gearheadmb
gearheadmb Dork
12/7/17 8:34 a.m.

We do a lot of suspension maintenance on the rallycross beretta. That means it needs a lot of alignments. At around $100 a pop for a shop to do it is hard to justify on a car we have maybe $300 invested in. But alignments suck to do at home. Measure, jack it up, adjust, set it down, roll it back and forth to get the suspension settled, repeat for the next hour or four. Real alignment shops have those plates on the rack that let the front wheels move freely so the suspension isnt in a bind. That got me thinking, if i had something similar it would make it a lot easier. So i thought why not these ? They should function the same, beside raising the front up an inch or two. If that is an issue it could be corrected by parking the rear tires on 2x8s. Would this idea work? What i would really like to do is come up with a safe way to do this dolly idea but while raising the car 12-18 inches so i could slide under the car and make adjustments with weight on the wheels. Any ideas on that? Am i missing any important aspects that shoot my plan in the ass? Thanks

Streetwiseguy
Streetwiseguy UltimaDork
12/7/17 8:38 a.m.

All you really need is two 12" square sheets of light sheet metal with a layer of grease between them under each wheel. 

SkinnyG
SkinnyG SuperDork
12/7/17 9:41 a.m.

I use large vinyl floor tiles that were on a "get it out of the store" cheap price. The entire box held 8 tiles - perfect!

I used to use a sprinkling of table salt to help them rotate, but later switched to grease - I prefer the salt.

I actually had a 4-wheel alignment machine for a while, but it took longer to set it up than it did to do the alignment my old-school way.  Yeah - arguably more accurate, but without a drive-on hoist, it wasn't easier.

freetors
freetors New Reader
12/7/17 9:42 a.m.

I've seen in a lot of videos of race shops that they will pick the car up on a lift and then set it down on fabbed up steel stands that are roughly 2x2x2'. Plenty of room to get underneath and make adjustments. They'll have adjustable feet so they can make them perfectly level too.

I use my corner weight scales and rolloff platforms whenever I can. With my S2000 I have *just barely* enough room to get underneath and turn the adjusters. Oh BTW, for those thinking about rolloff platforms, if you think you'll be able to roll the car on and off the scales by yourself, you can't. So I just do whatever I can to minimize friction with grease tiles, trashbags, etc.

Stefan
Stefan MegaDork
12/7/17 10:17 a.m.

Some pieces of thin laminate cut into squares works when the laminated sides are put together.

use multiple pieces to get the car level where you’re doing the alignment and mark the outlines and pieces with paint to make setup faster next time.

we eventually built stands to raise the car enough to sit on its tires and the plates and allow us to slide underneath and adjust the toe.

you still have to bounce the car and roll it back and forth to be sure of the alignment.

AWSX1686
AWSX1686 Dork
12/7/17 10:22 a.m.

I have a pair of these. So far I've really only used them to set toe because I've always been cramped for time, but one you get your process figured out, I would think these would fit your needs pretty well. (They do 4 lug and 5 lug now!)

 

44Dwarf
44Dwarf UltraDork
12/7/17 11:39 a.m.

When i was Dwarf car racing I used plastic cutting boards under the wheels the 1/16 sheet type  come in a 4 pack so buy two packs for around $8.  Camber and Caster got measured with an angle finder peldulum type but later i switched to digital cube type made for saw blades just stick ti the the brake rotor. camber is read wheels straight caster is full lock right minus full lock left or incase of one car i had 1.5 turn each way as it didn't turn the same angle to the right as it did left..

TR7
TR7 Reader
12/7/17 11:44 a.m.

I use similar tire castors for alignments (already had them anyway). Made some 2x4 cribbing that sits on top of the castor to get some extra height. Some string and alignments are easy.

noddaz
noddaz SuperDork
12/7/17 7:08 p.m.

But if you must buy, alignment turntables do exist.  NMNA .  But please let us know what you find.

speedway turntables

freetors
freetors New Reader
12/7/17 10:34 p.m.

I forgot to add, I use my longacre turn plates on the front wheels when checking for caster, but honestly grease tiles work just as well if you don't need to do caster sweeps. If I'm working on something that I don't plan on adjusting caster or it isn't adjustable then I'll just use the tiles.

gearheadmb
gearheadmb Dork
12/8/17 7:05 a.m.

I've never bothered with the caster settings on it, I definitely don't get super scientific with the alignments. I set the camber and toe to as close as I can get to zero, which is the factory spec. I like the idea of building a stand for each wheel to get it up off the ground, I'm not sure I like the idea of trusting my life to it.

frenchyd
frenchyd Dork
12/8/17 7:40 a.m.

In reply to gearheadmb : All of my life I’ve done alignments with nothing more than 2  pieces of string and 4 cheap jack stands.  Oh and now days a digital infrared thermometer.  ( in the 60’s through the 80’s I just used my hand)  

Hey before you start to laugh, doesn’t your wife check her kids temps with her hand?  Well normal is 98.6 and she can feel a temp of 100 degrees can’t she? 

I put my hand on tires to feel what chamber I had. It didn’t matter what the number was as long as the tread was equally warm across it’s whole width. If the inner edge was hot I straightened the tire up, if outer edge was hot I laid the tire down. 

If the center was hotter I lowered tire pressure if the edges were hotter I raised it. 

Go ahead and poo-Poo that if you want but Roger Rager showed me how to do that and he led the Indy 500 using an old engine from a bus!  

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
12/8/17 7:53 a.m.

In reply to gearheadmb :

I have a few sets of dollies like your link.  They won't work for what you are looking for.

The casters have to orient themselves with each other before they will roll freely.  You have to push pretty hard to get the car started rolling (after which it is fine).  That would effectively be the same thing as binding, so no they won't work.

I usually use 2 pieces of 12" square vinyl floor tile with a little grease in between.  They work great!

I would suggest doing this on top of something. I use my scales, which lift the car about 2".  That is enough to make accessing under the car for adjustments a little easier.  So, the "stand" you described to get the car off the ground doesn't have to be elaborate or unsafe.  Just a few chunks of 2x12.   

rslifkin
rslifkin SuperDork
12/8/17 7:54 a.m.

On the Jeep I usually tape-measure the toe (turn plates would definitely be nice).  Camber isn't adjustable without changing ball joints, so that gets ignored.  I set caster mostly by feel.  

pushrod36
pushrod36 Reader
12/8/17 7:56 a.m.

I built some turntables with these bearings and plywood.  I built blocks for the rear wheels to set on to keep the car close to level.

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
12/8/17 8:05 a.m.

In reply to pushrod36 :

Those things get expensive fast!

 

sachilles
sachilles UltraDork
12/8/17 9:37 a.m.

Actually, the cheapest way to do it is to cut a gallon ziplock bag in half. Put the two sheets on top of each other on a flat surface. Works better than grease plates. Any plastic will work. Thicker can be better for long term durability.

Our race team has the budget for all the latest gadgets, and that is what we use.

That being said we put them on our scales as a flat surface, which allows us to get under the car to adjust in place. However, I've used the plastic at home with great results. Also works to move a car around a garage with a good floor and race slicks.

gearheadmb
gearheadmb Dork
12/8/17 10:58 a.m.
SVreX said:

In reply to gearheadmb :

I have a few sets of dollies like your link.  They won't work for what you are looking for.

The casters have to orient themselves with each other before they will roll freely.  You have to push pretty hard to get the car started rolling (after which it is fine).  That would effectively be the same thing as binding, so no they won't work.

I usually use 2 pieces of 12" square vinyl floor tile with a little grease in between.  They work great!

I would suggest doing this on top of something. I use my scales, which lift the car about 2".  That is enough to make accessing under the car for adjustments a little easier.  So, the "stand" you described to get the car off the ground doesn't have to be elaborate or unsafe.  Just a few chunks of 2x12.   

I hadn't thought about the caster bind, that is a good point. Thanks

Our Preferred Partners
LBwgNtSjiybuP3hsBUPwbyNyNWhnlyov