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MG MGA - Front end alignment?!

I am looking for instructions/diagram on how to do a front end alignment. I have a good idea of where the adjustments need to be made but it would be helpful to read/observe how it is done. Any advice?
gerard hutchinson

Adjust toe in to zero, with the steering wheel sitting level. That's the only front end adjustment there is on the MGA. If something is still out of kilter, you need to fix or replace worn or broken parts.

If you would take this car to a pro shop for front end alignment, it would help to take along a copy of the workshop manual with the specifications for caster and camber. With this information the pro shop should be able to figure out what may be work or bent or broken or worn out in need of repair.
Barney Gaylord

Barney, I'm assuming that I make the adjustments by tightening/loosening/turning the tie rod?
gerard hutchinson

Yes.
Barney Gaylord

Ha!! Now is there a useful diagram I could reference?!!
gerard hutchinson

Gerard

Dominic Clancy has the workshop manual on his site: http://www.clancy.ch/Workshop_Manual.html

Look in section J.

Barney also has lots of steering stuff in his tech library: http://mgaguru.com/mgtech/steering/steering.htm

Steve
Steve Gyles

I did mine myself using a couple of very straight 1" by 1" boards zip tied to the spokes extending beyond the front and rear of the tires.

Measure from side to side in front and in back, and if the measurements are the same, you have zero toe in.

I actually set my toe in every so slightly (1/16" or so at the front) "in", and it's been great.

Make sure you set the arms with the same number of threads showing on each side, and then make your adjustments 1/2 on each side to keep them the same.

Fiddly but it works.

It was easier with the car somewhat disassembled, but you could do it with the car assembled by dropping strings from the end of the sticks to the ground, or using a square to mark the position of the sticks on the garage floor.

JIM in NH

AJ Mail

AJ, The picture is very helpful! Do you have pictures of the threads you kept showing?
gerard hutchinson

AJ, using the sticks is a brilliant idea. I would think that the longer they got, the more finite you could get the alignment because any deviation from parallel would be magnified when measuring between the longer ends rather than at the front and back edges of the tires. Once parallel, you could then set the desired toe in by measuring at the tire ends.

Don Carlberg
Don Carlberg

I made a mark about 6 or 8" in front of the tire and back of the tire, measured from the center of the hub so that I was sure to measure at the right place.

It was really very easy and my car handles great. I just couldn't believe the zero degree spec at the time, though - I'd never heard of such a thing. With wider, modern tires, the slight (very slight) toe in seems to work very well and I haven't had a need to go mess with it since.

I don't have detailed pics - I am glad I remembered to take this one. The threads I refer to are on the steering arms/tie rods with the rubber boots on them. You adjust the toe in by turning the inner rod which is threaded into the outer. Here is a good picture of what I'm talking about.

http://mgaguru.com/mgtech/steering/pdf/263-288_TieRodEnds_Moss.pdf

Loosen the large nut (1D) and back it all the way off until it stops. Turn (1B) shaft with the threads - turning the left and right ones an even number of turns each time - the number of threads (G) showing between (1D) and (1A) should be the same on both sides, and the steering wheel should be in the right orientation with the tires straight ahead. Best thing is to do all the adjustments, then install the steering wheel in the right place.

JIM
AJ Mail

AJ

I always understood that toe in/out was measured using the wheel rims rather than the tyre walls.

Steve
Steve Gyles

Steve, don't matter if you are setting zero!
Art Pearse

Art

I was thinking more of inconsistencies in a tyre wall, especially with weight on wheels; and other very minor factors including lettering.

Steve
Steve Gyles

Yes...might be better, but I was careful not to hit the lettering, etc. - or hit the letters on both front and back.

I am not claiming to be accurate to .0000n here - but it works.

JIM in NH
AJ Mail

When measuring, place the sticks horizontal on the tires half way up at the axle center line. Then roll the car to rotate tires 1/2 turn, and do the same measurements again. Any irregularity of the tire sidewalls will show up as a difference in the two measurements. Split the difference and set it half way in between, so one plus error is equal to the other minus error, and toe setting will be zero.
Barney Gaylord


oh, always thought an MGA has two axles?

Siggi
Siggi

I just checked on my car and you are right Siggi!

One at the front (where you can adjust the toe "front end alignment") and another one at the back!
N McGurk

I suppose you could do this with the car on jackstands and two spare wheels (sans tires) installed. That would take any tire variances out of the measurement. And, you could check the runout of your spare wheels at the same time...
G Goeppner

I always thought tracking had to be done with the weight on the suspension, so doing it on axle stands probably won't do
dominic clancy

Dominic, that's a good point, I hadn't thought of that.
Any other comments out there on this technique?
G Goeppner

Here is a posting (from a Mazda site) that has some clear pictures using very long rods. Might help
www.mx6.com/forums/mazda-626/224016-how-check-your-own-wheel-alignment.html

Graham M V

If your wheel bearings are good (no excessive looseness, you can try this after obtaining a suitable trammel or other measuring stick with sharp indicator points.
Jack up a front wheel. Take some 1" or 1 1/2" wide masking tape and while rotating the wheel, apply a couple of layers of tape on the tread. Take a very fine-point permanent marker (like a 'Sharpie') and spin the wheel to make a line on the tape all the way around the tire. (You'll have to put something on the floor to steady the marker as most wheels will have lateral and radial run-out to contend with as the wheel turns in contact with the marker.)
Lower the wheel onto a couple of sections of newspaper or other smooth material that will allow the tire to turn in or out as the tie rods are adjusted.
Do this on the other side.
Center the steering rack by measurement of the tie rods in relation to the end of the rack housing. Next,check that the steering wheel is centered. You might have to reposition the wheel on the shaft splines if things were not put together right in the past.
Once these checks are made, you are ready to start making the toe-in adjustments. For toe-in to be zero, the trammel points will be on the line in the front and back of the tire.
Since the position of the line on the tape is determined by the bearings, any lateral run-out of the wheel will not introduce error to the adjustment.
I found that highway stability seems improved with a bit of toe-in but avoid toe-out when you set the length of the tie rods.
TJP Pollak

Moss sell a simple gauge taht doesn't seem too complicated to replicate at home.
http://www.mossmotors.com/Shop/ViewProducts.aspx?PlateIndexID=31756&SortOrder=1
Mike
Mike Ellsmore

I use a tracking bar that my late Father-in-Law made for his own use back in the 30s. See photo.

It consists of 2 square section sliding bars with appropriate bent rods at either end. All locked in place with finger clamps.

Steve

Steve Gyles

gunson (of brakes Ezi-Bleeder fame) also have some cheap systems for checking wheel alignment including now a laser system!
http://www.gunson.co.uk/tools.aspx?cat=664
Has anyone used these gadgets, any comments?
Mike
Mike Ellsmore

This thread was discussed between 23/10/2011 and 27/10/2011

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