DIY: Alignment measuring jig - MY350Z.COM Forums



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Old 10-29-2012, 06:15 PM   #1
steidz
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Default DIY: Alignment measuring jig

I made a alignment jig and a few guys have asked for the details so I thought I would post up a how to.

This is easy to make and very cost effective. You'll be able to check your total toe settings and if you have a digital level you can check camber also.

You'll need to make two jigs, one for the left and right side.

Materials:
10' of 1/2 conduit.
10' of 3/4 by 3/4 right angle aluminum.
18 sheet metal or roofing screws.
2 bungee cords or something similar
2 tape measures
optional -1/2 ID plastic tubing. This let the jig rest on the tires and avoid touching the rims.

-Cut pieces to length per diagram.
-Drill pilot holes in 26.5 angled cross pieces 1.25 inches in from the edges.
-Drill pilot holes at the bottom of the conduit 1.25" up from the bottom and attach the 26.5" cross piece.

-slide on rubber tubing before attaching the next two pieces.

-Drill pilot holes in the 16" angled cross pieces 1/2 inch in from the edge
-Align the center angled cross piece on top of the conduit. Adjust so it is parallel with the bottom and the holes are over the conduit. Mark the spot on the conduit and drill hole and attach the center piece.

For my Digital level I needed 8.5 inches between the middle and top cross piece. If you need some other length you can make adjustments as needed.
-Measure drill and attach the top cross piece.
-Measure and cut from conduit, the center post for the digital level.
-Attach the center post.
My level has a magnetic base so I used the conduit verses angled aluminum.


I'll get a second post up on the basic use.
Happy building
Attached Thumbnails
DIY: Alignment measuring  jig-alignment-jig2.png   DIY: Alignment measuring  jig-img_0585.jpg   DIY: Alignment measuring  jig-img_0592.jpg   DIY: Alignment measuring  jig-img_0601.jpg   DIY: Alignment measuring  jig-img_0596.jpg  

DIY: Alignment measuring  jig-img_0599.jpg   DIY: Alignment measuring  jig-img_0602.jpg  
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Old 10-29-2012, 06:16 PM   #2
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Alignment Jig use:


So now you have the jigs built, on to the measuring:

As far as the stock Z goes you can only adjust toe in the front and toe and camber in the rear. With front aftermarket upper control arms you can also adjust camber and possibly caster.

If you are unfamiliar with the terms or the location and adjustment of your suspension please review the excellent rightup from Jason Zya. http://my350z.com/forum/brakes-and-s...ion-101-a.html



For the camber measurement the easiest way is to buy a didital torpedo level like this one from sears. http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_1...=30-81190300-2
iPhone's when calibrated will do good also. Look for an app with a digital readout in tents of a degree.

For camber measurement you need to level your car side to side.
Be as level as possible, a quarter inch difference side to side is will be a couple tenths of a degree in camber error.
You'll need to check the floor to see how level it is. I used two small blocks of wood, a straight edge and a level to find an good area in the garage to park the car. You can also use wood shims to park the car on to get it level if needed.


Now let's check the toe settings and camber angle for the front.
-Mount your alignment jig to the tires, wrap the bungy cord behind the spokes to hold the jig snug to the tires.
-Secure the two tape measures to the jig on one side. I use small paper clip to hold the ends in place.
-Lightly pull the tape and read the measurements at the edge of the horizontal bar.
-The difference between the two is your total toe. If the front side measurement was smaller then the back you have toe in. This is the normal toe position for normal driving.

See the picks in post one.

Next check your camber. If your car is level simply place the your level against your jig and read the angle. The difference from 90 degrees is your camber.

Caster-
This jig is not able to measure caster. Caster is not adjustable with the stock arms and most aftermarket ones. SPL is one of the few that is adjustable.

If you need to make adjustments, Adjust the camber first and your toe last.

My kinetic a-arms adjust camber by turning the rod end. Each turn changes the camber .18 of a degree. Some types use shims and others are just slots.

When adjusting the toe, turn the tie rods equal amounts on both sides. This will keep your steering wheel straight when driving.
-Turning the tie rod clockwise will adjust the tire to a toe in postion. Counterclockwise will adjust the tire toe out.
-Turning the tie rod a 1/2 turn will change your toe roughly 1/8" on that side. So after matching the change on the other side you will have changed your total toe by 1/4".
-0 total toe is good for a factory setting. I run 0-1/16" total toe in for everyday, and 1/8" total toe out for Autocross.

After making adjustments and lowering your car back down you'll want to roll the car back and forth to let the suspension and tires settle back to there normal positions. If I am just adjusting toe I drive my car onto a set of furniture movers so the tire will slide easy and just reach under the car to break the lock nut loose and make my adjustments. Its not hard after you do it a couple times.

Good luck.




On to the rear. UPDATED 11-5-12 sorry for the blurry pic.

Their is no caster to worry about on the rear.
Check camber just like the front.
To check the toe we have an extra step to perform since we need to make sure the tires, as a pair, point straight ahead and not off to the left or right.

I use small laser pointers I found at harbor freight, but you can also use a laser level that projects a line. With the small pointers, adjust the line so it's vertical and square with the jig. ( a small mirror laid on the flat will reflect a second line and allow you to easily adjust the line for square- see picture). With a level, you just need to lay it against the bottom cross bar.

--See post 16 for a few other pics and info--

With with your line projected you need a way to measure. You can use a tape measure and use a common point on both sides of the car. Make sure to use the same point and height off the ground.
I made two small stands out of small framing squares (harbor freight) and extra square tubing.

I like the stands because they allow me to watch the change as I adjust.

Jack the car up and loosen the nuts on the adjustment cams. Leave them snug but loose enough so you can turn them.
Lower and roll the car back and forth enough so the suspension settles back down to the normal ride height. I then park the car on large furniture mover so the tires will slide easier as I make adjustments.
With the car back on the ground reattach the jigs take your measurements, reach under the car and make your changes.

Adjust the camber first.

Adjust your toe so that your total toe setting is what you want.
Then check you're chassis measurements. You'll want the left and right sides to be as close to the same as possible. If needed adjust your left and right toe settings so the total toe stays were you want it and your chassis measurements become equal. The actual number doesn't matter, If the numbers are the same then your tires will be square with the chassis.

Small toe changes will show up as big adjustments on your frame measurements. As I make adjustments I push and pull on the wheels to make sure the suspension settles into its normal resting position. If you have worn bushing you will have a hard time getting consistent results due to the play in the bushings.
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DIY: Alignment measuring  jig-photo-6.jpg   DIY: Alignment measuring  jig-photo-3.jpg   DIY: Alignment measuring  jig-photo.jpg   DIY: Alignment measuring  jig-photo-4.jpg   DIY: Alignment measuring  jig-photo-5.jpg  

DIY: Alignment measuring  jig-photo-9.jpg   DIY: Alignment measuring  jig-photo-8.jpg  

Last edited by steidz; 11-05-2012 at 04:30 PM.
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Old 10-29-2012, 07:03 PM   #3
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Looks like toe is just measure-and-calculate? Cool jig, Scott!
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Old 10-29-2012, 07:21 PM   #4
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very nice. i also made my own diy set up. its fun to to try different specs
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Old 10-29-2012, 08:21 PM   #5
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Awesome jig, thanks for the info. Fix those scratches! They made me sad.
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Old 10-30-2012, 05:48 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AngelsVQ View Post
very nice. i also made my own diy set up. its fun to to try different specs
Yep, I autocross so its nice to be able to do your own setups. But even if you dont like to change things yourself its easy to find out if you need to go in for an alignment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mr. sparco View Post
Awesome jig, thanks for the info. Fix those scratches! They made me sad.
yea the scratches came with the car I would like to get new rims but just to many things on the want list.
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Old 10-30-2012, 10:12 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steidz View Post
My kinetic a-arms adjust camber by turning the rod end. Each turn changes the camber .18 of a degree. Some types use shims and others are just slots.
Must be nice to have small increments like that. My Kinetix A-arms change 0.3 - 0.4. I think how much it changes depends on the ride height and how close to the limit you are on the arms.
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Old 10-30-2012, 11:36 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3hree5ive0ero View Post
Must be nice to have small increments like that. My Kinetix A-arms change 0.3 - 0.4. I think how much it changes depends on the ride height and how close to the limit you are on the arms.
Were did you get the .3 amount from? .18 seems to match with my measurements and its what Kinetic quoted me when i called. I have the Version 2, do you have the first or second version?
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Old 10-30-2012, 11:48 AM   #9
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That's what I saw on various alignment racks when the techs made 1 spin.

No idea on the version, but I had it for a long time.. maybe 3-4 years.
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Old 10-30-2012, 12:35 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3hree5ive0ero View Post
That's what I saw on various alignment racks when the techs made 1 spin.

No idea on the version, but I had it for a long time.. maybe 3-4 years.
Cool. Not sure when they went from V1 to V2, maybe they changed to a different rod end with different threads.

Good info and a nice reason to be able to check the results of your adjustments
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Old 11-01-2012, 07:34 AM   #11
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very nice
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Old 11-01-2012, 08:05 AM   #12
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nice.. props to you for doing it yourself.
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Old 11-01-2012, 11:34 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbirdmodeZ View Post
very nice
Quote:
Originally Posted by Voboy View Post
nice.. props to you for doing it yourself.
Thanks, It can time consuming without a lift but its fun to learn and nice to be able to make adjustments for free.
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Old 11-01-2012, 11:52 AM   #14
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Nice. That'll save a chunk of money for all and mostly lowered folks w horrible streets.
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Old 11-02-2012, 08:13 PM   #15
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How do you make sure the thrust angle is correct so you dont end up dog tracking.
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Old 11-03-2012, 07:39 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lotteman View Post
How do you make sure the thrust angle is correct so you dont end up dog tracking.
I am out of town but will try to get a post up for the rear suspension this next week. But the short answer is I have mounted small laser pointers mounted on the bottom rail of the jig. They project a line forward, I measure the distance from the projected line to the body and compare both sides. Harbor freight has them for 7 bucks each. I don't see them online but they have them at the store. I have also used a 2' level with a laser guide laid down against the bottom rail. I'll get some pics when I post the rear info.

In the first pick of the post 1 you can see the mounted laser pointer.

UPDATED 11-5-12

Here are a few pics of the laser pointer.

To align vertically I place a small mirror on the flat cross bar. This gives you two lines. One from the pointer and one from the reflection off the mirror. Just turn the pointer head to adjust so both lines are together.

To align with the cross bar I drew a black parallel line down the cross bar to align the laser with.

Overall pretty easy, but like everything else the more attention to detail the better your results will be.
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Last edited by steidz; 11-05-2012 at 04:29 PM.
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Old 11-05-2012, 04:57 PM   #17
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Post 2and16 updated with rear alignment info and pics.
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Old 11-06-2012, 10:53 AM   #18
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Wow, thanks for posting this! This is actually a really cool DIY for those looking to save some money.
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Old 11-06-2012, 11:17 AM   #19
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Very cool! i need to make one of these
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Old 11-24-2012, 12:35 PM   #20
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I used Scott's diagram and made one of my own.

It's a wonderful way to save money. Thanks Scott.
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