Setting Tow in

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  #1  
Old 05-28-06, 10:37 AM
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Setting Tow in

On a rear wheel drive vehicle you set a tow in, someone told me on a front wheel drive vehicle you set a tow out, is that right? What is the tow in or tow out for a front wheel drive vehicle? Thanks
 
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Old 05-28-06, 10:50 AM
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It is actually that you are setting the toe, whether it is needed to be in or out is dependant on the specific vehicle.

Generally your friend is correct though.

The reason being:

rear wheel drive vehicles; the front wheels are pushed. This tends to make them attempt to toe out by themselves so they are set with toe in to counter the toe out tendancy.

front wheel drive vehicles; the wheels are pulling and have a tendancy to toe in when driving because of this. The are usually set with a toe out setting to counter this tendancy.

Toe settings are specific to the model and year. What is yours?
 
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Old 05-29-06, 08:11 PM
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My vehicle is a 2001 windstar. I just replaced an outer tie rod and set the toe at 1/8" out. This friend of mine said all vehicles were 3/16" out, that seems a little much. I am willing to change it to the correct setting. Thanks
 
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Old 05-30-06, 02:49 AM
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Front drive cars I like to set to 0 toe, if any thing 1/16" out.
 
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Old 06-01-06, 02:03 PM
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Thanks Bigguy I will crawl back under the van and take 1/16" out of the tow out.
 
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Old 06-01-06, 04:23 PM
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What I want to know is how are you measuring the 1/16, 1/8 so on and so forth? The proper way to set the toe is on an alignment machine Most toe settings are measured within a range of not more than .030 in.
Billy
 
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Old 06-02-06, 09:30 PM
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The way I have set tow is to jack up one wheel and spin it with a yellow crayon like marker pressed to the wheel. Once I have a yellow mark around the wheel, I spin it again and hold an awl to the yellow mark until I have a fine line around the wheel. I do the same thing to the other wheel. I drive the vehicle back about four feet then forward the four feet. I then take measurements as high as I can from line to line, front of tires and back of tires. I have done it this way before, I did it this way before I took a truck down for a complete alignment and the tech told me the tow in was perfect.
 
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Old 06-03-06, 06:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Jerome
The way I have set tow is to jack up one wheel and spin it with a yellow crayon like marker pressed to the wheel. Once I have a yellow mark around the wheel, I spin it again and hold an awl to the yellow mark until I have a fine line around the wheel. I do the same thing to the other wheel. I drive the vehicle back about four feet then forward the four feet. I then take measurements as high as I can from line to line, front of tires and back of tires. I have done it this way before, I did it this way before I took a truck down for a complete alignment and the tech told me the tow in was perfect.
That's old school but it works, at least for an initial adjustment. The only two things that I see as a possible problem:

1. measure at the spindle level. This would give you the most accurate dimension.

2. the roll back and forward 4 feet. I am not sure this would allow the wheels to relax competely to a normal state. Some vehicles may require a bit more but if you are having good luck with this it apparently has not ben a problem.
 
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Old 06-03-06, 12:49 PM
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Truth be known, that's all I do with my own vehicles. Tape measure is the most accurate way to set toe. I usually just pick a spot on the tread pattern, and just make sure I find the same spot when I move from the front to the back of the tire. Having someone help makes it alot easier. Also having the front tires on alignment plates is recommended, of course you're not going to have those, but it'll be as close as it needs to be. I know a tech who did alignments with a computerized rack all day but would double check them all with a tape measure before he parked them.
 
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Old 06-03-06, 01:30 PM
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I used a 4 foot level at the spindle height to check both sides. I found it WAY off. I never questioned why it was so far off, but presumed it slowly got that way by hitting curbs, potholes, etc. Over time, I had been noticing that more and more I had to keep holding the steering wheel over towards one direction.

My presumption was wrong.

A few weeks after giving myself my homemade alignment, picking the proper tie-rod end to adjust so that the steering wheel would be true...my front end broke on me. Luckily I am alive. My car momentarily veered into oncoming traffic before veering suddenly to the shoulder at about 40 mph. I crawled under the car to see what happned and it turns out that a major anchor point for the front end components on the front wheel drive Dodge 600 had rusted and broke away from the unibody mount.

So, check out everything under the front end before making any adjustments!
 
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Old 06-04-06, 07:44 AM
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IF all you are doing is replacing a work tie-rod end then as long as the new piece is the same as the original in length, then it should be as simple as counting turns (or threads) when removing the old one. If you put the new one back in the same place then you will be extrememy close.
No offense, but the crayon method sounds kinda hokey at best. If someone told you your toe was perfect after that type of adjustment then you either got real lucky or he was just trying to be nice. Either way, a computerized wheel alignment machine is going to be the best method as there is no way you will ever be able to see .005 - .010 in. with your eyes or any tape measure. Besides that, alignments are so commonplace today, they really arent that expensive and if you take it somewhere with a good reputation the alignment tech is going to be able to tell you if there is something wrong just by looking at the measurements before he even begins adjusting anything. Thats without even looking under your car. Its just good insurance, especially on older higher mileage vehicles.
I do at least 1 alignment a week at my shop and I do all of our body shops alignments. I would never dream of replacing the machine with a tape measure.
Good Luck,
Billy
 
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