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View Full Version : DIY Alignment: Worst bang-for-the-buck DIY ever


rumatt
07-23-2007, 11:32 AM
I did a DIY alignment yesterday to remove some camber from the rear wheels. When I was all done, I had spent a total of 10 hours. :eek:

Note to self: I probably should have bought the smart strings.

Note to self 2: having a garage so small you can barely walk around the vehicle makes it harder to do alignments.

Note to self 3: if you make a custom ramps for each wheel to ensure the car is level, don't leave them outside overnight so they get rained on and warped. :banghead:

Plaz
07-23-2007, 11:37 AM
:ack:

And to think I was feeling a little sorry for myself since I washed my car yesterday and it's raining like mad today.

ff
07-23-2007, 12:01 PM
rumatt, I give you props for doing the job yourself, though. :cool:

You can always be proud of the fact that your 10 hours of labor was a lot more satisfying than paying a shop $19.99 to handle it in 30 minutes. ;)

Plaz
07-23-2007, 12:08 PM
rumatt, I give you props for doing the job yourself, though. :cool:

You can always be proud of the fact that your 10 hours of labor was a lot more satisfying than paying a shop $19.99 to handle it in 30 minutes. ;)

: ohsnap:

bren
07-23-2007, 12:32 PM
Told you so. ;)


Please tell me where one can get a $19.99 alignment (particularly one that includes both camber and toe adjustment.)

Plaz
07-23-2007, 12:47 PM
Told you so. ;)


Please tell me where one can get a $19.99 alignment (particularly one that includes both camber and toe adjustment.)

Chiropractor? :lol:

ff
07-23-2007, 12:50 PM
Told you so. ;)


Please tell me where one can get a $19.99 alignment (particularly one that includes both camber and toe adjustment.)

I think Earl Sheib is doing alignments too, these days. ;)

lupinsea
07-23-2007, 01:03 PM
Hey, I feel for ya on the small garage thing.

Recently had to work on my Jeep out in our drive way because the garage was too small to pull the axle shafts. They would have hit the walls before clearing the axle housing.

For a week or so the front drive way looked like we were in Redneckville. :eeps:

The DIY is definitely a fine balance point between cost vs. time.

rumatt
07-23-2007, 01:06 PM
Chiropractor? :lol:

:lol:

Nick M3
07-23-2007, 01:14 PM
Hey, I feel for ya on the small garage thing.

Recently had to work on my Jeep out in our drive way because the garage was too small to pull the axle shafts. They would have hit the walls before clearing the axle housing.

For a week or so the front drive way looked like we were in Redneckville. :eeps:

The DIY is definitely a fine balance point between cost vs. time.
Around here, full alignments seem to run between $200 and $400, particularly if you're not stock.

John V
07-23-2007, 01:22 PM
I have a guy that will do it for $60 and I still occasionally do it myself.

$19.99? Sign me up, I'll never do it again.

rumatt
07-23-2007, 01:23 PM
Around here, full alignments seem to run between $200 and $400, particularly if you're not stock.

Now I feel a little better.

If I need to make more adjustments, it will probaby take 1/3 the time, but it's still a PITA.

Rob
07-23-2007, 01:25 PM
So I am a little confused. Do you have one of those light machine things? Did you just make a best guess at what looked right? I would have thought alignment was one of those things you can't do yourself (without spending garage type investment money on the equipment, anyway).

Nick M3
07-23-2007, 01:29 PM
So I am a little confused. Do you have one of those light machine things? Did you just make a best guess at what looked right? I would have thought alignment was one of those things you can't do yourself (without spending garage type investment money on the equipment, anyway).
All you *need* is string and a set of jack stands and calipers. Most racing teams use something like the SmartStrings.
http://www.smartracingproducts.com/alignment.htm

Heck, you can even do camber with a level, a ruler, and a calculator.

John V
07-23-2007, 01:29 PM
You can do it yourself. It requires little more than a basic understanding of geometry, some measuring tools, some jackstands and some string.

clyde
07-23-2007, 01:32 PM
So I am a little confused. Do you have one of those light machine things? Did you just make a best guess at what looked right? I would have thought alignment was one of those things you can't do yourself (without spending garage type investment money on the equipment, anyway).
The fancy rigs just make it easier and faster.

You can build your own kit very, very cheaply. The biggest determining factor in the quality of the alignment is the skill/attention of the person doing the work.

Most alignment techs only know how to get a car into the "green." They plug the make, model, year into the computer and then twist stuff around until it the computer tells them that it's within the manufacturer's specs. That's fine for aligning Mom's Buick, but it doesn't suffice when you're looking for specific numbers.

zach
07-23-2007, 01:36 PM
All you *need* is string and a set of jack stands and calipers. Most racing teams use something like the SmartStrings.
http://www.smartracingproducts.com/alignment.htm

Heck, you can even do camber with a level, a ruler, and a calculator.

Yep.

http://forums.carmudgeons.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=2423&d=1185208537

Plaz
07-23-2007, 01:38 PM
You can do it yourself. It requires little more than a basic understanding of geometry, some measuring tools, some jackstands and some string.

And 10 hours. :ack:

John V
07-23-2007, 01:39 PM
Uh.... why is the car up in the air in that picture? :eeps:

John V
07-23-2007, 01:39 PM
And 10 hours. :ack:

LOL. Usually takes us less than an hour, but that is assuming I don't kick the jackstands and have to start over. :irate:

Rob
07-23-2007, 01:41 PM
Wow. I had no idea. That's cool, except . . . well, who has 10 hours laying around unused? Why didn't you guys just come out early and align the V yourselves last year?

ff
07-23-2007, 01:43 PM
who has 10 hours laying around unused?

Obviously, someone without kids. :mad: grumble grumble

bren
07-23-2007, 03:26 PM
Uh.... why is the car up in the air in that picture?

To check the torque on the brake caliper bolts. :eeps: :ack:

Plaz
07-23-2007, 03:32 PM
I'm thinking about giving myself a root canal this weekend.

Nick M3
07-23-2007, 03:54 PM
To check the torque on the brake caliper bolts. :eeps: :ack:
They were overtorqued. :D

ff
07-23-2007, 04:12 PM
I'm thinking about giving myself a root canal this weekend.

How about a circumcision while you're at it? :ack:

clyde
07-23-2007, 04:12 PM
Wow. I had no idea. That's cool, except . . . well, who has 10 hours laying around unused? Why didn't you guys just come out early and align the V yourselves last year?
Had to spend time in line to buy a rulebook so someone else could throw it away instead. ;)

Because neither of us had laid eyes on the car, we were unsure of what kind of tools we'd have available, etc... But we almost went ahead with making some adustments anyway. While the outcome wasn't what we were hoping for, spending the money to get it done under those circumstances were good enough for our pruposes.

zach
07-23-2007, 04:34 PM
To check the torque on the brake caliper bolts. :eeps: :ack:

:banghead:

bren
07-25-2007, 03:20 PM
Here you go Matt.....try these out and let me know which you like best.

http://www.jcwhitney.com/wcsstore/jcwhitney/images/imagecache/G_14041G_CL_1.jpg


http://www.jcwhitney.com/wcsstore/jcwhitney/images/imagecache/G_14040G_CL_1.jpg

Nick M3
07-25-2007, 03:26 PM
Here you go Matt.....try these out and let me know which you like best.

http://www.jcwhitney.com/wcsstore/jcwhitney/images/imagecache/G_14041G_CL_1.jpg


http://www.jcwhitney.com/wcsstore/jcwhitney/images/imagecache/G_14040G_CL_1.jpg
The FINEST precision alignment tools available. Brought to you by the folks at JC $hitney.

iateyourcheese
06-08-2009, 09:21 PM
Bumping an old thread...

Did a Google search for "DIY alignment" and this thread was the fifth link. Nice work!

rumatt
06-09-2009, 03:13 AM
Did a Google search for "DIY alignment" and this thread was the fifth link. Nice work!

:lol:

lupinsea
06-09-2009, 02:00 PM
This is kind of funny.

Reminds me that the Jeeps are much easier to do an alignment on. The only adjustments you can make are toe in. Everything else is fixed.

Terry Kennedy
06-09-2009, 05:18 PM
Reminds me that the Jeeps are much easier to do an alignment on. The only adjustments you can make are toe in. Everything else is fixed.
Atoms are the opposite. As part of the annual rod end (18 of 'em) change party an alignment is needed. I do the coarse alignment here so the car doesn't bounce all over the road on the way to the race shop where it gets the "real" alignment done.

rumatt
06-30-2009, 01:01 PM
How about a circumcision while you're at it? :ack:

Man uses nail clippers in DIY circumcision (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/5694913/Man-uses-nail-clippers-in-DIY-circumcision.html)

ff
06-30-2009, 01:29 PM
Man uses nail clippers in DIY circumcision (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/5694913/Man-uses-nail-clippers-in-DIY-circumcision.html)

That's gotta hurt.

Sharp11
06-30-2009, 01:33 PM
I'm thinking about giving myself a root canal this weekend.

I would think after the non-stop Michael Jackson coverage, you'd have had the equivalent.

lupinsea
06-30-2009, 03:30 PM
Man uses nail clippers in DIY circumcision (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/5694913/Man-uses-nail-clippers-in-DIY-circumcision.html)

Probably took him less than 10 hrs.