DIY front end alignment - Page 2 - Mazda3 Forums : The #1 Mazda 3 Forum
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-17-2016, 03:45 PM
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The factory spec for every car I have ever done an alignment on is toed in or 0 toe, never toed out. Most tire wear issues are due to the inner tread wearing out first because of toe out so its always better to set the toe in rather than out, even if its slight. I honestly had no idea the track width was different between the front and rear of the vehicle, not that it matters as there is no place to enter track width into the alignment machine and if you are using strings then as long as your measured width between the strings is exactly the same front and rear and squared up relative to the car then there should be no issues.

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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-17-2016, 08:31 PM
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Originally Posted by madmatt2024 View Post
The factory spec for every car I have ever done an alignment on is toed in or 0 toe, never toed out.
That's true. However setting it exactly at spec is not always desirable, depending on how you like to drive.

Tire Tech Information - Alignment

If you scroll down to "Toe" you will see that some negative toe is desirable on front wheel drive vehicles. Besides, if I took it back to the rack, his machine will green light it anyway since it shows a left/right range of between -0.09* and +0.28* with my wheels being around -0.015* each. Total toe range on his printout is -0.18* to +0.55*. At -0.033* total toe, I'm well within that.

At factory spec it's okay, but the response in the steering is much sharper at a total toe out of 2'. At 50-60 MPH I should be pretty close to 0.0* toe.

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if you are using strings then as long as your measured width between the strings is exactly the same front and rear and squared up relative to the car then there should be no issues.
Yes if you measure the distance at the chair corners and not the wheels, or, compensate about 5/16 on each rear wheel, then yes. The OP didn't say he did that. He said he measured off of the rear wheels and matched the measurement up front which of course cannot be correct because of the difference in tracking rear to front. Referencing the rear wheels without compensating for rear tracking would set up a trapezoid in the string.

My other car is a Honda Civic...
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-17-2016, 08:39 PM
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no you most certainly always want some form of toe, albeit not much, otherwise you will discover what wandering is, and it isn't a good thing, at all.
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-18-2016, 03:04 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by remnant01 View Post
That's true. However setting it exactly at spec is not always desirable, depending on how you like to drive.

Tire Tech Information - Alignment

If you scroll down to "Toe" you will see that some negative toe is desirable on front wheel drive vehicles. Besides, if I took it back to the rack, his machine will green light it anyway since it shows a left/right range of between -0.09* and +0.28* with my wheels being around -0.015* each. Total toe range on his printout is -0.18* to +0.55*. At -0.033* total toe, I'm well within that.

At factory spec it's okay, but the response in the steering is much sharper at a total toe out of 2'. At 50-60 MPH I should be pretty close to 0.0* toe.



Yes if you measure the distance at the chair corners and not the wheels, or, compensate about 5/16 on each rear wheel, then yes. The OP didn't say he did that. He said he measured off of the rear wheels and matched the measurement up front which of course cannot be correct because of the difference in tracking rear to front. Referencing the rear wheels without compensating for rear tracking would set up a trapezoid in the string.
You are absolutely correct, and I never came back and corrected my post. The proper way to follow the above procedure would be with two dowels at least 6 feet long, with pilot holes for the string at exact distances. This way you know you are dealing with a true square. Compare front sides and rear sides separately, and as long as they are equal from left to right, the distance values don't matter front to rear (might be 1.245" from the rear wheels on both sides, and 1.361" from the front wheels on both sides).

And again, anyone that can't use a little clever ingenuity and recognize details like this should definitely not be adjusting their own toe. This was merely to spark some inspiration for how it may be done. And thanks for the info on the device you found, I'll be looking into that!


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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-18-2016, 09:23 PM
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My 04 Civic has the same track of 57.8 inches front and back and it's a snap to set with a string. My problem with a first gen 3 is that Mazda says the track is 17mm less in the rear, which is 8.5mm on each wheel. Half a millimeter isn't much but with all the variables in consideration it does make it hard to set the string. It's a lot of fussing around until you are confident that you have it right. You can do it, but it's a real PITA.

For the front end which we are most often concerned with, the Trackace eliminates all of that. If you lock the steering wheel level, you can set total toe without much hassle.

It would be nice if it could be used on the rear wheels as well, and I am tossing around a few ideas on that. It's not a Hunter, but it is pretty accurate and takes much less time to set up.

BTW on the Civic my steering wheel was at 12:30 which really ticked me off. By leveling the wheel and stringing it I was able to determine that the left wheel was toed out and the right wheel was toed in. I set the left wheel to the string and using the Trackace for final adjustments on the right, I had a nice level wheel and ended up with a total toe in of about 3' or +0.05*. Pretty good tool for a hundred bucks.

My other car is a Honda Civic...
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