How to set camber, caster and toe-in DIY ?

Technical advice Q&A

Topic author
Durango2k
Posts: 1355
Joined: Fri Feb 11, 2011 11:59 pm
Location: Germany
Germany

#1 How to set camber, caster and toe-in DIY ?

Post by Durango2k » Tue Apr 23, 2019 10:30 pm

I have to fine tune the front axle at least to a point where I could seriously take the car to a shop. I don‘t want them to put hours and hours on the bill because of the complexity- I want to be near a proper result when I go there. Not perfect, but near.

Now, I asked myself how to do it.

Toe- in: I have a laser in the office. So I could tape it to a ruler, then fit it on the rear tyres, horizontally on the outside above the spinner, maybe pulling it on the rim through the spokes with some string. Then, mark the laser spot on the shed door, 3 m in front of the car‘s nose. Repeat on the front tyre, and - after setting the steering wheel - adjust the two points, one rear one front, to about 1 cm distance (I guess, I have not done the maths yet), using the tie rods. This way I achieve a slight toe-in on the front, should be close enough.

Camber: I‘ll put an A ladder next to the car, let down a piece of string with an old piston or rod on the end, so I‘ll have a vertical line (see Messieurs Foucault, Newton, Einstein on this subject), and measure from topmost point of the outer rim and the lowermost point of the outer rim towards the string. I know I have to use shims on the top mounts, I have some from dismantling the car 9 years ago, all zinced, so I should get somewhere close again. Have not done the math, but say 3 mm distance with the lower rim being a bit more out then the upper and I should be near ?

Caster: this is where I struggle. I have no idea how to measure this, on the car. I can take the wheels of, then mark the centre of the whishbones with a felt tip, then try the vertical string distance idea. I know I have to loosen and turn the upper large mounting bolt to move the upper triangle wishbone front and back- but how to measure against a vertical string ?

Any ideas, suggestions, highly welcome.

Carsten
Jag E '66 S1 2+2, Citroen DS 23 Pallas iE, Citroen SM 3.0, Concept Centaur MK1, Citroen 11 BL '54, Sinclair C5, Velosolex

Link:
BBcode:
HTML:
Hide post links
Show post links

User avatar

abowie
Posts: 2165
Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2011 9:15 pm
Location: Australia
Contact:
Australia

#2 Re: How to set camber, caster and toe-in DIY ?

Post by abowie » Tue Apr 23, 2019 10:54 pm

See below.
Last edited by abowie on Tue Apr 23, 2019 11:15 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Andrew.
881824, 1E21538. 889457..oops
http://www.projectetype.com/index.php/the-blog.html
Adelaide, Australia

Link:
BBcode:
HTML:
Hide post links
Show post links

User avatar

abowie
Posts: 2165
Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2011 9:15 pm
Location: Australia
Contact:
Australia

#3 Re: How to set camber, caster and toe-in DIY ?

Post by abowie » Tue Apr 23, 2019 11:03 pm

1. Buy one of these.

Image

2. Using a piece of aluminium angle and a couple of fully threaded 15cm bolts with nuts, make a bracket to allow you to position the gauge accurately on the wheel. The bolt ends go in the groove for the wheel weights. Obviously make sure that the top and bottom bolts are exactly the same length and that the angle goes through the radius of the wheel. I have turned a point on my bolts. Remove the magnet from the gauge and bolt the gauge exactly between your two bolt holes so it sits exacttly over the centre of the hub and spinner.


Image

3. Now have a look at a general Youtube video so you understand what you need to do. Don't worry about any complex jigs they might use or how the particular make of car they use is adjusted. Just make sure you understand clearly what the 3 measurements are and how they are measured.

4. The car needs to be on a flat surface with a full tank of fuel and with tyre pressures correct (ideally equal front and rear).

5. Use string line properly to set 1.5 to 3mm toe in. Get an assistant to hold the string at the rear of the back wheel. Run it BELOW the knockoff. It MUST touch both the front and back of the sidewall of the tyre and the rear of the sidewall of the front tyre at the same height. Your toe in is the amount of clearance between the string and the front sidewall of the tyre. THE STRING LINE MUST BE TAUT AND COMPLETELY STRAIGHT AND LEVEL.

6. Then use the gauge on the front wheels. this will give you camber. Adjust this by adding or subtracting shims to the top wishbone. Always have the same number of shims front and rear regardless of anything you might see on the videos. Do not be concerned if you have a different number of shims on the right vs the left this is quite normal.

7. To set caster, put a glossy magazine you don't want any more under each front wheel to make them easy to turn. Use a protractor and chalk and mark out a line exactly parallel to the front wheel on each side. Then mark out a second line on both sides at 25 degrees from this so you can measure when each wheel is turned out 25 degrees. The actual degree number isn't critical but they must be identical on both sides. Now using your gauge measure the difference in camber on a wheel with the wheel turned in, then out, 25 degrees. This is your caster angle. Use the threaded fulcrum pin to adjust to recommended caster.

Once you get your head around this it is easy. I never take cars to modern wheel alignment shops any more.

8. Now you can measure the rear camber and adjust as well.

Nien.
Image
Andrew.
881824, 1E21538. 889457..oops
http://www.projectetype.com/index.php/the-blog.html
Adelaide, Australia

Link:
BBcode:
HTML:
Hide post links
Show post links


Topic author
Durango2k
Posts: 1355
Joined: Fri Feb 11, 2011 11:59 pm
Location: Germany
Germany

#4 Re: How to set camber, caster and toe-in DIY ?

Post by Durango2k » Wed Apr 24, 2019 9:42 pm

I just bought the Gunson version - there are lots of 13 Euro chinese ones on ebay, I am not sure how precise they are. The first to look a bit better is Asta A-mcg, but this costs the same as the gunson „used as new from amazon“ version I bought, 31 Euros. Normally, the gunson one is 50 Euros.

So, lets see what I bought, and I‘ll try it the way you described.

I do have some angled metal stuff around, why did you recommend to use aluminium and not steel ? I could anyway bolt the instrument on an iron angle ?

Carsten
Jag E '66 S1 2+2, Citroen DS 23 Pallas iE, Citroen SM 3.0, Concept Centaur MK1, Citroen 11 BL '54, Sinclair C5, Velosolex

Link:
BBcode:
HTML:
Hide post links
Show post links

User avatar

abowie
Posts: 2165
Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2011 9:15 pm
Location: Australia
Contact:
Australia

#5 Re: How to set camber, caster and toe-in DIY ?

Post by abowie » Thu Apr 25, 2019 12:20 am

Durango2k wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 9:42 pm

I do have some angled metal stuff around, why did you recommend to use aluminium and not steel ? I could anyway bolt the instrument on an iron angle ?

Carsten
Only because it's easier to work with. Steel angle will let you use the magnet on the bottom of the gauge so that would be helpful.
Andrew.
881824, 1E21538. 889457..oops
http://www.projectetype.com/index.php/the-blog.html
Adelaide, Australia

Link:
BBcode:
HTML:
Hide post links
Show post links


Topic author
Durango2k
Posts: 1355
Joined: Fri Feb 11, 2011 11:59 pm
Location: Germany
Germany

#6 Re: How to set camber, caster and toe-in DIY ?

Post by Durango2k » Sat Apr 27, 2019 5:55 pm

Ok I made this today:

Image

The bolts are a bit tipped on the end. I got an amazing result: 3 of 4 wheels are 0 or max 1 deg. Rear right is a tad flat tyre-wise, and is 3 or 4 degs, I have to take out one shim on the driveshaft. But I just went along after making it, so I have to do a real measurement afternoon soon.

Carsten
Jag E '66 S1 2+2, Citroen DS 23 Pallas iE, Citroen SM 3.0, Concept Centaur MK1, Citroen 11 BL '54, Sinclair C5, Velosolex

Link:
BBcode:
HTML:
Hide post links
Show post links

User avatar

abowie
Posts: 2165
Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2011 9:15 pm
Location: Australia
Contact:
Australia

#7 Re: How to set camber, caster and toe-in DIY ?

Post by abowie » Sat Apr 27, 2019 11:37 pm

Looks good!
Andrew.
881824, 1E21538. 889457..oops
http://www.projectetype.com/index.php/the-blog.html
Adelaide, Australia

Link:
BBcode:
HTML:
Hide post links
Show post links


Topic author
Durango2k
Posts: 1355
Joined: Fri Feb 11, 2011 11:59 pm
Location: Germany
Germany

#8 Re: How to set camber, caster and toe-in DIY ?

Post by Durango2k » Sun Apr 28, 2019 7:18 am

...took 20 minutes, you can pull dents out of a light tank with it :-)

Carsten
Jag E '66 S1 2+2, Citroen DS 23 Pallas iE, Citroen SM 3.0, Concept Centaur MK1, Citroen 11 BL '54, Sinclair C5, Velosolex

Link:
BBcode:
HTML:
Hide post links
Show post links


Topic author
Durango2k
Posts: 1355
Joined: Fri Feb 11, 2011 11:59 pm
Location: Germany
Germany

#9 Re: How to set camber, caster and toe-in DIY ?

Post by Durango2k » Sun Apr 28, 2019 8:16 pm

I now had a look at the values for camber for example - and it is very small. Like 1/4 deg positive with + - 1/2 as „error“.

Hence, is the Gunson gauge precise enough ? All I think I can set is „lower end between 0 and 1“, and leave it.

Carsten
Jag E '66 S1 2+2, Citroen DS 23 Pallas iE, Citroen SM 3.0, Concept Centaur MK1, Citroen 11 BL '54, Sinclair C5, Velosolex

Link:
BBcode:
HTML:
Hide post links
Show post links

User avatar

abowie
Posts: 2165
Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2011 9:15 pm
Location: Australia
Contact:
Australia

#10 Re: How to set camber, caster and toe-in DIY ?

Post by abowie » Sun Apr 28, 2019 9:14 pm

I'm using the same gauge and it's more than accurate enough.
Andrew.
881824, 1E21538. 889457..oops
http://www.projectetype.com/index.php/the-blog.html
Adelaide, Australia

Link:
BBcode:
HTML:
Hide post links
Show post links


Topic author
Durango2k
Posts: 1355
Joined: Fri Feb 11, 2011 11:59 pm
Location: Germany
Germany

#11 Re: How to set camber, caster and toe-in DIY ?

Post by Durango2k » Sat May 11, 2019 9:51 pm

I have now looked at the values on this forum, and I‘ ll set it to:

Camber:
- front: -1/2 degs (top of tyre inlined inside, towards cylinder head).
- rear: -3/4 degs (top of tyre inclined inside)

Castor:

- front: vertical axis inclined backwards by 2 degrees.

What I am not sure about - gunson‘s instructions say to swivel one wheel left (drivers side), then go over to the other side and measure there ? German translation.

I thought I‘d better swivel the SAME WHEEL left and right, and measure the angle. By swiveling far left, set gauge to zero, swivel far right (swivel both the same 25 degs from centre line = 0 degs), and read the angle = castor.

Toe in:

- front: -2 mm

Carsten
Jag E '66 S1 2+2, Citroen DS 23 Pallas iE, Citroen SM 3.0, Concept Centaur MK1, Citroen 11 BL '54, Sinclair C5, Velosolex

Link:
BBcode:
HTML:
Hide post links
Show post links

User avatar

chrisfell
Posts: 990
Joined: Tue Oct 06, 2009 9:52 am
Location: Salisbury
St Lucia

#12 Re: How to set camber, caster and toe-in DIY ?

Post by chrisfell » Sun May 12, 2019 7:29 am

In all things I measure twice, cut (adjust) once. Then measure twice again. And adjust (cut) if necessary. And repeat until no longer necessary. Then measure twice again just to be sure.

BTW, I set my castor by plumb bob and line. Simple, no special tools, just faith in the uniformity (at a small scale) of gravity.
Chris '67 S1 2+2

Link:
BBcode:
HTML:
Hide post links
Show post links


Topic author
Durango2k
Posts: 1355
Joined: Fri Feb 11, 2011 11:59 pm
Location: Germany
Germany

#13 Re: How to set camber, caster and toe-in DIY ?

Post by Durango2k » Sun May 12, 2019 8:12 am

Yeah,

Gravity is relatively uniform....

Alber.... errr, Carsten
Jag E '66 S1 2+2, Citroen DS 23 Pallas iE, Citroen SM 3.0, Concept Centaur MK1, Citroen 11 BL '54, Sinclair C5, Velosolex

Link:
BBcode:
HTML:
Hide post links
Show post links

Post Reply Previous topicNext topic