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Old 03-28-2018, 02:58 AM   #1
wingski
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Default easy front-end alignment

I recently talked to Bill Williamson in Fresno, California, and he told me how to align my front tires. It’s probably the simplest way to do something that seems to have so many people confused that I’ve ever heard. Just string and a bungie cord to hold the string tight is all that is needed. Position that string so it is six inches above the ground as it goes around all four wheels. If that string is touching the front sidewalls of the of the front wheels but not the rear sidewalls of the front wheels, you have toe-out, and the distance between the leading inside edges of the front tires is greater than the inside rear edges. You don’t want that. If that string is tighter against the rear sidewalls of the front wheels than it is against the front sidewalls, you have toe-in which is what you want, but not much. Since you only want 1/16 inch toe-in between the front center of those front tires, take out the cotter pins on those castellated nuts and loosen the nuts that hold the tie-rod in place. Clamp vice-grips on the tie-rod so the handle is pointed toward the rear of the car. Lift up on the vice-grips if you want more toe-in. Pull down on the vice-grips if you want less toe-in. Adjust that tie-rod so all the tire’s sidewalls are equally touching front and rear. Clamp and lift up on those vice-grips, release them, and clamp them again and lift up. Remove the vice-grips, tighten the tie-rod ends, replace the cottor pins, remove the string and bungie cord, and take your aligned car for a drive.

After driving one hundred miles, check for scuffing on the outside or inside of the front tires tread. If you have inside scuffing, too much toe-in. If you have outside scuffing, too much toe-out. Adjust accordingly.

Thanks again, Bill,

Mike
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Last edited by wingski; 03-28-2018 at 11:07 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 03-28-2018, 05:00 AM   #2
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Default Re: easy front-end alignment

There are other ways to do that, and in my opinion more accurate methods.
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Old 03-28-2018, 05:11 AM   #3
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Default Re: easy front-end alignment

Interesting......pretty simple
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Old 03-28-2018, 06:21 AM   #4
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Default Re: easy front-end alignment

I like it.
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Old 03-28-2018, 06:57 AM   #5
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Default Re: easy front-end alignment

I did mine so that they would be perfect. I checked the rim run out, Set up my alignment equipment, got my measuring stuff out and with a few words on the side got my wife to help me. By the end of the day my alignment is perfect. Your way is MUCH better.
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Old 03-28-2018, 07:21 AM   #6
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Default Re: easy front-end alignment

Front end alignment is one of the areas that I pay a professional to do the work right the first time. Most really enjoy having the opportunity to have your Model A in their shop.

With today’s roads and the amount of mileage most of us put on these cars. A good alignment will last as long as most of us own our car. String, come on. Spend $100.00.

It’s a hobby, but these cars aren’t toys. Front end, brakes, springs, shocks, need to be correct. There are other people out there on the road with you.

Last edited by WHN; 03-28-2018 at 08:13 AM.
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Old 03-28-2018, 10:13 AM   #7
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Default Re: easy front-end alignment

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Originally Posted by WHN View Post
Front end alignment is one of the areas that I pay a professional to do the work right the first time. Most really enjoy having the opportunity to have your Model A in their shop.

With todayís roads and the amount of mileage most of us put on these cars. A good alignment will last as long as most of us own our car. String, come on. Spend $100.00.

Itís a hobby, but these cars arenít toys. Front end, brakes, springs, shocks, need to be correct. There are other people out there on the road with you.
Some of the dealers around me have a free check but if it needs it $50 front end alignment. Although with 1/8" rim runout acceptable when your trying for 1/16" difference its gonna be tricky.
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Old 03-28-2018, 10:17 AM   #8
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Default Re: easy front-end alignment

Interesting idea though isn't 6" too low? Wouldn't it be better some other dim. closer to the spindle arm centers,with the car on level ground ?
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Old 03-28-2018, 10:54 AM   #9
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Default Re: easy front-end alignment

In a perfect world, maybe... With a certain amount of wheel runout on 88 year old wheels, as soon as you spin a wheel your alignment will change. Best advice is to check your tire wear whenever you check your tire pressure.
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Old 03-28-2018, 10:56 AM   #10
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Default Re: easy front-end alignment

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Originally Posted by duke36 View Post
Interesting idea though isn't 6" too low? Wouldn't it be better some other dim. closer to the spindle arm centers,with the car on level ground ?
6" is correct, see Marco's article. http://www.abarnyard.com/workshop/align.htm

Bob
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Old 03-28-2018, 11:16 AM   #11
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Default Re: easy front-end alignment

If your string stretches there goes the 1/16" spec!
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Old 03-28-2018, 11:24 AM   #12
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Default Re: easy front-end alignment

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Originally Posted by Anteek29 View Post
If your string stretches there goes the 1/16" spec!
I think that is why the bungie cord is used...to keep constant tension on the string.
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Old 03-28-2018, 12:31 PM   #13
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Default Re: easy front-end alignment

I like it. Thanks Mike and Brother Bill.......Ed Williamson
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Old 03-28-2018, 12:48 PM   #14
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Default Re: easy front-end alignment

I give this tutorial 2 thumbs up. Thanks Mike and Bill
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Old 03-28-2018, 12:52 PM   #15
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Default Re: easy front-end alignment

This is a good method IF you have the same tire sizes all around, AND you have no front wheel run-out. Actually, you can just use your eyeballs and site across the front tires outer edge to the rear tires edge, and you want the line of site to be about 1/4 of an inch outside the rear tire. Again, with the same limitations as above. If you are paying $100 for just toe in check/adjustment you are getting ripped royally since it is such a trivial adjustment. However, A good alignment shop can also verify that your axle is not bent, camber/caster is correct, your king pins are tight, etc. Now, with all that, $100 is reasonable.

Jmho
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Old 03-28-2018, 05:24 PM   #16
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Default Re: easy front-end alignment

I like it too.
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Old 03-28-2018, 05:52 PM   #17
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Default Re: easy front-end alignment

Thanks for this technique. Alot of variables in alignment I'm home.
Bill is used to criticism and wears it well
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Old 03-28-2018, 06:20 PM   #18
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Default Re: easy front-end alignment

Thanks guys, for all the positive responses. I just finished the alignment and pulled the steering wheel so it is perfectly lined up. I am a very happy model A owner that prefers to do things for himself. I have enough self-confidence and enough years of experience to do something that others should never attempt.

For those of you who take your car somewhere else to do the work, Iíll say this. A model A is a way to learn how much fun it is to work with your hands. If you are afraid to make mistakes, then how do you learn?

Oh boy, another bogus type post. Isnít this exciting?

Fearless Mike
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Old 03-28-2018, 06:54 PM   #19
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Default Re: easy front-end alignment

I guess we can add one more topic to the list of hot topics.

Easy front end alignment
What kind of oil
What kind of gas
Whether or not to use antifreeze
Float-a-Motors
6volt versus 12-volt
Alternator versus generator
Paper versus plastic

and so on.
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Old 03-28-2018, 08:23 PM   #20
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Default Re: easy front-end alignment

How do you get the wheels perfectly steered straight to even begin doing this test with accuracy? Or does it matter that you are pointing the car dead on straight?
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Old 03-28-2018, 08:32 PM   #21
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Default Re: easy front-end alignment

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Originally Posted by Brentwood Bob View Post
Thanks for this technique. Alot of variables in alignment I'm home.
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Where have you been, Bob?
Criticism seems to rid myself of OLD FLAKEY skin!!!!
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Old 03-28-2018, 09:17 PM   #22
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Default Re: easy front-end alignment

Spell check is not my friend. I'm home originally started as imho.
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Old 03-28-2018, 09:49 PM   #23
wingski
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Default Re: easy front-end alignment

Dino, get in your car and turn the steering wheel all the way to the right. Now turn it all the way to the left. However many turns it took to go from side to side divide by two. Turn that wheel back that amount and hopefully you steering wheel is lined up. Top spoke at 12 oíclock, right spoke at 3 oíclock, bottom spoke at 6 oíclock, and left at 9. That is the neutral position in your steering gear box, and your tires should be pointed close to straight ahead.

I should have mentioned this when I talked about alignment because itís the number One thing you should do when aligning those front tires. If that steering wheel is cock-eyed, pull it and position it correctly. Itís hard to tell if your wheels are actually aligned if that steering wheel isnít straight up and down.

I hope this helped,

Mike
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Old 03-29-2018, 05:57 AM   #24
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Default Re: easy front-end alignment

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Originally Posted by Dino's A View Post
How do you get the wheels perfectly steered straight to even begin doing this test with accuracy? Or does it matter that you are pointing the car dead on straight?
Pick a reference point at the end of your shop/hard surfaced pad and drive straight toward it. When satisfied that the car is moving in a straight line, stop and check your toe in.
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Old 03-29-2018, 07:14 AM   #25
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Default Re: easy front-end alignment

I use two common pins (one in the tread of each front tire) and a metal measuring tape. Insert pins 6 inches from the floor on the back side, then roll the car forward until the pins are 6 inches off the ground in the front. Difference in the two measurements is the toe. I posted this method several years ago on the barn.
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Old 03-29-2018, 08:13 AM   #26
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Default Re: easy front-end alignment

This is the one that I made to use with the pin method. Since then I shortened the pointers so it could measure six inches off the floor.
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Old 03-29-2018, 09:07 AM   #27
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Default Re: easy front-end alignment

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Originally Posted by BILL WILLIAMSON View Post
Where have you been, Bob?
Criticism seems to rid myself of OLD FLAKEY skin!!!!
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I canít believe anyone would criticize you on this forum.

That would be like faulting the Pope Easter weekend.
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Old 03-29-2018, 09:17 AM   #28
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Default Re: easy front-end alignment

A good thing about the string method is it will tell you ifn the rear axle is centred or off to one side.
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Old 03-30-2018, 06:17 AM   #29
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Default Re: easy front-end alignment

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Originally Posted by Brentwood Bob View Post
Spell check is not my friend. I'm home originally started as imho.
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Old 03-30-2018, 06:58 AM   #30
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Default Re: easy front-end alignment

Less than $100 and you will always have the tool, works great, accurate, and i can use it on my 34 as well...

https://www.amazon.com/Tool-Aid-SGT6...lignment+gauge
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Old 03-30-2018, 08:46 AM   #31
BILL WILLIAMSON
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A good thing about the string method is it will tell you ifn the rear axle is centred or off to one side.
The string is better than a LOOOOONG "straight" 2 X 4---
Let's face it, when we're dealing with ONLY 1/16", we could probably change it, by BLOWING on the TIRE!!! Main thing is WATCH your tires for scuffing & adjust it accordingly!--IT'S EASY!
Bill Again
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Old 03-31-2018, 05:15 PM   #32
Dick M
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Default Re: easy front-end alignment

The string method can work ok if all of your rims are true with no run out. For me, the best method is as follows; use a sharpie pen and draw a center line on each of your front tires. This can be accomplished by using a 2x4 block of wood. Measure the diameter of the sharpie pen and drill a hole of the same size through the 2" side of the 2x4. Place the pen in the hole. Jack up one side of the front end until the tire spins free. Place the upright pen against a flat surface of the tire tread. Holding the block and pen still, spin the tire slowly until you have drawn a "center line" completely around the tire. Repeat and draw a center line on the other tire. The center line will give you a true measurement to work with.


Next, measure the distance between the two tires using inside of both center lines. Use the front bumper braces to rest your measuring tape on for your front side distance measurement. For the back side of the tire measurement, use the bottom of the A bars and kiss your measuring tape up against them while measuring the distance between the centerlines. Turn the tie rod to change the distance between the two measuring points. The front measurement needs to be 1/16" less than the rear measurement plus or minus 1/32".

I know the centerline method is a little more time consuming than the string method, but, your toe in will always be dead on using the centerline method. One bent rim will kill your toe in setting using the string method.


The reason for my post is I used the string method first to set my toe in. The result was toooooo much toe in due to rims that were not true. I reset the toe in using the centerline method with dead on results. JMO
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