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Old 03-07-2011, 06:15 PM   #1
Pilotdave
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Default Setting Toe-in

I finished installing my rebuilt pitman arm/drag link/tie rod/steering arms today and now need to set the toe-in. Has anyone used the chalk method described by Les Andrews? I had no luck getting the chalk to "lay onto" the tires thick enough to then be able to scribe a visible line into the chalk mark. I'd be interested in any tips for accomplishing that step.

I'm also looking for a good way for making accurate measurements between the tires so as to precisely set the 1/16" required. I don't think that a retracting steel tape will do the job. I'm thinking that I need something akin to a folding rule with an extendable section so I can get a clean measurement between the tires.

Thanks for any ideas!
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Old 03-07-2011, 06:57 PM   #2
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Default Re: Setting Toe-in

Pilot,
I used a broom stick handle aprox. 48" long and screwed a long bolt into the tip of the handle where i could adjust it aprox a in" or two by screwing it in or out, on mine it was aprox 50". I jacked the frt. end up off the ground and did two or three test, i found the rear of the wheel was aprox 50" and the frt. was 50 1/4 [tow out] I just made adj's. untill i had aprox. 50 1/8" on the frt. and aprox. 50 1/4" on the rear,
[a slight tow in] i'll drive it if it ever quits raining and see.
I did read Les Andrews book, a little to much for me, im just a simple guy [Lazy] . good luck.
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Old 03-07-2011, 07:15 PM   #3
Pilotdave
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Default Re: Setting Toe-in

Louis, thanks for your suggestion. That is very similar to the device my wife and I were discussing over dinner! I think part of the challenge is that the amount of toe-in specified is pretty small for the kinds of measuring devices that readily come to hand! Hope you get some nice dry weather soon.
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Old 03-07-2011, 08:48 PM   #4
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Default Re: Setting Toe-in

I take mine to an alignment specialist with all their lazer beams, and fancy bells and whistles and they set it up toe, caster etc for about $50.
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Old 03-07-2011, 09:13 PM   #5
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Default Re: Setting Toe-in

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Originally Posted by Mikeinnj View Post
they set it up toe, caster etc for about $50.
Do they really set the caster? It's not meant to be adjustable on a Model A without a lot of work -- is it? Like removing the spring u-bolts?

I set my toe-in by scribing a line with a ballpoint pen on the tread surface of each front tire, and measuring that in front and in back. A chalk mark was too wide for precision. Maybe scribe with ballpoint over the chalk. Scuffed tires should hold a chalk mark.
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Old 03-07-2011, 09:20 PM   #6
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Tom, that might work. Thanks. I can take it to a front-end specialist if all else fails!
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Old 03-07-2011, 09:29 PM   #7
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Default Re: Setting Toe-in

Just to add one other small tip to Tom's suggestion. Apply a 4" - 6" piece of masking tape to the tread. Usually will stick good, and marks are quite readable. I have to agree, that the retracting steel tape is ackward, especially if you are working by yourself. One of these days.....(job #179845).....i think it will be time to build a proper tool that will sit on the floor, with adjustable pointers that are on centerline with the axle.
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Old 03-07-2011, 09:31 PM   #8
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Default Re: Setting Toe-in

Buy a spring-loaded curtain rod (less than $5.00). Put on the sidewall of the tires, about 12" off the floor, and mark the telescoped end with a piece of masking tape. Roll the car forward so the curtain rod is behind the front axle and check how much the spring-loaded end has come out of the outer piece.
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Old 03-07-2011, 09:40 PM   #9
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Default Re: Setting Toe-in

Guys, try this simple home made tool. It is constructed from 2 lengths of aluminium channel that slide into each other (old shower screen frame). You simply rest it on 2 pieces of wood 6" high, mark the tyres on the inside where they touch. Draw a line on the channel where they channels meet. Roll the car forward until you meet the mark on the tyre (now at the rear). Set up the channels again and then check the line drawn on the channel - the gap at rear should be 1/16" wider than the front
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Old 03-07-2011, 10:25 PM   #10
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Default Re: Setting Toe-in

When setting the toe-in, are the front wheels supposed to be off the ground or with the weight of the car on the wheels? It probably doesn't matter due to the solid axle but..... Les's book says to do it with the wheels off the ground and to take the measurement at the hub cap level, but I'd like to hear from some others
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Last edited by Colorado Greg; 03-07-2011 at 11:20 PM.
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Old 03-07-2011, 11:06 PM   #11
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Default Re: Setting Toe-in

Some really good suggestions! Thanks a lot. Using blocks to maintain a uniform height while providing support for the rod should help a lot.
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Old 03-08-2011, 12:03 AM   #12
Marco Tahtaras
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Default Re: Setting Toe-in

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Originally Posted by Colorado Greg View Post
When setting the toe-in, are the front wheels supposed to be off the ground or with the weight of the car on the wheels? It probably doesn't matter due to the solid axle but..... Les's book says to do it with the wheels off the ground and to take the measurement at the hub cap level, but I'd like to hear from some others
Unfortunately both aspects of that description are worthless. Are you sure you read it correctly? The results of that could easily be 1/4" off the desired results. Not only must the car be on the ground, it must be rolled forward first to set the wheels back against all inherent slop or play just like when the car is being driven. See the following link for more info:

http://abarnyard.com/workshop/align.htm
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Old 03-08-2011, 03:34 AM   #13
Colorado Greg
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Default Re: Setting Toe-in

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Originally Posted by Marco Tahtaras View Post
Unfortunately both aspects of that description are worthless. Are you sure you read it correctly? The results of that could easily be 1/4" off the desired results. Not only must the car be on the ground, it must be rolled forward first to set the wheels back against all inherent slop or play just like when the car is being driven. See the following link for more info:

http://abarnyard.com/workshop/align.htm

Hmmm, I did read it correctly (see attached) and I think I will follow the service bulletins for the correct method!!

I have had several issues with the way Les goes about things. Like everything, you must take it with a grain of salt. With Les's method, there is even more room for error than you mentioned due to him wanting you to make chalk marks by hand. Doesn't seem very accurate to me!!!

Thanks for the correct link Marco!
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Last edited by Colorado Greg; 03-08-2011 at 04:56 AM.
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Old 03-08-2011, 05:45 AM   #14
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Default Re: Setting Toe-in

I mark the tire tread with a ball point pen then drop a plumb bob to a tape measure on the floor. I don't use the end of the tape either. Use the 10" mark on one end and read whatever on the other end. It's easier to subtract ten inches. But then if you use 10" when taking both readings, you don't need to subtract it. Will give a better reading. Also I use two plumb bobs, one on each tire. This is the easiest I've come up with if your doing it by yourself.
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Old 03-08-2011, 07:59 AM   #15
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Default Re: Setting Toe-in

I believe that Les's approach was based on trying to get uniform locations on the tires at which to take measurements. In theory the "chalk and nail" approach should work to scribe uniform measurement lines on the tires, but it didn't work for me!

My plan is to follow the Service Bulletin method, using several of the ideas described above as a starting point. I want to allow for measuring at front/back of the tires to enable me to quickly determine how far out of spec I am now and gauge how I'm doing as I adjust.

Construct a tool using a 1"x1"x48" piece of lumber. I will secure a ruler to one end to serve as a measurement index and provide 6" stands for both ends. I'll set the tool touching the tire on one end and use a straight edge to measure the distance to the tire on the other end. The only tricky part is measuring at consistent locations on both tires. There's a convenient rib on the side of the tires near the tread that should do the trick. I should be able to mark the measurement locations on the tires, roll forward, and measure behind the axle at the same locations.

I really appreciate the advice and experience of those on this Forum - once again it will keep me out of trouble.

Last edited by Pilotdave; 03-08-2011 at 08:05 AM.
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Old 03-08-2011, 08:14 AM   #16
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Default Re: Setting Toe-in

You can buy the bar/chain toe-in guage like in the service bulletins from here:

http://www.teambearusa.com/modules/s...P64875C284.cfm

Last edited by RonC; 03-08-2011 at 08:20 AM.
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Old 03-08-2011, 08:47 AM   #17
31Tudor
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Default Re: Setting Toe-in

If you set your toe in when you just have the chassis, does it change when you add the weight of the sheet metal and body?
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Old 03-08-2011, 09:30 AM   #18
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Default Re: Setting Toe-in

I agree with Ted in MN about using a spring loaded shower/curtain rod to check the toe. It's quick, easy and simple with the added benefit of being accurate for the home mechanic. I have used this method to check over ten different Model A's with good results. I always check the toe with the full weight of the car on the ground.
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Old 03-08-2011, 09:35 AM   #19
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Default Re: Setting Toe-in

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Originally Posted by RonC View Post
You can buy the bar/chain toe-in guage like in the service bulletins from here:

http://www.teambearusa.com/modules/s...P64875C284.cfm

I just bought one of these on ebay for $35. The guy's ebay name is molinestud. I believe he has a number of them.
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Old 03-08-2011, 10:53 AM   #20
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Default Re: Setting Toe-in

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If you set your toe in when you just have the chassis, does it change when you add the weight of the sheet metal and body?
There is no measurable change. Just have the wheels on the ground and roll the car forward to take the measurements, as Marco said.
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