I just did this very thing on Saturday after installing chromoly axles and birds and sleeved tie rod and drag links, I used 2 rafter squares and welding vice grips and a tape measure. Last time I did it, I took it in for an alignment and the guy at the alignment shop was impressed at how accurate this method was.The “best/easiest” way to set toe is by angle/degrees, if you have the equipment. With some care, setting it with measuring tape can be done just as accurately, as long as changes, like tire size, etc are taken into account.
There is a ton of ways to do it and most are very successful, this is the one that I prefer. The stock spec is for stock tires, so ~30” OD, measured half way up the tire, so about 15” from the hub. There are a couple of problems with this: First, my tires are 37”, so would have to do the math to come up with the correct number. Second, there is often “stuff” (arms, etc) in the way, making measuring at tire centerline difficult. I use two, 30”+ long, straight, pieces of scrap material, in this case angle iron, but anything similar will work. Mark the center, the ~15” on each side of center, the same on both pieces.
Put the rig on stands, remove the front tires and clamp the bars to the rotors, with the center marks under/centered with the hub. Confirm that the steering is centered; I sight down the length of the bars and look for them to lineup at the same spot on each rear tire. Adjust so they are somewhat level and even with each other. Measure the distance between the bars at the front marks (front side of the axle), repeat at the rear marks (behind the axle). The difference between the measurements is your toe; we are looking for toe-in so the front measurement should be shorter by the amount of toe desired.
If it needs adjustment, loosen the clamps on the tie rod and turn it until the measurement is where you want it. If you have a rust bucket, this may involve lube, heat, hammering, swearing, etc.
In 4 years the tie rod is the only thing I have found so far on my rig that was REALLY hard to free up. Don't be afraid to get mad at it with a hammer. I had to really beat mi tie rod HARD, along with soaking it with lots of penetrating fluid. Best method I have found so far is 2 of the 4 pound drill hammers striking together from opposite sides. Works like having the tie rod laying on an anvil. JohnNow that you have tried everything get some more penetrant on there and let it soak for a 1/2 hour or so, wipe it off then squirt with some Castrol Super clean, maybe just a little bit of water in it. Tap lightly with a hammer, keep doing it until you see rust coming out then stop tapping and try to move it- It might not work but I think it attacks the rust.. I've gotten it to free up some stuff that would budge with all of the aforementioned.. Don't get it in your eyes or breath the mist it is a caustic degreaser I believe.
Yup. A good alignment shop will give you a list of all before and after readings for caster, camber, toe, and front to rear axle line up. BUT, the only thing they will adjust is the toe. Things like caster correction brackets or bushings, or even spring shims on a leaf sprung rig, are usually only available thru a good 4x4 shop or maybe a frame and axle repair shop, if you can find one. Johnso, a question as I am a novice in this area. If I were to take my car into get aligned at a local shop, is the only thing they would do is set "toe in"? On our trucks, is setting toe in considered a full alignment?
Toe is the only thing that is that is adjustable in a "routine/typical alinement" job, the other settings can be changed by changing bushings, plates, etc, not really an "adjustment". Most add caster correction with a lift, as long as it drives well, good to go. Knowing the caster number is nice trivia, or can be handy if you are looking for a problem, but it should never significantly change, so checking it once is good enough, checking it every time is redundant.so, a question as I am a novice in this area. If I were to take my car into get aligned at a local shop, is the only thing they would do is set "toe in"? On our trucks, is setting toe in considered a full alignment?
Are you suggesting to turn the rotors 90° with angle clamped on and measure top and bottom?One addition to using some bits of aluminium angle clamped to the rotor is that it could be extended by turning each rotor about 90 deg and re-doing the measurements as a way to discern if theres any excessive run-out.
I use aluminum angle that is long enough to extent a few feet to the front and a few feet to the rear. Mark a line at the same measurement points on the front and rear sections on both pieces and clamp them down.Are you suggesting to turn the rotors 90° with angle clamped on and measure top and bottom?