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MG TD TF 1500 - Front Axle Toe-in - Checking/Setting

For those of you that missed my Front Axle Toe Checking procedure, Here it is again:

Checking/Setting Front Axle Toe-in

Toe-in can be easily checked on any automobile and with a little effort corrected to the required 1-mm plus or minus 1-mm or 1/32nd plus or minus 1/32nd. To complete the task you will need masking tape, a tape measure, preferably metric, a pen and an able helper.

You start by driving the car forward and backward on near level ground for at least 5 tire revolutions in each direction while fiddling with the steering wheel to ensure that the wheels are pointed straight ahead. The last step in this part of the process is to back the car to its starting point and stop the engine. Now, take your hands off of the steering wheel and have your helper push the car forward for about two tire revolutions. If the car tends to roll use the hand brake only to stop and hold the car in place.

The measurement phase consists of placing a piece of masking tape, about 2-3 inches long, at the rear of each tire. The tape should be place vertically between the center and the outer edge of the tire tread. Next, using your pen, place a small horizontal tick mark at the inner or outer edge of each piece of tape. The tick marks should be as high off the ground as possible while still being able to have a clear line of sight from tick mark to tick mark. With the aid of your assistant, CAREFULLY measure the distance between the edges of the each piece of masking tape at their respective tick mark locations. Be sure that the tape measure does not touch any part of the underside of the car. Now, PUSH the car forward, without touching the steering wheel, while carefully observing the masking tape. Stop the car, using the hand brake only, when the tick marks are as high off the ground as possible while having a clear line of sight between the tick marks. Remeasure the distance between the tape edges at their respective tick marks. Now, subtract the two measurements to obtain the toe value. If the distance measured at the rear of the tire is greater than the front, your front axle will be toed-in. It is easier to get an accurate measurement if you use the 100-mm or the 4-inch as the starting point because we are not interested in the actual distance but rather the difference between the front and rear.

This method of checking front axle toe is very accurate because you are measuring between the same two points on each tire while the points are at both the front and rear positions. Tire and wheel run out and tread pattern irregularities are accounted for.

If you find the your toe is out of specification you can make proper adjustments. Start by changing the front distance by one half of the error. Then push the car forward (never backwards) and remeasure the rear distance. Make a small toe adjustment if necessary, and repeat the entire process until you have reached the desired toe-in value. After you think that the toe is correct take the car for a short drive and repeat the measurement process.

Although time consuming, I can assure you that this toe measurement technique is at least as accurate, and more reliable than alignment shops offer. This is a direct measurement that does not rely on equipment calibration to ensure accuracy. If you want caster and camber measured/corrected or a four-wheel alignment on a modern car you must go to an alignment shop. Use the above method to check their work. You will be surprised! Have you ever noticed tire wear after 6-months of driving after an alignment, taken the car back and told that you must of hit a curb or a chuckhole. Sure
Frank Grimaldi

Thank you for the repost. It is now in my reference book.
If you find that you need to make the adjustment is it important which wheel gets adjusted?
Should both wheels be adjusted evenly?
Is there a true center? Or with this rack and pinon steering does it matter?
Just musing.
Mort Resnicoff (50 TD-Mobius)

mort, are you still musing? regards, tom
tom peterson

I've flopped around on my garage floor like a fish trying to toe in a scosh. Kept getting lost in the narrative. Could use a sketch.
Peter Dahlquist

I understand the procedure but not sure of which tie rod to adjust.
Mort Resnicoff (50 TD-Mobius)

Nice write up Frank. Thanks again for posting it.

Mort, do one half the needed adjustment in each wheel. If, after adjusting, the steering wheel is no longer centered when going straight, tweak each side in the same directions (toeing one wheel out and one in) to recenter the rack, and recheck.

Hope this helps,
Dave Braun

Guess I'm with Peter. I can't picture the narrative. I sure would love an image of the tape's location and orientation. Ultra-leftbrained Bud.
Bud Krueger

Hope this helps.

Mort Resnicoff (50 TD-Mobius)

Second step

Mort Resnicoff (50 TD-Mobius)

AHHHH On the tread! Just high enough to get the tape measure under the car. Use a bit of math to get to the outside diameter at center line.
Peter Dahlquist

Peter, for what purpose do you need the diameter number? Regards, Tom
tom peterson

This thread was discussed between 12/05/2013 and 16/05/2013

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