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  #1  
Old 07-20-2010, 10:47 AM
whunter's Avatar
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Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Metro Detroit, Michigan
Posts: 17,357
Wheel alignment DIY data

Do It Yourself ("DIY")

Wheel alignment DIY data
.............................................
I have been working on this for years.
Technology and equipment cost keep changing.
As some members have noted, I am busy, and other projects frequently have a higher priority.

.............................................
LEGAL Disclaimer:
Warning, Danger.
As with all automotive work, there is risk of vehicle falling, rolling, or causing injury, observe proper safety precautions.
READ: BEFORE TRYING TO DIY A WHEEL ALIGNMENT.
This Do It Yourself ("DIY") is designed to provide you with general guidelines and theoretical information on how you may be able to adjust the alignment of a vehicle.
Before undertaking any DIY project, or using any particular product in a DIY project, you must still independently evaluate the suitability of any products, materials or advice for your particular project. The guidelines and advice provided in this DIY is not a substitute for design, engineering, testing or common sense.
I DO NOT GUARANTEE THAT THE INFORMATION PROVIDED IN THIS DIY IS COMPLETE OR APPROPRIATE FOR ANY PARTICULAR APPLICATION OR USE.
THE MATERIAL AND INFORMATION PROVIDED HEREIN IS PROVIDED ON AN "AS IS" OR "AS AVAILABLE" BASIS, AND YOUR USE OF SUCH INFORMATION IS AT YOUR SOLE RISK.
I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY DAMAGES YOU MAY SUFFER AS A RESULT OF USING THE INFORMATION AND GUIDELINES PROVIDED.

Many people think that wheel alignments can only be done by professional mechanics.
You can DIY wheel alignment at home, with the right tools, patience and practice.
Be sure to take a break if you get frustrated.
Understanding the alignment process will help you on any future diagnosis of suspension or steering problems.
************************************************
The wheel alignment may be out of adjustment if:

#1. Irregular tire wear is apparent.
#2. Vehicle is pulling to one side.
#3. Road hazard damage occurred. = Curb or pothole impact, followed by sudden vehicle handling characteristic alteration.
#4. The steering wheel is crooked while driving straight on a level road.

Vibration is NOT a direct alignment issue, though irregular tire wear can cause tire balance and/or shifted belt issues, and road hazard damage = curb or pothole impact can wreck wheel rim and/or tire.

Setting up for alignment, or Pre-Wheel Alignment VEHICLE INSPECTION:
The inspection performed prior to checking and adjusting the wheel alignment angles is critical to the alignment procedure.
Failure to detect and repair problems before you attempt to align the vehicle will result in FALSE wheel alignment angle measurements = wasting your time and energy.

Check for:
#A. Correct tire pressure.
#B. Correct tire size.
#C. Safe tire condition = no bald areas, shifted belts, age cracking; good tread depth, and no road hazard damage.
#D. Wheel rim damage.
#E. Structural rust = not safe to lift or support the vehicle.
#F. Bad sway bar mounts + links, front and rear.
#G. Bad differential mount.
#H. Bad sub frame mounts.
#I. Bad wheel bearings = check the wheel/tire assemblies for excessive radial run out.
#J. Dragging or binding calipers.
#K. Play in the lower ball joints = support the lower control arm, carefully use a pry bar between the lower knuckle joint and lower control arm, you are trying to lift the knuckle with a rocking motion to detect ball joint play.
#L. Play in the upper ball joints = support the lower control arm, carefully use a pry bar between knuckle and upper control arm, you are trying to lift the upper control arm with a rocking motion to detect ball joint play.
#M. Tie rod ends, for excessive play, binding, wear or damage = large channel lock pliers and a pry bar are needed to compress and manipulate each joint.
#N. Suspension fasteners, broken or loose fasteners pose a clear danger.
#O. Suspension component bushings = look for signs of wear and/or deterioration.
#P. Ride height of the vehicle (specifications are listed in the service manual), if the ride height is not within specifications, check for excessive weight in the vehicle, one or more worn or broken coil springs, tire size, damaged trailing arms.
#Q. Full fuel tank, a tank that is less than full will change the ride height of the vehicle.
#R. Any items from the passenger compartment and trunk that are not factory equipment, and remove.
************************************************
The work area floor must be measured to make sure that the turntables and slip plates are level to each other = false reading if all four wheels are not at the same level and on turntables or slip plates.
A pair of laser levels will speed the work of leveling the turntables.
IMPORTANT: All of the brakes must be locked otherwise the wheels will roll on the turntables/slip plates, giving incorrect measurements.
A piece of wood jammed between the front seat and the brake pedal will work.

HOW TO READ TIRE WEAR
http://www.procarcare.com/includes/content/resourcecenter/encyclopedia/ch25/25readtirewear.html

irregular tire wear patterns
http://www.google.com/images?hl=en&rls=com.microsoft:en-us&q=irregular%20tire%20wear%20patterns&um=1&ie=UTF-8&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi

The Tire Life: A tire expert offers the best ways to extend tire life
http://driversmag.com/trucks_gear/fleet_tire_life_tire/



DIY Wheel Alignment Video's
DIY Wheel Alignment Video's



Everything Auto: DIY Wheel Alignment
http://www.extremehowto.com/xh/article.asp?article_id=60130

DIY 4 Wheel Alignment
http://www.elantragtclub.com/id554.html

DIY Alignment With A Few Basic Tools And The Know-How Shared Here, You'll Never Again Be At The Mercy Of An Alignment Shop
http://www.hotrod.com/techarticles/chassis/hrdp_0411_wheel_alignment_guide/index.html


Google search:

diy wheel alignment
http://www.google.com/search?q=diy+wheel+alignment&rls=com.microsoft:en-us&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&startIndex=&startPage=1&rlz=

diy wheel alignment laser
http://www.google.com/search?q=diy+wheel+alignment+laser&rls=com.microsoft:en-us&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&startIndex=&startPage=1&rlz=

diy wheel alignment tools
http://www.google.com/search?q=diy+wheel+alignment+tools&rls=com.microsoft:en-us&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&startIndex=&startPage=1&rlz=

diy wheel alignment forum
http://www.google.com/search?q=diy+wheel+alignment+forum&rls=com.microsoft:en-us&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&startIndex=&startPage=1&rlz=

diy wheel alignment equipment
http://www.google.com/search?q=diy+wheel+alignment+equipment&rls=com.microsoft:en-us&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&startIndex=&startPage=1&rlz=

diy wheel alignment tracking
http://www.google.com/search?q=diy+wheel+alignment+tracking&rls=com.microsoft:en-us&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&startIndex=&startPage=1&rlz=

car diy wheel alignment
http://www.google.com/search?q=car+diy+wheel+alignment&rls=com.microsoft:en-us&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&startIndex=&startPage=1&rlz=

Last edited by whunter; 08-23-2010 at 11:33 PM.
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  #2  
Old 10-29-2010, 04:09 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Atlanta,GA
Posts: 174
I have read that a spreader bar is recommenced to set toe-in of the front wheels. It would be simple to make one .

Here are some links -

http://www.mail-archive.com/mercedes@okiebenz.com/msg03298.html

http://www.cardomain.com/ride/2620526/1987-mercedes-benz-190-class-bay-area-ca-us?p=10

http://www.specprod.com/CATALOG_DIR/Acces-Brake_10.pdf
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  #3  
Old 10-29-2010, 04:24 AM
Stretch's Avatar
...like a shield of steel
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Somewhere in the Netherlands
Posts: 14,453
I just used a DIY clamp that could be turned around as a spreader

See:-

How I adjusted the toe in / out, camber and caster on my W123 300D

I'm planning to update this thread with more photographs and links to other information in the future.
__________________
1992 W201 190E 1.8 171,000 km - Daily driver
1981 W123 300D ~ 100,000 miles / 160,000 km - project car stripped to the bone
1965 Land Rover Series 2a Station Wagon CIS recovery therapy!
1961 Volvo PV544 Bare metal rat rod-ish thing

I'm here to chat about cars and to help others - I'm not here "to always be right" like an internet warrior



Don't leave that there - I'll take it to bits!
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