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Thread: Toe-in How to check and adjust

  1. #1
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    Toe-in How to check and adjust

    Assuming Camber has already been checked or corrected, (See thread: camber how to measure and adjust) here is how to check and adjust toe-in. This method is very accurate and well-proven, but as always, proceed only at your own risk and only after you have read this entire post and fully understand what you are doing.
    For serious alignment cases, such as after an accident, or the car pulling to the side, or tyres rapidly wearing out, etc., please consult professional help.

    What is needed:

    A) A laser spirit level with a length of about 25- 30cm (about 10” to 12” in medieval measures). See pix.

    B) An open spanner size 17, and another size 12.

    C) A reasonably flat and level surface for parking the car on. Probably your concrete garage floor will suffice.

    D) A wooden lathe, between 2m to 2.5m long (about 6 to 7ft)

    E) Two upturned buckets, each about the height of the wheel hubs, aprox. 30cm or a foot high.

    F) Some sort of marker-pen for making a clearly visible mark on the wooden lathe.

    G) A jack, and a tool for removing wheel nuts, and something for securing a jacked-up car. Remember, never ever get under a jacked-up car that's not secured!

    What to do:

    Park the car on a reasonably flat and level surface, the steering letting the front wheels look straight forward. Apply the handbrake. Jack up one front wheel, secure it from a failing jack, and take the wheel off.

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    In the picture above, the size 17 spanner is on the tie-rod locking nut, the size 12 further back is for turning (adjusting) the tie-rod.

    With a size 17 spanner, undo the tie-rod locking nut, but don't turn the tie-rod. Turning a tie-rod changes toe-in. See picture above. Put the wheel back on. Do the same on the other side.

    With both wheels back on and the hubcaps off, push the car back and forth a little, to settle the suspension. While doing so, turn and hold the steering wheel to make the wheels be looking exactly straight forwardt. Do not turn the steering wheel an more. Set up the lathe on upturned buckerts as a target in front of the car. See picture below for details.

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    The lathe will be at a right angle across the front of the car, and although not actually touching it, as close as possible to the front bumper. With the laser spirit level, point the laser onto the lathe. Make a mark at the exact point where the light hits the lathe, or even better, have someone else do that for you.

    See picture. The yellow arrow points to the not-so-bright light coming from the laser, the spot where the lathe will receive a mark.

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    Without touching the steering and not bumping the lathe, do the same on the other side. You now have two clearly visible marks on the lathe, one on each end.
    See pictures for details.

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    Note the offset of the laser in the picture below. If it had too little offset, it would point onto the car's body. If the laser spirit level were too long, it would rest on the tyre or rim, rather than on the centre hump. The laser in the above picture is almost too long at almost 40cm. A length of about 30cm (12") is much better suited for this job.

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    Without touching the steering or moving the car, set up the target lathe behind the rear bumper, the same setup as it was in front.
    Put the laser back onto the hump of the wheel, and now point it to the rear. Your second person could help by moving the target sideways, to make the laser hit the mark. With the target resting, and the laser pointing to the mark, do not bump the target. Take the laser to the other side front wheel and point it to the lathe. It will most probably not point onto its mark. Your helper could measure how far off it is. Write down the difference between the laser light and the mark. For example, it could be so-and-so far off to the outside. Readjust the target, so that on both sides, it is equally far off, for example one half of so-and-so off towards the outside from each mark on each side.
    Without turning the steering wheel or bumping the car, reach into the back of a front wheel and turn the tie-rod to get the laser pointing to its mark. Do that for both sides.

    Done that, the front wheels should now be parallel and thus have zero toe-in. To be on the safe side, recheck with the target in front, if you had to do much adjustment, it might be necessary make new marks on the target. Then recheck with the target in the back. If it is no more off than 0.5cm (1/4”) at the rear, it is OK.

    A word of caution: It should hardly be necessary to turn a tie-rod more than one complete turn, and the tie-rod needs to be inside the ball joint assembly several turns. If you think the tie-rod needs several turns to be corrected, you are probably doing something wrong, or the alignment or steering is badly shot, or both. In that case, do consult a professional mechanic.

    Rear toe-in:

    Rear toe-in, just as rear camber, is the result of the way the rear axle assembly was put together in the factory, plus any unusual forces that may have been applied since.
    Although we can not adjust the rear, we can easily take accurate measure!
    For rear camber, see the thread "Camber how to...".
    For rear toe-in, we set up the target in the front, with the steering turned exactly forward. The marks made while adjusting the front are also valid for this job and important! Apply the laser to at least one front wheel and set up the target lathe, as if you were going to do the front.
    With the lathe up front in the correct position, lay the laser on the hump of one rear wheel. It very likely will not hit the mark, but point much further inwards. With a box of well-sorted drillbits handy, put a drillbit one after one between the hump and the laser, until the beam hits the target mark. For every 4mm of drillbit placed between laser and hump, the angle of the laser will change by one degree. That way you can calculate how much it is off mark, and if it is within specs.

    Btw, front caster can be measured by means of an inclinometer placed on the front part of the strut.
    Refer to thread camber how to measure and adjust.

    The specs of the front according to the manual:
    Toe-in Standard value at the center of tire tread mm (in)
    0 +- 3mm (0.0 +- 0.11)
    Camber 005' +- 045'
    Caster 400' +- 045'
    For camber and caster, difference between right and left wheels must be 0 30' or less

    The specs of the rear according to the manual:
    Camber -100' +-045' *
    At the center of tire tread mm (in)
    2.5 +- 3 (0.10 +-0.12)
    NOTE: Difference between right and left wheels must be 0 30' or less

    Last edited by foama; 06-28-2020 at 08:28 AM.

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  3. #2
    House Elf Eggman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by foama View Post
    (about 10” to 12” in medieval measures)


        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2015 Mirage ES 1.2 manual: 49.7 mpg (US) ... 21.1 km/L ... 4.7 L/100 km ... 59.7 mpg (Imp)

  4. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eggman View Post
    The International Standards Organisation was founded in 1860, and by 1861 all weights and measures were standardized. All medieval nonsense, like the dukes foot, king's arm, wheet-bushell, barley-bushell, pints, pitchers, gallons, gills, fathoms, queen's nose, etc was abolished. Practically everyone embraced the universal metric system.

    Its hard to believe that since 1860 the word has not gotten around to North Korea, Liberia and the USA, these being the last three countries on the face of this planet that have each retained their own and fully incompatable version of some archaic medieval system.
    Last edited by foama; 06-28-2020 at 08:35 AM.

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    Great post!

    Added to:

    Mirage Modifications, Customizations, and DIY list

    Custom Mirage products: Cruise control kit, Glove box light, MAF sensor housing, Rear sway bar, Upper grill block

    Current project: DIY Nitrous oxide setup for ~$100


        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2015 Mirage DE 1.2 manual: 47.2 mpg (US) ... 20.1 km/L ... 5.0 L/100 km ... 56.7 mpg (Imp)

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