DIY Alignment: The Basic Version

Setting toe on your own is another job that requires a movement – climbing under the car to make an adjustment, then out from under the car to check the measurements. With a string setup you require a line that is fine and it must be pulled tight. For photo effectiveness we have used some thick red wool – what you don’t see between the wool and the car is some fishing line. The next time around we are going to try some kite string that we hope is fine enough for measuring yet thick enough to be easily seen. Fortunately, Jeremy popped over and our toe adjustments were much easier. There’s no question, two people or a hoist will really help with this entire process.

The adjustability of the TurboFX arms is fantastic. Just realize that when you’re changing toe that you’re also having an impact on camber! And vice-versa.

As mentioned already, the TurboFX rear control arms allow for easy adjustment of the camber and toe. Adjusting one or the other would get the amount of toe that you wanted. Here the ABS slider plates (we will sell them to you for $49.99 each plus shipping) were awesome and as they were left over from another project they were free. Shouldn’t be more than a few bucks at your local plastics’ store. They allowed the wheel to slip easily while the adjustments were made – even better is that we got the ABS at our favourite trailer shop, Cottonwood RV in Chilliwack, for just a few bucks. Of course, it helps that Kyle works there, but ABS is reasonably priced and easy to cut with a jigsaw (use a course blade with a low tooth count as a fine tooth blade will heat up the ABS and it will weld itself back together). Once the rear toe was done it was now time to check the camber again. The adjustments being used affect both camber and toe, so you may need to adjust both again to maintain the specifications that you want. In our case, we gained a tenth of a degree more negative camber. We were happy with that so now tightened everything up. Then used a paint pen to mark the nuts so it would be easy to see if they loosened with use.

The 2J Racing kit is brand new and easy to adjust toe. Once adjusted, then use a paint marker to allow quick verification that everything is in the correct place. On track I am impressed with this kit; the downside is that it is not plug and play and that is not described by the vendor. Clarify that and then there’s no surprises for the customer. Unless it’s about shipping.

Adjusting the front toe on the Nissan was also an easy and relatively straight-forward affair. The 2J-Racing tie rod ends are brand new so nothing was seized. The inner tie rods were in great shape and not new – and obviously as some point in history channel locks rather than wrenches had been used for adjustment as they were a bit chewed up. The inner tie rod should have a hex shape for adjustment somewhere near the middle – so use the proper tool. Without shortening the inner tie rods we mentioned in the DIY Aero article that we had huge toe in; and we still needed to cut off a bit more of the passenger side inner tie rod to get the adjustment room required. Once that room was gained, it was easy to get the toe we wanted. Confirming that the camber hadn’t been altered, we tightened everything up and applied our paint pen marks.

This wraps up our story of our DIY Alignment. We spent a bit of money to make it as simple and foolproof as possible. This is not a DIY manual to follow forĀ  your own alignment. If you aren’t sure, then go to a shop. But if you’re sure that your shop is not doing what you want, then it may be time.

When I told Paulo at AES Auto I was coming in for a tune, he knew that it would be anything but a simple tune. And he was ready for me. We first pulled the intake manifold off as in the midst of the factory rat’s nest of vacuum lines there was still a huge vacuum leak. As I’m running an ECUMaster standalone, all of the rat’s nest was removed and AES Auto simplified everything. It’s now ideal with even better vacuum source for the throttle bodies.
Since I replaced the head after my 2018 missed shift, we have not sought to have the 350 whp (as much as I’d like to have it back) that we recorded in 2018. AES Auto set me up with a very consistent 272 whp running E65. At my local track this means that my top speed is down from 286 kph on the straight to 274 kph. Don’t forget that aero may cause some of that reduction. Even with that loss of top end speed, I’ve attained a personal best time and am looking for even more.

6 comments

  1. Great write-up. As always Mr. Ewald, your articles are informative and entertaining. I do have a question regarding the digital camber/caster tool: Is there a way to zero the measurement? You can zero a scale with nothing on it (or zero it with an empty container on it). How do you ensure that the -3.25 degrees of negative camber as measured by the tool is actually -3.25 degrees?

    1. Banfstc, thank you. I appreciate your kind words.
      Great question about the Longacre unit. It is supposed to hold it’s zero, even when shut off. According to AES, running my car on the Mustang dyno was like running one of his drift client cars – it didn’t want to run nicely for him. So I’m pretty sure the -ve camber is there. More details about the Longacre calibration can be found here: http://www.longacreracing.com/instructions.aspx?item=42369&article=AccuLevel%E2%84%A2%20%20Pro%20Model%20Digital%20Level%20(ver.%205)

  2. Thank you so much for this article. I read Erik’s article when it first came out and dreamed about something like that, but unfortunately, his set up is out of my price range. This on the other hand is right up my alley. Thanks

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