Alignment Rack

Part of car setup is setting the wheel alignment, but taking the car to a shop with a full-blown computer alignment rack can be a serious pain in the ass - especially when the average alignment tech refuses to set the car to anything other than factory specs.

Clearly, we needed a way to do alignments ourselves. But most of the aftermarket alignment equipment - toe bars, toe boards, fancy laser-and-mirror deals - align the toe to the other wheel on that end of the car, instead of the centreline of the car. That means you can have perfect total toe, but have the wheels skewed in one direction or another. That means using a system that allows one to set toe on individual wheels, not as pairs.

DIY Alignment Rack

Here we are, the Far North Racing alignment rack, made of 100% genuine aerospace-quality Home Depot parts. A pair of aluminum angle bars, with notches cut into each end to fit strings into. Line this up to the centreline of the car, square it up, and you've got a pair of parallel lines on either side of the car - perfect for measuring toe.

DIY Alignment Rack Stand

Here's a close-up of the stand. Using threaded rod makes it easy to get the string the right height to bisect the hub, and to level the bars.

DIY Alignment Rack Setup

Here's the car all set up, ready to go.

DIY Alignment Rack In Use

The crew chief, checking the front toe. Works great!

2010 Update: This system may seem a little "shadetree mechanic" but I saw a very similar system used in the CART pits during the Belle Isle (Detroit) race circa 2005 or so. They mounted the bar to some hard points on the chassis instead of on stands, but it was strings and rulers from that point. Good enough for a 200 MPH IndyCar, good enough for you. DG