Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 22

Thread: Front end alignment

Discussions of Triumph motor cars

  1. #1
    Jedi Hopeful
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Griffin, GA
    Posts
    146
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    0
    Thanked in
    0 Posts

    Front end alignment

    I have been searching for anyone who could do a front end alignment on my TR3A. It seems all of the new alignment equipment cannot be made narrow enough to accommodate a TR3. Is anyone aware of anyone who can do an alignment, preferably in the Atlanta area. If not, what is being done to ensure alignment is close and not wearing tires prematurely?

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    Burlington NC
    Posts
    99
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    0
    Thanked in
    0 Posts

    Re: Front end alignment

    You might try investigating the sort of place you usually see tucked outside city limts that look like they are run by Goober. The ones you never see advertised and would never consider taking the mercedes to but some are actually manned by pretty decent mechanics. Chances are, if they do front end alignments, the equipement is not gonna be the latest and greatest. I used Firestone last time I had my tr4 done but that was a long time ago.

  3. #3
    Great Pumpkin TR3driver's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Sunny So California
    Posts
    18,718
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    3
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    46
    Thanked in
    44 Posts

    Re: Front end alignment

    The only adjustment on a TR3A is for toe-in, which you can do yourself with a simple home-made tool. You'll need a 5' or 6' length of 1x2 lumber plus a couple of scraps of masonite or wood paneling that are 13" long and 4" or 5" wide. Fasten them together like this, with about 44" between the two pieces of Masonite.


    Jack the front end up and spin each tire while making a mark on the tread with a sharp object (like a pocket knife). Set the steering straight ahead, let the car down and bounce it a few times to settle the suspension. Scoot the tool in behind the wheels and turn it so the Masonite pieces lay vertical against the back of the front wheels (so the edge is roughly at the centerline). Use a pencil to copy the mark from each tire onto the edge of the Masonite. Now move the tool in front of the wheels and line up one of the marks. The distance between the other mark on the Masonite, and the corresponding mark on the tire, is the toe-in if the tire mark is inside the wood mark; or toe-out if the tire mark is outside the wood mark. The book allows measured toe-in between 0 and 1/8".

    Hokey as it sounds, my experience is that this method is actually more accurate than the results obtained by most professional shops.
    Randall
    56 TR3 TS13571L once and future daily driver
    71 Stag LE1473L waiting engine rebuild
    71-72-73 Stag LE2013LBW waiting OD gearbox rebuild

  4. #4
    Jedi Hopeful
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Griffin, GA
    Posts
    146
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    0
    Thanked in
    0 Posts

    Re: Front end alignment

    Thanks Randall. I'll give it a try. Right now I've attempted to adjust the outer tie rods to the length specified by the service manual (7.68" between the center of the ball joint assemblies) but that calls for a lot of eyeballing. First you have to guess where the center of the ball joint assembly is, then come up with the 7.68". The .68" is just slightly less that 11/16". 11/16" is .6875" so that would also be a guess. Your method will be much more accurate.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Robbinsville, NC; Everglades City, Fl
    Posts
    590
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    4
    Thanked in
    4 Posts

    Re: Front end alignment

    First, unless your bushes, tie rod ends and silent blocks are in good shape, don't bother. You could easily wind up with squirrelly steering. My approach is similar to Randall's. I pick a tread line on each tire and measure the distance at frame height front and back. Make the +toe in almost zero. This will account for the difference in radius between the 1/4 way up the tire that you are measuring and the center of the circumference that the spec. contemplates. As for centering the steering wheel, the nominal tie rod length won't get you much. Instead, after toe in is right, drive the car so it is going straight. Then, without jacking it up, lengthen one tie rod and shorten the other the same number of threads until the wheel is centered. I had all these problems last summer.

    Bob

  6. #6
    Yoda CJD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Southlake, TX, USA
    Posts
    5,007
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    4
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    18
    Thanked in
    18 Posts

    Re: Front end alignment

    Mine is simpler...

    Just sight the front tires to the rear like you are aiming a rifle. If you can hit a target at 100 yards, your eyes can easily sight toe in at 7 feet. The front tires should sight to a spot within about 1/2" outside the rear tires.
    Last edited by CJD; 03-23-2017 at 08:31 AM.
    John

    1955 TR2

  7. #7
    Obi Wan Sarastro's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Long Beach, California
    Posts
    2,276
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    1
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    4
    Thanked in
    4 Posts

    Re: Front end alignment

    Here's the method I use. I've used it on my TD and my Porsche.

    http://www.nonlintec.com/mgtd/suspension/#steering

    (Scroll down a little.)

    This only works if your tires have a narrow groove for the string that holds the plumb bobs. But if your tires don't have such a groove, you can use a wider one and stick something in the groove to hold the string against one edge.
    Last edited by Sarastro; 03-23-2017 at 12:24 AM.
    Steve Maas
    1966 Triumph TR4A, undergoing restoration: http://www.nonlintec.com/tr4a
    1952 MG TD, restoration completed 2014, sold 2016: http://www.nonlintec.com/mgtd
    1960 Austin-Healey "Bugeye" Sprite, sold 2010: http://www.nonlintec.com/sprite
    1967 Porsche 912: http://www.nonlintec.com/porsche

  8. #8
    Yoda martx-5's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Kings Park, NY
    Posts
    6,516
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    3
    Thanked in
    3 Posts

    Re: Front end alignment

    I used the string method after I completed the restoration. Probably not as easy as Randall's method, but I had four jack stands and string laying around, so that's how I went. The biggest problem with this method is tripping over the string and jack stands in the narrow confines of my garage.

    IMG_0728s.jpgIMG_0729s.jpg
    Art
    '58 TR3A TS236xxL
    '92 Mazda Miata -- Supercharged
    '07 Mazda RX-8
    '11 Mazda CX-7

  9. #9
    Jedi Hopeful jfarris's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Montevallo, AL
    Posts
    131
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    0
    Thanked in
    0 Posts

    Re: Front end alignment

    Dash,
    I'm close to all of these with a slight variation. Flat surface with the car driven or rolled enough to settle the suspension. Take a pencil-type white out marker and make a 1-2" straight line mark (along the rolling axis of the tire) as near the center of the tread of the front tires as possible, both lines the same distance off the floor. Measure the distance between the marks with a tape, then roll the tire to where the marks are on the back as high as you can measure with a tape. The difference between the two measurements is toe in or toe out and the marks will last long enough to move the car multiple times while you get it correct. You may have to jack the car up to loosen the tie rod lock nuts. If so, remember to bounce or roll the car to settle the suspension before measuring. On my TR3, I would drive the car with my toe setting versus taking to a pro. On the Boxster and Lexus RX, I checked the toe after replacing front struts and before I drove them to a pro for a 4-wheel alignment.
    All these methods work, some are easier to set up and perform than others, i.e., your mileage may vary.
    Jim Farris
    56 TR3 - Salvador Blue
    73 TR6 - Pimento
    13 Mini Cooper S Bayswater Edition - Blue

  10. #10
    Darth Vader
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    washington state
    Posts
    2,936
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    10
    Thanked in
    10 Posts

    Re: Front end alignment

    I used an aluminum ladder in 2 half’s one on each side of the car and 2 quality tape measures to get everything parallel. I was surprised the front and back are not on the same line. I think the books give a rough number of 7-3/8 inches center to center on the tie rod ends. Yes do it yourself, and if not there should be a shop somewhere if you call around a lot

  11. #11
    Yoda CJD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Southlake, TX, USA
    Posts
    5,007
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    4
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    18
    Thanked in
    18 Posts

    Re: Front end alignment

    I just aligned my TR2 for the first time last night. It took 2 minutes with no hardware at all. You guys should all try just getting in front of the car and use one eyeball to sight the outside edges of the front tire to see where it lines up in relation to the rear tire. You can tell in a second if the toe is off. Honest! Give it a try...
    John

    1955 TR2

  12. #12
    Obi Wan
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Macon Georgia
    Posts
    2,000
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    8
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    17
    Thanked in
    15 Posts

    Re: Front end alignment

    Just done my front end alignment.

    Thank you Randall for the simple tool tip. Seemed to work very well. I taped some card stock to the uprights so I could see my marks.

    I was surprised how little you have to move the adjusters to make a difference to the Toe In or Out.

    David
    TR3A TS75524L

  13. #13
    Jedi Knight
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Annandale, NJ
    Posts
    804
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    0
    Thanked in
    0 Posts

    Re: Front end alignment

    I also used Randalls gauge method and it was easy,although I put a wrap of painters tape around the center of each wheel which gave me a better line when spun with a light pencil tip drag.
    Tom

  14. #14
    Obi Wan
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Macon Georgia
    Posts
    2,000
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    8
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    17
    Thanked in
    15 Posts

    Re: Front end alignment

    I have brand new tires with 0 miles on them so I could use the lines in the tires. Did spin the wheels to make sure the lines ran true.

    David
    TR3A TS75524L

  15. #15
    Great Pumpkin TR3driver's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Sunny So California
    Posts
    18,718
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    3
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    46
    Thanked in
    44 Posts

    Re: Front end alignment

    That's fine, as long as you're certain they run true. But often they don't, in fact I don't recall ever having tires where they ran absolutely true. Maybe I just buy cheap tires
    Randall
    56 TR3 TS13571L once and future daily driver
    71 Stag LE1473L waiting engine rebuild
    71-72-73 Stag LE2013LBW waiting OD gearbox rebuild

  16. #16
    Obi Wan
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Macon Georgia
    Posts
    2,000
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    8
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    17
    Thanked in
    15 Posts

    Re: Front end alignment

    Hello Randall

    I will check them in the morning using a block and pointer and do the painters tape trick if I see any wobble. There is a very narrow grove at the edge of the tire and one in the center. I was using both.

    David
    TR3A TS75524L

  17. #17
    Yoda CJD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Southlake, TX, USA
    Posts
    5,007
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    4
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    18
    Thanked in
    18 Posts

    Re: Front end alignment

    So complicated. Yesterday I used the iron sights on an old M1 Garand to hit a 12” target at 500 yards. If aligning 3 points works that well over 500 yards, it is definitely accurate enough aligning 3 points over 7 feet! I used to make these fancy brackets to strap onto the wheels to check alignment...but that was before I realized sighting the tire like a gun is much more accurate. I still keep one fancy welded aluminum bracket hung on the wall to remind me to keep things simple.
    John

    1955 TR2

  18. #18
    Obi Wan
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Macon Georgia
    Posts
    2,000
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    8
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    17
    Thanked in
    15 Posts

    Re: Front end alignment

    I sighted down the tires but I am not sure I would trust my aligning it up by eye now. Some years ago maybe but not now.

    David
    TR3A TS75524L

  19. #19
    Great Pumpkin TR3driver's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Sunny So California
    Posts
    18,718
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    3
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    46
    Thanked in
    44 Posts

    Re: Front end alignment

    Same problem as the grooves; the sides of the tire are not necessarily exactly perpendicular to the axis of rotation.
    Randall
    56 TR3 TS13571L once and future daily driver
    71 Stag LE1473L waiting engine rebuild
    71-72-73 Stag LE2013LBW waiting OD gearbox rebuild

  20. #20
    Yoda CJD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Southlake, TX, USA
    Posts
    5,007
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    4
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    18
    Thanked in
    18 Posts

    Re: Front end alignment

    That’s the beauty. When ever you change the toe, you must roll the car back and then forward to allow the suspension to equalize. If you are sighting the tires, then you can check easily at multiple positions to verify within a minute. If you have brackets and such, you must remove and replace the brackets after each check. Not to mention the brackets never help get the wheel straight. You have to do the rolling check to do that spot on.

    The only issues I have ever had with sidewalls were bumps on Good Years a while back. The bumps were obvious...and I quit using Good Year shortly after as they began to have major quality issues. Most wheels have more “pimples” to throw off brackets than sidewalls have problems. You can run your eye up and down the tire for a single sighting, and verify the sidewall is straight without any problem...or notice a problem immediately. I have yet to have a bad alignment by sighting the tires. I’ve had several bad alignments with computer/laser rigs that are mis-used.
    John

    1955 TR2

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •