Thursday, August 25, 2016

A Little Toe-in

After being contacted by a prospective buyer, I decided to address Ringo’s front end alignment. I’d successfully done a front end alignment before – judged by the subsequent lack of odd front tire wear. The method I used required four jackstands and two lengths of yarn. I stretched each piece of yarn between two jackstands along each side of the car. I adjusted the jackstand locations until I got exactly ten inches from the yarn to the outside face of the center of each wheel cover (after I made sure each cover was fully seated). I then checked the parallel by measuring from the yarn to the rocker panel just behind the front wheel and just in front of the rear. Since I knew the left front was the one needing adjustment, I started at the right front tire. I measured from the yarn to the forward-most edge of the whitewall and then from the yarn to the rear-most edge of the whitewall. I turned then turned the steering wheel until both measurements were the same. This meant the tire was facing perfectly forward. I then went to the left tire and made the same measurements. Sure enough, the front measurement was nearly three-quarters of an inch less than the rear. This translated to about two-and-a-half degrees total front toe-out. Looking for a very slight toe-in, it was necessary to tighten the tie-rod adjuster until the front measurement was only an eighth of an inch less than the rear’s. It took a lot of PB Blaster and heat on both ends of the adjusting sleeve before I was able to break it loose with a pipe wrench. I spun the adjuster a few turns, pushed the car back and forth to settle the suspension, repeated all the yarn adjustments, and finally checked the change of toe. I lucked out. It was just about to the eighth of an inch. I left well enough alone, put away the tools, and called it an evening.

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