Page 4, now for the easy part. Align the car.
If you did not paint your adjustor bolts earlier scrape / trace around them with a scribe or screw driver so you know how much you are moving things. Optional:
At this point, with out lifting the car, I usually loosen all 4 adjustors and with a pry bar shove all the adjustments all the way to the out side. As a road race guy I know that is pretty close to where I will end up anyway. However if you are only running on the street or are a straight line guy I would not do that. For you guys since we are not measuring caster your options are to leave the rear control arm bolts alone, or shove them all the way to the outside for max positive caster. If you do move them make sure you move them the same amount on both sides or you could induce a pull. OK so do what you want with that info and then snug up the adjustors ones where you want them. Not tight just snug.
If you have normal wheels take your measurements from the bead of the wheel which is the step right below the lip. That is this area here:
Unfortunately with my wheels I am not able to measure from that step so I have to measure on the lip.
You can place your level directly on the wheel to get a camber reading.
Or you can use that optional hunk of metal that fits inside your wheel lip to take readings. That is the way I do it because it’s probably a bit more accurate and my wheels are stainless so the magnet in the level doesn’t work on them.
Now take the camber reading on both sides just to see where you are at. To add negative camber loosen the front adjustor bolt and pry the arms out. Remember you do not need to raise the car to add negative camber. To reduce negative camber loosen the adjustor and raise the car from the K member until the arm slides back in. You might need to help it some and if it is too tight loosen the rear (caster) adjustor some. Work with this till you get what you want for camber on both sides. My target is 88.7 to get to 1.3 negative camber but you do the math for what you are after. Be sure it is the same on both sides or it will pull. If you want more then the car will give you then you have to grind the slots farther. But don’t get hung up on a few tenths. If you can only get -1.1 but wanted -1.2 it’s not worth the effort to pull the control arms and grind the slots for that last little bit unless you are just fussy and want to.
During this process I leave my water levels on the tires and check them from time to time to be sure I am still dead on level. 10 seconds of double checking them could save your tires and doing this all again. Once you get things where you want it crank the adjustor bolts tight.
With the camber done you can remove the water level and start in on the toe. Be sure the steering wheel right in the center and if you are using toe brackets put them on now.
Depending on how much you moved things your toe will either be a mile or a little off. Either way start with sighting down the side of the car and get it close by visual before you bother with the tapes. From the back of the car look forward so your eye sees the front and back of the rear wheel in alignment. With that as your reference point you can see if the front is toed is in or out. Check both sides this way to see where you are at and adjust accordingly.
Once you get it so every thing visually lined up put the tapes on and start dialing it in.
As you measure be very sure your tapes do not hit the car because that will add to the length of them. This is the advantage of the brackets verses measuring off the tread. You get a lot more clearance to the tapes and can effectively measure higher up on the wheel.
Once you get it close, say within 3/8” difference between the front and rear tape you will start doing a round robin of checking things over and over:
1, make sure the steering wheel is centered.
2, sight down the rear wheels again and look to see if the front of the front wheels are out or in.
3, adjust the toe accordingly and check your tapes again.
4, repeat as necessary till your toe is where you want it and every thing looks straight
At this point you need to count turns so you know how far you are moving each adjustor. For example if you are a ľ toed in and your wheels and steering wheel are straight you need to turn them both adjustors out about ĺ of a turn to get 0. Caution make sure your tie rod ends are to the end of their travel at the spindle and stay there as you make your adjustment or you will end up with an extra half turn on one side. Not a big deal at the ruff adjustment stage but critical when you are fine tuning to spec. Page 5, the double and triple check:
So now you have your toe and camber to your spec. I know this is **** but trust me and just do it anyway. Don’t skip these next steps - this is the voice of experience speaking to you! Take a little break now to get a cold one and just get away from it for a few minutes. After you have stared at things so long it really pays to come back with a fresh mind and take a fresh look at things. So go clear your head and do whatever that is not car related for a little while
OK now come back and put a wrench on the lower control arm adjusters and pull them tight again. (I skipped this step once and left them just snug and ended up doing it all again!) Next bounce the car and rock the steering wheel side to side to be sure it’s settled. Now check that the wheel is centered and take a fresh look sighting down the side of the car to be sure everything is still straight ahead. Be fussy on this because it’s not that much fun to do it all again. Last check your toe using only one tape to measure this time. This is to be sure there is no discrepancy between your tapes and give it a triple check with the car settled. When you are happy with everything and really did check that toe one last time take her down and go for a spin.
If the steering wheel is not straight don’t sweat it. No need to level it again or put the rear back up in the air. Just run it up on the ramps and adjust accordingly. I usually go in ľ or Ĺ turns depending on how far off I am. Obviously you want to be very sure you turn both sides the same amount and that the tie rod ends are to their limit when you turn the knuckle so you don’t through your toe off.
Centering the wheel is kind of counter intuitive and if you don’t stop and think here you will probably make it worse the first time you change it. To adjust it forget about the relationship of the steering wheel to the car. Instead adjust the wheels into the direction of the steering wheel. So if your wheel is off to the left, you turn the drivers’ side toe out and the passengers’ side toe in to match where the steering wheel is pointing.
It may take several times but once you have road tested it and have the steering wheel straight –you guessed it- put your tape on to check the toe again using just one tape. Toe is a major tire wearing angle so don’t scrimp on checking it. I put the brackets on and check toe about as often as I change the oil. It’s usually on but checking it is cheap insurance for my $275 tires. Page 6, final notes.
If you are running more then -1 camber and the inside of your tires are wearing you need to either spend more time on the track or back off on your camber.
If you get a pull rotate your tires side to side and see of it pulls the other way now. It’s OK to do this if you have directional tires. If the pull changes to the other direction you do not have an alignment problem. If it doesn’t change start at the top and do it all again to be sure your camber is on. Caster can cause a pull for sure but I have never had any trouble with it.