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Old 08-21-2019, 11:00 PM   #1
Hops
 
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DIY front track alignment, max OEM camber

intro: I'm just a casual DIY'er, and ran into frustration finding someone to get a track alightment of the front end. This post tracks how i aligned the front of my ss 1le with toe plates and a digital level.

1. tools:
24mm socket: To loosen the strut to knuckle nuts
breaker bar: To loosen the strut to knuckle nuts
hammer: knock the strut to knuckle bolt loose
22mm socket: Remove wheels
15mm open wrench: rotate the inner tie rod for toe
cresent wrench: loosen jam nut on the inner tie rod. Better to loosen with a open wrench but don't know size
toe plates: Tenhulzen Auto 2200 plates. These had tips which directly contacted the wheel.

1. measuring toe:
Toe plates rest flat against the outside of the wheel to allow one to measure a track difference before and after the wheel. This difference is the total toe in or out. For the toe plates used, 1/32" was 0.08 degrees. These toe plates also had tips which made direct contact with the wheel. These tips avoided tire variations do to pressure, but the 1le wheels had indentations at the five spokes which had to be avoided to make a good measurement. Sometimes, i had to roll the car to avoid these indentations, or elevate the plates with bricks. With two repeated measurements after driving the car, i recorded a toe in of 3/32" (0.24 degrees).

2. measuring camber:
The toe plates were used for the camber measurements. The plates were turned on their side so the tips where touching the wheels vertically. With a digital level initialized to the floor around the wheel in question. I measured a front right camber of -1.3 degrees and a front left camber of -1.4 degrees.

3. Achieving max negative camber.
The car was put on jack stand wheels removed. A breaker bar loosened the strut to knuckle nuts with the 24mm socket. They were really on there, and it took some effort! Next, the bolts were knocked out enough to see the splines. This also a bit of effort, but eventually beating on them with a hammer got them loose. Be careful if a bolt goes flying out, to put it back in immediatly before the holes get a chance to misalign, giving you even more work! With the splines exposed, the knuckle will then push inwward with little force. I didn't try to measure how much camber i wanted, i simply pushed inward as far as i could while tightening back the bolts.



4. camber and toe measurements after camber adjustment
I put the wheels on, lowered the car, torqued the lug nuts, and drove around the block. Back in the garage i measured the camber the same way as before, and it was Front right -2.65,and front left -2.55 degrees. These measurements are consistent with the max camber other forum members have reported. Next i measure the toe. This time, i was toed out 5/32" (0.38 degrees).

5. Adjusting toe.
I had a hard time accessing the jam nut on the tie rod with a large cresent wrench. I wish i had a right sized open ended wrench (24mm), because i had to drive the front wheels up on concrete pavers to get better access. With the car on pavers, i setup the toe plates and measured toe again. This time i measured a toe'd out 4/32" (0.30 degrees). The jam nut was loosened counter clockwise as viewed toward the attached wheel. It came loose fairly easily. Spots were painted on the tie rods to give a sense of how far they were rotated. To bring the front of the wheels closer to get rid of the toe out, the inner tie rods were tighted clockwise an equal amount on each side. 90 degrees was enough to get a toe out of 1/32". The next after driving 50mi, another toe measurement showed ~0/32" total toe.
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Last edited by Hops; 11-11-2019 at 10:05 PM.
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Old 09-17-2019, 09:44 PM   #2
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so i have an update on this. The last couple weeks, i noticed the car wasn't tramlining anymore as it did initially from the slightly negative toe i set in the above DIY. I measured the toe this evening to find it was almost 3/32" toe'd in. I then found the jam nut on the left toe rod was very loose! I thought i had tightened enough. Well maybe i didn't think i had to make it very tight since it was easy to loosen, and thought the jam nut shouldn't be crazy tight as it's just there to prevent the toe rod from moving.


Anyway, i kind of wonder if the issues some are having with needing frequent alignments are simply because the jam nut is getting loose? It's very easy to check, you don't even need to elevate the car at all.
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Old 09-17-2019, 10:08 PM   #3
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I've done that before, love the dixie angle gauge, beats the old school turn knob and count hash marks tool i used for loong time along w few lengths of pipe and string for parallel lines for measuring toe and "toe plates" made from floor tiles w grease in between or wax paper.
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Old 08-14-2020, 05:52 PM   #4
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Awesome write up. I have toe plates as well and was curious how I could convert degree measurements into fraction measurements. This post definitely helps.

Thanks for sharing!
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Old 04-18-2021, 07:40 PM   #5
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Any advice out there on a seized tie rod, can’t believe this is happening with a two year old car with 22k miles, and fairly mild winters, well there was more salt than usual this winter. Trying wd40, thinking of trying heat, but need to buy a torch... any tips?
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Old 04-18-2021, 10:01 PM   #6
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Cut if off? Nut splitter or angle grinder for majority cut and finish it off with dremel? May not even need to cut it off complete, just "release it of its duty tight"



If you have pointy enough torch that allows you to concentrate the heat in one location. Mine is more of swirl soldering flame, so not as useful for that.



My first hit with heat I find old candle and jam it into the hot metal, it wicks into the threads and helps makes them less stuck. Works most of the time.
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Old 04-19-2021, 04:39 AM   #7
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Great hands on, something to learn from.
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Old 04-20-2021, 11:14 AM   #8
Hops
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vtor_ZL1 View Post
Cut if off? Nut splitter or angle grinder for majority cut and finish it off with dremel? May not even need to cut it off complete, just "release it of its duty tight"

If you have pointy enough torch that allows you to concentrate the heat in one location. Mine is more of swirl soldering flame, so not as useful for that.

My first hit with heat I find old candle and jam it into the hot metal, it wicks into the threads and helps makes them less stuck. Works most of the time.

Thanks for the tips... went and bought a torch and PB blaster, and the outer tie rod is as frozen as ever. Going to take it to the dealer... please pray for me... LOL
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Old 04-23-2021, 10:19 AM   #9
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finally got my situation sorted, the dealer did unfreeze the outer tie rods, think they used a lot of heat to do it. But when i got to car home to do my track alignment, i had issues just loosening the jam nut, it was ridiculously over torqued. Eventually with a little heat and cussing i got it loose, and was able to do my front home alignment without issue (although while the inner tie rod moves, it takes more effort than before). I was thinking of replacing the outer tie rods... and in my search i found non-OE ones for the Camaro which listed a grease fitting as a feature. Do our OE outer tie rods have a grease fitting? Periodically greasing a tie rod seems better than trying to un-seize it with a torch and what ever else!!!
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