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Front alignment, 79' midget.

Posted by maddy 
maddy Avatar
Mark Addy
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, USA   usa
1979 MG Midget
1979 MG Midget "Mget"
2001 Dodge 1500
2004 Toyota Solara

Just replaced the tie rod ends on my car, which brought up a bunch of questions in my mind. My Bentley manual is totally worthless, unless the only adjustment to the front end is “toe in”. Looking at the components on the car I would have to say that is the only adjustment to the front can be done. Is this true??? No shims or anything? What about camber and caster angle?
If so, I have another question… I can adjust both tie rod ends to bring the front into alignment at 1/8” toe in, one way out to the end of the threads and the other to the opposite. In other words, short on one end of the steering rack and long on the other. This just doesn’t sit well with me. There has got to be something else to get the front end correct.
I had an alignment done this summer and watched the guy the whole time. He struggled to find info on the car, made a few adjustments and said “the computer shows that the adjustments made bring it into good range” or something to that effect. The way he said it just got me thinking that he wasn’t sure.
I can jig a way to measure that the toe-in is at 1/8” but am not sure that is the correct way to go.
Any advice would be appreciated!!!!

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Andrew Simonton
Edmond, Oklahoma, USA   usa

My recently purchased 1977 Midget was running straight down the road with no pull to either side but when I made a somewhat speedy turn the tires would squeal like a school girl. I looked at the front end and it appeared that someone had recently replaced the tie rod ends. I decided to take it to my trusted tire guy at Firestone and spring for a lifetime alignment. They gave me a before and after readout and it showed that the toe-in was way off as I suspected. He told me that the castor and camber were marginally out but that there was no simple adjustment. It rails silently around turns now and the steering is lighter.
losmorob Avatar
Robert Park
Los Molinos, CA, USA   usa
1967 Austin-Healey Sprite "Penelope"
1970 MG MGB GT "Parts For Sale!"
1971 Wolseley 16/60
1972 MG MGB GT "The Money Pit"

Toe in is all you can do. You're on the right track. After searching with no success for an alignment guy that had a rack the Sprite would fit on, I made my own measuring tool out of a couple of metal roda and zip ties. Zip tie them snug so you can slide them back and forth.

That doesn't sound right the way you have it adjusted long on one end and short on the other. How does it track going down the road? Eyeball the front tire "straightness" vs the rear tires. Is your steering wheel still centered?



Rob.


"Now the problem you have is that when you have the unerring certainty of machinery, it is a machine. When something has foibles, it won’t handle properly, that gives it a particularly human quality because it makes mistakes. And that’s how you can build a relationship with a car that other people won’t get."
Jeremy Clarkson
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saysprite Avatar
Darryl Saylor
TN, USA   usa
1953 Austin-Healey 100 "Ole Blue"
1960 Austin-Healey Bugeye Sprite "Smokey"
1965 Austin-Healey Sprite "Porky"
1965 Austin-Healey Sprite "Speedracer"
1970 MG Midget "Jack"   → more

Here's what I do on my '65 Sprite race car. Phil Chiles taught me this

1. get your tie rods screwed in about the same on both sides
2. get 2 pieces of 1”x1” box tubing about 4 feet long.
3. using string or tape make a straight line on the ground
4. measure the diameter of the tire
5. on one end of the tubing mark the radius (1/2 the diameter) from the end. Do this on both pieces of tubing. Label “Center of wheel”
6. on the opposite end of tubing, measure from the end the diameter of the tire and mark it. Label it “Tire Diameter”. Do this on both pieces of tubing.
7. push the car along the line to make sure its going in a straight line.
8. bungie or tie the tubing to each front wheel so the “Center of Wheel” is at the center of the stub axle.
9. I use jack stands to keep the front of the tubing parallel to the ground. But don’t let the jack stands bind the tubing.
10. Measure from the end of one tubing to the end of the other tubing. Then measure from the “Tire Diameter” on one tubing to the “Tire Diameter” on the other tubing. These 2 measurements need to be the same.
11. Slowly screw in or out the same distance, your tie rod ends.
12. make sure you take off the tubing before pushing car
13. Repeat process (7 thru 11) until distance are equal.

Boze Avatar
Rick Bosak
Twin Cities, Minnesota, USA   usa

Darryl this process makes sense to me. So are you ending up with zero or neutral toe-in then?

I've also wondered about the rear axle, if you replace springs how do you make sure the axle is positioned correctly is there any adjustment you can make?
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saysprite Avatar
Darryl Saylor
TN, USA   usa
1953 Austin-Healey 100 "Ole Blue"
1960 Austin-Healey Bugeye Sprite "Smokey"
1965 Austin-Healey Sprite "Porky"
1965 Austin-Healey Sprite "Speedracer"
1970 MG Midget "Jack"   → more

I need to some how check the rear end before I get it off jack stands.
Hap might have a better way of doing the rear.

For the front I try to get it as close to even as possible. Worst case is about a 1/16 longer on the very end so it has just a bit of toe out. I'd like for it to be zero.
maddy Avatar
Mark Addy
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, USA   usa
1979 MG Midget
1979 MG Midget "Mget"
2001 Dodge 1500
2004 Toyota Solara

I think I understand why toe-out would be good for a track car, better turn response? But now you have me considering zero toe for my daily driver. Is'nt a bit of toe-in preferred to keep the car from wondering?
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theleisure Avatar
sean m
Yinzburgh, PA, USA   usa

I think the standard for Spridgets is an 1/8" toe-in. Experts will chime in but I'm pretty sure that's the number you should try to shoot for.
dte948 Avatar
DAVE ENSIGN
CLAVERACK, NY, USA   usa
1961 MG Midget Conversion "MIDGET Aka Woodie"

Between 1/8 and Zero but no toe out.

Dave

There are offset bushings to change camber as well as shimming the shocks to change camber. Caster is not something that is really adjustable without bending a lot of things.
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