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Redneck Tech: Toe adjuster for under $1.50

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Goztrider, Mar 21, 2007.

  1. Goztrider
    Joined: Feb 17, 2007
    Posts: 3,066

    from Tulsa, OK

    Forgive me for posting this in another thread, but I figured everyone who wants to see it would be able to see it here instead of buried in the other thread.

    I made myself an adjustable "Toe Stick" out of electrical conduit and a dowel rod. These pictures probably don't do the entire thing justice, but hopefully you'll get the picture.

    I snagged a length of conduit from one of those large roll-off dumpsters in front of a store being remodled. The guys inside told me just to take what I needed, so I got plenty! I also go the little sleeve type connectors that have a set screw to hold the two butt ends together.

    Price so far = $0.00

    I then went down to my local hardware store/lumber yard and bought a 3' wooden dowel which was just a hair under the ID of the electrical conduit. I'm thinking I've got 1/2" conduit with a 7/16" wood dowel.

    Total cost so far = $1.37 (yours may vary)

    Constructing the device:

    Step 1: Cut a straight length of conduit out of the middle of the piece salvaged from the dumpster to 48" long. Depending on your need, you could cut it longer or shorter.

    Step 2: Cut the 36" dowel approximately 6" from one end, and slightly round all 4 edges/ends of the dowel, but be sure to leave the centers flat!

    Step 3: Add the conduit connectors onto the ends of the conduit, and tighten the screw on the conduit side of the connector. Do this on both ends.

    Step 4: Add the 6" dowel into one end of the conduit and tighten the set screw into this end so that it cannot move.

    Step 5: Slide the remaining 30" of dowel into the other end and just slightly tighten the set screw. Tighten it enough to keep the dowel from sliding in and out on its own. You'll still want be able to move it in and out by hand, but have enough resistance to move it easily.

    Using it:

    Place the stick between the front of the wheels and extend it to where you're going to be doing your measurements - you'll need to be sure that you can reach the same place on the tires or wheels in the front as in the back. For setting the toe on most vehicles, I like to raise the tires just a hair off the ground and set them down on wooden blocks. I'll then bounce the front of the vehicle to ensure the wheels are setting where they are supposed to be under full load.

    Extend the stick to the fit the front measuring location, then move it to the back location. Tighten or loosen your toe adjusters until you have almost the same distance between the 2 measuring points. You'll be able to figure this out by when you move the stick from the front to the back (WITHOUT BUMPING THE DOWEL BACK INTO THE CONDUIT) and it just barely touches the 2 measuring points.

    When you've gotten to this point, you'll next need to adjust the toe "in" about 1/8" on a rear wheel drive, or "out" about 1/8" on a front wheel drive. With this measuring device, 1/8" is almost nothing. If you've gotten to the step above, you're looking at having the stick being tight in the back, and just barely moving between the front. (Vice versa on a front wheel drive)

    Any car or truck I've ever used this on has never had any problems. We put one I did with this on an alignment rack and it was almost perfect. I've done 5 ton trucks and small cars with this, and it works great.

    Attached Files:

  2. raven
    Joined: Aug 19, 2002
    Posts: 4,614


  3. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 15,777


    How do you do the rear measurement with engine, frame, fenders, suspension in the way? You need to keep the stick in the exact middle (up/down) of the tire, don't you?
  4. 2manybillz
    Joined: May 30, 2005
    Posts: 827


    Same height front and rear of the tire will work.

  5. Goztrider
    Joined: Feb 17, 2007
    Posts: 3,066

    from Tulsa, OK

    Whenever I've used it, I always try to get dead center in the front and as high up in the back as I possibly can. On straight front axles, you can probably support the frame and let the axle drop down enough for measuring.

    I know this won't work on every application, but this will more often than not work if you need it. You could probably modify it with "steps" if you wanted to - you'd just have to create your own setup out of the conduit and have it bent 45 degrees up and then 45 degrees back down so it'd be parallel. Then just use a shorter slide dowel. To make the 4 bends, you could probably talk the guys at the hardware store into bending them for you for a few bucks - that or find an electrician at work and offer him a few bucks to do it. Either way, you'd still be under $10 for a workable tool!
  6. blackrat40
    Joined: Apr 19, 2006
    Posts: 1,167


    That's really the "tits" man!
    I was just getting ready to do my initial adjustments
    with a tape measure.
    Thanks Alot!
  7. grouchy
    Joined: Jul 2, 2006
    Posts: 133


    Cool! we used to set toe for the stock car with a trammel bar, just a piece of conduit bent in a U shape. This looks easier! Thanks.....grouchy
  8. Rat L. Can
    Joined: Feb 21, 2005
    Posts: 131

    Rat L. Can
    from Indy

    My jalopy's an open wheeler-I just measure to the center of the tires at the back and then roll car and re-measure, at the same spot on the tires, at the front. Adjust. Done.
  9. Fenders
    Joined: Sep 8, 2007
    Posts: 3,922


    Great idea, simple tool. But......

    Since you are referring to a rear wheel drive car, and you want toe in, don't you mean tight in the FRONT and looser in the back?
  10. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 27,341


    There is a production toe in bar that is somewhat similar to that but has a built in gauge on it to show toe in or out. The only thing with it is that you have to roll the for a few feet to be able to read the gauge. I used one in a shop I worked in in the 70's

    Put it on the back side, set the pointer at 0 roll the car back so that the bar was at the front and measure the toe in or out . That part was a pain as it had to be done out on the shop floor and not on the front end rack.
    It was much easier to scribe the center of the tread on each tire and measure the lines front and back and calculate the difference. That took a helper but you can do that anywhere you have a flat surface and only need a pencil and a tape measure.

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