Simple method for setting toe adjustments - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 11 Old 10-14-2020, 12:07 AM Thread Starter
Guy_Van_Horn
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Simple method for setting toe adjustments

Recently I replaced a bunch of steering component (ZJ tie rod upgrade), and I wanted to get it close to being on before taking it to the alignment shop. So I used a method that I have used before that can get it nearly as good as a professional alignment, at least as far as the toe angle is concerned. In fact, I've used this method before, and it worked so well, I never went to the alignment shop and drove it for several thousand miles, and it always wore evenly.

First thing is to get the front tires roughly lined up with the rear tires. You can do this by putting something with higher contrast behind the tire (in this case, I used some plywood), and sight down the length from front to back. If the front tire eclipses at the same time the rear does, then you've got them approximately parallel and in line (there's a YouTube video where guy explains this. I'll try to find it if anyone is interested). Next I looked up the factory toe angle spec. It was 0.15°+/-0.07°. Then I lightly pushed some straight pins into the thick part of the tread only about 1/16" an inch at the wheel center height. These are reference points for my measurements. The first measurement T1 is at the front of the tire at to height of the center of the axle. Then I roll the tires around 180° (also at the center) and measure the distance again. This is your T2 measurement. Take these measurements, along with the width of the tire at the place on the tread where you measured T1 and T2, and plug into the formula in the box on the bottom left of the equation page. This is you current toe angle.
The second equation on the bottom right in the box is an approximate adjustment in number of turns of the turn buckle to bring it into spec. I say approximate, because this will only get you in the ballpark. You will still have to do some fine adjustment. This equation requires knowing the number of threads per inch on the tie rods, and the length of the steering arm on the knuckles (and of course, what your angle of correction is to bring it into spec from your current measurements).

One thing I will note, if your ball joints are tight, you can do your initial measurements with the front end up on Jack stands to make it easier and quicker to roll the tires (and pins) from front to back and vice versa (rather than rolling the entire jeep back and forth on the ground). But there will be a little bit of shifting in the ball joints once you place the weight of the vehicle on them, so once you've zeroed in on it, you should lower it down off the jacks, and the final measurements should be done with the wheels on the ground.

20201004_113523.jpg

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post #2 of 11 Old 10-14-2020, 12:13 AM Thread Starter
Guy_Van_Horn
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The pdf of the equation sheet didn't come through, so here's a jpg image of it. I hope this is readable

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post #3 of 11 Old 10-14-2020, 12:18 AM Thread Starter
Guy_Van_Horn
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These were some of the measurements I took as I was adjusting back and forth till I got it right:

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post #4 of 11 Old 10-14-2020, 06:12 AM
TheBoogieman
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You made it harder than it has to be. I haven't paid for an alignment in 15 years and all of my Jeep's tires wear perfectly. It takes 10 minutes by myself and no jack stands needed.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeepinmichguy_ View Post
TheBoogieman is a jerk.
GOT IT BACK 6/17. 03' Rubicon/Zone 4.25" combo lift with 4" lift coils up front/Zone hydro shocks/5.13 gears/35" Mickey Thompson MTZ P3 tires/Black Magic brakes. Jeep #17 & 19.
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post #5 of 11 Old 10-14-2020, 01:00 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah that would work too. I like your method, I just did it with what I had on hand (I don't have two long straight edges to place on the sides of each tire). For your setup, you would just want to make sure both straight edges are located at the same spot on the sidewall (ideally at the center of the wheel), and mounted horizontal without any tilt forward or back. You'd also want to measure on both straight edges the same distance from the center of the wheel.
For my method, you don't have to use jack stands; leaving the wheels on the floor would be more accurate anyway, but requires you to roll the jeep back and forth. Just as a note, for my 35" tires which measure about 33.5" at the point on the tread where I placed the pins, the difference between front and rear measurements (T1 and T2) works out to about 3/16" in order to obtain the 0.15° toe in angle.

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post #6 of 11 Old 10-14-2020, 01:49 PM Thread Starter
Guy_Van_Horn
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How did you attach the level/straight edge to the side of the wheel? I can't see it clearly in the video, but it looks like you are running a rope through the spokes of the wheel...
In any case, I'll see if I can source two long straight edges or levels for next time I do this.

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post #7 of 11 Old 10-15-2020, 07:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guy_Van_Horn View Post
How did you attach the level/straight edge to the side of the wheel? I can't see it clearly in the video, but it looks like you are running a rope through the spokes of the wheel...
In any case, I'll see if I can source two long straight edges or levels for next time I do this.
That wasn't my video, but that's basically how I do it. I bought two 36"x1" square aluminum tubing pieces at Tractor Supply for about $16 for both and use those tiny Dollar store bungee cords (4/$1.00) to hold them in place. Works great. My tires have around 10,000 miles on them (running 25 psi) now. I set mine at 1/8" in.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeepinmichguy_ View Post
TheBoogieman is a jerk.
GOT IT BACK 6/17. 03' Rubicon/Zone 4.25" combo lift with 4" lift coils up front/Zone hydro shocks/5.13 gears/35" Mickey Thompson MTZ P3 tires/Black Magic brakes. Jeep #17 & 19.
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post #8 of 11 Old 10-15-2020, 02:02 PM Thread Starter
Guy_Van_Horn
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Ah, bungee cords. That would work well. I'll have to see about getting some long straight extrusion pieces like that to use next time. Thanks.

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post #9 of 11 Old 10-18-2020, 09:27 AM
Vinman
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I put the front axle on jack-stands, visually align with the rear axle, thread a very short wood or sheet metal screw into a sipe of each tire, measure with the screws forward then rotate tires 180 degree and measure again. Make tie-rod adjustments as necessary.
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post #10 of 11 Old 10-18-2020, 10:58 PM Thread Starter
Guy_Van_Horn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vinman View Post
I put the front axle on jack-stands, visually align with the rear axle, thread a very short wood or sheet metal screw into a sipe of each tire, measure with the screws forward then rotate tires 180 degree and measure again. Make tie-rod adjustments as necessary.
In principle, that's essentially what I did.

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post #11 of 11 Old 10-20-2020, 08:36 AM
BaumSquadM24
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I made an alignment set really easy. I grabbed two pieces of 33" long angle iron, drilled two holes in the center to bolt to the wheel hubs and it's good to go. I don't like going off the tires because they are inherently not aligned.
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