Ever became so bored that you just look at stuff on ebay, Craigslist just for the heck of it? I do that a lot! Am I ill?;)
Well I came across a Kwik-lift for sale on CL; never knew a Kwik-lift existed until I came across it! A really nice Australian fella was selling it~ so I told Gary I’ve got to have it! Gary’s a cool guy, my man, my husband, and he knows I love tools! I had always in the back of my superb mind;) wanted an alignment rack/machine! This could do it! A Kwik-lift new goes for around 1500 plus s/h; I got this one for 900 bucks!
NOTE: This blog is complicated, (hopefully entertaining), long, and un- finished and will be edited in the near future for optimal information, but I was bored and put it out anyway! 😉
Gee, that’s so cool!!
To lift the Kwik-lift (KL) with or without a car on it, you need a jack which will go high enough to put the locking things in place, (duh that’s sounds logical) so HF has this really cool looking jack which filled the ticket to lift the KL 😉 199.oo and was on sale for 179.00 just the other day! argh!
Wasn’t this blog supposed to be about alignments? Getting THERE!;)
In combination with my MaxJax, I can perform all kind of things! Here I didn’t know at the time I was headed for alignment necessities;)
So what do I need? Turn plates for starters! ebay has these for about 250 per set (2) I needed four for 4 wheel alignments. (500 bucks~ eek), Christmas present!;)
The purpose of the Kwik-lift is to allow access to the underneath of the car, truck or boat(ha, seeing if you’re paying attention). Most cars sit too low and adjustments cannot be made very well, if at all. Plus to do a 1A alignment, one would want a true level surface, definitely not on the Leaning Tower of Piza!
However, I won’t be doing alignments all the time so I need a place to store them! Each one weighs about 25lbs. I’d better start pumping iron again!
Fabrication time! I need a job! but I’m a stay at home Grand mother! eek, that sounds so old! I’m Naynay, not Grandma!
To adapt the castor/camber gauge to the wheel, wheel adapters; bought 4, one for each wheel (119.oo per unit) more for out of convenience, but only one camber gauge (89.oo). (for my upcoming birthday! yeah!)
I have been searching for 4 wheel alignment ideas and looked closely at the string alignment systems, but the strings seem to get in the way! However string is pretty darned cheap! Aligning my own cars here will be about 400 bucks a piece!
OK, now that camber/castor are taken care of to measure~! Performing a 4 wheel alignment takes a few things in consideration. 1) basing the laser alignment off of the vehicle’s frame center line so that the front and rear wheels are tracking perfectly or almost perfectly. This took some thinking!
The laser will be aimed to the center of the “things” which are hanging by magnets, then one further up front. Picture Austin Powers, “laser beam”;)
The laser here is put precisely (really close) at the vehicles center line. Obtaining the frame/vehicle center line is a little tricky, but with a tape measure, it’s not difficult to figure where the center of the frame is. The laser I have has the cross beam on, but I can turn the horizontal beam off at the touch of a button and have just a vertical line, Wow!
These self leveling laser units run about 50 bucks each on Amazon: (anniversary present)
This ‘bar’ is for the front of the vehicle with L-R, and R-L tape measures(self adhesive). “Spared no expense!” (what’s that line from?)
This bar holds the outer left and right laser units, In essence, the bars front and rear are aligned with the center line laser. I’ll elaborate on this later ~
Basically what I’m doing is making a ‘box’, rectangular box and it’s based off of the vehicle center line via the center positioned laser.
Bear with me here, I’m still in the infancy stage of making this work much less being able to explain it. The lasers were eventually laid back further by their holders to reflect the laser line onto the bar. Note the laser on the floor for the frame center line? Once setup, I said, “don’t touch it!!”
The idea is to place the center line laser from the rear onto this bar in between the yellow tape. Surely I’ve made my point about how important the ‘center line’ is?
Once the center line (doah!) is established and the VCL (vehicle center line) is set up, the outer lasers can be set up! 😉
With the lights dimmed in the garage, it’s a pretty sight seeing the lasers on the walls! (like “laser beams”;) The outer lasers here are set at 0-30″‘s from the center line~ oh crap!
It’s not necessary to have the full beam of the laser, so tapping up most of the beam is a good idea, that way just a fraction of the beam is projected. Don’t look into the light!!! that was from a movie I just know it!!;)
I bought these 6″ plastic rulers from amazon (8 of them), glued on little tiny magnets to keep them on the wheels edge so I didn’t have to keep going back n forth with a tape measure. If the wheels are alloy, I’d have to do it with a tape measure or put some dum dum on the magnets to let it stick until I’m done. laughing at myself!
It’s pretty much just fill in the blank at this time on my super cool newest work sheet. Camber/castor is/was performed at the beginning after the vehicle was driven onto the turn plates, brake set with a brake pedal depressor, then pins pulled on the turn plates to allow the vehicle to settle and a couple of good bounces. Safety is of supreme essence!
The TR6 is a 4 wheel alignment whereas my 67 Mustang is basically a front end alignment, but can be performed and recorded as a 4 wheel. Never know if there may be a bent axle tube, let’s say there’s a difference between center to center of the left side compared to the right side wheels, may have taken a hit somewhere in its life. Note in the page below of 88 1/8 vs 88 1/4″ from center of the wheel to the other. Could be the measurers fault(not meee) and should be measured again for accuracy, otherwise an 1/8″ is acceptable. Rule: measure twice; cut once!;)
Inside the rectangular boxes on the worksheet which if you hadn’t noticed represent tires, those numbers represent how far the center of the wheel is to the laser line. I feel it’s more of a reference number and unsure if I actually need it, but it’s easy enough to measure.
RF wheel indicates toe at 1 11/16 from the front of the wheel to the rear of the same wheel, keeping in mind the steering wheel should be straight ahead matie. This wheel is straight ahead, or no Toe. However friction of the road and driving may very well put the tires into a little tiny toe out from friction except on Tuesday;), so a little toe I think would be good~ say 1/16″ overall toe for a rack n pinion steering car, however an older car(say a 1970 Ford mustang) with an idler arm may need 3/16″ total toe due to the laxity in the steering components.
This is an old worksheet(just few weeks), one of the first ones I played with. These are not final measurements as I don’t even have the fenders, doors, hard top, bumpers, and my little butt installed yet;) All the extra weight will change these figures. Heckfire, even low tire pressure can mess with your findings so be sure to check your tire pressures!
Though not the quality that you’d see in a shop, but it’s a good worksheet; again, just fill in the blanks;)
When I aligned my 67 Mustang a while back, for Toe- I made this cheap Toe in bar. Obviously measures the front of the front tire to the rear of the front tire. I still use this, but to plan to buy one that’s more professional as I’m getting into the realm of professionalism;) oh, I forget but professionals get paid:(
What is my goal with this you might ask? I’d like to help other TR owners with alignments letting them partake in the process, to learn, or other classic out there, at least one’s which aren’t huge, like a Batmobile! However, the original Batmobile is pretty darned cool!
I promise to return soon and update this confusing alignment blog! I may even better understand it some day! Happy motoring friends!