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DIY Wheel Alignment

Help, Advice, Owners' Discussion and DIY Tutorials on Volvo's stylish, distinctive "P2" platform cars.

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Oka
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Oka

DIY Wheel Alignment

Post by Oka » Fri May 03, 2019 12:25 am

Hello folks, With three cars to work on. What would be the practical method to do wheel alignments?
- Pay for the service on all cars?
- Use home made contraption (magnet, rope, etc)?
- Buy a cheep alignment tool kit?
Thanks.


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tardcart
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tardcart

Re: DIY Wheel Alignment

Post by tardcart » Fri May 03, 2019 4:34 am

couple of thoughts.. You cant really get a good alignment done if you go to any of the shops like STS tire etc. that pay by the job flat rate. an older car will have frozen end links and they will just hand it back to you the same as before with a bill. The only thing that can be adjusted is toe in. You can get pretty close sighting down the front tire to a half inch stick set against the rear wheel. then do the same but opposite turns each side to center the steering wheel. The main problem is not having turntables under the front tires to allow the steering to relax into rolling position.
I payed 800 for a snap on optical alignment system from the 80's. I have seen them much cheaper. Its something like WA95.
finicky and dont know if bulbs are still available but very accurate. The turntables are the expensive part since racers use them for set up. You have to have a dark garage to see the marks. wish it had a laser. It doesn't get used much, twice in 10 years so that 400 per alignment. If I had used it 6 times it would have paid for itself. It does take up some space and you really need a lift to use the stools that come with it, but you could just work on the floor though its hard to get at the end links.



cn90
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cn90

Re: DIY Wheel Alignment

Post by cn90 » Fri May 03, 2019 6:39 am

Tricks...

- Remove the wheels and spray PB Blaster on the frozen nuts. Then use Propane Torch to heat the frozen nuts. Then loosen the nuts first.

- Re-install the wheels.

- Search forum for the DIY I posted. Basically:

* Flat garage floor.
* Straight Edge + Carpenter Square.
* Plumb Bob + String.
* Masking Tape on garage floor.

The important thing is the difference between the fore and aft parts of the tires.

This is just basic high-school geometry.


2004 V70 2.5T 100K+
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oragex
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oragex

Re: DIY Wheel Alignment

Post by oragex » Fri May 03, 2019 7:03 am

I've been doing the front geometry myself for the past 15 years. Considering my tires have uniform wear, I guess I'm doing it fine.

It is very easy actually, seems a little rough, but it works - at least for me. There is two things I'm looking for: have the front wheels parallel, and have the steering wheel centered while driving. It may take a few tie rod adjustments and then drives to have all these correct.

These are older videos, less well filmed, but they explain a little how I work

I'm not sure if I mention in the videos, but if the nut is stuck, can use a long pry par put on the subframe and pressing on the wrench, to loosen the nut. I usually tighten these nuts not too much, so it's easier to undo the next time.

As for the camber at the strut upper bolt, I usually set the most positive camber and forget it. I haven't seen any clear differences changing this camber setting

Side note: I started doing this after being cheated by three garages who in fact never touched the geometry because a nut was seized







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chrism
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chrism

Re: DIY Wheel Alignment

Post by chrism » Fri May 03, 2019 7:33 am

I haven’t paid for a “professional” alignment in almost 30 years. The tape measure between the fronts of the wheels vs the trailing side of the wheels has given me the desired toe. Haven’t messed with camber too much but I’m considering making some sort of squaring tool that uses the garage floor as a reference plane.



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abscate
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abscate

Re: DIY Wheel Alignment

Post by abscate » Fri May 03, 2019 8:33 am

If you steer fine, and the wheel returns cleanly, leave camber alone. Its definitely a DFWI if the car handles well.


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oragex
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oragex

Re: DIY Wheel Alignment

Post by oragex » Fri May 03, 2019 10:12 am

Wanted to add, after hitting a pothole/curb/cat, usually having the steering wheel slightly turned to either side when going straight on highway, it's a good indication the geometry needs be done.


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DIY Volvo repairs videos https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=P ... s0FSVSOT_c

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matthew1
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matthew1

Re: DIY Wheel Alignment

Post by matthew1 » Fri May 03, 2019 10:40 am

cn90 wrote: ↑
Fri May 03, 2019 6:39 am
- Search forum for the DIY I posted.
CN90's DIY at home alignment


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