VW Alignment Specs

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    edward ericson


    Took Bridget to an alignment shop this year ’cause I’m a fraidy cat & don’t trust my own stuff. You shouldn’t need to though if you have two flat pieces of something–yard sticks, say–’cause setting the toe-in is possible just with those, and that’s most of what you need.

    (Per Muir):

    Get the sticks and a pencil, drive the car straight and slow to where you’re going to work, then crawl under and position the end of each stick on the rim, just inside the tire as far back as you can go. Hold the sticks together and mark the spot where they overlap. Then do the same thing at the front of the tires. If the new mark is between an eighth inch and three-eighths inch outside the old one (indicating that the inside fronts of the wheels are slightly closer together than the inside backs of the wheels), your toe is good.

    If not, adjust by turning the tie rod adjusters–a little goes a long way.

    Caster is pretty much factory set, so no worries there.

    Camber is weird on these. Front camber specs appear to be zero or even a degree positive, according to factory specs. It’s controlled by the eccentric holding the upper ball joint (on ball joint suspensions, obviously–not sure how the king pin suspension works). I messed mine up when I did the beam job and ended up eyeing them in with the aid of the level app on my iphone. If you had a 2-foot level it’d be better yet.

    I wanted about 1 degree of negative camber on mine and set it as such, the idea being to give the outside tire in a turn just a bit more bite and counteract the tendency of these cars to understeer. The alignment shop guy concurred with my theory, and when the crew checked it that only had to move them a couple of minutes.

    Rears on this are set elsewise, camber is wholly dependent on spring sag, and the toe is supposed to be just slightly out, not in.

    Here’s the specs:

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