014, 08:00 PM   #6
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awesome! thanks! I see you are targeting 3/16" for your toe-in. Is that on 35's? Does anybody have info on what toe-in to use for different size tires?
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Unread 03-27-2014, 08:53 PM   #7
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Nice write up. Thanks!
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Unread 03-28-2014, 08:53 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by purplepig View Post
awesome! thanks! I see you are targeting 3/16" for your toe-in. Is that on 35's? Does anybody have info on what toe-in to use for different size tires?
Typically 1/16" to 1/8" but through trial and error I use 3/16" toe-in for my 35's. I know some jeeps seem to handle/drive better with toe-out too.

You're welcome!

This is something most folks can do, in the driveway, with a couple of tools, some jack stands, and this kit. Also, you can check it as often as you desire and experiment with different settings without another trip to the alignment shop.
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Unread 03-28-2014, 09:37 AM   #9
aparke4
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Clear and concise write up! I think I am gonna tackle this today... Just got new tires and. Want to make sure they wear in properly!
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Unread 03-28-2014, 09:43 AM   #10
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Very good writeup...thanks for taking time to shoot some pictures

I think I saw something similar written up by Jerry or stu maybe? Not as comprehensive and detailed as this writeup though
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Unread 03-28-2014, 09:46 AM   #11
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I drilled holes in my bars and tighten them down on the lugs with spacers to clear the hub. Easy to get level and keep centered. I check it every time I rotate. It takes maybe 10 extra minutes.
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Unread 03-28-2014, 12:53 PM   #12
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I use the tire seam method,don't even lift the Jeep and never had any wear problems, robncar.I'm too lazy to remove my tires to do your nice alignment as long as my tires wear evenly.Really nice write-up though. Moderators put it in the sticky!
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Unread 03-28-2014, 01:43 PM   #13
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Moderators put it in the sticky!
Then it will never get read.
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Unread 03-28-2014, 02:07 PM   #14
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Robncar,
I'm assuming your pulling both measurements roughly 17-1/2" from the center of the hub?
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Unread 03-28-2014, 03:09 PM   #15
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Nice write-up

I use some aluminum I bought from home depot & hop back & forth with one tape measure

Measuring off the tread seems like it'd be way harder/less accurate....at least for me

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