I use different settings for track and street. That means I'm doing a front and rear alignment about 14 times a year. Even though I'v had a lot of practice, it's still a time consuming process. So I'm always looking for a better way to do things.
I recently purchased these hub stands from our classified section. The one on the left is how they came to me. The one on the right is trimmed to fit around my brake calipers.
Originally I thought I could simply stick the magnet to the brake rotor and read caster and camber from that. If the rotor is brand new, I think that would work. But when they're nearly worn out, readings are inconsistent. Remember, we're reading on 0.1* increments.
So I had to do some mods. I bolted a steel plate to each alum plate to give something for the magnet to hook on to. I also bolted on some alum angle for measuring toe. down at the bottom on one side to hook the tape measures on; and up higher on the other side to hang the strings from.
The hub stands rest on two alum blocks, which set on my alum turning plates. The blocks spread the weight out, and prevents damaging the alum plates.
It took me most of the week end in the garage getting it all figured out, and set up the way I wanted it. Now that it's all together, it only takes a few minutes to set them back up again. The alignment process is much faster and easier to do. I also think it's more accurate.
After I was done, I put my bubble gauge back on the wheels to recheck. They look to be about perfect. I'll get time to take it for a drive later this week and see how it rides.
I like the simplicity of it. Straight forward and easy to understand.
Now, I'm starting to think it through.
How true are the angled aluminum pieces for toe?
Then I thought of laying them down on a surface plate and using a dial indicator to measure the height (the edge measured off of for toe) of the angled aluminum at both ends. How accurate, plus or minus, do you think the toe in should be to? Which relates to how accurate the angled pieces should be.
How flat are the two 1/2" aluminum plates?
How flat should they be? Is the thickness of the steel mounted to the aluminum plates uniform from one end to the other? How flat do you think they should be? You could use the same method of measuring on a surface plate to determine the uniformity of thickness of the plates.
Does any of this matter or am I over thinking this? I keep going back to your comment that we are measuring to 0.1º.
I'm now wondering where I can get some 1/2" aluminum plate and angles.
How thick are your aluminum turn plates and what do you have between them?
Keep up the good work, I always enjoy what you are doing and I also like the idea you have of setting up a web site to post this type of information. I now copy it and put it into a file hoping I'll be able to find it when I need it.
You're right, flatness counts. Each time you add a piece of something you have the potential to add variables.
The 1/2 alum plates are made of some pretty tough stuff, and appear to be flat.
The steel plate I sanded with some fine paper on a large glass plate. I didn't see any evidence of high spots. Placing the gauge on the alum gives me the same reading as placing it on the steel. I used the thickest steel I had around to prevent distortion. The bolts that hold it on are snug but not tight; again, trying to prevent distortion.
To be perfectly accurate, a spindle adapter would probably be a smidgen better. But nobody makes one for a Ford. That would measure the spindle itself, without anything in between to add errors. I may try making one this winter.
The angled alum is 3/16" and also appear to be straight and flat when checked against a large straight edge. I think there's less margin for error there than with the Fastrax tool.
The turning plates are simple 1/8" aluminum with grease between them. I'v been using them for years with good results. Cheap, simple, and durable.
That aluminum plate is a very good choice it is precision tooling plate and is about as flat as you can buy and is stable after cutting. Grease works well between your turn plates but is a little messy. A piece of heavy trash bag works as well and doesn’t have the mess, I have made stands very similar to yours but mounted my angles higher which works on my type 65 before all the sheet metal is installed. I now see the angles need to be mounted lower, thanks for tip. One thing I do to make sure everything sets back up the same each time is to mark which wheel all the tooling goes on. May not matter but eliminates one variable.
I have made stands very similar to yours but mounted my angles higher which works on my type 65 before all the sheet metal is installed. I now see the angles need to be mounted lower, thanks for tip. One thing I do to make sure everything sets back up the same each time is to mark which wheel all the tooling goes on. May not matter but eliminates one variable.
I can't put the angle alum too high because of the brake caliper.
The stands only fit on one side, also because of the brake caliper.
I'v used trash bags in other places. It doesn't work well on the Kwik-Lift, because it's not a flat surface. I don't know why It never occured to me to put the bag between the plates. Thanx!
Originally Posted by Cobra 302
That is a real nice setup.
Doing it with the tires off makes it a much easier process.
I finally gave up on using the Fastrax gage and went to my guy.
I really was hoding to do it myself so I could play around with setting.
Nice clean setup.....
That was the real attaraction to me to try this. Getting to everything without the tires on is really easy - especially adjusting the toe. Much easier now.
The first few times I did the alignment with the Fastrax tool, I messed it up. It's a tedious and meticulous process that takes practice. Now that you have the alignment done, go out and find out what it takes to get the same readings at home. Then you can experiment with different settings.
I really like those plates. Any idea if more could be made and sold? Not having to jack the car to get at the sleaves on the UCAs, then let it down and roll it back and forward to settle it between each adjustment would make aligning almost fun.
FFR 5353K,351/400hp,TKO 500, 3-link w/3.08 and Truetrac, Koni DA coilovers front and rear,APE hardtop,Forte front and VPM rear swaybars
They're pretty simple. I don't see why some one with the right tools couldn't make a big batch of them for sale. I bought these because I really don't have the right tools. The big trick is getting the 5 bolts holes in exactly the right place.
i admire all the work you guys go to for an alignment, i have some of those tools, and even had a set of lazers with aluminum fittings to fit hubs that cost over $1100. i found an old hunter alignment machine on craigslist for $500, paid a local guy to calibrate it for $200 and probably have a total of $750 in it. works fast, does everything, and when i am done i'll sell it and get my money back. fwiw.
Like what you have done on your own.
When we created HUBStands, some of our earliest versions were similar to what you have made. As we progressed we found some speed bumps that needed to be overcome. One, when the car is lowered onto the stands, they need to be able to slip or scrub out freely at the bottom as the car settles with camber (and Caster) to its static compressed suspension position.
Two, a broad base is needed to keep the car from any fore/aft movement or leaning, but the wide cambered vertical plate on the stands actually deflects and distorts the suspension when turning in a Caster sweep and in Toe. That's why we created the narrow vertical components on HUBStands that can easily turn on the separate, fixed broad base. Finally, we had to make adjustments in the vertical pieces so taller rear tires could be compensated for in accurately setting ride heights, corner balancing, camber and toe.
Back to your stands, add some plastic bags between your aluminum plates so they "scrub out" easily, use shim material to adjust for different tire sizes and what you have will work pretty well for height, balance and camber but not very accurately for Toe, and not at all for Caster or Bump Steer.
The key to any measurement process is that is be simple, accurate, and repeatable. After going through the process many times, I have achieved that. When I recheck my work, I get the same results with both methods: caster, camber, and toe. The bottom line is - it works.
This is your first post here, and it looks like you joined to try and defend your product. I don't think there's a need for that. You have a darned fine product. If I had the budget, I would have bought them a long time ago. There's no way my cobbled together garage project could match it.
Absolutely agree with the simplicity, accuracy and repeatability. Your stands certainly make life easier and eliminating the tires from the process gets rid of a big error margin.
I didn't sign up for for defensive reasons, I did it for promotional purposes. This is a site recommended to us and your thread was a smart read...I do like what you are doing and the way you are going about it. I spent a lot of time on a similar path and I am more than willing to share what we've learned along the way. In the end, it's good for my product because it's a racers sharing info and talking about set-ups, tools, etc etc.
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