1. Welcome to Tundras.com!

    You are currently viewing as a guest! To get full-access, you need to register for a FREE account.

    As a registered member, you’ll be able to:
    • Participate in all Tundra discussion topics
    • Transfer over your build thread from a different forum to this one
    • Communicate privately with other Tundra owners from around the world
    • Post your own photos in our Members Gallery
    • Access all special features of the site

How to do an Alignment at Home

Discussion in 'Suspension' started by jberry813, Jan 16, 2014.

  1. Jan 16, 2014 at 8:04 PM
    #1
    jberry813

    jberry813 [OP] The Mad Scientist Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2014
    Member:
    #68
    Messages:
    1,589
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Jason
    Lake Tahoe
    Vehicle:
    2015 Tundra Platinum, 2012 Tacoma, 2007 T4R
    Metric shit ton of parts
    Figured this would be worth posting on Tundras.com as well, just m0dified the content specific to Tundras (just ignore all the pictures of Tacomas).

    There’s a common misconception that alignment shops have voodoo tools and magically make your steering wheel straight and the truck track in the correct direction. It’s all bullshit. Anyone with patience and a couple standard tools can do their own alignment. Frankly I got tired of paying shops to do my alignment. In fact, I had a hard time finding a shop at all that was actually able to comprehend what it is I want them to do, let along understand English in any reputable form. The simple fact is nobody is going to put as much detail into getting anything done the way I want on my truck more than me. That said...how to do an alignment at home. This process is not exactly quick or short. In fact…it’s fucking long. But, if you’re tired of shelling out the money for alignments and never satisfied with the end result, it may be worthwhile for you.

    There are three major elements to aligning any vehicle: camber, caster, and toe. I’m not going to go into detail about each one. There are plenty of articles on the web that go over in great detail about each one and do a far better job than I could. Here’s an example: http://www.ozebiz.com.au/racetech/theory/align.html

    The first and probably most important step is to do this process on a LEVEL surface, both front-to-back and left-to-right. If your garage or driveway is slanted in any way…you won’t be happy with the end result. Park your truck on the level surface and get the wheels as straight as possible even if it means the steering wheel is not straight. We’ll correct an offset steering wheel later. Also ensure tires are properly inflated (whatever you normally run). Ensure the vehicle is in gear and parking brake set so the truck DOES NOT MOVE. If not, during the caster sweep the measurements will likely be incorrect.

    Camber
    Measuring camber is the easiest of the three. The only thing you need is an angle finder and a small straight piece of metal or wood. I have a Harbor Freight digital angle finder. IT was less than $30 and it goes out to one hundredths of a degree, so it’s plenty accurate for my needs and the base is magnetic.

    8B172E92-85BB-4541-8F7B-097EC9711ECD-158_99f4afb5bbbfdb8c46fd62788d872f6439de8fe6.jpg

    Ideally if you have a piece of scrap metal, it works out well because you can just stick the angle finder to it and not fumble with it. You’ll want a piece long enough to stretch across either the inner or outer lip of your rims.

    CDC47EED-7734-4F46-AB87-6C41E9D505A5-158_15e39092d3856d5e9539e8980a499b6552e37522.jpg

    Measure the angle of dangle, and that’s your camber reading. As shown below, mine reads 88* on the nose which is actually -2* camber. Measure both driver and passenger side and write it down.

    5A19881E-57CE-4224-84AE-8CCCC5ABF73C-158_6d34a87c8d14420195bee2084fcf5fae85cc2e6f.jpg

    Caster
    Measuring caster is a very similar process to camber, except you have to take two measurements, one with the wheels turned 20* left and one with the wheels 20* right. There’s a number of different ways to measure the 20*. I’ll go over the method I used as well as some alternatives.

    First take a large piece of plywood or anything large with a straight edge. Place it flush against your tire and mark a line on the ground. I used pencil because it cleans up easy after. In the picture below you can see I extended my line. You may have to do this on both sides if your piece of wood isn’t large enough as mine wasn’t.

    5AF3899B-0DF0-4DAE-B2D3-772249495D35-158_272493369697e326b881b221b15ef78dd8daf7f4.jpg

    37CF1BE5-F1A7-45AE-9848-DC452974F316-158_dc0776daa94f5aa6be530f9fe095327b99e6e5c9.jpg

    After you have your line scribed into the ground, turn your steering wheel to the drivers side until you are at 20*. Pictured below you can see I used an angle level set to 20* and turned the wheel with the board flush against it until my lines matched up. You can use anything that’s precise to measure your 20*, I just happened to have an angle level and it works well for me.

    AB1D4AE5-3F8E-4970-B46F-B977601FD476-158_5b362be5344e1a2190fc6eabeb69b370ef2826de.jpg

    If you don’t have an angle level, you can make your own tool if you will with nothing more than a protractor. Take a thin piece of aluminum or a manila folder and scribe out 20* as depicted below. Then just cut it out and you have your own tool to measure 20*

    hrdp_0411_19_zDIY_wheel_alignment_guide_e33e6935a2f35bbd2301a8716e1cfaa48fe3b4e2.jpg

    hrdp_0411_21_zDIY_wheel_alignment_guide_10f990ecd05a8dfb7fd991faecc7abb17cc084c5.jpg

    There’s another simple method to measure the 20*, but it requires a couple of those laminate tiles from home depot. If you have some of those tiles, or pick some up beforehand, park your truck on top of two tiles stacked on top of each other. As you turn the steering wheel, one tile will remain planted on the ground and the other will turn with the tire. You can measure the 20* with a protractor as you turn the wheels.

    hrdp_0411_18_zDIY_wheel_alignment_guide_d8c77103bd7cd7d1c4fb6e04a5634b88c90293b4.jpg

    Now that the wheel is 20* to the right, take a measurement exactly the same way you did for camber and record the number.

    6DBD8B51-C8FC-47F5-AC02-D6F20BDA90DF-158_361ae0e396cf05aff02d3436d37e9df83fe3eb7d.jpg

    Now just because the driver’s side wheel is turned 20* out doesn’t mean the passenger side is also 20* in. Check the passenger side with the same process with the board and angle level. Once it’s 20* in, take your measurement with the angle finder.

    Now turn the steering wheel 20* to the passenger side and repeat the above process for both driver and passenger side. In the end you should have 4 different angle measurements. 20* out for both driver and passenger side and 20* in for both driver and passenger side.

    My numbers were as follows:
    Driver 20* Out: 89.60
    Driver 20* In: 87.60
    Passenger 20* Out: 89.70
    Passenger 20* In: 87.80

    Caster is measured by calculating the change in camber from when the wheel is steered 20* out and 20* in and then multiply the difference by 1.5. For my example above:
    Driver is (89.60-87.70)x1.5=3*
    Passenger is (89.70-89.80)x1.5=2.85*

    10517D32-41B5-48B2-A76C-A23CB7CAE06E-158_6d361f0dd0634a4e09457faa320825d727e3cd4b.jpg

    Now obviously these are my “after” numbers. The numbers you initially recorded are a baseline for what your current camber/caster are and what needs to be adjusted. I won’t tell you what you set your camber and caster to as everyone has their own preferences based on their driving style. Personally I like as much caster as I can possibly get. If I set my camber at 0, I end up eating the outsides of my tires up well before the inside, so to counter that I add a little more camber than most people do.

    Adjusting Camber and Caster
    I attached the relevant section of the FSM for the first gen Tundra. Unfortunately I don't have the FSMs for the second/third gens. If anybody does have a copy and would like to send it to me, I'd be happy to read through it and add the relevant section and appropriate screen shots. The FSM goes into a lot more detail than I will, but I’ll try to simplify it as much as possible. On each LCA there are two adjustment cams, one on the front of the LCA and one on the rear of the LCA. The picture below show how to adjust the cam tabs to make each side of the LCA “longer” or “shorter.”

    First Gen Tundra
    ScreenHunter_05Jan161950_zps7fc45e25_7f2ee8e73efe23dfdcd47e08697d946595f21e45.jpg

    In a nutshell, if you want to add more camber, you would rotate both front and rear cam tabs “longer.” If you want to remove camber, you would rotate both front and rear cam tabs “shorter.”
    If you want to add more positive caster, you would rotate the front cam “shorter” and the rear cam “longer.” If you want to reduce caster (not sure why anyone would do that…but whatever), you would rotate the front cam “longer” and the rear cam “shorter.”

    As you can see, adjusting camber will inadvertently adjust caster and vice-versa. It’s a bit of a game to get both balanced the way you want. Once you make the adjustments you think might work, go through the camber and caster measurement exercise to find out how you did.

    Toe
    After you have the camber and caster set the way you want, only then should you set toe. There’s no point in adjusting toe until camber and caster are set as they will affect wheel position. Toe is always last!

    To check the toe, again make sure you are parked on level ground with the tires straight ahead and then center the steering wheel. Jack up one of the front tires then spray-paint a stripe on the tread while spinning the tire. Now you don’t have to paint the tire, but it makes the next step a lot easier. The spray paint will wear off after a couple days of driving anyway.

    47ACCA1C-6463-4C4E-9CFA-92F32F60E4D9-158_d229166202076c9ac4cf7c089fd7cc6a5031c4bc.jpg

    Scribe a sharp concentric line in the paint on the tread by spinning the tire. I used a nail hammered through a 2x4 and then pushed against the tread to ensure a straight line. You may wish to make more than one scribe if you want to take measurements from multiple locations. If you decided not to paint the tire, you can still see the scribe line, but it’s a lot more difficult to see.

    3E3D8B7C-D122-4822-8E90-A54D8050BA31-158_1a5ed82f55a30c15e7af9d5f3cb85df01ef105c9.jpg

    2C0A2CE9-A5A6-480A-BABD-4CE215BD8865-158_f9213b0b0bae9167d7bf2e5ec5024ba26abaded3.jpg

    Lower and remove the jack. You may wish to lower the jack fast so that the suspension loads again as it would be normally. Alternatively you can bounce up and down on the front bumper to load the suspension again.

    Now measure exactly half way up the tire both front and rear of the tire and make a line. If you look below you can see the mark I made with a sharpie.

    36267E14-88E2-4DE3-80CD-D344A40B51B4-158_2fe80c2e0ec4b662b5520cc8d0ad1d40040056cc.jpg

    Now the next step really requires two people. Really it’s a stupid easy process, but you need someone to hold the other end of the tape measure. Measure on the front side of the tires the distance between your scribe lines on the left and right tires at the middle point you marked. Write the number down.

    8E8366F1-0D9F-44FF-A566-51F99F4855E5-158_77c72454a3804330e8412667e52b2273835a281f.jpg

    Now measure the distance between the scribe lines on the back side of the tire. The difference between the front and rear measurements is how much toe you have. If the front and rear were identical, you would have 0 toe. If the front was 1/8” less than the rear, then you have 1/8” toe in. If the rear is 1/8” less than the front, you have 1/8” toe out.

    Once you have your measurements, just loosen the lock nut on the tie rod and rotate the rack ends to extend or shorten the ends until you see fit. After you make any adjustments with the tie rod, I’d recommend you turn the steering wheel lock to lock and back to center again so it transfers to the wheels. Then measure your front and rear scribe lines again to see how close you got. Repeat as necessary.

    Two things to remember when measuring and adjusting toe: First, true spec is measured midway up the tires. If for any reason you cannot measure half way up because of bumpers or skid plates or whatever, take the front and rear measurements 1/4 of the way up the tires, then double that to get the true toe as it would be in the center of the tires. Also, an off-center steering wheel can be corrected by adjusting one tie-rod more than the other. Steering wheel position has no effect at all on your final alignment. But if you’re anal retentive like me…it’s annoying as hell when it’s not straight.

    And that’s it! Simple huh? :D
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jan 16, 2014
  2. Jan 29, 2014 at 8:46 PM
    #2
    TruckyTruck

    TruckyTruck New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2014
    Member:
    #20
    Messages:
    2,366
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Gary
    Texas
    Dude... you might be a bad ass... awesome thread!
     
    COMiamiFan likes this.
  3. Jan 29, 2014 at 8:51 PM
    #3
    jberry813

    jberry813 [OP] The Mad Scientist Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2014
    Member:
    #68
    Messages:
    1,589
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Jason
    Lake Tahoe
    Vehicle:
    2015 Tundra Platinum, 2012 Tacoma, 2007 T4R
    Metric shit ton of parts
    You should see what I can do with a welder, zip ties, and duct tape.
     
  4. Dec 26, 2017 at 10:34 AM
    #4
    jbriceno

    jbriceno New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2017
    Member:
    #11746
    Messages:
    1
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Jorge
    Vehicle:
    2011 Toyota Tundra Crewmax 2x4 5 inch lift
    2 inch leveling spacer with 3.5 inch lift spindle and 2.5 inch rear blocks with AirLift 5000 Ultimate airbags
    Hey jberry813: I have a 2011 Tundra Crewmax 2x4. I've recently had it in the same shop (very reputable shop, too) for front end alignment. The second trip was to correct a left front pull. When I got the truck back I noticed the same annoying left pull, slight mostly but somewhat more from time to time. I've rotated my front two tires, yet it continues to have that annoying left pull. Without too much in detail what can I attempt with my camber/caster adjustments and which side? Or, do you think this might be a toe issue?

    Thanks for your feedback.

    Jorge
     
  5. Dec 26, 2017 at 10:51 AM
    #5
    831Tun

    831Tun IMA BasTRD

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2016
    Member:
    #3549
    Messages:
    8,308
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Warren
    Santa Cruz
    Vehicle:
    '16 CM limited
    ADS C/O w/clickers, ADS bypass rear, Icon UCAs, Toytech shackles, chrome delete, Pro grille, TRD dual exhaust dumped, de-badged, black LED tail lights. BHLM w/projectors, 295 70 18 Cooper STT pro on stock rims w/1.25" Spider Tracks. N_Fab bumper w/Baja Design fogs and ditch lights, 13" antenna x, RCI skid, All Pro sliders, ARB compressor
    Nice write up Jason! You made it really easy to understand.
     
  6. Dec 26, 2017 at 11:10 AM
    #6
    TheBeast

    TheBeast The Beach

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2016
    Member:
    #3246
    Messages:
    6,921
    Gender:
    Male
    Vehicle:
    2012
    @jberry813 very nice write up. Got any tips for adjusting a slightly off center steering wheel ? I see you mentioned adjusting one tie rod. any step by step or how to measure before/after ? thanks
     
  7. Dec 26, 2017 at 11:11 AM
    #7
    COMiamiFan

    COMiamiFan Now you know something

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2015
    Member:
    #2160
    Messages:
    16,712
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Jose
    Parker, CO
    Vehicle:
    2016 White Crew Max TRD
    TRD Pro Grille, ESP Storage, Tailgate Inserts, Line-X Bedliner, Weathertech Floorliners, Wet Okole Seat Covers, 5" Shorty Antenna, Mickey Thompson MM-366 Wheels, ToyTec Boss, 35" BFG KO2 to name a few.
    Nice write up as always!
     
    Eclipsed & Floating likes this.
  8. Dec 26, 2017 at 2:21 PM
    #8
    r4z0r51o

    r4z0r51o have fallen off the forum, but am still alive.

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2016
    Member:
    #3172
    Messages:
    1,711
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Dave
    Northeast San Francisco Bay Area
    Vehicle:
    2016 Silver Sky Metallic Crewmax 5.7L TRD 4x4
    3/1 Toytec level, 20" Fuel Nutz D251, 295/60 Toyo ATII's
  9. Dec 26, 2017 at 3:41 PM
    #9
    NewImprovedRon

    NewImprovedRon SouthBoundSteve Fan Club President

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2015
    Member:
    #1501
    Messages:
    9,434
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Ron
    Bentonville, AR
    Vehicle:
    2015 Radiant Red TSS Doublecab 4X4 Off Road
    Deck rail system, Bed divider, door sill protectors, LED reverse light bars, Aries Bull Bar with 28" 180 watt LED light bar, LED step lights, LED bed lights, driver-side grab handle, TRD Rear Sway Bar, BedRug bed mat and tailgate mat, Morimoto Fog Lights, more to come.....
  10. Dec 26, 2017 at 5:49 PM
    #10
    MotoTundra

    MotoTundra The Ocho

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2014
    Member:
    #8
    Messages:
    6,741
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Don
    -TRS Mini D2S Retrofit on TRD Pro Headlights (Apollo 2.0 Shrouds, 35w XB Ballasts, 5500k Bulbs) -Baja Designs Squadron R Sport Aux lights. -TRD Pro Grill -TRD Rear Sway Bar -BakFlip VP Tonneau w/BakBox -Dipped wheels & bumpers -Iron Cross HD steps -Undercover Swingcase -SunTek Paint Protection film -Tinted glass -Bedmat -OEM Towing Mirrors
    That write up is amazing. Thank you. I don't think I will do it, but it's still awesome to know.
     
    Eclipsed & Floating likes this.
  11. Dec 31, 2017 at 11:07 AM
    #11
    jberry813

    jberry813 [OP] The Mad Scientist Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2014
    Member:
    #68
    Messages:
    1,589
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Jason
    Lake Tahoe
    Vehicle:
    2015 Tundra Platinum, 2012 Tacoma, 2007 T4R
    Metric shit ton of parts
    Measuring is the same as in the article. You have to figure out if you are toe in or toe out. Set the steering wheel strait. And adjust the offending side.
     
  12. Dec 31, 2017 at 11:34 AM
    #12
    rons23

    rons23 Get The Led Out!!!

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2014
    Member:
    #625
    Messages:
    6,511
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Ron
    Kill Devil Hills
    Vehicle:
    2008 Nautical Blue TRD
    Sabm (Gtek-Fab), Blake Carbon Diamond Plate door sil protecters, and Air Dam mod, Black Rivited Grill, Devil Horns- Black Anodized(Diaz Fabrication), Hid's in Low Beams and Fogs -6000k, Piaa Extreme for High Beams. Black Rhino Step Tubes, Razir Led interior Lights (white), Low Profile Black Diamond Plate Tool Box, Trd accesories, Weather Tech Mats, Carbon Fiber Shorty Antenna, Drl's, Plasta Dipped Badges + Front Grill Surround
    Damn Jason, the inspiration you give to everyone here is above and beyond. Cool stuff right there.:thumbsup:
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
  13. Jan 2, 2018 at 9:08 AM
    #13
    jberry813

    jberry813 [OP] The Mad Scientist Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2014
    Member:
    #68
    Messages:
    1,589
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Jason
    Lake Tahoe
    Vehicle:
    2015 Tundra Platinum, 2012 Tacoma, 2007 T4R
    Metric shit ton of parts
    Who's this Jerry guy?
     
    NewImprovedRon, TheBeast and rons23 like this.
  14. Jan 2, 2018 at 10:42 AM
    #14
    rons23

    rons23 Get The Led Out!!!

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2014
    Member:
    #625
    Messages:
    6,511
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Ron
    Kill Devil Hills
    Vehicle:
    2008 Nautical Blue TRD
    Sabm (Gtek-Fab), Blake Carbon Diamond Plate door sil protecters, and Air Dam mod, Black Rivited Grill, Devil Horns- Black Anodized(Diaz Fabrication), Hid's in Low Beams and Fogs -6000k, Piaa Extreme for High Beams. Black Rhino Step Tubes, Razir Led interior Lights (white), Low Profile Black Diamond Plate Tool Box, Trd accesories, Weather Tech Mats, Carbon Fiber Shorty Antenna, Drl's, Plasta Dipped Badges + Front Grill Surround
    Hahaha typo Jason. Forgot to edit. :frusty:
     
    NewImprovedRon likes this.

Products Discussed in

To Top