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DIY alignment vs. shop alignment

Wirenut

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1993
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Ford Ranger
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Manual
2WD / 4WD
2WD
I haven't had much luck with alignments and TIB suspension, maybe because the 2-piece bushings confuse the techs, even when I go to a truck specialist and leave the instruction sheet and charts out for them, but that's generally been my experience with mechanics in general. Most recently, I had a brake hose leak when my tools were in storage so I brought it to a shop with a lot of Rangers out front thinking they'd do well but found they tried to used hose clamps to secure the hoses instead of the clips.

Tired of that, I bought a DIY alignment setup for after being run off the road by UPS and it's pretty easy to use, far better than past attempts at stringing, the downfall being that it only measures total toe and it doesn't fix boogered tie rods either. Maybe after getting new ones I'll try a another shop, but I'm definitely going to see what I can do first.
 


SenorNoob

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1988
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Ford
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4.0
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
1.5" Front + 4" Rear
Tire Size
245-70-R16
I had good luck just a couple days ago with a small level placed on the brake rotor. I put the jack under the radius arm pivot bolt.

Seems changing the front shocks, (I had one that did return to extended and one that didn't.) dramatically changed my ride height. Enough to cause the innermost tread block to be gone in a few hundred miles.

It's still a little off, but I was doing on an unlevel surface too.
 

Eddo Rogue

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skyjacker front leveling kit
Tire Size
31-10.50R15
My credo
Crossed threads are tight threads.
I had good luck just a couple days ago with a small level placed on the brake rotor. I put the jack under the radius arm pivot bolt.

Seems changing the front shocks, (I had one that did return to extended and one that didn't.) dramatically changed my ride height. Enough to cause the innermost tread block to be gone in a few hundred miles.

It's still a little off, but I was doing on an unlevel surface too.
My leveling kit did the same thing. Camber is easier to mess with eyeballing, its the toeing that's tricky. I do try to get it all in the ball park before driving it to a shop.
 

bobbywalter

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woodhaven mi
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sawzall?
Tire Size
33-44
My credo
it is easier to fix and understand than "her"
It's always better to be lucky than good. I'm glad it's worked for you but I notice your not from an area that experiences frost heaves.
My hourly alignment techs never had a problem doing good alignments on TTB/TIB front ends and we straightened out a bunch of set-the-toe-and-let-it-go tire store alignments. The key to any alignment is SET EVERYTHING TO PREFERRED and that requires allowing the tech to spend the time without beating him up for taking too long.

I grew up with hunter and Baer racks...old school projectors.


I love the new systems, though I have not used the latest.

With stock unlifted or mildly lifted trucks with oem suspension parts...or stock high performance street cars.. shops usually do the work.....no problem.


Most places won't even put my trucks on a rack when I want base measurements.

But....I have 30k on my snows. And they look great.

NOT LUCK
 

Eddo Rogue

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4.0 V6
Engine Size
OHV
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
skyjacker front leveling kit
Tire Size
31-10.50R15
My credo
Crossed threads are tight threads.
I could throw a rock and hit an alignment shop around here, but most will only do mostly stock vehicles. There are a few that can do modified or custom stuff. For big tire and suspension trucks, there are a few off road shops that have a rack and do in house alignments. The local 4wheelparts is a little corporate or whatever, but they wont bat an eye at an alignment for your beater mud truck on dana 60's and 44" boggers.
 

cbxer55

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Well, July 2018, my friend James and I did my front suspension. All new uppers and lowers with tie rod parts. We took measurements and put it all back together using those measurements. I tried to find a shop to do it within the time limits my job allows me. "Make an appointment" was the word at all of them, even the one down the street that had no vehicles in his shop, and he was kickin back drinkun covfefe and reading the paper. I told him "**** it, I'll do it myself!" So, I just let it be. Three years later, same front tires on the truck, 30,000 miles on them, no unusual wear or anything. I don't rotate my tires, perse, because I have wider tires on the back than the front. What I do is take them off, throw them in the Lightning, take them to my friend's shop, and have him turn the tires inside-out every 10,000 miles or so. Same with the Lightning since it also has staggered rims and tires. Mustang will soon have staggered rims and tires as well.
 

sebastian323

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My truck seems to drive pretty straight without much correction, but the steering wheel sits at an angle if I want to go straight. Can i take the steering wheel off and rotate it by a few splines as a quick remedy to the problem ?
 

ericbphoto

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Total Lift
6"
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35"
My credo
In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are different.
My truck seems to drive pretty straight without much correction, but the steering wheel sits at an angle if I want to go straight. Can i take the steering wheel off and rotate it by a few splines as a quick remedy to the problem ?
That is corrected by adjusting the tie rod ends an equal amount on each side.
 

cbxer55

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My truck seems to drive pretty straight without much correction, but the steering wheel sits at an angle if I want to go straight. Can i take the steering wheel off and rotate it by a few splines as a quick remedy to the problem ?
With the airbag, I don't know that I'd mess with it. You could always take the front tires off, remove the cotter pins on the tie rod ends, then turn those to re-center the wheel. If the wheel is tilted to the left, you'd make the left one longer and the right one shorter. My steering wheel was off after the front end was rebuilt in July 2018, and that's how I fixed it.
 

AndyB.

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On my ‘85, the steering wheel and steering shaft have two flats. So, moving it a spline tooth over is t really an option.
 

ericbphoto

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Make / Model
Ford Ranger
Engine Type
3.0 V6
Engine Size
3.0L
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
6"
Tire Size
35"
My credo
In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are different.
With the airbag, I don't know that I'd mess with it. You could always take the front tires off, remove the cotter pins on the tie rod ends, then turn those to re-center the wheel. If the wheel is tilted to the left, you'd make the left one longer and the right one shorter. My steering wheel was off after the front end was rebuilt in July 2018, and that's how I fixed it.
Should be able to do it with wheels on. No cotter pins. Just locknuts on the adjusting collars. Remember. Half of that stuff on the tie rods/ends is left-hand threads. That's important when you try to loosen the locknuts.
 

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