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MGB alignment

Posted by mbb765 
mbb765 Avatar
Mark B
Texas, USA   usa
1979 MG MGB

I have read some posts on this subject and I would like some input since I want to align my B with someone that knows what they are doing.

Toe-In is the only adjustment made on the later B's. I understand.

But buying that tool to align it yourself comparing the rear and forward rim distances= toe-in??..Should not a proper toe-in involve having the two wheels pointing to a common center point first? Truely you must make everything square and give it a reference to a common center before making any toe-in corrections. That tool is only a large vernier caliper and does not account for distortions along the logitudinal access.

What happens if both wheels are to the left or right and the toe-in is performed based on the distances? Spec. caster and camber must affect the angles and turning the wheels will cause unequal toe in from left to right. We are taking about 0.010" increments here...

There must be some alignment gurus out there that can explain?

Cheers.

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Naomi Avatar
Naomi C
Between Greensboro and Roanoke, USA   usa
1964 MG MGB "Kirby"
1979 MG MGB "Bandit"
1980 MG MGB "Robbie"
1995 Mazda Miata Special Edition
2003 Jaguar S-Type

mbb765 Wrote:
Quote: I have read some posts on this subject and I would like some input since I want to align my B with someone that knows what they are doing.
Toe-In is the only adjustment made on the later B's. Cheers.

And I just paid $59.00 for an alignment on my 80 MGB today. Sure wish I had know there is not adjustment. Guess I got took huh? Sorry about jumping in your thread but I just had to get that out after reading what you wrote. I'm sure the experts will jump in with the answers you need smiling smiley






"1964 MGB" (Kirby) All original pull handle MGB, 3 main, with overdrive, but a daily driver with all the dents and dings to prove it -- Titled in 1965~~

"1980 MGB" (Robbie) Even though it's a RB it does have overdrive, a Weber Carb, and is my favorite MGB. We have logged thousands of happy miles together ~~
underdog Avatar
Jim Underwood
Pittsburgh, USA   usa
1972 MG MGB
1980 Triumph TR8 "Fabulous Trashwagon"
1999 Chevrolet Corvette "Darth Vader"
1999 Chevrolet S10 "Spare Change"
2003 Jaguar S-Type "Eleanor"

Basically all that is done is center the rack, lock the steering wheel straight and set the toe equal amounts left to right. This is provideing the steering wheel hasn't been removed and put on off center. This can be checked easily by starting with the wheel straight and counting the turns left to right. Should be the same. The caster & camber don't effect the toe in. Hope this helps.
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ingoldsb Avatar
Terry Ingoldsby
Calgary, Alberta, Canada   can
1971 MG MGB

Toe-in is always set with the wheels straight ahead. Of course, it is a valid question how to know when the wheels are exactly straight ahead. The tolerances are loose enough that as long as the wheel is in the position where the car drives straight it is close enough.

Bear in mind that toe-in is 1/4" to 3/16" (if memory serves me correctly).

Something I've always wondered about is whether the measurement should be from the wheels or the tires. The professional gauges (which you drive over as you mount the alignment rack) clearly measure the tires.



Terry Ingoldsby
terry.ingoldsby@DCExperts.com
Kelly Engstrom Avatar
Stanwood, WA, USA   usa
1971 MG MGB GT "Bedouin"
1972 MG MGB GT

Toe-in setting is 1/16" to 1/8"
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BruceH Avatar
Bruce H
Norwell, MA, USA   usa

I centered the steering, and then took two yardsticks, one on each wheel parallel to the ground pointing forwards, and at a height of the center of the wheel. I measured the distance between the yardsticks at the front of the wheels, and at then at the back of the wheels. I adjusted toe in until the front wheels measurement was 3/16" less than the measurement taken at the back of the wheels.

Not sure if this is correct procedure, but the wheels are now toe in.
underdog Avatar
Jim Underwood
Pittsburgh, USA   usa
1972 MG MGB
1980 Triumph TR8 "Fabulous Trashwagon"
1999 Chevrolet Corvette "Darth Vader"
1999 Chevrolet S10 "Spare Change"
2003 Jaguar S-Type "Eleanor"

ingoldsb Wrote:
Quote:
Something I've always wondered about is whether the measurement should be from the wheels or the tires. The professional gauges (which you drive over as you mount the alignment rack) clearly measure the tires.

Interesting question. I've done it both ways. When I was a teen, I used to work in a garage where we would chalk the center of the tire and use a tool to scribe a line all the way around. Then another tool (sort of a tram gauge) would be used to check the diff from front to back. Really primitive but it worked WAY back then. After trade school, I had a job in an auto center and did alignments on a Hunter machine. It had projectors that clamped to the rim and shot a beam onto screens. They still use the beams but the newer ones are computerised.
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Greg Oakes
Illinois, USA   usa

Here's the sequence that worked for me:

Step 1. Find the rack center (close to 3 turns lock-to-lock as I recall). Mark the steering shaft and the pinion housing so you know where the point is.
Step 2. Go for a drive and determine where the steering wheel is pointed when the car is going straight down the road. Somehow mark and remember this steering wheel position. Note that it may or may not be aligned correctly.
Step 3. When you return from the drive compare the noted position of the steering wheel (when going straight) with that of the rack center. If you are lucky they will correspond. If not then start adjusting the outer ball joints (rotate both in the same direction) to correct. As I recal one complete rev of the ball joint equals about 3-4" of steering wheel rotation. Go for another drive to check. When you have the steering rack centered with the direction the car wants to drive then you are done. And still, the steering wheel may not be aligned.
Step 4. Now adjust the toe-in to 1/6 - 1/8" using tool of choice.
Step 5. If necessary pull the steering wheel and rotate so that it is properly aligned.
SURFIT Avatar
Mike Schultz
Zionsville, IN, USA   usa
1973 MG MGB

"What happens if both wheels are to the left or right and the toe-in is performed based on the distances? Spec. caster and camber must affect the angles and turning the wheels will cause unequal toe in from left to right. We are taking about 0.010" increments here..."

Then, your steering wheel will be off - - not centered - - that's it.

Make sure, when you adjust toe-in / toe-out, that you adjust both left &
right tie rod ends equally.



Mike

'73 MGB

Wiley1 Avatar
Alan Carpenter
Seattle, USA   usa
1973 MG MGB

I have a stick (1x2). I installed 4 screws with washers under the heads of the screws. 2 screws about 6 inches apart at each end. I took a coat hanger cut it in half and straightened the pieces.. Then I bent the hanger pieces in an L shape. Attach the coat hanger pieces to the 1 x 2 wood by inserting the hanger pieces under the washers under the screw heads. The idea is to have a long piece of wood with "pointers" (coat hanger ends) at each end. The put a piece of masking tape across the tread of each tire. Make a mark on the tape approximately at the center of the tread/tape. Place the stick under the car running side to side. Set the pointer ends so that they are directly in line with the marks on the tape - bend the "pointers" to get them to point at the right spot on the tape. Carefully slide the stick out from under the car without moving the "pointers". Roll the car forward so that the tape on the tires is now at the front. Place the pointers/stick across the front and the adjust the tie rod bars in or out to get the marks on the tape equally the same amount of toe in about 1/16 to 1/8 less than the measurement that was taken at the rear , first time around. REcheck. All done.
mbb765 Avatar
Mark B
Texas, USA   usa
1979 MG MGB

Thanks for the input.

All this tells me the car could still be "aligned" with the steering rack centered and toe correct...even though the front end components could be off. I will feel better with the whole system aligned...to compensate for the inconsitancies of the front end components even though I am tempted to do it myself and beat those potential money taker aligmnet shops.
Anyone know of a good alignment centre Houton? I got a quote of over $120 from a MG specialist. I said to myself "you have got to be kidding!!"

Thanks!



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/10/2008 06:59PM by mbb765.
bk Avatar
bk Platinum Member
Bill Kiger
Thomasville, NC, USA   usa
1971 MG MGB
1972 MG MGB
1973 MG MGB
1974 MG MGB GT
1974 MG MGB GT

Mark before you go spend any money check out this thread

http://www.mgexperience.net/phorum/read.php?1,469804,469818#msg-469818

Bill
ingoldsb Avatar
Terry Ingoldsby
Calgary, Alberta, Canada   can
1971 MG MGB

Quote: Toe-in setting is 1/16" to 1/8"

Well, so much for my memory smiling smiley I guess the 1/4" is the piston to cylinder wall clearance.

Quote: After trade school, I had a job in an auto center and did alignments on a Hunter machine. It had projectors that clamped to the rim and shot a beam onto screens.

That seems to settle it - the toe-in is supposed to be measured from the rims, not the tires.





Terry Ingoldsby
terry.ingoldsby@DCExperts.com
Alex Redding
Fredneck Md, USA   usa

A driveover alignment checker reads the tires & give you a 'PASS' or 'FAIL'. If it fails it needs to go on an alignment machine to be checked & adjusted properly.
Setting the toe by itself was acceptable technology in the 50s & 60s but is obsolete now. Think about it, if you just set the front you're assuming that the rear is square to the front. That can be a bit of a leap in a 30 year old car. You could have the toe set perfectly but if you're not tracking properly the steering wheel can be off center, the car could be pulling, & the tires wearing unevenly. For those reasons you want a 'Thrust' alignment that looks at the relationship between all 4 wheels. It's also not a bad idea to have someone who knows what they're looking at inspect the little darling for worn bushings & suspension parts. Before the horror stories begin, I'm not telling you to have it done @ a major retailer. Take it to a specialist who's familiar with our old cars.
Disclaimer; I work for Hunter Engineering though I dont sell alignment equipment


comart45 Avatar
Peter Cummins
Lansing,MI, USA   usa

Around 2000 I bought the toe in gauge tool from Moss. Works great except you just can't pass it under the car to measure the tires from the rear. I had to modify the cross bar to a "U" shape so it would clear the exhaust, engine etc. You have to lay it on it's side, pass under the car then flip it back upright. I figured that the cost of $30.00 was reasonable since having the toe in set at a shop cost about the same. Well off to work.
Speedracer Avatar
Hap Waldrop
Greenville, SC, USA   usa
1967 MG MGB "The Biscuit"

I'll glaze over this, because if I fully explained it, it would a really long post. Toe is in fact the only adjustment you have on the front of the MGB. For a street car, I would get as close to zero toe as I could, maybe 1/32" toe in, 1/4"-3/16" menationed above would eat tires at a amzing rate. The toe setting tools most vendors sell only account for wjhat is referred to as center line alignement, meaning the attitude of the rear tires are not account for, and when you do it this way you can get a car that crabs down the road, you know, you've seen them before, a car going down the road that looks like ig tracking sorta sideways. Most racers set thier own cars up, most use the string method, this is where you square the entire car within strings, this is called a thrust alignement, and as far as I'm concerned is the only way to set toe. You can do all this with very simple tools, 4 jackstands, some strings, measuring tape, 4 squares of floor tile, and some WD40, and it will do as fine a job as any computert alignment machine, if you know what you are doing. I writing a tech article for my car club's website expelining this and it will be a rather long article, I'll be sure to post it when I finish it and it's on the website. I highly recommend Carroll Smiths book on this subject of "how to make a car handle, he explains it very well. First thing is to fully understand what you are doing though.



Hap Waldrop
Acme Speed Shop
864-370-3000
Performance Street/Race engines- modified heads, and DIY engine rebuilt kits
New alloy wheels options for MGBs, see vendors forum for details.
http://www.mgexp.com/phorum/read.php?68,2657584
Be sure to check my engine rebuild kit thread in the Vendors forum for weekly tips. http://www.mgexp.com/phorum/read.php?68,1828263

Member Services:
MG/ Triumph Performance Street/Race Engines - Cylinder Head Porting - Modified SU HS Carbs - DIY Engine Rebuild Kits With Tech Advice - Alloy wheels for MGB/TR6
underdog Avatar
Jim Underwood
Pittsburgh, USA   usa
1972 MG MGB
1980 Triumph TR8 "Fabulous Trashwagon"
1999 Chevrolet Corvette "Darth Vader"
1999 Chevrolet S10 "Spare Change"
2003 Jaguar S-Type "Eleanor"

PurplePeopleEater Wrote:
Quote:
Setting the toe by itself was acceptable technology in the 50s & 60s but is obsolete now. Think about it, if you just set the front you're assuming that the rear is square to the front. That can be a bit of a leap in a 30 year old car. You could have the toe set perfectly but if you're not tracking properly the steering wheel can be off center, the car could be pulling, & the tires wearing unevenly. For those reasons you want a 'Thrust' alignment that looks at the relationship between all 4 wheels. It's also not a bad idea to have someone who knows what they're looking at inspect the little darling for worn bushings & suspension parts. Before the horror stories begin, I'm not telling you to have it done @ a major retailer. Take it to a specialist who's familiar with our old cars.
Disclaimer; I work for Hunter Engineering though I dont sell alignment equipment

I agree with what you say in theory. It would be nice to do a 4 wheel alignment just to check to see if a problem exists. However, there are no provisions for adjusting anything but toe on an MGB. I have heard of kits that shim the crossmember to reduce caster and of course the neg camber wishbones. Unless something is bent or worn components as you mention, the caster, camber and tracking should be fine.


New cars are a whole different animal. Most today have provisions for adjusting rear toe. These definitely need done on a 4 wheel machine.
Speedracer Avatar
Hap Waldrop
Greenville, SC, USA   usa
1967 MG MGB "The Biscuit"

Any car that is getting a toe adjustment should be done as thrust alignment, and that what the toe only tools that don't account for the rear end don't take into affect.

here's a really quick explanation of haow you can do it as well as $100K alignmant machine, I know I owned and ran for a long time.

Measure the car fornt and rear track, form the outside of one tire where it meets the ground to the inside of the other wheel, don't assume fornt and rear or the same.

Then with four jack stands ( I made custom stand just for this, but you don't have to) tow jack stand each side of the car one a foot or so beyond the front of the car, another a foot or so beyond the rear, tie a string between the tow stand tightly, move the stand to tighten up, now sqare the car within the strings at the hub center, this is where your track measure play in, on a Midget for example, the fornt track is aprox 2" greater than the rear, so if the front hub center is 2" from the string the rear would be 3" (half the distance of the track, now do the same thing on the other side, once you get the car squared withing the string to measure two you measure form the string to front of the rim edge at hub center height, then to the rear of the wheel, same place, example if the front measurement was 1/4" inch greater than the rear, that would mean you have have a 1/4" of toe in, opposite would be toe out. Use two pieces of vinyl floor tiles or aluminum squares under front tires on each side, with some grease and WD40, these will act as turn table so you can adjust the car without moving it. On a car with a non quick removeable steering wheel like we have on the race car, you need to center the steering wheel and lock it into palce, with a later lock wheel no problem, with a early car you different thing, some use a spring loaded tool that sits in the seat of the car and grabs the steering wheel, other use vice grip and grip the steering column against something else on the chassis to prevent it form moveing but if you're careful, you may not have to do anything to brace the steering whell straight, lossening up your tie rod jam nuts ahead of time will help.
Ok that's a really quick description of doing a thrust alignment with common tools, racers have been doing this for decades, if you pay close attention to what yopu are doing it's as acurate as any alignment amchine, the first step in alignement is understanding it though.

My $75,000 Hunter H111 Alignment machine did it basicly the same way except with the use of laser lights, I aligned everyhting form MGBs to Rolls Royce, you name it, I've probably aligned it. When I fiquired out and really understood alignment after using this machine for years, I made a field unit to do it with so I could do this at the track if I spun the race cars, other offerings out there like the Dunlop Alignment sight machine do the same thing, in fact I recently sold one of those because I liked my set up better, it easier to do and quicker to set up. Like I said before, once you understand this, it's pretty simple really, but doing it right is the key, and just setting the toe center line is not the right way.




Hap Waldrop
Acme Speed Shop
864-370-3000
Performance Street/Race engines- modified heads, and DIY engine rebuilt kits
New alloy wheels options for MGBs, see vendors forum for details.
http://www.mgexp.com/phorum/read.php?68,2657584
Be sure to check my engine rebuild kit thread in the Vendors forum for weekly tips. http://www.mgexp.com/phorum/read.php?68,1828263

Member Services:
MG/ Triumph Performance Street/Race Engines - Cylinder Head Porting - Modified SU HS Carbs - DIY Engine Rebuild Kits With Tech Advice - Alloy wheels for MGB/TR6
mbb765 Avatar
Mark B
Texas, USA   usa
1979 MG MGB

Crabbing is exactly what I was getting at when I first asked the question.

Hap,
I think I see where you are going with this (read the first post). I sent you a separate email asking for clarification...maybe a yes or no..."you are correct Mark" sort of thing.

Thanks for the inputs from everyone. Good info!!
underdog Avatar
Jim Underwood
Pittsburgh, USA   usa
1972 MG MGB
1980 Triumph TR8 "Fabulous Trashwagon"
1999 Chevrolet Corvette "Darth Vader"
1999 Chevrolet S10 "Spare Change"
2003 Jaguar S-Type "Eleanor"

Ah Hap, you just jogged my memory. Forgive but it's been about 35yrs since I worked doing alignments. The Hunter I worked on was only a 2 wheel machine in a pit as they all were then. Toe was the last adjustment since moveing the other adjustments or shims also effected the toe. The steering wheel would be held straight with a spring loaded devise. This is the part I just remembered. The light beam also shot rearwards. As you adjusted the toe you would walk to the rear on each side and hold up a sort of rod thingy against the sidewall of the rear tire. The light beam needed to hit the rod at the same distance on each side. Then you knew the frt wheels were centered with the rear so the car went straight with the wheel straight. You explain a good way to do it without the expensive machine.
Gawd I used to hate the GMs with the shims. Especially on the left side burried under the AC compressor. Chryslers and some Fords were nice with the eccentric cams unless they were frozen. Oh well, I digress.
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