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lifted EA82 alignment trick

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im gonna guess this will work with other vehicles, lifted or not. you know what they say about necessity......

 

sorry if im late to the party, but i think this can help some folks with their rigs and i havent seen it yet despite my searching the interwebs

 

 

 

 

 

ok, so the front end alignment on my 2" loyale has been horrible. this is due to banging it up, then lifting it, and changing tons of parts without aligning it ever. dont do that.

ive been plagued with wheel hop (15s) and just all around not goodness in the steering/fwd department. this weekend i played around with youtube, i used string, tape measures... you name it. still scary today.

 

tonight, i set upon my mission: not to pay to have my car aligned. my result will, im sure, prove to be less than perfect, but my steering wheel is now straight, and it stays that way on, or off the throttle. im bummed to have stumbled upon this only after i cooked my winterforces..

 

i used a milk crate on each tire and some metal door frames 80" in length for their straightness. i used some 4" angle iron up against the back tire and put the "straight edge" (shaped like ]) in that for a solid line. i did the same for the front tire.....toe waaay in.

 

i pushed the toe out until the two frames were within 1/4" or so. heres where it gets cool/cheap: i used my laser level from a cheapo cordless drill kit and shot a line down the edge of the frame centered on the rear tire. i then measured the distance at the front and rear of the rim to the beam tape on the same size frame/plane. then i repeated on the other side. im toed in around 1/16" on each side

 

like i said, im sure it aint perfect. pay a shop to save your tires, its probably worth it.......

 

numbers will be different depending on rim size and other factor ive yet to comprehend. now if only i could master the 12 volt electrical system........

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You want your front tires toed IN on RWD cars. FWD cars need toe OUT..The reason for this is because the suspension compresses on a FWD car when moving forward bringing the toe in. If its already toed in, you'll end up with the outside of the tires being scrubbed, because of excessive toe-in.

 

I just use a tape measure to get it close and to monitor changes, but otherwise I fine tune it with test drives. I don't use the sidewalls because they've proven to me to be unreliable, instead I just hook the tape on a spot on the tread and always use the same/similar spot on the tread pattern. My toe is out in the front and 1/8" on my subaru, when I had my Jeep(RWD), I had the front roughly 3/16" toed in.

 

Josh

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good input. i had heard from another member to be a total of 1/8th toe in. i took it on the highway and i did pretty good. his explanation was that at hwy speeds, the tires tend to "toe out" due to the laws of friction. he said theyd go "straight" at highway speeds. my bad if i shouldnt have put this in offroad, my loyale is my DD. i can see how 1/8'' toe in would be better at slow speeds. however, i will try 1/8'' in since i can reliably :grin: and see how i (the tires) like it.

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i have my rig toed in a 1/16", and could probably use a tiny bit extra... but i wouldnt go over an 1/8"unless my steering link angles are extra steep, like from not dropping the x-member down 1" in a 2" lift.

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You want your front tires toed IN on RWD cars. FWD cars need toe OUT..The reason for this is because the suspension compresses on a FWD car when moving forward bringing the toe in. If its already toed in, you'll end up with the outside of the tires being scrubbed, because of excessive toe-in.

 

thats funny i just alinged my loyale with 2" lift it was toed out not sure how much but i toed it in 1/16th now im geting alot of lift and tire spin and front end will jump around on hard exceleration i was thinking toe out more and thank you for confirming it i think i need to move the front wheels forward a bit aswell i think oh and i pull the tape on the tread aswell it has never let me down i was told by the alignment teck at a garage i worked at alongtime ago that once you lift a vehicle all the alignment specs go out the window just get it to drive straight and not eat tires to bad and be happy and enjoy so even with the accsess to a alignment rack i still used the tape even tryed both i liked it better with a tape for lifted trucks or wagon in this case

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i have my rig toed in a 1/16", and could probably use a tiny bit extra... but i wouldnt go over an 1/8"unless my steering link angles are extra steep, like from not dropping the x-member down 1" in a 2" lift.

 

my car exactly. specs?? those are just numbers lol. i didnt trust my cosistency on the tread and nothing is straighter than a laser, just make sure its where its supposed to be. ill try and get some pics up soon, even tho everyone but me seems to have this covered.

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Thats interesting how everybody is toed in and not out. IIRC, the first time I was fine tuning, I tried 1/8" toed in, because thats where I've always started from. I took it for a test drive and really noticed the tires scrubbing, so I toed it out till it stopped and settled around 1/8" out. My subaru was the first FWD car I aligned myself and I found this odd. I checked a couple websites about doing alignments at home and I kept reading that FWD cars need a toe out, because they end up with a toe-in when the wheels pull everything forward. My bushings aren't shot either, my tire wear is even, it tracks straight and it doesn't pull...could just be my rig..These cars have been known to have "personality".

 

Josh

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Whenever I have lifted my Subarus, I have always had to toe them out slightly to decrease the front end lift, and increase tire life.

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very well, i shall try this. itll help more im sure. i can always go back if need be.thanks for the responses. this is the closest ive come to making my car go straight by myself. i had it waaay wrong with other methods.

 

ill report back when i get the gumption to do it again. in the mean time, if youve got a method, lets hear/see it. i feel there is a general lack of this info available.

 

bonus points if you use lasers:clap:

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I've only adjusted toe settings, but all I've ever used is a tape measure and a flat surface. Just measure the front of the tire, measure the back and get it close to were you think it should be. Take it for a test drive and see how it drives.

 

If it needs adjustment, measure the front and back(so you have a reference point) adjust it a little and then roll the car back and forth a couple times to relieve twisting in the sidewall. Measure it again and you should see a change, if it looks like it would work, take it for another drive. Rinse, repeat and keep adjusting from there till it feels right

 

If it pulls to one side after adjustment(it likely will), kept in mind which tire to adjust....one will toe the tires out to straighten it out and the other will toe the tires in to straighten them out. Before adjusting anything, I always take measurements first and write them down. Once you get the tires working together, adjust both sides evenly to try and keep them that way.

 

When test driving:

 

excessive toe-in will feel like the front-center is dragging and sluggish. Turns will be solid and maybe tough to do

 

Excessive toe-out will feel similair, but turns are darty and may get squirrelly at highway speeds

 

 

 

Josh

 

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Thanks for the replies folks, I think I would be able to use just a tape now that both wheels are in the same zip code. Ive botched this a couple times over the years and this made it impossible to use one tire to "center" the other. I had to do one side at a time in order to avoid dying a horrible, stupidity related death, or worse, killing someone. 

 

At the very least Im glad this thread is here now because I had a difficult time finding reliable, useful, practical methods. And now there are several.

 

Cheers, RV

Edited by Subruise

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Keep us posted on how it goes...it can seem really complicated, but once you do it a couple times, its as easy as changing the oil. If your really having a hard time we could meet up somewhere and I can show you first hand how I do it. If we found a flat enough parking lot, we could get you straightened out right there. IIRC all you need is a 14mm and 17mm wrench. Theres a notched spot on the tie rod(14mm) you can use to turn the tie-rod to move the wheel in or out, that way you don't have to keep taking the tie-rod end off and on all the time. The 17mm is for the lock nut.

 

Josh

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oh, ya i havent been taking the tie rod off as of late, just before. its a 12mm in the slot. i went to hoquiam today and bought and 85 brat(!) and it the loyale drove real nice. id still like to hook up one of these days and shoot the shop shizz tho

Edited by Subruise

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i use toe plates. i made them from 4 bucks of 14ga sheet metal. its 2 1'x2' sheets, with slits cut to hold on to two tape measures.i made them based from these:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Longacre-Toe-Plates-Includes-Tapes/dp/B000VAOHB2

 

and how to use them:

 

http://www.longacreracing.com/instructions/inst.asp?INSTID=23

 

racers have been using this method for decades.

 

 

when i say i set mine to 1/16" toe in, that means the front of my tires are 1/16" closer than the rear. there is a calculation that exists for inches to degrees of toe, but i dont remember it, i havent used it in a while. all you have to do when aligning, is make sure your wheel is straight when doing the procedure, and doesnt move. use vicegrips on the steering column to keep it from moving if needed. then use your eyeballs to tell which side to adjust to get your 1/16" toe in. it takes a bit of practice, but with an eye for perfection, this can be done just fine. ive used this method on race winning spec miatas, and commercial dump trucks alike. just make sure the wheel stays straight, you will end up with a straight driving car.

.

Edited by maozebong

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It isn't necessary to keep the steering wheel straight when aligning your car, but it helps. I never have on any of the cars, trucks or rigs I've aligned, but it does keep the steering wheel oriented in its original position. If the steering wheel is a little to one side, I've always just popped the steering wheel off and put it back on so it looks good...however if it gets too far out of wack the "lock to lock" can be different, meaning it will turn sharper one direction than the other. I generally avoid going to a full lock, because its hard on CV axles, or on a straight axle rig, its hard on u-joints.

 

Toe plate are ideal, but knowing how to adjust your toe with just a tape measure..or even a piece of string, is a good thing to know. I've knarled up tie-rods on rigs before and had to straighten them out on gravel parking lots to get home without losing a bunch of tire tread.

 

I also have extended radius rods, which increases my castor..that may explain why my rig likes toe out. My tires wear evenly and not on the outside edge, like most lifted Subarus.

 

Josh

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