Subaru Outback Forums banner

1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
2004 Subaru OBW L.L. Bean H6. 2003 Subaru OBW L.L. Bean Former 2001 Subaru OBW VDC owner.
Joined
·
987 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I debated if I was really going to attempt doing my front alignment on my own, but now I'm sure I'll never pay to have it done again. Today I set out to check to see what my total toe was on the front of my L.L Bean, but ended up dealing with the real culprit that was pulling my wheel to the left. I found I had a toasted front suspension link causing all the trouble. Luckily I have an 04 L.L. Bean that was nice enough to lend me hers until I get around to buying another one. OEM only. It took me all of about 20 minutes to pull the link off my 04 L.L. Bean and place it on my daily driver 03 L.L. Bean.

As for the front toe alignment, I am very very pleased with the ease of using toe plates. They are truly a wonderful invention. I straightened my steering wheel, locked the steering wheel in place, (see photo), and proceeded to take my measurements across the front tires. The measurement across the front of the tires, towards the front bumper, added up to be a larger number than the measurement across the rear of the front tires, but only by a small fraction, so I turned the driver's side tie rod in barely a quarter turn and measured again to find the toe was now set absolutely perfect.

You must know that with toe plates you are only getting the total toe measurement, so you don't really know which front wheel is the culprit when your toe is out, but there is an easy way to figure this out. It's called eyeballing it. I have a pretty straight fitting bumper that's never been in an accident, so I used that as my guide. I stood in front of the car and pointed my eyes down to see where the edge of the bumper met the outside edge of each front tire. I could tell right away the front of the driver's side front tire was out a bit more than the passenger's. I checked like this a few times on each side to be sure I was looking the same way at each tire when I was eyeballing it. With my toe being out only a very small amount, this method worked good, and from eyeballing it I was certain the driver's side front tire needed the adjustment.

If I were to have had measurements that were way off when comparing the front and rear of the front tires, then I'd of adopted a different approach. Maybe then I'd break out the string and jack stands and compare things to the rear tires. Luckily I didn't have to do that.

Alignment is not a big scary thing causing me to go out and spend 80 dollars on anymore. Happy veterans' day all.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
'03 outback limited, '01 Outback Limited, '01 Legacy L wagon, '96 Legacy Brighton wagon
Joined
·
1,673 Posts
To check everything at home with minimal $$ invested, the old-fashioned parallel strings method used for decades on open-wheel race cars is hard to beat. The only difficult part would be identifying the centerline of the car so that the strings are equidistant from the centerline of the car.

You need 2 bars that are about 2 feet longer than the width of the car. Mark the bars with a sharpie and scribe near the ends, with the marks the same distance apart on the 2 bars. Also mark the center distance between the outboard marks.

Place each bar on jack stands, one in front of the car, and one behind. Align the centerline mark on the bars with the centerline mark you put on the car.

Attach the fishing line to the bars at the marks ( one string on one side of the car, and one on the other) and draw them tight - you may have to clamp the bars to the jackstands and weigh down the stands to keep them from moving. The string height should be at the center of the wheels.

You can now measure from the string to the edges of the rims to see what the toe is.
 

·
Registered
'03 outback limited, '01 Outback Limited, '01 Legacy L wagon, '96 Legacy Brighton wagon
Joined
·
1,673 Posts
Oh yea- the floor needs to be a level as possible side to side. Front to rear is not as important.
 

·
Registered
Outbacks, SVXs, XT6, 4Runner, Celica, Brat, E150s
Joined
·
479 Posts
I have a couple pieces of angle iron with notches cut in them that I set on 4x4s to do the same thing but for even cheaper. And I use a string tied to jack stands to compare front-to-rear


FYI. That's a sway bar link. It does not cause pulling, and does not require an alignment when replacing.
 

·
Registered
2004 Subaru OBW L.L. Bean H6. 2003 Subaru OBW L.L. Bean Former 2001 Subaru OBW VDC owner.
Joined
·
987 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
@Numbchux I had heard of wanting toe in a little on some vehicles for better tracking, but I’ve found with the OBW 0.00 toe is best. My car now needs just one more very little tweak to get the toe set to absolute zero.
I needed the alignment anyway after I replaced the, I stand corrected, sway bar link.
 

·
Registered
2004 Subaru OBW L.L. Bean H6. 2003 Subaru OBW L.L. Bean Former 2001 Subaru OBW VDC owner.
Joined
·
987 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
@Brucey
I take back what I said, a 67 dollar front end alignment might be worth every penny if you don’t have a heated garage. I was playing around with the toe plates again last night after work, and I now have a bigger job getting my alignment right than I want right now.
I spoke too soon saying I’d never pay for an alignment again... ugh.
 

·
Brucey
'17 3.6 Limited
Joined
·
9,938 Posts
@Brucey
I take back what I said, a 67 dollar front end alignment might be worth every penny if you don’t have a heated garage. I was playing around with the toe plates again last night after work, and I now have a bigger job getting my alignment right than I want right now.
I spoke too soon saying I’d never pay for an alignment again... ugh.
My garage is just a block uninsulated building. No heat. Single 20 amp breaker runs the whole thing.

For this case the foundation isn't level either.

Alignments are one of those things I always leave to the pros. I had a friend that did scca auto cross and insisted on doing his own alignment using a string and some floor tiles.

Never really interested in a DIY method because I hated that so much. Lol
 

·
Registered
Outbacks, SVXs, XT6, 4Runner, Celica, Brat, E150s
Joined
·
479 Posts
@Brucey
I take back what I said, a 67 dollar front end alignment might be worth every penny if you don’t have a heated garage. I was playing around with the toe plates again last night after work, and I now have a bigger job getting my alignment right than I want right now.
I spoke too soon saying I’d never pay for an alignment again... ugh.
Yea, it's a tedious process. Without something to release the friction between the tire and ground (I've heard of people using floor tiles and such, but I don't think anything will be as effective as actual roller plates). The car should be rolled several feet and back and then a reading taken again.
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top