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Guest Message by DevFuse
 

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K, whats the deal with an alignment?


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6 replies to this topic

#1 markjs

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Posted 13 December 2005 - 04:56 AM

So I have a front wheel drive '84 GL wagon and it tears up the outer edge of the drivers side tire and pulls left (no noticable abnormal wear on the passenger tire). I know the only adjustment can be done is toe-in, but will that alone save wear on my tires? Is it possible the camber or caster is off permanently? I don't have to use this car much longer but I'd like to have it running as properly as possible as I put 100 HARD miles on it nearly every day.

Can someone please explain what camer and caster is? I know its about the wheel angle but thats all I know....?

OH and BTW is there anyway to adjust toe-in at home to a reasonably close setting cuz I am really poor, this car is a $400 special, and I really hate to pay other people to work on it.

#2 grossgary

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Posted 13 December 2005 - 06:14 AM

i know people have done "home alignments" with string before, apparently if done right you can get it "pretty close" or see a problem area at least. i'd look up "DIY alignment", "home alignment"...or use some other creative words on Yahoo and google and i imagine you'll come up with something. i've also seen laser attachments for sale for this purpose (kind of like the laser leveling tools for construction purposes). alignments are rarely needed....i've driven mine from 105,000 miles to 220,000 miles, swapped in rebuilt hubs, pulled the struts off more than once, done cv axles, replaced all the suspension bushings and ball joints and have never had an alignment, i dont even get alignments when i get new tires. my tires wear perfectly evenly and i drive off-road, through fields and the car gets a good exercise. alignments are rarely needed in my oppinion. i used to get them all the time until talking to a guy on a car group that has worked in tire stores for awhile. he told me alignments are rarely needed.....obviously something is needed in your case though.....

if you have a bad problem on one tire i'd try to find a trouble spot - tie rod, wheel bearing, ball joint all come to mind and can all be fixed relatively cheap. maybe a bad bearing in the strut top or a bad strut? you can get a used hub, control arm or strut for 15-30 bucks and be done with any of these issues....just need to find out what it is.

has this happened to more than one tire? could be a bad tire...or wheel (though the wheel isn't likely).

#3 suberdave

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Posted 13 December 2005 - 09:39 AM

To set toe at home, Use a tape measure. Measure the distance between the rear of the front wheels. (Find a line in the tread pattern and use it in front and rear). Now measure the distance between the front of the front wheels. Should be about 1/16 of an inch wider in the front, this is toe out.

Caster: is the forward or rearward tilt of the steering knuckle when viewed from the side of the car.

Camber: is the inward or outward tilt of the wheel and tire assembly when viewed from the front of the car. \ / or / \

Toe:
is determined by the difference in distance between the front and rear of the left and right-hand wheels

#4 markjs

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Posted 13 December 2005 - 09:40 AM

I've replaced the drive axle, the steering knuckle, and ball joint on that side already (used parts save for the reman axle). All were in fair conditon, but it has pulled to the left since I got it and every tire on the drivers side wears like that.

#5 jacobs

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Posted 13 December 2005 - 09:53 AM

It's possible a previous owner hit a curb or similar object too hard and bent the suspension. In that case you have two options - start replacing parts until the problem is resolved or get an alignment using a good shop that can bend parts to bring everything back to factory specs. If you try the latter, look in your yellow pages under automotive alignment and call only those listed that specialize in alignments. They shouldn't charge you more that $50-75 unless they have to replace some parts.

#6 Subaru Jim Maple Ridge

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Posted 13 December 2005 - 09:56 AM

Caster and camber are fixed on old styles and Loyales, the only adjustment is toe-in.
Jack up one side at a time, check for bad wheel bearings, ball joint, inner tierod end or a bent radius rod. This is the round rod bolted to the lower control arm leading back to the tranny frame.
If everything is fine, you can do your own alignment provided you have all the same wheels and tires.
First, inflate the tires to the maximum pressure marked on the sidewall. Lower the two front windows, rest an angle, board or straight-edge across the top of the doors. Clamp the steering wheel in the dead center position.
From the front of the car, sight down the inside of the tires, as high as you can, still having a clear view of the rear tire.
The front and rear inner sidewalls of the front tire should line up with inner tread shoulder of the rear tire. This is the inner edge of the part of the tread that contacts the road, not the edge of the rubber pattern.
You can use a straight-edge if you have trouble seeing the sidewalls, and you can place a marker at the rear tire if you have trouble seeing the tread shoulder. Do not adjust the wheel all the way, as your tire is holding to the ground. Adjust it close, then roll the car back a foot and adjust again.
Your accuracy depends on how level your ground is, but if you do it right you will not be peeling tires. Good Luck.

#7 Handtool

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Posted 13 December 2005 - 10:37 AM

Here is some good info on DIY alignments.

http://forums.nasioc...84&page=1&pp=25




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