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Author Topic: Self Alignment  (Read 18395 times)
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« on: December 03, 2005, 01:58:16 PM »


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     Re: MSM track day sorting
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2005, 07:35:27 PM »   

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Miata is a more difficult alignment because the of the IRS...but still reasonably easy to do by the string line method.

You'll need: 4-jack stands, a ball of string, a Camber guage (about 100.00), racers tape, a 17mm wrench, shims (plywood or magazines) and a level.

1) park on a reasonably level surface, lay a strip of tape on the ground to mark where each wheel lies.
2) now move the car and level the surface, side to side, using magazines or plywood as shims, roll the car back in place.
3) take a strip of tape and mark the centerline of the car on both the front and rear bumper covers.
4) set up your jackstands and pull a string line along each side of the car, exactly equal distanced from the front and rear centerlines, at about the height of the hub centerline.  This is now your reference point to set your front and rear toe...(but first set the camber, then the toe)
5) crawl under and loosen the 2 adjusters on each of the lower control arms (17mm), rotate the cam adjusters to achieve the desired camber setting. As you play with this you'll note that the rearmost cam bolt will be used to effect the caster in the front, and it will be used to "steer" the rear wheels...effectively being your toe-in/out adjustment for the rear tires. 
6) Set the front camber and lock down the adjusters both front and rear. 
7) Set the front toe by centering your steering wheel, loosening the tie rod jam nut (17mm) and turning the tie rod to lengthen the rod.  Now measure from the string line to the fore and aft lips of the wheel to get the desired toe setting. Lock the jam nut back down.
 You set the rear camber and toe at the same time.  Using the forward-most cam to adjust the camber and the rear-most cam adjuster to "point" the rear tire for the toe setting.  Again measure from the wheel lips to the string line.

This will involve some "chasing of your tail".  You will have to roll the car back and forth repeatedly pushing up and down to "settle the suspension" unless you have alignment plates. 

Don't worry so much about the castor setting.  You will likely be in the range of 4-5 degrees which is adequate.  If you lower the car, or buy offset bushings, then you can get this back to around 6 degrees (good because increasing castor will positivly influence your camber curve in bump).

Don't worry about the bump steer setting in these things.  This is well engineered right from the factory. The front toes out just a touch in bump and the rear has zero movement through the entire range.

You just save yourself $75.00 a pop.  You can now align your car for a track day and then reel it back in for street driving.

Words of caution: 
*Be sure to double check the tightness of all of the bolts that you've laid a wrench on.
**Adjust your front toe evenly using both tie rods.  While it is possible to use only one side, you will run the risk of unscrewing your tie rod too far out of the ball joint.  It may break loose if it doesn't have enough thread engaugement...and you'd loose steering.
*** neg camber, while fun, will quickly wear out the inside edge of your tires.  In the negative .75 --1 degree range, I'd expect about 25% less tread life.  In the the negative 1.5--2.0 range you can expect a 50% reduction in tread life.  For street driving, I'd recommend using as much neg camber as you can afford to spend!
****don't use toe out for street driving as it's very unpredictable/twitchy with uneven surfaces, ruts, etc. 

Happy mechanicing.  sj     
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MazdaSeed
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« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2005, 05:47:02 AM »

Although thorough, that seems rather difficult and involved for a first timer, being as that there ARE NO PICS! Need I imply how many words a pic is worth? laugh Good post anyway, I assume someone who has done this before on another car would have an easy time doing this on a MX5 by reading this.  beer
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« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2005, 04:20:31 AM »

I haven't ever actually done my own alignment however as long as the person doing this has knowledge of the 3 settings of an alignment, it should be a relatively simple process.  I don't think it'll be difficult but probably would take quite a bit of time.  Just my 2 cents but then again  worthless almost.
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« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2006, 05:12:05 AM »

i wanted to do this myself and i am kinda ready to
but it sounds kinda difficult
u sure u have no pics ?
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pumpkin
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« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2006, 06:06:24 PM »

This was a cut and paste from somewhere else (if you couldn't tell)

_I_ have no pics, and have placed this in the on progress folder to try and motivate others to contribute Smiley
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ATXspeed
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« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2006, 05:00:00 AM »

I have a few thoughts. I do alignments with a $30k  machine at my work. The strings just dont seem like they would cut it IMHO. I have never tried it though. I just did my alignment today. I cant wait to take it out and see what differance it made. I have high expectations! it was pretty far out. Felt like i was sliding around on a flat tire in the right rear. Not no more though. Here is a link to the cool people at Miata.net  http://miata.net/garage/align.html Just a little extra info for you who don't exactly know the effect of the various angles.

Two things. 1. I feel that an alignment is not an alignment w/o properly setting ALL angles, including caster. This could make for a very unhappy MSM. 2. Weight Balasting. A must for a performance car.

Just my $0.02

Im in North Austin, TX, let me know if your in this aria and want a really good alignment. I can take custome specs, and I'll let you sit in the car if you want. Just a thought.
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« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2006, 01:59:43 AM »

If you are good, you can do it with the strings and get close enough to that 30k machine that you would never know the difference. I have seen it done and they put the car on the real alignment machine after, and it was damn near dead on.  Its all in who does it and how good they are.   IIRC there is a way to set the caster as well involving a camber gauge and turning the wheels side to side.


Myself Im sticking to the machine laugh
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« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2007, 06:21:55 PM »

I found it much easier to go to a Miata Guy that works for NTB.  3 year alignment $129, as many redo's as i want, I thin in the 8 months since I bought it I have had 6 alignments for various track events
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« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2007, 07:34:09 PM »

Well your lucky.  Here in Charleston I can't get a guy who can align a Miata to spec never the less to something other than what the machine is preprogrammed to do.

I had the Tire Kingdom 3 year plan on one of my cars and it was such a disaster I just wrote it off as a bad investment.
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« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2007, 09:26:29 PM »

The string method works.  I've used it many times on my race cars.  HOWEVER - they have all had separate adjustments for caster, camber & toe.  Doing a Miata in a string box would be incredibly difficult for the rear suspension, where all three are in play and must be nailed with any adjustment.
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« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2009, 09:09:26 PM »

I found it much easier to go to a Miata Guy that works for NTB.  3 year alignment $129, as many redo's as i want, I thin in the 8 months since I bought it I have had 6 alignments for various track events

The local NTB has 2 alignment guys. One fellow will put my car up there, look for green lights, and put it back down.

The other fellow will look at the numbers on the printout I give him, and match them up.

(hint: the machine they use has no values in it for the MSM, so you ALWAYS get a green for the car, no matter how far out it is)

The only thing worse than having the guy insist the car is 'in specs', is having him grumble about the 'extra' work he has to do to get it set right, esp when I'm the first person in on a saturday morning.

I bought the 3 year deal at NTB, never again. I hate going there. I don't even buy tires from them anymore, thanks to that guy.
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« Reply #11 on: October 22, 2010, 10:22:15 PM »

Alignment:
1.drive to dealer.
2.sit and watch judge judy in the waiting area.
3.pay dealer 69.99 for alignment.
4.drive home happy 1 hour later.

why attempt that massive run-around mess and risk your 200 dollar a piece tires????
they make machines to get it right on, USE THEM.
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« Reply #12 on: October 22, 2010, 11:02:17 PM »

Alignment:
1.drive to dealer.
2.sit and watch judge judy in the waiting area.
3.pay dealer 69.99 for alignment.
4.drive home happy 1 hour later.

why attempt that massive run-around mess and risk your 200 dollar a piece tires????
they make machines to get it right on, USE THEM.

1. Drive to a dealer
2. Drive away before they touch your car!
3. Drive to custom alignment shop that others have used successfully.
4. TELL THEM the alignment you want (not going to happen at a dealership).
5. Sit in the car (driver's seat) while the alignment is being done (if this isn't OK with your alignment guy go somewhere else)!
6. Test alignment on the way home.
7. Drive past dealership and laugh at customers watching Judge Judy!   dink
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« Reply #13 on: October 22, 2010, 11:35:32 PM »

Alignment:
1.drive to dealer.
2.sit and watch judge judy in the waiting area.
3.pay dealer 69.99 for alignment.
4.drive home happy 1 hour later.

why attempt that massive run-around mess and risk your 200 dollar a piece tires????
they make machines to get it right on, USE THEM.

1. Drive to a dealer
2. Drive away before they touch your car!
3. Drive to custom alignment shop that others have used successfully.
4. TELL THEM the alignment you want (not going to happen at a dealership).
5. Sit in the car (driver's seat) while the alignment is being done (if this isn't OK with your alignment guy go somewhere else)!
6. Test alignment on the way home.
7. Drive past dealership and laugh at customers watching Judge Judy!   dink
Jeff, I called up Eurosport, they said they don't do alignments... thoughts?  I thought that was who you had recommended to me.
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« Reply #14 on: October 22, 2010, 11:41:39 PM »

Jeff, I called up Eurosport, they said they don't do alignments... thoughts?  I thought that was who you had recommended to me.

The alignment shop is Powerhouse Automotive 1203 S Bertelsen Rd (just South of W. 11th)  541-515-6888 (It's a yellow building).  Let them know you are with EESCC and the alignment is for your AutoX car.  The owner is Philip and he is very receptive to working with your custom alignment needs.   afro
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Hydra Nemesis; 550 injectors; Flying Miata Full Intake Kit w/MBC (MAFless) & GFB recirculating bypass valve; Flying Miata DP; Flying Miata Full Exhaust; FMIC 28X7X2.5; Fat Cat Motorsports Elites (single adjustable) 800/500; Racing Beat 1.25" Tubular Front Sway bar w/Brace Kit and Gearheads Gauge Adjustable endlinks; OEM 14mm rear sway bar; FM Frame Rails; HDHCDDHT Rollbar; Hard Dog Harness Bar; G-Force 6-Point Pull-Down Camlock Harness; Ultrashield Rally Sport Seat; Energy Suspension Diff Bushings; Carbotech XP10/XP8 Brake Pads;  Stainless Steel Brake Lines; 15X9 6ULS (Nickel) & BF Goodrich g-Force Rival (225/45/15) street; 15X9 6ULS (Nickel) & Hoosier A6 (275/35/15) track; 15X9 6ULS (Nickel) & Hoosier H2O (225/45/15) wet track; Stewart-Warner Boost Gauge; Thompson Nautilus Air Horn; Mobile 1 0W-30; Redline MT90; Redline 75W90; BEL-tronics Pro RX65. 1/20/08 190.06 HP @ 178.36 Max Torque (Need a new Dyno run because this is inaccurate with current mods!)
"Racing...is life!  Everything that happens before and after is just waiting."  -  Steve McQueen in Le Mans
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