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  • Portable Alignment Tools

    Hi there, I was hoping that someone here can give a me a crash course in what equipment I would need to do alignments on the fly at the track, or at home.

    I've been seeing digital Caster & Camber gauges w/ adapters, toe plates, toe gauges, etc.

    Are there any industry recommended items or brands that I should focus on? The reason I ask is because I'll be heading back to South East Asia soon and I'd like to order all the parts while I'm still stateside, so Im kind of short on time. Sorry for asking to be "spoon fed", haha.

    The racing scene seems to be picking up back in the Philippines, so the team and I are thinking about investing in more tools to properly set up our cars. Being able to check and adjust alignment at the track itself would be a great help in finally getting our cars dialed in; it'll also help us fix/ align the cars after hits and crashes.

  • #2
    camber/ caster gauge, Smartstring setup, and slider plates for the front end are what I would consider mandatory for track alignments. toe plates are great for a quick alignment check, but the string stuff is more accurate and easier for a 4-wheel alignment check. Toe plates are pretty cheap, so go ahead and buy a set. (If you have any sheet metal fab skills, you can make toe plates for about $20 in materials.) it's just a plate of aluminum with a couple bends for stiffness and a slot for a tape measure.

    You'll also need stands/plates/platform and preferably corner scales so that you have a flat and level place to check things out. you can do that with locally-sourced metal or wood ramps/platforms and leveling equipment.

    Longacre racing would be the first place to look. They usually have a pile of stuff on sale in their closeout/scratch-n-dent inventory, so you might find some good deals there. also look on ebay for some of it used.
    Originally posted by SoSideways
    I don't care what color they are as long as they are LONG AND HARD.
    '04 G35 Sedan 6MT- The DD
    '96 240SX- The Track Toy

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    • #3
      You can shoot a laser along toe plates in the rear to even out the thrust angle. It's not too bad if it was close, but if you've taken everything apart it can be a pain because you iteratively step to the right setting.

      Honestly, I'd still rather get an alignment done at a place that knows what they're doing.
      '18 Chevrolet Volt - Electric fun hatch for DD duty!


      DefSport Koni Sleeve and Spring Perch Buy!!!
      http://www.nissanroadracing.com/showthread.php?t=5902

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      • #4
        The string method I can do, but what do you guys use to adjust camber and caster at the track?

        Some type of cheap camber gauges?
        1990 240sx - Aristo 2JZGTE, R154, GT37, Defsport Wilwood kit, KTS coilovers - daily driver
        1991 civic si - B18C5 / toda / ATS / hytech - autox
        2001 integra type R - Greddy td05-18g - garage queen

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        • #5
          I have a Longacre analog (bubble type) camber caster gauge in the trailer.
          Originally posted by SoSideways
          I don't care what color they are as long as they are LONG AND HARD.
          '04 G35 Sedan 6MT- The DD
          '96 240SX- The Track Toy

          Comment


          • #6
            http://www.longacreracing.com/refurbished-products.aspx
            Originally posted by SoSideways
            I don't care what color they are as long as they are LONG AND HARD.
            '04 G35 Sedan 6MT- The DD
            '96 240SX- The Track Toy

            Comment


            • #7
              Nice, thanks guys!

              Now I'm actually looking at the Longacre Corner balancing scales! I have a good feeling that the shop can make some money doing corner balancing jobs.

              Aside from longacre's scales, is there anything out there that might be better quality and/or value?

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              • #8
                I feel my wallet getting lighter just looking at these pages...so much want!

                Ch

                sent from knee deep in snow

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Marphie21 View Post
                  Nice, thanks guys!

                  Now I'm actually looking at the Longacre Corner balancing scales! I have a good feeling that the shop can make some money doing corner balancing jobs.

                  Aside from longacre's scales, is there anything out there that might be better quality and/or value?
                  I've used the longacre scales, they're nice

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                  • #10
                    There's a few other brands of scales out there, but Longacre is the standard.
                    Make sure whatever you buy is able to be calibrated by local people. It would suck to have to mail them back to the states for an annual calibration.

                    (Many small shops don't bother with calibration, but they definitely need to be routinely checked with a set of standards.)

                    Watch used forums for scales too, if you have the time. I bought mine for $500.
                    Originally posted by SoSideways
                    I don't care what color they are as long as they are LONG AND HARD.
                    '04 G35 Sedan 6MT- The DD
                    '96 240SX- The Track Toy

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Search for "Smart Strings" alignment. That's what you'll see on many cars across all levels of road racing in the paddock during a weekend. Good article on DIY alignment using that: https://nasaspeed.news/toolshed-engi...ing-alignment/

                      With that said, I've set my thrust angle with a DIY string method once and it sucked (not smart strings). But, once set, all you need are a set of toe plates and you don't need level ground for setting toe otherwise you have bigger problems. Just make sure you keep all your adjustments symmetric and your thrust angle shouldn't change.

                      How cheap do you want to go? You can make a camber gauge with a simple straight edge with a digital level ziptied to it and then caster is just a derivation from camber of the wheel at +15 deg and -15 deg. Fantastically efficient slip plates can be made from the hardest 12" vinyl tiles from home depot stacked on top of each other with a dry lubricant sandwiched between them. Seriously, you'll be shocked how well this works.

                      To make a level setup spot I have a small milk crate of various thickness 12" sq aluminum and wood "shims" and use a construction laser level. Then just shim each corner to which ever corner is the highest (reference). Then you put your scales on top of those and then "slip plates" on top of scales, where you cam then set ride height, corner balance, caster, camber, then toe. I've done this a dozen times now and it works great every time. Pic of doing it the first time on my old car:


                      When I need to set my thrust angle angle again after a complete disassembly, I will probably get that smart strings system instead of doing my own thing again.
                      Core4 Motorsports
                      CLICK HERE for Wilwood FSL6R Radial Bracket & Rear Wilwood BBK GROUP BUY
                      S14 VQ AER Endurance Racing Team

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                      • #12
                        made this in a jam for one of my first lemons races. Reads identically to longacres camber/caster gauge for camber.




                        Core4 Motorsports
                        CLICK HERE for Wilwood FSL6R Radial Bracket & Rear Wilwood BBK GROUP BUY
                        S14 VQ AER Endurance Racing Team

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                        • #13
                          ^ that's awesome.

                          Are those DIY fender vents in the background?
                          1990 240sx - Aristo 2JZGTE, R154, GT37, Defsport Wilwood kit, KTS coilovers - daily driver
                          1991 civic si - B18C5 / toda / ATS / hytech - autox
                          2001 integra type R - Greddy td05-18g - garage queen

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Black R View Post
                            ^ that's awesome.

                            Are those DIY fender vents in the background?
                            Yes. I don't remember the brand of the vent cover though. I want to get something more flush to the fender for aesthetics.
                            Core4 Motorsports
                            CLICK HERE for Wilwood FSL6R Radial Bracket & Rear Wilwood BBK GROUP BUY
                            S14 VQ AER Endurance Racing Team

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