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How do all you hard-core guys do your alignment? Are laser racks really as bad as the people on the main list make them out to be?

The article here,

http://mkiv.christurner.net/techarticles/alignment/index.html

makes it seem very difficult. I'd rather not spend $250+ for a pro to align it unless I have to, especially since I'm going to have the car cornerweighted eventually (once I take as much weight as possible out), and I know I'll want to mess with the settings. Are there any affordable product sold to ease the process of doing a hand alignment? I guess ramps would work, but the article says you must lower the car and roll it forward and back after making any changes... Then jack it up again and get the centerline again... Isn't there any easier way? Like something the attaches to the wheel hubs?

Actually now that I think about it, it seems like 4 floor jacks could be used to ajust the height until the car was completely level, they'd just had to have something on them to allow the wheels to turn... Hmm...

Thanks for any help
 

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You could do your alignment...but why?

I would suggest an alignment shop to do the work....for more than a few reasons. The most important being accurate results. And also, the type of alignment rack used is not as important as the technician doing the work. Now for a cheap plug for one
of my sponsors:
Alignments By Phil
9125 Airport Blvd F-4
Houston,Texas 713-910-0441
AKA Alignment & Brake Specialist

** Best alignment shop I have ever found **

I spoke with Phil on Monday about your questions regarding
the laser racks. He said it really makes no difference what type
of machine is used, it's just that the laser machine is a little
quicker setting up the car...but will produce the same results. He
uses the Hunter C111 & G111 (has 5 total) and our service dept. at Jay Marks Toyota has a P411, a little newer version, but none are the laser type. After the expansion of our service shop is completed later this year, we are also adding a Hunter laser rack.

When I asked him about prices for a 4 Wheel complete alignment...he charges about $80

Hope this helps

Jeff
 
J

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It's not difficult, just time consuming, to do an alignment at home. You need a camber/caster gauge, slip plates (Racer Wholesale, about $75), 4 blocks to set the car on (I use 3 6x6 sections taped together, about 2 feet long), some string and 6 cinder blocks to hold the string. Make sure the car is level, set the slip plates on the blocks, then the car on the slip plates. You have to be level. Reference the centerline of the car and run a string under the car along the centerline, then run parallel strings alongside the car at a height equal to the center of the wheels. You can measure the toe by using the string and a ruler. Measure the distance from the string to the wheel lip at the front and rear. If the distances are the same, the toe is 0. When measuring the fronts, make sure the steering wheel is level. Camber and caster is measured with the gauge. This method is as accurate as any laser system, I'm told. It works for me.

Jeff Brauch
 
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