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850 Posts
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I installed Eibach drop springs for Christmas (2013). I never really thought much about how it changed the alignment in the car. It still turned fine, tracked straight, etc. I knew I had introduced some negative camber too.

But the real tire killer is excessive toe! When I brought my car in for an oil change, the dealer checked the alignment. My front specs were wonky, with 1.5 degrees of negative camber, and 2 degrees of toe-out. The dealer offered to fix this for $100.

But all you can adjust is toe! How much to fix the toe? The dealer quoted $80. Needless to say, I didn't pay for the fix. The real surprise was when I started calling alignment shops. Nobody would discount an alignment even though all they had to fix is the toe!

I've owned a couple of toys. I had a track prepared Miata and a 2010 Camaro SS. I never minded paying $80 to align the rear camber, rear caster, rear toe, front toe, and front camber. There is a lot of work involved! But $80 for 5 minutes of work just seemed like robbery.

I used the string method that was very thoroughly documented in multiple Youtube videos. If you have lowered your Cruze on drop springs, then this will get you pretty dang close to zero toe. If you put in coilovers, you probably need to adjust camber as well. Might as well go to a shop.

You need to ensure the steering wheel is straight as possible.

Using 2 jackstands, tie a string between the 2. Try to get the string as close as possible to center line on your wheels.

Adjust the string back and forth on your car until the distance from either end of the rear wheel is exactly the same.

This is where we see that the front of my Cruze has a decent amount of toe-out. Notice the top pic (rear of front tire) is furthur away from the string than the bottom picture (front of front tire)

Because my car is lowered 2" and I don't have a lift, etc. I removed the wheel, starting on the driver side. Note the arrow points to the Jam nut we have to loosen so we can make our adjustments.

The Jam nut is a hefty 24mm. The steering rod is 15mm. Using both tools in tandem, loosen the jam nut, then adjust the steering rod. In my case, since I had toe-out, I needed to lengthen the steering rod. I backed it out exactly 1 full turn, and then tightened the jam nut. Repeat this procedure on the opposite side. Because my car tracks straight, I lengthened the passenger side steering rod by exactly 1 full turn.

Throw your wheels back on, take a quick spin around the block, and then come back and re-measure the toe to see if you are close. In my case, 1 full turn on each side brought my toe pretty dang close to zero!

And there you have it. You just saved yourself some decent cash. Take your SO out to dinner with the money you saved ;)

10,296 Posts
Back in the old days before wheel alignment shops was always a DIY project. Would take a block of wood with a sharp nail sticking out and rotate the tires to get to scribe line it.

Talk a long stick, like a piece of 3/4" electrical conduit with two 1 by 2's with hole drilled in it and thumb screws to tighten them also with nails on the other end to compare the distance from the center of the rear of the tires to the front of the tires. Did this on my motorhome, wanted a huge fortune to align these. Just made the front, think is was around 3/32" narrower than the front.

Steering wheel on this thing was not keyed, with a fine splines in it, centered the steering wheel this way. Camber can be checked on a level surface with a level with two equal blocks on it to catch the wheel rim. Caster is the rough one, but as long as the steering wheel spins back, its okay.

I know what you are talking about, most places around here will do an alignment check for 15 bucks, or even for free with new tires installed. But want an extra 70-80 bucks just to loosen the lock nut on a tie rod end and rotate the tie rod a tad.

What really didn't make sense is when I brought my old Caddy in, used all shims for camber and caster that took them quite awhile to get it right. But that was only 30 bucks, but bring in a FWD car with nothing but toe in to adjust, suddenly the price is 80 bucks!

39 Posts
Last time I had my car at the dealer I told them it was tracking to the right slightly. I'm not lowered and my tires where within a pound of each other... And I did check on differwnt parts of the highway. I know some are banked for runoff. The dealer told me that there where no adjustment and the factory builds them to track slightly right. I guess they filled me with BS... I've never actually looked at mine to see for myself. Thanks for showing that my leg got pulled.
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