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Motorsport Wheel Alignment: 2. Setup Alignment Equipment

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2. Setup Alignment Equipment


00:00 - In this step of our seven step process, we're going to assemble our string wheel alignment equipment so that we can actually make measurements and see where abouts our alignment is so that we know what kind of changes are necessary.
00:13 The first part of this process however is to choose a flat and level piece of ground that we can perform our alignment on.
00:20 If we're trying to perform our alignment on ground that's not flat or is irregular, it's going to make it very difficult for us to get accurate measurements.
00:29 Now if you're doing this at a racetrack, it's likely there will be a flat patch that you can make your alignment setups on, here we're going to be doing our alignment in our workshop and we've got the benefit of our floor already being relatively level.
00:42 What we're going to do to start with is choose the location on the workshop floor where we are going to perform our alignment and it's always a good idea to start by marking out where each of the wheel of the car is going to sit.
00:55 This is important because once we've marked this out, it's going to allow us to actually check and ensure that our floor is level and if it isn't, we can make adjustments to account for this.
01:06 So here I'm simply using some blue low tack tape and I'm marking each corner of the car where it's going to sit on the workshop floor.
01:14 Once we've done this, we can roll the car back out of location and we can check our patch and ensure that it is level.
01:20 Once we've got our car rolled out of the way, we can check the setup patch and make sure it's level and to do this, we're simply going to use a pair of 17 millimetre sockets as packers and on top of that we're laying a piece of rectangular aluminium extrusion.
01:34 What we want here is a piece of aluminium extrusion that's going to be rigid enough that it's not going to bend.
01:41 We want to place those sockets approximately in the centre of the tyre contact patch, we're going to place the rectangular extrusion on top of the sockets and then we can use either a spirit level or in this case we're using a digital level to check and make sure that the surface that we're working on is level.
01:59 In this case, as we can see, both the front and the rear of the car, our digital level is showing zero so we've got no work to do here, our patch is in fact level.
02:09 Now this is probably not going to always be the case and of course as we saw in the practical skills section of the course, if your particular setup area isn't level, you can fix this using flooring tiles to pack the side that's low.
02:23 With our setup patch checked, we can now roll the car back into location, aligning the car as closely as we can with the marks that we've already made on the ground.
02:34 Now it's time to fit our string wheel alignment equipment and for our demonstration here we're going to be using our Watkins Smart String setup, but of course the process is relatively similar regardless what style of string alignment equipment you're going to be using.
02:49 We'll start here at the front of the car and we're going to fit our frame into the engine bay.
02:55 It's always a good idea to just roughly adjust the frame at this point to get the frame approximately at the centre height of the wheel.
03:03 In this case we've measured the centre height of the wheel at approximately 320 millimetres.
03:08 So we'll roughly adjust the frame and then we can fit the bar to the frame.
03:12 Here, we're aligning the bar approximately to the centreline of the car.
03:18 Now we don't need to be super critical here because of course we will be squaring the frames as we go through the process of fitting the string alignment equipment.
03:25 But it's always helpful if we're at least close when we get started.
03:29 Once we've got the bar fitted, we can be a little bit more precise with adjusting our frame to get the end of the bar at both sides of the car at our desired height of 320 millimetres.
03:41 With our front frame and bar fitted, we can simply repeat this process at the rear of the car and then we can fit our strings down each side.
03:49 Initially we can just roughly locate our strings, just making sure that we're in the same groove at the front and rear of the car, however once we've got our strings fitted to both sides, we can more finely adjust our strings so that they're approximately 30 millimetres or thereabouts off the edge of the rim.
04:07 And this just helps making our measurements a little bit more accurate.
04:10 Again, when we are making adjustments to the location of the strings, it's really important to make sure that we have the strings fitted to the same groove at the front and the rear, otherwise if we don't do this, our strings will never be parallel to each other.
04:24 Once we've got the strings initially set up on the car, we can go through the process of squaring them.
04:30 Now when we're doing this, we do need to choose a reference point on the front and rear hubs of the car that we can measure from.
04:36 Every car's going to be different here, we need to just pick a smart reference point that we can replicate on both sides of the car.
04:43 In this case, on our Toyota 86, we've chosen to work off the rear of the inner hub on both the front and rear of the car.
04:50 The process of squaring the strings is an iterative process, we're going to start on one corner of the car, we're going to measure between our reference point on the hub and our strings and then we're going to compare that to the other side.
05:03 If we've got a discrepancy, we're going to make a small adjustment to the strings, basically dividing our error in half, and we're going to work between the front and rear of the car repeating this process until we've got the same measurement on each side at the front and the same measurement on each side at the rear In our case here, we're working with a measurement of 110 millimetres at the front of the car and 124 millimetres at the rear.
05:29 So at this point we've got our string alignment equipment fitted to the car and we have squared our strings.
05:34 We now know that the strings are parallel to the centreline of the car, we've got one last task to complete however and that's to check and adjust our tyre pressures.
05:44 What we're aiming for here is to adjust our tyre pressures to our normal hot running pressure, in this case 30 psi.