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Old 10-23-2017, 10:23 AM   #1  
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Default Alignment tooling suggestions

Thinking it's time to take the plunge into self alignments. Looking for feedback on tooling approach-- any more economic solutions? Unfortunately my garage floor has mild slope built into a central drain so I'm fighting that issue as well. Since I don't have a lift I'm leaning towards hub stands for ease of access to the eccentrics and coil-overs.

Approach....
1. Scales (intercomp, longacre...)
2. Scale leveling trays (suggestions)
3. Hub Stands (Iron canyon, FM, bbx)
4. Iron Canyon Miata string system (or something else?)
5. Camber/Caster angle finder (Suggestions?)
6. Chassis height measuring while on scales/hub stands (remember floor slope)
7. Scale pad elevation/level measure (laser? Water bucket/tubing/ruler?)

Thanks guys
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Old 10-23-2017, 04:52 PM   #2  
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Avoid anything from QuickTrick Alignment tools...

I have a few items from Longacre's "Blemished and Discontinued" catalog. Lots of the items on there are very affordable but still great quality. Take a peek through there.
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Old 10-23-2017, 05:07 PM   #3  
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I have several old boxes of vinyl flooring and I would just use four stacks of those with grease or oil between the top two pieces. Or four sturdy platforms that are just tall enough to get under and adjust with the vinyl tiles just to level the car. Water on the floor or a string level and plumb bob to set up the alignment strings. I just use 4 jack stands with sewing thread pulled tight across them making two parallel lines down the sides of the car. Reference/parallel the strings to the wheel hub centers and to each other then measuring the alignment is pretty straightforward. Not sure about measuring caster but when setting up a Miata it's mostly setting two and compromising on the third anyway.
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Old 10-24-2017, 08:17 PM   #4  
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We use wireless scales from Longacre's blem page, Iron Canyon Motorsports strings, BBX Racing hub stands.

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Old 10-25-2017, 09:36 AM   #5  
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Here is my setup. The stands are made of 2x10s, way overbuilt, then 2x12s around the outside to make a lip to keep it from falling off. Slip plates/leveling are hard board. String holders are PVC, caster/camber is from RPW. Total cost was about $140 with the wood, pvc, screws and other odds and ends. Let me know if you want any more details.



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Old 10-27-2017, 10:05 AM   #6  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by x_25 View Post
Here is my setup. The stands are made of 2x10s, way overbuilt, then 2x12s around the outside to make a lip to keep it from falling off. Slip plates/leveling are hard board. String holders are PVC, caster/camber is from RPW. Total cost was about $140 with the wood, pvc, screws and other odds and ends. Let me know if you want any more details.
Wow thats a killer low budget setup. So are the wheelstands flat-stacked 2x10s with vertical 2x12 sides?
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Old 10-31-2017, 02:57 PM   #7  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by themonkeyman View Post
Wow thats a killer low budget setup. So are the wheelstands flat-stacked 2x10s with vertical 2x12 sides?
I made a box with a single "joist" then two planks on top. Then vertical 2x12 side. They have have been 2x8 for the inside? I built them a while ago.
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Old 11-04-2017, 04:26 PM   #8  
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I bought a set of FM Hub Stands, the Gen 2 version used. I'm unable to get consistent tow readings. It is likely a user error on the adjustment of the tow bars. The Gen 3 look to be better with the additional Laser kit.
The camber measurements seem to be repeatable.
I used a water level to determine how many floor tiles to place on my garage floor and marked it with a Marks-A-Lot.
I use a set of tow plates at the track for quick adjustments for front tow, usually after going off and when the car is pulling one way or the other.

My plan is to either
1. Figure out how to reliably adjust the FM Hub Stand tow bars or
2. Get a set of the Iron Canyon strings and some camber measurements.

Scales may be next.
Currently I have a race shop do the corner balance, ride height and initial alignment before each season.

Good luck, alignment seems like a rabbit hole you could spend a lot of time with.
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Old 11-05-2017, 03:22 PM   #9  
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Guys thanks for all the replies. I think I'm honing in on my approach based on comments and some more research. I still think I'm leaning towards hub stands for efficiency gains.

One question I have lingering on the hub stands relates to the "center of pressure" created by the hub stand compared to the center of pressure created by the actual tire. It looks like only the BBX MX Pro stands ($2200) and the ICM hub stands ($2500) address this issue. The other less expensive ones under $1K -- FM and BBX standard hub stands (looks like Emilio has the standard BBX stands?), have a center of pressure spaced out away from where the tire actually puts it. I've noticed a comment on the ICM website how this can create a camber reading that is different from the actual camber measured with the tire installed.

Since $1K sounds a lot better than $2.5K I'm trying to wrap my head around how severe an issue this is. Like is it a spend $1.5K more to get rid of it type issue?

Logically, I can see how artificially spacing the center of pressure further away from the car could alter the camber reading. On the flip side, the idea of going this route is to allow me to use data and temps to optimize my suspension setup. If my optimized front setting for a track is 4 deg negative camber measured on the stands, but it's really only 3.8 (or whatever) measured with the wheels on, does it really matter?

Thanks!
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Old 11-05-2017, 04:18 PM   #10  
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How stiff are your springs? I really doubt the center of pressure difference is enough to change your camber reading by more than resolution of your camber gauge. Same reason I dont ballast the racecar for alignments, I cant measure the difference between with or without driver, on the other hand I do ballast the ES car for alignments because its measurable there.
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Old 11-05-2017, 04:38 PM   #11  
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How stiff are your springs? I really doubt the center of pressure difference is enough to change your camber reading by more than resolution of your camber gauge. Same reason I dont ballast the racecar for alignments, I cant measure the difference between with or without driver, on the other hand I do ballast the ES car for alignments because its measurable there.
Running 900/550.

That makes a lot of sense given my setup. Thanks for input.
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Old 11-05-2017, 04:53 PM   #12  
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I'd be making wheel stands like x25 before I'd blow a grand on hub stands. Same function, just have to be able to reach the camber bolts. Spend that money on scales.
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Old 11-05-2017, 07:33 PM   #13  
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re the wheel stands.....My rule of thumb is, If its good enough for Emilio, its well on the way to being good enough for me.

In saying that, I also looked in to doing my own but without a hoist quickly decided the time and hassle (not to mention cost) just wasn't worth a 30 minute visit to my local whee/tyre shop.

I did buy a digital angle gauge so I can get a rough reading on cambers to make sure I am in the ballpark... or not.

However, I do watch this thread with interest.
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Old 11-06-2017, 06:44 AM   #14  
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This has worked fairly well for me. Note the vinyl floor tiles used to level. I used a water hose to get all four corners within 1/16".
I might build some stands with bearings and a bottom plate some day
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