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Discussion Starter #1
Thanks Hey all. I am going to be in Syracuse for Thanksgiving with my parents.

I plan on finishing my suspension repairs by replacing my inner tie rod ends.

I think that I have all need. However, the alignment is tripping me up. I have Watched a few videos on YouTube. Are the self alignment videos any good?

One guy suggests a masonry string around all the tires. Another suggests the eye ball method with the rear tire.

My problem is that if I finish up on Saturday, I won't be able to get an alignment until after work on Monday, back in Albany. That is budgeting for the entire weekend in case things go wrong.


My question, what are good methods for a DIY alignment to get it close-enough for a 130 mile travel before it can be aligned?



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Discussion Starter #3

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If you haven't done the tie rods yet just count the threads or mark the threads with paint. Once you remove the inner tie rod measure the distance between the where the locking nut was ( marked by the paint) and the surface of the large nut of the inner tie rod nut. Then mark the new tie rod in the same place to know where to install the outer tire rod. If you have already removed them then try the following. Camber check isn't needed unless you did struts.

If all you did was the inner tire rod end then just do a toe in check. Get a fine point magic marker and lift the wheel enough so you can spin in it and mark a line somewhere on the thread as it spins. Do the same on the other side. Use a tape measure to measure the distance between the front marks and the rear marks on the tires. Adjust the outer tire rods to get the correct toe in.
 

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Make sure you count how many threads are exposed on the inner tie rod and when you put the outer tie rod on the new one match up threads. For inner tie rods your toe will be changed a little, unless you remember where everything was set. Masonry string will work well for a toe set. You will want to have a little negative toe(toe out) because your wheels will turn inwards while accelerating and normal road driving. I'd say if you use the mason string and a tape measure it will be fairly easy. I'll get the inside toe measurements off my car if you just wanna do the measuring method. Just did an alignment today and it is set to factory specs.
 

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If you haven't done the tie rods yet just count the threads or mark the threads with paint. Once you remove the inner tie rod measure the distance between the where the locking nut was ( marked by the paint) and the surface of the large nut of the inner tie rod nut. Then mark the new tie rod in the same place to know where to install the outer tire rod. If you have already removed them then try the following. Camber check isn't needed unless you did struts.

If all you did was the inner tire rod end then just do a toe in check. Get a fine point magic marker and lift the wheel enough so you can spin in it and mark a line somewhere on the thread as it spins. Do the same on the other side. Use a tape measure to measure the distance between the front marks and the rear marks on the tires. Adjust the outer tire rods to get the correct toe in.
Beat me to it lol. He'll want toe out about -,08° due to road pull and FWD torque properties. Inch wise about 1/16-1/32
 

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I do my camber using a homemade jig that rests on the alloy wheel and use a digital level to determine camber. I compensate for an unlevel floor by zeroing the level right in front of the tire I am checking.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Wow. Thanks for the barage of replies.

I did replace my struts and Springs this summer. So I that part is probably also out of spec. I haven't had an alignment in years :-\ bad savo

So they should be straight as can be. Then turned out 8 degrees to compensate for then turning in under load ?


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Wow. Thanks for the barage of replies.

I did replace my struts and Springs this summer. So I that part is probably also out of spec. I haven't had an alignment in years :-\ bad savo

So they should be straight as can be. Then turned out 8 degrees to compensate for then turning in under load ?


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Definitely not eight degrees, talk about extreme toe lol. Eight hundredths of a degree.
 

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I drove a jetta that had been in an accident. Had 6.47° total toe. Barely turn the wheel any direction and it goes full lock. Tires were feathered EXTREMELY bad.
 

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I would suggest the string alignment and marking the tie rods with some whiteout. I'm in the middle of a front end overhaul on my 02 so I used jack stands and some mason string to get the alignment close until I finish everything and actually take it to the alignment shop for it to be properly alighted ( right now the car goes straight down the rode, but the steering wheel is a little cocked to the left). I've replaced driver and passenger side inner and outer tie rods, sway bar links, driver's side wheel bearing and ball joint. The only thing left is to replace the passenger side ball joint and wheel hub.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Unfortunately, we ran out of time before leaving for home. We got as far as getting the string tied around the tires.
I think the tires were 'toe' d in 3/8 inch. Measured off the rim not the tire.

The ride felt alright.

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I do my camber using a homemade jig that rests on the alloy wheel and use a digital level to determine camber. I compensate for an unlevel floor by zeroing the level right in front of the tire I am checking.
I level the floor with a 8ft level and have to put a piece of 3/4 plywood under the tires on once side to level it when I do a home garage alignment. Tape measure is the other tool along with a digital level.
 
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