Welcome Guest [Log In] [Register]
Photobucket
Welcome to Mercedes-190.co.uk

We are the Mercedes 190 owners forum, the place to be for all owners and fans of the Mercedes 190E, 190 and 190D cars. Including Cosworth (2.3 16v and 2.5 16v), EVO 1 and EVO 2 models. Modified and concourse, track cars and daily drivers, all are welcome.

This free UK based forum was started back in November 2005 to serve the Mercedes 190 W201 community and now has over 9000 members from all around the world and 600,000 + posts.

The members welcome you and encourage you to stay a while and have a look around.
We offer you friendly chat and access to some very useful information as well as tutorials with photos and videos for many common repair and maintenance jobs.
Whatever your needs there is a good chance you will be able to find what your looking for. Such as our Mercedes 190 buyers guide

Sign up to gain access to all areas including for sale / classified areas and country wide meetings and events. Many forum features and sections are only available once you sign up.

Join our forum at mercedes-190.co.uk!

If you're already a member please log in to your account:

Username:   Password:
Add Reply
DIY Wheel Alignment Guide; The String Method
Topic Started: Sat Jan 10, 2009 3:28 pm (11,424 Views)
Neil
Newbie
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
This has been 'discovered' on Club GTI, so the work was actually carried out on a Mk2 Golf, but I thought
that the basic principle was pretty sound, so here it is as a guide to checking and correcting the 4-wheel Alignment on your car.
Thanks to NigeP from CGTI.

Spent some time sorting out the wheel alignment now the top mounts, Lower ball joints and wheel bearings have all been replaced.

I used what is known as The String Method, it's surprisingly accurate..

First, I started with a roll of SEA FISHING SHOCK LEADER, its strong fishing line, I bought 50m in Fluorescent Red off Ebay for 2.75 delivered.

Start by making sure the steering wheel is pointing straight ahead, if this is moved or off centre, you will end up with the wheel not dead ahead when the car is driving straight. !!

Your method may vary slightly, but the basic theory is the same. I have some pieces of stone laying around which were ideal, you need something moveable but heavy enough to stay in place.

Start by having a pile of blocks at each corner of the car, now run a length of line down each side of the car, approximately parallel and then ties round each pile of blocks, slide the blocks apart to tighten the line and move up and down so the line runs level with the car hub

Posted Image

Now, the IMPORTANT PART, much easier with a helper.
You want to ensure the lines are parallel down each side of the car, so measure the distance between the lines

Posted Image

In my case, it was 1.714m (this really doesn't matter)
Posted Image

Now do the same at the front of the car
Posted Image

Again, 1.714m
Posted Image

You now know the lines are parallel to each other, but they also need to be parallel to the sides of the car.
Shown as NOT being parallel to the car below:

Posted Image

To check, you measure the Hub > Line distance.

Front drivers side. I measured from that raised part on the wheel centre to the line.
Just over 63mm

Posted Image

Now the same on the nearside front, I adjusted the blocks at each side, to move the line so the front measurement was the same.

Rear Drivers side, 69mm from wheel to line

Posted Image

Rear passenger side, 69mm wheel to hub.
Posted Image

Lines parallel to the car with Hub measurements shown.
Posted Image

TAKE TIME DOING THE ABOVE STEPS.
If you rush it, there is not point continuing.
You Need to keep measuring the distance from the wheels centres to the line and the distance between the lines to ensure
the Lines are parallel to EACH OTHER AND the lines are parallel to the car.

You now have to lines running down the side of the car, if you move these, you need to start again !

Posted Image

I started with the rear wheels.
I wanted to check the wheels were both pointing forwards.
The reason I checked this is that I fitted the rear beam and there is play in the mounting bolts to allow beam alignment adjustment.

It does NOT matter which point on the wheels you pick, but you MUST keep using the same point for every wheel.
It ensures consistency and stops silly errors creeping in.

Rear Passenger side, front edge to line : 51mm

Posted Image

Rear Passenger side, rear edge to line : 53mm
Posted Image

Rear Drivers side, front edge to line : 51.5mm
Posted Image

Rear Drivers side, rear edge to line : 52mm
Posted Image

What this means is that in my case, the rear wheels were slightly toeing out and the passenger side more than the drivers...
Wheel angle greatly exaggerated below to show what I mean.

Posted Image

I loosened the rear beam mounts and adjusted the beam until the measurements were equal at each side.
I ended up with the distance from the front edge of the wheels being as close to the rear edge as my adjustment allowed.
I still have slight toe out at the rear, probably due to a slightly bent rear beam, but as I`ve had this for 18 months and found the handling to be fine, I`m leaving it.

Posted Image

Next step was to move onto the front wheels.
I turned the car around and re set the parallel lines, so the measurements may not tie in with the ones above.

Front wheel measurement in progress

Posted Image

Front Drivers side, rear edge : 46mm
Posted Image

Front Drivers side, Front edge : 57mm
Posted Image

I took measurements for the Front Passenger side too, they were 52mm and 46mm.

This meant I had huge Toe IN.
This was not suprising, I`d had all the suspension apart when replacing most of the components, I would not expect someone checking a car that hadn`t had major works to be this far out.

Posted Image

To adjust the tracking, loosen the Tie rod locking nut
Posted Image

Move the nut sufficiently down the tie rod so it does not impede adjustment
Posted Image

Fit suitable spanner and adjust the tracking. In my case, you would push the rear of the wheel outwards, therefore bringing the front in.
Posted Image

I was after zero toe, I had run this before and liked the handling on track.

Measuring the front wheels

Posted Image

Front edge of the Drivers front wheel : 41mm
Posted Image

Rear edge of the Drivers front wheel : 41mm
Posted Image

Front wheels after adjusting both sides. Zero toe (parallel)
Posted Image

Final check of all 4 wheels to ensure nothing had moved.
Posted Image

I took the car for a test drive and there was NO crabbing or off centre positioning of the steering wheel required.

This method may SOUND simplistic and not very accurate, but you will be surprised how you can spot even the tiniest adjustments with a steel rule and fishing line...
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
kentronix
Member Avatar
Jar jar binks makes the ewoks look like fkin shaft !

Excellent info. I think I would err on the side of getting it checked free and only getting the string out if they say it needs doing.
Online Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
Stempies
Member Avatar
Hot Lips
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Good info!
Quite an old method as i remember my dad doing a very similar thing years & years ago!!
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
Big Ben
Member Avatar
Sneaky 2.5-16 Driver!
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Some Garages down here still do that as a basic check! Either that or a notched piece of wood and an abacus!

Considering we can get a full computer alignment check and adjustment done for 45.00 I wont be breaking out the fishing tackle box. :lol:

Full marks for ingenuity though :D

Wouldnt like to try it on a DS21 .:lol:
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
Neil
Newbie
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
The chap that wrote this has pretty much built two Golf Mk2 track cars single-handed, and probably never lets anybody else work on his cars, so I thought it an ideal guide for the intrepid amateur - Andy Cowman came to mind, tbh.
That guy was a right little DIY dynamo, wish he'd drop back in sometime.
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
Russell
Needs Help
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Fascinating reading Neil, cheers for posting that, never actually thought how tracking works before.
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
Pug
Member Avatar
Part of things
[ *  * ]
Nicely done. Cheers for posting it. B)

I did only speed read, as I've got to shoot out shortly but what should our figures be (or did I miss that bit)?
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
Will
Member Avatar
Highly Addicted
[ *  *  *  *  * ]
Great reading and certainly very useful, but it won't take into account the other geometry such as camber settings etc, would it?

If nothing else, invaluable for the DIY mechanic after working on steering/suspension items, perhaps before considering a full four-wheel laser alignment etc? Better than scuffing your tyres up on the way there, or during an evening/weekend when the facilities for a proper alignment wouldn't be available.

Thanks for posting that Neil B)

Will
Online Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
dave_irl
Member Avatar
Defector
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
BUMP for this freakin' awesome thread Neil. Thanks for taking the time to CTRL+V and format nicely :lol:

This is really neat, perfect for toe at least. My rear wheels are toe-ed out 30' but Im not too happy with it. Unfortunately one of the mounting tabs on the subframe for the eccentric bolt is not in the best shape, so we can't get that wheel any further in, which means the other one must stay the same. So cue some welding of a plate over the eccentric hole to provide a round hole, and some rose-jointed adjustable arms like the camber arm, and some neon red fishing line!!

My mechanic mate is getting some camber gauges, so between the two of us, alignment should be covered. At least for experimenting with different track set ups anyway..

Now how would one do caster.... Hmmm.
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
khimani_mohiki
Part of things
[ *  * ]
Without a pit in your garage, how would you get under to make adjustments without having to jack it and take a wheel off? would end up being a bit of a trial and error exercise trying to get it right
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
dave_irl
Member Avatar
Defector
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Good point..

I guess you could measure, jack it up with care not to upset the lines, crawl under, make adjustment, lower, measure, repeat etc.. Wouldnt be too hard with patience. Still free. :)
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
NitrousVic
Newbie
[ * ]
Awesome!!!! :driver:
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
algord83
Member Avatar
I can count to potato
[ *  *  * ]
I used to set up the alignment on my classic Minis myself all the time. Not just tracking though, caster and camber as well.

I used string, a large angle finder (we use them for determining the angle of bay windows) A set square and various sizes of steel ruler.
I even made some little wooden trestles for holding the string at variable heights.

I think my brain has atrophied to much for me to do the calculations now :lol:

Al
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
Big
Member Avatar
Part of things
[ *  * ]
For lowered cars like mine this is a great method due to 90% of the garages around here won't touch my car for tracking
Edited by Big, Mon Apr 7, 2014 2:59 pm.
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
Mick261c
Member Avatar
Part of things
[ *  * ]
Spot on and very well presented Neil,
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
1 user reading this topic (1 Guest and 0 Anonymous)
« Previous Topic · Suspension & Chassis · Next Topic »
Add Reply


Email me if anyone replys