Wheel Alignment
07-03-2017, (Subject: Wheel Alignment ) 
Post: #1
Wheel Alignment
Stumbled on this short series of vids about wheel alignment. A lot of the stuff he talks about, most guys who know what a wrench is and how to use it will already know about but may have forgot about. I think there are 3 parts to the series. Included vid is part 1.

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 Thanks given by: fargonaz , Grizzly
07-03-2017, (Subject: Wheel Alignment ) 
Post: #2
RE: Wheel Alignment
Rawze. I have a vague memory of you having a thread on the old forum (pre computer crash) of you describing how you do an alignment on your truck. I'm thinking this would make a pretty good video if you get a chance.

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07-03-2017, (Subject: Wheel Alignment ) 
Post: #3
RE: Wheel Alignment
(07-03-2017 )kryten Wrote:  Rawze. I have a vague memory of you having a thread on the old forum of you describing how you do an alignment on your truck. I'm thinking this would make a pretty good video if you get a chance.

Here is the old post (10-16-2014) ...

Rawze Wrote:I helped Anthony-G with his truck. He is getting pre-mature wear on only his passenger side tire (outer edge) at 60k miles or less after having it to 3 different alignment shops. We lifted his passenger side steer tire/axle off the ground and checked his king pin. There was 0.012" backlash in it. 0.015" is acceptable before any serious problems with tire wear will start to set in, so that was NOT his problem. His axle bearing was 0.0014", and there was no wobble from the rim or bearing. We found the rear axles were out by 0.350", pushing the truck hard towards the ditch as he went down the road. It was so bad, that it was causing excess vibration in his drive-line under high torque load. Of coarse, this is AFTER he had 2 different places do 3-axle laser-alignments, and the first shop suposedly set it to 0. Laser alignment on vehicles is a JOKE at best, take it from a former laser engineer. His passenger leaf spring also has too much side play in the front as well. Not being as familiar with 'Petes', we left it alone for now, but I have since learned how to properly correct it (Thanks Gearhead). The rear axles was his biggest problem, but the loose leaf spring on the passenger side amplifies it. His Caster alignment was spot on, where he has 3 degrees LESS caster in his driver side than the passenger side. His 'Camber' alignment is not perfect, almost +2 degrees (tires lean outward at top by +1-1.5 degrees), and that can explain a bit of outer edge wear, but not nearly bad enough to cause what he is seeing. I have seen many trucks with +1 or +2, and the tires not wear on the edges like his did, so I think, after making all the other corrections, his tires will stop wearing so badly.

I think a lot of people/mechanics sometimes miss the fact that a very minute problem, when combined with other minute problems, can get amplified greatly compounding the final result (serious edge wear in Anthony-G's case). As a truck owner, I don't like problems, not even small ones, so that is why I stay on top of my own alignment.

Here is a link to the device I used to determine Caster and Camber alignment, along with many other 'Angular' checks and alignments (like drive-line backlash, and crank/cam-shaft timing errors, etc.). It has never failed me...

Here is a pic of it...

I have always done my own axle alignments since the truck has been new. The only reason why I can is that I keep after it and watch tire wear closely. There are some basic checks to get one fairly close but a person would have to dial their own truck in themselves as they go if they want it right beyond the basics.

Here are a few things that I have learned through experience with alignment on a highway truck ...

* On a truck that say pulls to the right, I was informed that the NTSB considers a truck in alignment if there is less than 2% crown in the road and you are in the left lane, let go of the steering wheel, and it takes more than 7 seconds for the truck to get to the right lane. This just means it is legally in alignment, no consideration towards tire wear. this is all the factory or manufacturer of the truck is required to achieve when he truck is built.

* Front-end tow alignment WILL NOT cause a truck to pull one way or the other on its own but can easily be bad enough to cause some serious tire wear issues for both steer tires at once. Only time toe wear causes only one tire to wear is if the rear axles are out of alignment and that is very easy to check for.

* Caster alignment will cause a truck to pull one way or the other and so will camber alignment.

* Caster alignment should always be a couple degrees LESS on the drivers side (in the USA anyways) of the truck to compensate for the right-lane crown in the road. Still this does not make it pull straight when you let go of the steering wheel on its own when set properly. It will still drift to the right, but it will lessen it a bit.

* Camber alignment issues are caused mostly by worn out king pin bushings or wheel bearings. If the axle is bent and there is camber issues -- replace the axle and don't try to bend it back. It is not adjustable.

* worn out shackles and front-end or back-end side-play in the suspension causes a LOT of alignment issues yet it seems that hardly any alignment places address this properly before going about tweaking your alignment. You end up with a mess where they are trying to compensate for worn out components instead of fixing things and everyone chases their own tail on it. How about first -- FIX THE SUSPENSION PROBLEMS! Or any other problems like excess play in wheel bearings and king pins, etc. BEFORE trying to set the alignment.

* Rear wheel hub bearing wear causes rear tire inside edge wear and also can cause a truck to drift to one side or the other. Problem is that hardly anyone re-torques their rear wheel bearings every 200-250k miles like they should then they go around and complain about their tires getting eaten up by mysterious gremlin forces that a tire alignment shop can't explain. - Sad if you ask me.

* Trucks are unlike cars where there is no frame and every tiny bump in the road screws them up. A proper axle alignment SHOULD FIRST INCLUDE actually first repairing and replacing all those components that are worn out!. 99% of the time when you do this, you find out the axle alignment was actually not the problem. How many places do alignment but don't do this? -- JUST ABOUT ALL OF THEM ARE DUMB-ASSES IF YOU ASK ME!. An alignment shop should actually be called -AN AXLE, SUSPENSION, AND BEARING REPAIR SHOP!. Axle alignment adjustment itself is the least of what needs to be done to get a truck to run true and not eat tires off it.

* There will always be a need to compensate for crown in the roads. You have 2 choices for dealing with this. A-> == What all the idiot alignment shops do, is they try to set the caster alignment more to one side, or screw with the front end, front axle, and/or steering box in some way. I COMPLETELY DISAGREE WITH THIS! because it makes the steer tires compensate for this and it wears them out faster. Usually causing passenger outside edge tire wear. I don't do this with my own truck. Instead, I offset the rear axles ON PURPOSE to compensate for crown. I spread the wear from crown in the roads out among all 8 drive tires so that the front tires do not get edge wear. i do this by setting the rear axles about 1/16 - 1/8" CLOSER TOGETHER on the drivers side between the 2 tires instead of trying to make them 100% even with each other. I still got 457,000 miles on my last set of drives when set this way, so I have seen no reason why someone can;t use the drives to set how it pulls or does not pull to one way or the other. Let the steers "steer the truck" and not have to compensate so much and constantly wear out.

* I have a background in precision lasers. I will be the first one to tell you that I DON'T TRUST AT ALL those stupid laser alignment devices used for trucks. They are horrible at best and any time one was used on my truck (was a free check with purchase of new tires), that thing said my truck was screwed up both front and back,.. yet I have less tire wear than about anyone out there. I also know exactly how much error I have in my axle alignment, I put it there. The laser did not even catch that correctly.

I am no alignment expert but I do keep my own truck running as true as can be expected. it is only because I keep after it closely and on a constant basis. I also use that precision angle gauge mentioned above and check my bearing and kind pin wear with a dial indicator.

At 18:45 in this video, I talk about hub bearing checks...


I wrote this post BEFORE watching the videos kyrten posted here ( http://rawze.com/forums/showthread.php?t...9#pid16049 ) .. On purpose just to see the differences between what I have learned and what this guy says. Now that I watched the videos, I cannot disagree with anything this guy says.

I is a very good video that explains what I have found on my own truck myself and through helping others. Thanks for sharing the video but my own thought are still that someone always needs to fix their mechanical issues before ever touching the alignment. they do not mention it when they go to actually check a truck. Also, i think their device they are trying to sell is ok for a rough check, as the laser is a simple pointer to the tires, but I disagree with using it for determining the rear to front alignment other than say a rough check. The rubber of the tires and how it hangs and everything else is a bit wonky if you ask me. It also does not compensate if the axle is bent or if the rims are bent a tiny bit or anything else.

Easiest way I have found to check rear axle to front axle alignment without all that fancy stuff is to ...

** Ensure there are no problems with the suspension, bearings, and other components. First most important step.

** Have the truck on a smooth flat shop floor.

** Caster and camber I use the angle gauge mentioned above and for toe, I look at my tire wear closely and tweak it until I am happy with it. Toe can be rough checked by comparing the center tread distance of the steer tires both behind the tire and in front of the tire. Should be toe IN about 2/32 in on the front side for most trucks to compensate for play in the steering system. A large square and a 10-foot piece of wood (or pipe) laying on the ground in back of, then in front of the steers be used to make this measurement.

** Ensure the tires in the rear most axle and the steer axle are all inflated to roughly the same pressure. The pressure should be just high enough for them to have a slight crown to a straight edge across the treads.

** Use two 10-foot pieces of nice straight metal black-pipe. Just be sure the 2 pipes are straight and if you suspect they are not, put them against each other and check them. Mark them if need be so you use them the same way each time too. You can look down the length and lay them side by side to determine how straight they are to each other. Place them them against the tires for the rear-most axle and the steer axle. Turn the steering wheel so that the slight crown in the tires meets the pipe at the center of the steer tires and not towards one side or the other.

** Take a distance measurement on each side to see how close the rear most axle is to the steer axle. Use something you can mark and make the measurement to each side 3 times to get an accurate measurement.


Once the rear axle to steer axle measurement and/or correction has been made, I have mine about 1/16 closer on the drivers side than the passenger side. This is where mine likes to run to go straight down the road. To get the other rear axle, I just measure the center of the hubs for each rear axle to each other and make any corrections so that there is again another 1/16" or so closer on the drivers side to each other. this is how I set mine and I get 450k+ out of my drives and 150-200k out of my steers. Sure, any methods are always going to have room slight error even with like this. This method is as good as anything else I have ever seen for getting the very back set to the very front of the truck, and for making a correction. The difference is that it does not add the wonky side-wall and other error those laser devices or crap that hangs off the side of the tire cause. Those systems will also amplify a slightly bent axle and throw everything off badly sometimes. With a 10-foot piece of pipe, You are not relying on the straightness of a single rim or small area. What if a tire that has been mounted funny or has a varying side-wall shape to it?.

It is not nearly as complicated as one would think. If you want to get even more accurate then you could always go off the axle itself with large squares and a chalk-line instead of the edges of the tires where they meet the floor. I have never found that you need to be that accurate though.

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 Thanks given by: kryten , quickrigs , the missing link , Kid Rock , DosGatos , Waterloo , gatow900 , dhirocz , LargeCar , zero4 , kalsandhu
05-13-2018, (Subject: Wheel Alignment ) 
Post: #4
RE: Wheel Alignment
Another really nice way to check and adjust steer axle toe, bent rims and malformed tires is while you have it jacked up, get a can of spray paint and spin the tire while sprayin the center tread to make a nice line on it. Then get or make a stationary scribe and spin the tire again pushing the scribe into the spray paint line to make a very nice straight line all the way around the tire.
If it goes out of line with the tread pattern then the wheel is wobbling for whatever reason or the tire is malformed. And you also have a very true straight line on the tire to measure the front and back of the tire for toe adjustment.
 Thanks given by: Rawze , Waterloo , gatow900 , LargeCar , zero4 , kalsandhu
02-09-2019, (Subject: Wheel Alignment ) 
Post: #5
RE: Wheel Alignment
Priceless information. I am grateful for the time you spent to make this post. Answered many questions for me.

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