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Looking for alignment/toe-in tutorial
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Keithinky
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 7:41 am    Post subject: Looking for alignment/toe-in tutorial Reply with quote

Hey guys, I have searched and come up with lots of different ways to align bus- parts of each I understand parts I don't.

I was wondering if there is a tutorial/step by step guide for aligning and adjusting toe-in. My front tires are bald on the outside but nearly new looking on inside. '71 passenger /station wagon bus. (Purchased it in this cond.- getting new tires installed this week front 195 rear 205)

Thanks, Keith
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Wildthings
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 9:25 am    Post subject: Re: Looking for alignment/toe-in tutorial Reply with quote

There are certain tutorials on setting the toe both here on The Samba and other where on line. A search should turn one up easily enough.

I just use a 1" wide tape measure to check the distance between two rows of tread blocks instead of any fancy tools. Works plenty well enough.

Double the amount of toe as given in inches in the book when measuring the toe at the tread, as the book gives the number for measuring the toe at the wheel diameter.
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Tom Powell Premium Member
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 10:09 am    Post subject: Re: Looking for alignment/toe-in tutorial Reply with quote

Tom Powell wrote:
A spring tension curtain rod from Amazon https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00MBENV68/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&th=1

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A bit fuzzy in the photo, but the distance between the mark on the inner part of the rod and the outer part of the rod is 1/8"

The method:
Checked 9 and 3 o'clock positions on the wheels. Front of the wheel first and marked the inner part of the rod with tape where the outer part of the rod overlapped. Moved to the back of the tire and noted the distance from the mark to the outer part of the rod rod. 1/8" Bentley specs are 1/8"1/8" at the wheel rim. I consider my toe in on the better side of the Bentley specs.

Aloha
tp
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TomWesty
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 10:17 am    Post subject: Re: Looking for alignment/toe-in tutorial Reply with quote

Tom, that is a wee bit of genius there. Cool
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Keithinky
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 1:43 pm    Post subject: Re: Looking for alignment/toe-in tutorial Reply with quote

I saw and read this post on another thread using the rod. I must be slow on the uptake or steps missing- don't understand.
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TomWesty
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 3:49 pm    Post subject: Re: Looking for alignment/toe-in tutorial Reply with quote

It took me a bit to understand it too. Basically, you want the gap between the front rims toward the rear of the vehicle to be 0 to 1/8" greater than the gap between the front rims toward the front of the vehicle. Ideally, this should be done by marking the rims at the front, measuring the gap and then rolling forward a half turn and measuring the gap again when the marks are at the rear and adjusting your tie rod accordingly to make the rear gap within tolerances. I believe Tom's method is base on the assumption that your wheels run straight and true on their axles or you would have noticed that, so no need to roll forward a half turn, just measure them with the expandable rod at the front, mark where the inner and outer parts of the expandable rod overlap. Ideally where they overlap should be 0 to 1/8" greater when the rod is moved to the rear of the front rims. Hope this helps and I didn't further confuse the issue.
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Tom Powell Premium Member
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 5:17 pm    Post subject: Re: Looking for alignment/toe-in tutorial Reply with quote

I understood it TW. Thanks for the help.

Aloha
tp
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Keithinky
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 6:19 pm    Post subject: Re: Looking for alignment/toe-in tutorial Reply with quote

Thank you.
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lil-jinx
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 9:23 pm    Post subject: Re: Looking for alignment/toe-in tutorial Reply with quote

Jack the front up,take a can of spray paint and aim it at the center of the tire then spin the tire to paint a band all around the tire,do both tires,then take a scribe and hold it against the tire where you painted,spin the tire to leave a mark all around the tires,the mark should meet at the end,this will give you a true reference point on the tire.Then lower the jack and roll he bus forward 4 or 5 feet,then get a helper and measure the distance between the marks at the front and back of the 2 tires.You want the front distance to be less then the rear by 1/8 or less,that is toe-in.this should be done with the bus loaded as it is when your driving it,driver and passenger weight on the seats.
If you need to make adjustments you adjust the tie rod on the passenger side by turning it in or out [longer/shorter]longer will move tire rear out ward.It takes very little adjustment to change the distance.
If the toe adjustment is off your tire will wear in a saw tooth pattern,meaning if you rub your hand across the tire you will feel a edge at the tread lines.After adjusting the tow move the bus 4 or 5 feet again and recheck.Sounds like you may have a camber problem,with both tires wearing on the outside.
Why are you going to use different size tires front and rear?
Check all components before doing any adjustments.

You can omit the paint step,I just find it easier to see the scribe line if it's painted.
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Keithinky
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 6:34 am    Post subject: Re: Looking for alignment/toe-in tutorial Reply with quote

Lil-jinx, perfect thanks. The front tires are only wearing on the outside. Inside of tires look new. It does seem when driving a pulling to the right, have to hold a little pressure to the left.
Different size tires, it's what the previous owner had on the bus. One of the rear tires, 205,was just replaced- I am only replacing 1 rear 205 75 r14 and both front 195 75 r14.
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Wildthings
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 8:28 am    Post subject: Re: Looking for alignment/toe-in tutorial Reply with quote

Keithinky wrote:
Lil-jinx, perfect thanks. The front tires are only wearing on the outside. Inside of tires look new. It does seem when driving a pulling to the right, have to hold a little pressure to the left.
Different size tires, it's what the previous owner had on the bus. One of the rear tires, 205,was just replaced- I am only replacing 1 rear 205 75 r14 and both front 195 75 r14.


Since you have some pulling going on you might have an imbalance in your camber, it could also be a problem with your front tires. I doubt that your camber is off enough to cause both tires to wear badly though. If they were that far out you would be able to look at them and see that they were leaning excessively.

Checking the camber is easy enough as well but it requires a dead level surface to do it right. The only tool that is needed is a short level and a home made fixture to set against the rim, this can easily be made from a short section of 2x4. You want the camber to be the same on both sides to prevent pull, it is much less important that the camber be within spec, as this is often not possible with the limited adjustment available. You want to keep the camber eccentric to be within 45 of dead ahead, if you turn them more to the side than this you will loose a lot of caster while gaining very little additional camber.

If you are going to go with a car tire then a P215/70r14 will carry more load than a P205/75r14 and while being essentially the same rolling diameter.
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Wasted youth
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 1:48 am    Post subject: Re: Looking for alignment/toe-in tutorial Reply with quote

I just finished rebuilding about 90% of my front beam. I chose not to replace the drag link center pin assembly due to my feeling that it was tight and without any slop. I have the Febi kit, but didn't get any feedback when I posed the question about it in my 'build' thread. It felt pretty tight and smooth, so I elected to hold onto the kit.

I did not replace the torsion arm needle bearings, either. Pretty much everything else was replaced. Front beam completely lubed until grease weeped out, and all wheel bearings were serviced prior to the bus being sidelined. Front shocks are good and rear shocks are new.

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I also checked Bentley and rotated the upper ball joint eccentric so the notch points forward, as a starting point.

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I used a floating protractor to check camber. I am not sure if I am doing this right... I measured both sides, recorded 90* Driver side and 88* Passenger side, then rolled bus forward to get the next reading 180* out. I got 91* Driver side and 89* Passenger side. But my protractor is meant for a Carpenter, not an alignment shop, so critical accuracy is not there.

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I then tried to check out toe-in, but did not completely understand the procedure Bentley described, only the general idea that the leading edges of the front tires should each point inward just a little, like a pigeon-toed kid. I did not do it the way you guys mentioned, so I was thinking that may be an issue. I transferred my adjusted length off the old tie rod to the new one, and my measuring consisted of a straight edge along the outside of the tire to the car body, then I rolled out the adjustable tied rod end one and a half turns assuming it would squeeze in the leading edge of the tires, giving me a little toe-in.

Arrow My steering at all speeds is vastly improved, no doubt! But it's not like I dreamed it would be...

I still feel the need to frequently... but gently and just slightly... correct the steering. It is much more responsive now to my corrections, and the bus floats straight at highway speeds for several seconds if I take my hands off the wheel before I need to correct. The steering wheel always wants to go back to center after a turn, and the overall feeling is far tighter than it used to be. I used to 'white knuckle' it when I was faster than 50 MPH because the steering was so bad.

Idea Could the need to frequently correct be attributed to incorrect toe in? I am pretty sure the camber is good... both wheels are nearly 90* vertical.

Or could this be attributed to the drag link center pin assembly? I have no problem changing that out, it just felt really good when I played with it with the tie rods removed.

Or am just being hyper-sensitive to the situation now that I just did all this work and am finally driving a car with 40+ year old manual steering? Razz
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Wildthings
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 5:12 am    Post subject: Re: Looking for alignment/toe-in tutorial Reply with quote

You really need to get your camber and toe correct. To set the camber you need to front end of the bus to be level side to side within a 1/16" or so, this can require the use of shims under the tires, like squares of vinyl floor tiles. I consider the camber correct when both sides are the same as you often can't get both side to the factory spec.

I would guess that your toe is pretty excessive at this point. You need to use a tape measure or something like the rod shown to get the tires to point about 1/16" closer at the front than the back when measured at the rim or 1/8" when measured at the tread.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 6:33 am    Post subject: Re: Looking for alignment/toe-in tutorial Reply with quote

One and a half turns at the tie rod end would probably give you about 3/4 at the front of the tire.
Google "adjusting toe'' there is a lot of info on it and several youtube vidios.
I like to scribe the tire around the thread,that give me a true center line,where as the tire side wall or even the wheel may not be running true.
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SGKent Premium Member
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 7:09 am    Post subject: Re: Looking for alignment/toe-in tutorial Reply with quote

Steve - the easiest and most accurate way to set toe is.

(1) Assuming you have one solid tie rod and one adjustable one.

(2) jack the front end of the bus up

(3) Grab a can of white, or silver, or yellow - something light colored spray paint.

(4) spin each front tire and spray a light amount of paint on the center of the tire tread. You can also use railroad chalk instead and it comes off quicker.

(5) Drive a nail thru an old piece of board, maybe 10" x 10' or whatever

(6) Bend the nail a little

(7) lower the bus until the tires just clear the ground. Use the nail tip to scribe a line somewhere near the center of the tire while you spin the tire. The line should start and come back onto itself so you know you are holding the nail true. Do this to each tire.

(Cool Put the scribe in a safe place so you don't sit on it Smile and lower the bus all the way to the ground. Bounce the front a couple times and roll it 2 - 4 feet and back to set the tires.

(9) using a tape, stick of wood an pencil or any other measuring method you wish, measure the distance between the front tires on using those scribed lines about 1/3 the way up the tire. Do the same on the back. The difference is toe-in or toe-out. If the front is narrower that is tow-in. If the front is wider that is toe-out. Adjust the single tie rod until the toe in is about 1/8". Tighten the lock nut on the tie rod and you are done.

Technically camber can be done the same way but it only works on a formula car or go cart where the tops of the wheels are exposed and can be measured between. To change caster the only real way on a bus is to play with the bolts that hold the beam. For practical purposes it is set at the factory by the design.

Go test your bus. If the steering wheel is no longer centered when it drives make the adjustment at the drag link, or move the steering wheel on the steering post shaft if the gearbox is actually centered when the bus is going straight but the steering wheel is off.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 9:27 am    Post subject: Re: Looking for alignment/toe-in tutorial Reply with quote

Ok fellas, thanks! I'll regroup and report back.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 11:45 am    Post subject: Re: Looking for alignment/toe-in tutorial Reply with quote

SGKent wrote:
Steve - the easiest and most accurate way to set toe is. ...


... with a curtain rod.

Please excuse me for seeming to be rude and disrespectful to SGKent who is far more knowledgeable than I and a person who has given me much of the modicum of knowledge that I have gained, but a curtain rod seems to me far easier with no loss of accuracy. His explanations of the need to have the steering wheel spokes level while the steering box is on the high point and going straight down the street were a revelation to me. I did my best to satisfy those requirements after installing a rebuilt steering box and a new drag link that required full turn adjustments but could not resolve the spokes level requirement without two adjustable tie rods.

Aloha
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 11:57 am    Post subject: Re: Looking for alignment/toe-in tutorial Reply with quote

... with a curtain rod.

Well I never.
will buy this
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 12:57 pm    Post subject: Re: Looking for alignment/toe-in tutorial Reply with quote

tires are not perfect on the sidewalls. Nor are they parallel. Rims get runout in them over the years. It seems so much more trouble to find two guaranteed equal spots than measure with a tape or two sticks from a center line. That said I also own a track gauge so it is really easy to put the pointer on each line. Before the track gauge I used either two rulers or a tape. The result is the same.

Never had trouble getting the steering to run straight if the camber is also correct and the bus square. The first thing is find the center of the steering by the high spot, and verify it is about equal turns lock to lock from center as well. If need be make the steering wheel straight on the steering shaft at that point. That way the straight steering wheel is dead center on the high spot on the gear. (Set the pointer straight too because it isn't always correct, it is just a rubber grommet with a mark that VW slide on. Over the years it can get off. Usually I pull the bus straight into the garage with the wheel where it wants to center at that point, then move the drag link to center the wheel, then fine tune it one way or the other after a test drive.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 1:23 pm    Post subject: Re: Looking for alignment/toe-in tutorial Reply with quote

Steve, to your point on centering the steering box and wheel...

In the past with my other buses, I got into the habit of letting the bus find its own happy center spot on a drive. Then, I popped off the steering wheel and reset it.

By doing that, am I in danger of actually missing the center point of the box?

Said another way, if the steering box is somehow off in travel from left to right, and I reset the steering wheel only, I'm fooling myself?

Question if the rubber cap (my 1973 bus) has been disturbed, to reset it, do I calculate the difference in revolutions L to R and reset the pointer halfway back?
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