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Suspension 2nd Gen Dodge Ram Suspension Problems and Questions


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  #1  
Old 07-30-2012, 07:09 AM
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Default DIY Front End Alignment ?

My truck really needs a front end alignment, but I do everything on my truck. I don't trust any shop to mess with my truck.
Does anyone know how to perform a front end alignment?
If so, are there any special tools that I would need?
Something new I need to learn.
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Old 07-30-2012, 07:26 AM
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for a correct front end alignment yeah you would need the whole alignment setup but Im pretty sure it just hand tools. the best way to do it is take chalk and make as level as a line as you can across the tread of the front tires (make the line about 3 inches wide) drive a couple of feet so that the chalk wears off. you will be able to see if the tires are angled in or out and you can adjust from their
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Old 07-30-2012, 10:15 AM
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For alignment you can get it pretty close using this method:

Since the truck has a fixed solid rear axle(should stay pretty much aligned forever) you can use the rear as a reference. Get two concrete masonry blocks and put one behind the truck on one side and one in front of the truck on one side. Run a string between the blocks. Then move the blocks and position them so that the string runs flat across the rear wheel/tire(can clamp a piece of plywood onto the wheel/tire if needed) and then adjust the front alignment so the string lays flat across the front wheel.

I haven't found a real good way for checking camber but that normally isn't a problem as most vehicles anymore have double wishbone suspension.

All that said, an alignment is about $60 and I'll just take it in lol. It takes a good while to DIY and get it close.
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Old 07-31-2012, 09:03 AM
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Yeah, I have been reading a lot and talking to people. Seems kind of difficult for someone whose never done anything like it. I might just take her in and have it done. I think it's pretty far off because when I'm driving down the road, my tires are straight but my steering wheel is almost half way turned.
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Old 07-31-2012, 09:09 AM
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Yeah and make sure when they do the alignment they adjust that. You want the steering wheel to be centered straight when driving straight.
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Old 07-31-2012, 09:58 AM
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Anytime before I do any front end work I take a measurement to the center of the front tires, mark them with a vertical line, and write it on the inside of the tire (Example 64 1/4 inches) so I have a reference point.

As Sean said you can use the string and bricks. Then you'll have to center the steering wheel and start making adjustments to both sides.
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Old 08-02-2012, 02:58 AM
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The correct way is to have a pair of caster/camber gauges that mount on the spindle and two rotating wheel plates so you can check your caster specs at 20 degrees right and left.

That said, you can use an angle finder to set the camber if you can find a way to temporarily mount it to each front wheel... a piece of steel stock the diameter of the wheel should do it.

You can set the toe-in using a chalk to mark the center of the tire... hold it on the tire and have someone rotate it so the mark is at the same place all around the tire. Then use a tape measure on the front and back of the tire, at the same level, to measure toe.

I just eyeballed my front end after lowering it and replacing the ball joints. I need to elongate the adjusting slots on the spring tower so I can get more negative camber on the wheels.... after I do that I'll take it to my local alignment shop so it's done right.
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Old 08-02-2012, 04:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nck View Post
I don't trust any shop to mess with my truck.
I trust the older guys who have been doing alignments for a living for 30-40 years. There are 2 shops I've gone to which do alignments and nothing else & you'll not match their adjustments with your own. I've used the string-line method before & got the alignment as good as you can get it that way, but still wore the outside edges off the front tires on a long highway trip -- I will not make that mistake again. You can be off a 64th of an inch & that'll affect your steering & tire wear both. I'd still string-line in a pinch, like if I hit something off-road hard enough to throw the alignment off, but that would just be a stop-gap measure until I could get to a professional alignment shop.
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Old 08-02-2012, 08:56 AM
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My problem with other people working on my vehicles isn't that they aren't capable of doing their job but they aren't capable of respecting my property and not scratching the paint, getting grease inside the cab, etc. When I had new tires put on my wheels and got brand new chrome lug nuts(handed to the tire guy still in the box) the guy opened the box of lug nuts and dumped them on the concrete from waist high. They were like $60. I do everything myself except for tires and alignments, but I'm pretty close to doing both of those myself as well...
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