DIY alignment, how to make a camber/caster gauge

Discussion in '2.3L (N/A & Turbo) Tech' started by bhuff30, Apr 11, 2005.

  1. This is a DIY guide to setting you're own alignment. I made the tool for under 10$.
    The gauge is made by drilling 2 holes in a standard 18" long level. The holes should be placed such that they line up with the lip of the wheel at both the top and bottom. Obviously, for different sized wheels, you will have to have different hole placement. Through the holes, you insert a 1/4" bolt with washers and nuts on each side of the level. The camber/caster gauge is now complete.
    The car must be parked on a level surface. To use the guage, you simply adjust the nuts and bolts until the gauge indicates level. Then, you measure the length of the bolts from the surface of the level to the wheel lip. If the top of the wheel sticks out further than the bottom, you have positive camber (bad, looks like this \ / ). If the bottom of the wheel sticks out further than the top, you have negative camber (good, looks like this / \ ). Most of the time, a good rule of thumb is 1/4" = 1* camber. This isn't exact, but those that are anal can calculate it out precisly for their wheel size using trig. Everyone else can just trust me that it is close enough. ;)
    To set toe, I use the trusty tape measure. You have to be careful when doing this though. You want to measure the distance from a particular tread block to a similar block on the other side. Be careful to measure from similar points on the treadblocks, because the sometimes the blocks tapper in or out. Measure the front and back and the difference between them is the toe. Toe in looks like \ / and toe out looks like / \.
    Measuring caster can be done in a similar way, except you measure the angle of the strut from the front to back. I found it to be difficult and pointless to measure the caster. It isn't adjustable on the stock mustang plates, and if you have CC plates, you simply want as much caster as you can get.
    When setting your alignment, first set the caster (if it applies). Then, set the camber. Lastly, set the toe. The toe is changed when you change caster or camber, so it should always be set last.
    You must decide for yourself what alignment you want to run. Stock for a 5.0 mustang (basically the same for 4cyl) is as follows:
    Caster- nominal=1.27* min=.50* max=2*
    Camber- nominal=.14* min=-.60* max=.9*
    toe (toe in is positive) nominal=.188" min=.063" max=.313"
    You normally want to run as much positive caster as you can. +3 is normally posible with CC plates, but it is not adjustable from the factory. At the extreme, +8 would be even better, but puts excessive stress on certain front end components and increase steering effort a great deal.
    Camber dependent on your driving style. -1 is fine for aggressive street, but -3 would be desired for any kind of autoX or road racing. Again, -3 pretty much maxes out standard CC plates, but it is possible to get more. At most autoX events, I just max out the negative camber on the CC plates and reset it for the street when I am done.
    For toe, 1/8" toe in is a good number to shoot for on the street. toe out gives a squirly car that will tend to climb any ridges in the road and leave you wandering all over on the highway. However, toe out also helps turn in for the mustang. If you are at an auto-X, you may want as much as 1/4" toe out. If you are lazy like me, you will notice that when you increase the negative camber, you get more toe out. This works out very well if you go to an autoX. When you max out the negative camber, a pleasent side effect is toe out.
    Remember, if you **** up your car, it wasn't my fault. This is accurate to the best of my knowledge and you are ultimatly responsible for what you do to your car.

    Attached Files:

  2. Not a bad write up, good job.
  3. Where did you get that idea??? ;) :cheers:
  4. Sweet! Good job :)
  5. I just bought one that does the same thing, from a place that sells dirt track stuff. Wish I'd seen this first, would have saved a little money.
  6. I think this is more than worthy of a sticky