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How do I perform a ghetto alignment?

Discussion in 'General Tech and Maintenance' started by Jeef, Nov 23, 2003.

  1. Jeef

    Jeef NO MA'AM Moderator VIP

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    I need to replace my tie rod ends on my 89 crx si. The steering wheel is presently a little crooked when I drive down the road. I need to find a way to straighten the wheel out until I have time to get a proper alignment done. Any sugguestions.
     
  2. toyarmy

    toyarmy Senior Member

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    is your wheel just off center, or is your actual allignment off.

    if its your alignment, heres what i do < haha > when my car starts to pull slightly...

    say its pulling to the right, depending on the severity, i just do mine on the highway cuz i try not to let it get bad, but if its kinda bad, try it on grass < fun stuff > anyways, if its pulling right, a hard right. and vice versa, by doing this youre pushing the wheels back to the left therefore straightening it out.

    this is just my solution to slightly off alighnment, its probably silly, but it works for me.
     
  3. Wycked Sniper

    Wycked Sniper Senior Member

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    I must be missing something, but I'm totally lost here. What exactly did you do to adjust anything? I have read it several times and still don't understand what the grass had to do with adjusting anything. Could you be a little more specific please. Thanks.
     
  4. E_SolSi

    E_SolSi Member of the 20 nut club Moderator VIP

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    you can do the entire alignment yourself
    its actually not that hard (a little time consuming the first time)
    no need to go to a shop at all


    $20,000 alignment racks have nothing in accuracy over a knowledgable DIY job
    with a string, carpenter's square, or track gauge. So, don't think you HAVE
    to go to a "professional" to get the job done right. $20,000 alignment
    racks permit a paid-by-the-hour technician to do the job quickly and get the
    next car on the rack fast, which is why shops have them.


    items you will need:
    -basic tools
    -a jack (to put the car in the air while finding the center line)
    -string (something that doesnt stretch, and dont use anything too thick or it will be a bitch to take the measurments)
    -tape measure (a precision metal rule is helpful for doing the actual alignment measuring)
    -6 jack stands (or anything else that will stay in place and hold the string)


    (**tip: get a sheet of Masonite. Cut the Masonite into squares. Use two squares under each wheel, polished side to polished side. This allows the wheels to move around and not bind up when you make adjustments.)

    here's an idea of how to set it up

    The first thing you need to do is find the centerline of the car. Do not assume the body is true, because most cars aren't built to that close of a tolerance.The suspension pivots are what matters, and all measurements should be taken from them. Take careful measurements and mark the spot on the underside of the car that is the exact center between the two pivots. Do this at the other end of the car.


    Now, I use a piece of string between two jack stands for this next part. Stretch the string tight and have it extend past the car on both ends and raise it until it just touches your reference marks.This is the centerline of the chassis.


    Now set up four more jack stands with string and set them so the string is about two inches from the car on either side. Have the car on the ground and everything just as you would have it for driving.


    You measure toe from the string to the WHEEL RIM, so set the string at a height even with the center of the wheels or the hub is even better. Now, adjust the string so it's EXACTLY parallel with your centerline string. After you get it all set up, KILL anyone who trips over them! Toe measurements are made from the reference string to the wheel rim. Oops, before you measure, make sure your rims are true. If they aren't you use an average of several toe measurements. This is very time consuming so hopefully your rims are straight!
    Remember using this method you are only measuring ONE wheel at a time. So each wheel will have a toe setting ONE HALF of the total.


    Here's an example: if you want 1/8" toe in, each wheel will have 1/16" toe in when measured to it's respective reference line. Check the toe setting at the rear by measuring from the front and rear of the rim to the reference line. The distance to the front of the rim minus the distance to the rear is the toe for that wheel. If the toe setting is zero, then the two distances must be equal.


    Now set the front toe, first making sure the steering is centered. Checking this is easy with the string, because if it's not centered, on wheel will have toe-in and the other toe-out. Just turn the wheel a little and measure again. Take your measurements the same way as you did on the rear.



    Once you string your car, you may never go to an alignment shop again.
     
  5. Accordturbo94

    Accordturbo94 Senior Member

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    yyep thats exatly what we did when i raced Karts! Good Job
     
  6. JDMilan

    JDMilan Senior Member

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    :thumbsup: nice E...

    we performed an alingment on our scca civic via exactly your technique
     
  7. E_SolSi

    E_SolSi Member of the 20 nut club Moderator VIP

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    most of the people i have talked to at the track use this method or something close to it (both pros and amatures) seems to be the way to go
     
  8. E_SolSi

    E_SolSi Member of the 20 nut club Moderator VIP

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    ill clean it up a bit and submit it :)
     
  9. hcivic.com

    hcivic.com Senior Member

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    done this methdo and checked it on a rack i was so damn close it blew my mind
     
  10. xj0hnx

    xj0hnx I wanna be sedated VIP

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    Don't know how possible it would be for you,but some pics of the set up would help too.
     
  11. Jeef

    Jeef NO MA'AM Moderator VIP

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    Nice write up E. Now only if I had the time to do it. I might have to pay for an alignment as the crx is really fucked right now.
     
  12. toyarmy

    toyarmy Senior Member

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    when my alignment gets bad ill have to try that.

    for anyone that didnt understand my post, while driving jerk your car in the direction it is pulling in an attempt to 'knock' the alignment or whatever the opposite way.
     
  13. sportlinecrx

    sportlinecrx Banned

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    i think you can also reposition the steering wheel on the hub. pry out the "H" badge and there is the steering wheel bolt underneath. torque spec is 110lb-ft. have someone hold the wheel while you loosen the bolt. then you can remove the wheel and i am pretty sure you can reposition it a notch or so without any problem.
     
  14. Jeef

    Jeef NO MA'AM Moderator VIP

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    I would do that, but this all came around after I changed my struts and put my lowering springs on. I really don't feel like replacing the azeni's every 5k miles. I know Bill won't want to help me put those tires on the gsr rims again.
     
  15. cointelpro

    cointelpro Senior Member

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    ah lowering springs, when i adjusted my coilovers my stearing wheel was off a bit to the right, i found out my dumbass didnt lower the front driver side wheel enough by about 1/4 of an inch, and it set off my stearing, im sure since you have springs all of them are seated right, but i would still 2x check that because after i lowered that one tire the 1/4 inch it went back to center again like magic.
     
  16. Accordturbo94

    Accordturbo94 Senior Member

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    Or instead of all this work! save your self some time! find 40.00 and get it done professionaly!
     
  17. E_SolSi

    E_SolSi Member of the 20 nut club Moderator VIP

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    a "professional" alignment is NO BETTER than this

    and a "professional" alignment shop will not set your alignment to anything but factory specs

    so if you are racing the car and wish to set the car up for ideal handling (neutral or toe-out in the front, toe-in in the rear) a "profesional" alignment shop is even more useless

    i have also seen first hand how far out of spec the "profesional" shops will let a car go as OK... they just dont care enough
     
  18. Accordturbo94

    Accordturbo94 Senior Member

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    Yeah I know were your coming from! I raced karts very competitvely since I was 8. we used the same techniques! But you might as well save your self the time.. This is very time consuming.. unless youve done it more than once!
     
  19. E_SolSi

    E_SolSi Member of the 20 nut club Moderator VIP

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    it is a good thing to learn though .... save it for warmer weather i guess :)
     
  20. phunky.buddha

    phunky.buddha Admin with a big stick Admin VIP

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    Hmm. I've never had any problems getting a "professional" alignment shop setting the car up however I wanted, inside or out of manufacturer recommended specs.
     
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