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[Shop-talk] home car alignment tools

Subject: [Shop-talk] home car alignment tools
From: Eric Murray <>
Date: Sat, 12 Dec 2009 10:06:48 -0800
I've been doing mods to my cars instead of my motorcycles lately.

The current one is a Mazdaspeed3.  I installed a sport suspension
(mazdaspeed coilovers) this summer.  When I took it in to the local 
tire shop which does my alignments, they claimed it was within spec
and they didn't need to change anything.  But when I rotated my tires
recently I found that the inner edges of the fronts were worn.   I
didn't change the front camber much- it's lowered only 1/2 inch and
there's not much camber change you can get by moving the top of the
strut around in its mount before bolting it down.. not a lot of slop
in the mount.  It's a mcpherson front
so camber does not change a lot when its lowered.

I think the toe is off.  But I'd like to measure it myself and perhaps
play with setting it to something other than the factory specs, like a little
closer to dead even.

So, what's the best tools for measuring toe?  "toe plates"?

The rod with pointers deal seems like a pain, mostly from having to scribe
the tire.  Is it that much better?

Any good sites that explain the process?  Can you get results at home
that are accurate enough for daily driving?  The range in the factory
spec is suprisingly large.

I have also been thinking of using a digital angle gauge like
and a hunk of tubing with a couple bolts in the appropriate
places to make a camber gauge, rather than spending $270 on
the fancy version of the same thing-

Would that work?


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