• Automotive Performance Diy's

    Automotive Performance Diy's

    Performance Diy is an automotive blog covering diy jobs from simple repairs,modifications to full restomod/restorations.If its on wheels its on Performance Diy

    Thursday, 23 June 2016

    Diy Wheel Alignment

    Getting car wheels aligned seems like a real pain from both time and money standpoint. This is why, most of the car owners think of wheel alignment as a rocket science and keep on paying hefty amounts of money to professional shops and work stations. However things are not as complicated as they seem.

    If not a perfect alternative against going for traditional wheel alignment checks at repair stores; at least knowing how to DIY, can add a lot of value to your routine drives and help you keep a check on the quality of the work delivered by the technicians. From the concept and logical perspective, alignment is a pretty simple and straight-forward process, which can definitely be turned into an expertise with timely practice.
    The part that tests your patience, the most, is that of setting up your alignment structure to get precisely consistent accuracy. Finding a perfectly flat surface to work from is also very critical. However these things get a lot easy if you plan to set it all up in your own garage or shop.
    Aspects such as measuring and adjusting bump-steer, scaling and corner-weighting in order to enhance the performance of your car ma8y cost a bit more than a regular wheel alignment setup. So, if you don't mind shelling out a little more, you could as well go for a proper hi-tech setup and get more control over your car's health and performance.
    Alignment of wheels not only helps improve the vehicle's performance over the streets, but also helps reduce accidental risks and enhances the lifespan of tires.
    Here's a quick guide for how to do wheel alignment on a car and become an alignment-pro in no time.
    Before undertaking an actual alignment in hands, it makes a lot of sense to have basic information of some key terms associated with the wheel alignment process.
    Just as a pigeon-toe acts as a fulcrum and helps the pigeon get more flexibility and shock absorption features; car's wheels also rest on toes that have two main sub-components, Camber and Caster.

    The vertical toe-in. If it points slightly inwards from the top to bottom, it is called 'negative' camber and if it points slightly outwards, it is considered 'positive' camber. Positive or negative camber adjustments help in fine-tuning wheel movements as per driver's expectations.
    The angle on which the wheel pivots, when handled with the camber. 'Positive' caster facilitates wheels in being centered in orientation during the drives.
    Adjusting camber and caster with basic tools in your garage might not be an easy thing to do. Hence, taking assistance from the repair shops is a better choice here.
    However, most frequently needed alignments are to do with the toe, which can easily be managed with the basic tool-kits having jacks, open-end wrenches, measuring tape and pocket knife.
    Toe Alignment Figures
    Getting the right numbers in hand, in order to address the toe alignment is very important. This numeric data is easily available at some library of motor manuals or popular repair guides. Since these measurements are car-specific, there is no universally applicable combination towards getting the best result. Reaching out to an official factory workshops is also another option, if you don't mind getting extra-technical and spending a little more. Toe alignment settings are often expressed in inches, millimeters or angular minutes. Based on these figures, you can get a clear picture of what to aim at during the alignment process.
    Health analysis
    Before starting the alignment process, you must make sure that the front wheel components are in good condition. After jacking the front wheels over the jack stand, check the following:
    - Wheel bearings are properly placed

    - Ball joints are healthy enough

    - Steering gear box is in place
    If there is no feeling of looseness in the wheels, both vertically and horizontally, they are good to go for the actual alignment process.
    Alignment Process
    Once all the other prerequisites are sorted out, take the following 5 steps:
    Step 1
    Spin each tire and mark a line along the center of the tread with a pocketknife. If the circumference is all covered with tread block, make a support for the marking device in order to avoid the undesired jumping effect.
    Step 2
    Set the car on ground and push a few times on each fender to move the suspension and allow the car to rest on its springs.
    Step 3
    Free the steering wheel and move the car forward by 10 feet or so, letting the steering wheel go on its own.
    Step 4
    With the help from a friend, measure the length between the lines in the front of the tires, at points in line with the spindles. Then measure the distance between the lines on the backs of tires for the same height. The difference in the two measurements is called toe-in or toe-out. Smaller number in front indicates toe-in and larger indicates toe-out.
    Step 5
    Release the lock nuts on the tie-rod ends, next to both spindles and adjust it equally on each side to keep the steering wheel centered.
    Finally, after you lock it all down, you may repeat this process to get double sure of the adjustments made in the car wheel

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