• Four wheel alignment and corner weighting

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Many people believe that the easiest route to make your car more competitive is by spending money tuning the engine. What is often overlooked is the potential that can be released by paying attention to the suspension.
Moose Motorsport is pleased to announce that it is able to offer four wheel alignment after purchasing a H PA  Anderson Unilux system and Longacre corner weighting scales.
As well as measuring toe in/out, caster, camber, KPI - it will measure front to rear thrust axis and bump steer.
Corner weights are an often overlooked area which is very important in suspension setting up. If your wheels are not exerting a uniform force from side to side then the handling characteristics will also vary regardless of suspension geometry. Imagine sitting at a restaurant with a table that wobbles. This is due to it having a leg which is not touching the ground in the same way the other three are. In this particular case the ground may be uneven but with your car it is the suspension which is uneven and giving the car the wobbly table effect. By corner weighting a car, handling can be transformed. Corner weights are set first then suspension geometry. In all cases Moose Motorsport recommends that the driver's weight is ballasted into the car to give a real life situation to work to. The only downside to this is with  front wheel saloon cars as with a driver often a 100% equal balance cannot always be achieved as the driving position is offset to the right in the UK  (usually!). Obviously single seaters always achieve 100% due to a central driving position. A saloon car can normally be balanced without the driver.

To start with the rim clamps are fitted to the rear wheels. A rim size of 10"-19" can be accommodated. Dunlop crossply slicks with their bulging sidewalls are no problem as extensions can be fitted to the clamps to space out the feet (see figure 1). A soap solution is used to ease fitting. Targets are fitted to the front wheels . On some cars this will involve removal of the front wheel arches to provide sufficient clearance as the targets hang from the tyres.

The car is placed on turnplates front and rear to enable easy suspension changes/ adjustment (not illustrated but car is shown on scale platforms).

The turnplates sit on scale platforms which are individually levelled and then balanced from side to side.

One of the best features of the HPA Unilux is its ability to cope with distorted or damaged rims and being able to adjust for run out once mounted.

The alignment unit is focused on the target and with the wheel off of the ground it is slowly rotated to show any variance during the revolution (see pictures below)

Camber is easily read off of the aligners and Caster is measured at 20 degrees on each lock. The gauge is zeroed on the first or negative camber lock and a total figure can then be read off. If you have a lot of caster it is sometimes easier to take these readings at 10 degrees and the double the figure.

King Pin Inclination can be measured to show for bent stub axles and rebound steer can measured. If the springs are removed from the car then bump steer can also be measured.

First step in this process is to align the rear with the front to prevent the ‘shopping trolley effect’ certain BL cars suffer from! The camber is also set at the same time as the toe.

Measuring Camber (right)

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What is the difference between Tracking and Four Wheel Alignment?

Tracking is an across the axle check of total toe. With the tracking gauges touching the edge of the wheel rim the operator peers through a 'scope' or views a light/laser beam on a scale. With no allowance for run out compensation* the reading taken will at best be approximate. So for tracking - we have one angle measured approximately. Four Wheel Alignment will give a minimum of 12 angles measured, all referenced to the car wheel centreline* and displaying these alignment angles and comparing them to the factory alignment data. Allowance is made for wheel rim run-out. We have accurate repeatable reading that will allow the full picture of how the vehicle drives and whether undue tyre wear will occur. Adjustment would involve the steering wheel being set straight and adjusting the individual toe to maintain a straight steering wheel while the car is driven.

On a modern car tracking alone will not result in a complete job or your complete satisfaction.


My tyres are wearing a little on the inside edge and my steering wheel is not quite straight ahead. What might be the problem?

The first way forward on any car is to capture the current measurements for all the alignment angles - this will then give the complete answer and lead to the necessary diagnosis and subsequent adjustments. However as a general rule excessive toe-out* will lead to premature inside edge wear - this will generally show on both tyres on that axle. The steering wheel not being straight is most likely caused by more adjustment having been made on one trackrod than the other - This 'fault' is common when tracking alone has been done.


How much can I expect to pay for a Four Wheel Alignment?

The general rule of thumb is that the total cost of a four wheel measurement and adjustment will be similar to the cost of a tyre for the car in question. Clearly a performance car or one with many more adjustments becomes more involved and takes longer.

Moose Motorsport prices for Real Minis 2006

Four wheel alignment and reset toe                                            £35.00

Adjust rear track and camber (only if fitted with Minispares or KAD type brackets) add £15.00

Adjust caster angle (cars fitted with adjustable in-situ tie rods)                  add £15.00

Adjust camber angle (cars fitted with adjustable in-situ lower arms)              add £15.00

Corner Weight (needs hi-los fitted) and full alignment/adjustments as above         £120.00 - allow 1 day to complete

Fitting of rear brackets, new lower arms and tie rods during alignment process        £ask?

Will my problem always be solved?

Usually but not always. Cars have wheel alignment difficulties through being both out of adjustment (correctable) or by having bent components or even the car body/subframe to which they bolt being bent. How many new parts are needed? Does the car need to visit a bodyshop?

Where adjustments are not possible you will be kept informed and can liase with us as to possible next actions.

Does having worn tyres mean that the car can be aligned - or do I need to fit new tyres first?

New or old tyre fitted will make little difference to the alignment readings.
They will however have a big effect on the way the car feels to drive (even after the alignment has been corrected). Where there was a high degree of misalignment and hence tyre wear present it would be recommended to have new tyres fitted at the time of the alignment adjustments are made.

Toe Description

The most critical alignment angle is total toe on the steering axle. Excessive positive or negative toe will cause scuffing and shoulder wear on the tyres. Total toe is defined as the difference in distance measured across the front of the tyres and the distance measured across the rear of the tyres. Toe is measured in inches or millimeters. Total toe may also be defined as an angular measurement and displayed in degrees or degrees and minutes. Toe is positive, also known as toe-in, when the front of the tyres are closer together than the rear of the tyres. Toe is negative, also known as toe-out, when the rear of the tyres are closer together than the front of the tyres. Zero toe occurs when the wheels are parallel.

Camber Description

The proper camber settings on a vehicle will improve road isolation and directional stability. Incorrect camber angles can cause tyre wear and handling problems. Camber is defined as the inward or outward tilt of the wheel at the top as viewed from the front. Camber is measured in degrees. A wheel with zero degrees camber is vertical. A wheel that tilts outward at the top has positive camber. A wheel that tilts inward at the top has negative camber.

Caster Description

The primary functions of caster are to improve directional stability and returnability. Incorrect caster angles can cause excessive steering effort and tyre wear. Caster is defined as the forward or rearward tilt of the steering axis as compared to a vertical line and viewed from the side. Caster is measured in degrees. Caster is positive when the top of the steering axis is tilted rearward. Caster is negative when the top of the steering axis is tilted forward.

Please contact Moose Motorsport to discuss your set up requirements.

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Once the rear is sorted work can begin on the front. As you can see all our work is done on a flat floor type platform for maximum accuracy.