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FOUR WHEEL ALIGNMENT - STRING METHOD

October 15 2006 at 9:59 PM

 


Response to "Best Of Xweb" (aka Site Content FAQ) - contributions welcome

 

1.  Place car on a relatively flat surface and run a string around the outside of all four tires... starting with a jackstand in front of the LF tire and allowing the string to just KISS the outside edge of the tires edges as it passes through the "centerlines" of the axles,  as it makes its way back to the LR tire.

2.  Again allow the string to "kiss" the sidewall through the centerline of the LR tire and continue the string around the back of the tire over to the RR tire.  Now, continue the string forward to the RF tire... kissing the sidewalls and tie it to a second jackstand in front of the RF tire.

3.  The string should now encompass the car in a "U" shape fashion. 

(Photo courtesy of Richard Shaw, Ontario, Canada)

Center the steering wheel and check for "gaps" in the string at the leading and trailing edges as it passes over the FRONT tires.  With a ruler, even out the gaps, by turning the tires left or right, so both sides are equal.  Right or wrong, this will be the "center" as the car goes straight.  The steering wheel should now be "theoretically" centered also.... but may not.

4.  With the string  lightly "kissing" the tires edges, the gaps between the string and the tires' edges will tell whether the front tires are towed in, or out.  Same goes for the rear tires, although they are not steerable.  A carpenter's "square" can be used horizontally to note the strings angle going forward to the front wheels, and also veritically with a level, to note the camber.

5.  Note the differences, loosen the control rods and re-adjust.  I suggest a total toe-in of 1/8 (1/16 per side) for the fronts and 1/16 (1/32 per side) total toe-in for the rears.  Then you can play from there.

P.S.  There really isn't any Camber or Caster adjustments for a stock X without the use of adjustable plates... and either messing with the steering geometry or using longer or shorter springs.  If the struts are good, and the towers aren't compromised, and the struts are relatively centered in them, then adjusting the toe-in front and rear should be sufficient.  It has been for me over several X's!

P.S.S.  The first car I tried this on actually had the LF front tire toed-OUT about 1/8 and the RR was also toed-OUT 1/8.  It took left and right hand turns like TWO totally different cars!  I was amazed how relatively accurate and easy this string method was... Credit goes to Kelly Fiske, former X owner and current 124 enthusiast... shown to him by an Indiana farmer.

My best,



Tony

Black Tooth and me... since 1983!



My best,



Tony

Black Tooth and me... since 1983!


    
This message has been edited by Black-Tooth on Mar 1, 2007 10:10 PM


 
    

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