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Old 03-28-2008, 10:34 PM   #1
triguy
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Join Date: Oct 2002
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Location: Carlsbad, CA
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2002 WRX Wagon
2.5L Crawford, 6 spd

Default Got Fastrax alignment tool- need advise from DIYers

I opted to stop paying a shop to do alignments and picked up a Fastrax alignment tool. It's easy to measure camber, caster, and toe with it. However, getting camber settings where I want it has been a time consuming repetitive process and I would appreciate any tips on shortcuts. I've just done the rear so far. The top hats are Grp-Ns and the coilovers are KWV3s which have a slotted bolt opening to adjust camber.

The Fastrax tools mounts to the wheel. I measured the camber setting and determined if negative camber needed to be added or reduced to get to the desired setting. Then I jacked up the car, removed the wheel, loosened the strut bolts, nudged or pulled on the hub with my hands to where I thought it would match the desired setting, tightened the struts bolts, put the wheel back on, lowered and rolled the car, and then measured the camber setting. If it was off -- and frequently it was -- I would repeat the process again until after the fifth time, I got it where I wanted it. Often I got within .25 degrees of where I wanted the camber to be but it was hard to make precise counter adjustments when nudging or pulling the hubs and I would overshoot the target.
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Old 03-28-2008, 10:55 PM   #2
makofoto
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Default

Gary:

No Camber Plates?

You gotta have Camber Plates to be more accurate, easily.

Quarter degree is way accurate enough however. Those devices can drive you unnecessarily crazy.

How is your floor? All that trying to be accurate is for naught if your floor isn't true. Very few floors are.

You need a 6' long metal square section tubing (I got my very stiff steel section at Osh) and a couple of raisers to get it off the floor. I use a couple of plumbing connectors about an inch high. Put the raisers where you tires would be, tubing across that, level it using vinyl flooring squares. Mark where the tires would be and how many squares you need to make level. Do that for the front and back. Now check your camber.
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Old 03-29-2008, 01:42 AM   #3
triguy
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2002 WRX Wagon
2.5L Crawford, 6 spd

Default

Hey Mako:

Camber plates in the rear would make it so much easier. Glad I have them in front! The slotted coilovers in the rear offer camber adjustability with the drawback of having to uber tighten them to stay in place.

I like your suggestion for achieving a level surface. My garage floor is fairly level depending on where I park. I calibrate the Fastrax unit to the floor location next to the tire before measuring camber and then I move the car, calibrate the Fasttrax again, and repeat the measurements to make sure they are consistent.
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Old 03-29-2008, 10:27 AM   #4
Aaron B
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The best way I've found yet to level your floor is to pick up an inexpensive laser level from sears and a pack of shingles (flooring tile, of course, work also).

Pull into your garage just behind the closest to level spot where you plan on aligning your car and place a shingle in front of each tire. Back the car out of the garage, shut the door and set up the laser. Go around to each shingle with a tape measure and see how many shingle you'll need to add to each spot to raise up to the shingle in the highest spot. You can easily get you alignment spot to within 1/8" level all around by using this method, same as what shop alignment racks are leveled to.

Make sure all your tires are properly inflated, a low tire can throw off the angle at which your car is sitting and thus the camber all around. Mount your camber gauge to the wheel and get a reading. From there you can adjust as needed, either by adjust the camber plate or taking the wheel off to get at the camber bolt. Make an adjustment, get the car back on the ground, roll it back and forth and bounce the suspension to settle everything and take another reading. Repeat as necessary.

You can get just as an accurate adjustment from camber bolts as from plates, it just takes a little more work; pulling the wheel off instead of just taking the load off the plate.

Another little trick I like to use is to put a couple folded over plastic bags under each tire. This takes some of the friction out and allows you to bounce the car and settle the suspension easier as well as making toe adjustments easier.

I use crash bolts in on my rears for camber adjustment, a little easier to be more accurate than with the slots. Have you tried not loosening your bolts quite as much and just tapping on the strut with a rubber mallet to make small adjustments?
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Old 03-29-2008, 11:05 AM   #5
qcslvr30
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On my KW's in the rear, I keep the bottom bolt fairly tight and loosen the top bolt. I then use a mallett like suggested above to make small changes. It only took me two years to come up with a good reliable system.

I also check the rear camber frequently as I've had it slip occasionally after running on some bumpy courses.


James
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Old 03-29-2008, 02:16 PM   #6
triguy
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2002 WRX Wagon
2.5L Crawford, 6 spd

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Thanks for the tips Aaron B and Qcslvr30. With the slotted openings in the KWs in the rear, I kept the lower bolt tight as well. I'll try the rubber mallet tap method.
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Old 03-29-2008, 02:36 PM   #7
Storm
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iirc...that camber gauge can be zeroed to the floor.

Jay
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