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Needing String Alignment System

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#1
bmarshall1

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Hey Guys,

 

In my never ending quest to get myself and my car set up, I am looking for the best value in a string alignment system.  I have done the searching but there seems to be several different systems and no clear cut winner.  Is one easier to use, more convenient, or more accurate than another? Please recommend a system and why that one.  Also I have been looking for a used one with no luck, anyplace to look besides here and Racing Junk?

 

Also, has anyone made a DIY set up similar to Iron Canyon, it doesn't look *too* difficult, but is there something I'm missing?

 

thanks!

 

Bruce



#2
Bench Racer

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One option is the Iron Canyon Motorsports string alignment sold by SafeRacer for $209.00. I copied similar/fabed my own and the system works very well. $200.00 is pretty cost effective.

EDIT:
SafeRacer

Iron Canyon Spec Miata Alignment System
SKU: IC9097-MAIN

$209.00
.Quick Overview
Spec Miata Alignment System This is the latest alignment system for the Mazda MX-5 Miata. Systems available for all years of Miata MX5 cars. Combining precisely fabricated lightweight Aluminum components and the time tested method of using a string box to create a perfect reference box around the car allowing you to adjust the alignment both the front and rear wheels for an efficient thrust angle and the amount of toe on each corner so that you can adjust for different track conditions or driving styles. This is the same method top teams, including Formula 1 and CART have used for years. Wi .
More Views...DetailsReviewsIron Canyon Spec Miata Alignment System

Spec Miata Alignment System This is the latest alignment system for the Mazda MX-5 Miata. Systems available for all years of Miata MX5 cars. Combining precisely fabricated lightweight Aluminum components and the time tested method of using a string box to create a perfect reference box around the car allowing you to adjust the alignment both the front and rear wheels for an efficient thrust angle and the amount of toe on each corner so that you can adjust for different track conditions or driving styles. This is the same method top teams, including Formula 1 and CART have used for years. With this system you can do a better job of aligning your own car than almost any alignment shop. Now shipped fully assembled and powder coated. Ready to use! Compare to the other popular option at over 400.00 along with bulky, time consuming, setup and tear down. Anodized horizontal string bars included. All other hardware and instructions included. Adjust the alignment both the front and rear wheels for an efficient thrust angle and the amount of toe on each axle. Lightweight and easy to use. Sets up on the car in minutes and stores easily. Allows you to jack the car up and roll it around with the fixtures and string box intact so that you can work on the car and make adjustments. The system of choice for Jim Daniels and Team SafeRacer. Which way are your wheels pointed? Picture shows only the front unit.
 


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#3
steveracer

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I made one, it's not difficult at all if you have ANY fab skills.

 

Not Rocket Surgery by any means.


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#4
Caveman-kwebb99

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Iron canyon is listed at $399 on their website


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#5
Todd Lamb

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I've used the Iron Canyon version for a long time in SM - recommended.


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#6
bmarshall1

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Thanks for the replies, my fab skills are Home Depot and my garage but I'm pretty exacting with my work so I am fairly certain I could fab one, but once I figure in materials and time, am I really that far ahead...?



#7
Caveman-kwebb99

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probably not...  try looking on racingjunk.com for used string kits i have seen them here and there as well on specmiataclassifieds.com


K. Webb
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#8
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You  could also fab your own camber gauge using a Sears $31.99 magnetic digital level using a 1 inch square tube that spans the outside rim of your wheel. 


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#9
Tom Hampton

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If you want to make one up can find a post on my blog for how I made mine. It's not hard.

See my sig.

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#10
FTodaro

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Iron Canon is top notch. I have used it for 4 years now. you can buy it directly from them also. i uses the round magnetic camber gauge and he sells plates that bolt on the wheels, so when i am adjusting camber i can just adjust and look at the gauge while adjusting save time.

 

http://www.ironcanyo...s.com/index.php


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#11
Mark

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Just to clarify -

The 'Universal' SmartStrings product is 399.00. SmartStrings will work with almost all cars.

 

The ICM Miata specific alignment system starts at 209.00. This system is desgned specifically for Miatas.

 

http://www.ironcanyo...ignment-system/

 

Carry on...

 

 

 

Mark

 

Iron canyon is listed at $399 on their website


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#12
AW33COM

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am I really that far ahead...?

 

 

No, but for a different reason.   You don't need to build, or buy anything.  All you have to do is learn the car.  Mazda Miata uses what is known as symmetrical wishbones in the rear.  Once you set the adjustments (cambers) to be identical on both settings per arm, and you copy that setting over to the other side, you will square (thrust angle 0) the car, because the car was designed that way.  This requires two wrenches. 

 

Now that your thrust angle is set, you will need to get two jack stands, and a fine (the thicker you'll use the less precise it will me) fishing string.  Run the string parallel to the rear wheel/thrust angle/center line of the car.  Set the front wheel to be parallel to the string (0 toe). 

Do the same thing on the other side.  As homework figure out how to set positive, or negative toe (front, and/or rear).  Once you figure this out, alignments will become second nature to you. 

 

Optional step (this one is probably unheard of in motorsports).  There is a way to set/go back to/change alignment at the track using just a string without any jack stands.  All you need is a PVC pipe or any other pipe that is 2 feel long.  This is how it's done:

 

Once you set your alignment in your garage, you record the settings, using the pipe method.   First, you run a string around the car in the middle of all wheels, as if you were wrapping a gift.  Then you take the pipe and you stick it between the wheel (rear) and the string, right in the middle of the tire.  The string will bend outward. You go to the other wheel (front), and you measure the distance the string deviates from the rim in both places.  Do this for all corners, and write it down.  Now you can go back to your alignment within seconds at the track, in case it changes.   

 

Optional step 2.  Setup multiple versions of your alignment at home and measure using the pipe method.  Now you can play with your alignment at the track between each session within seconds, without doing any long setup work.  Costs no more than $5 bucks and you outsmart the competition. 

 

Before I knew what the Miata was like I was looking for a string "system", but once I looked at the car I realized putting those "systems" inside the trunk, and hood, seems completely crazy to me.  Not to mention it does not have to be precise at all. 

 

Other alignment science stands, so you need to read up how to prepare your car for alignment and etc.  It's all on the forum.  Just make sure to verify for yourself everything. 



#13
Todd Lamb

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Now I understand why some cars handle so poorly.

 

Spend the $200, well worth the price to do it right.


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#14
Tom Hampton

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The above approach from Aw33com is imprecise, and slow. The car may have been symmetrical when it left the factory floor, but most aren't anymore. There are countless posts on here and SM.com about cars whose cam bolts are different on every corner to get x camber / caster / toe.

Sure, it CAN be done with Jack stands, but it is a pain. You have to reset them to parallel everytime you roll the car. The icm system or a homebrew clone makes it easy to roll the car without disturbing the strings. Further, because it doesn't protrude out from the car more than necessary, it is less likely to get bumped as you move around the car versus jack stands sitting on the ground.

Finally, I wouldn't rely on the edges of the tire and a piece of fishing line for alignment. Again, the icm style system takes 2 minutes to setup no matter where you are (track, home, etc). It makes no assumptions about the car, and you can always measure truth.

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#15
steveracer

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Do you have a cut-off saw and small welder? Or a friend who does?

 

I think I have about 1.5 hrs invested in my home made Smartstrings, including painting them.

 

But now I want my set ups done by AW33COM...


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#16
davew

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No matter what system you use, you need to use the same system all the time. When using strings, and measuring toe as the measurement between the wheel and the string, you have a 15" wheel you are measuring from. If you then measure with typical toe plates, you have a 24" measurement angle. Your 1/8" toe measurement with the strings will read as almost 1/4" with toe plates, yet nothing changed on the car, you changed your measurement system.

 

I make my own camber gauge. It is available on my website, no batteries and very easy to use.

 

Dave


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#17
ChrisA

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Curious, anybody use the Flyin Miata alignment stands? Looks like it could give repeatable results and no need to roll the car.

Chris

 

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#18
tLinder

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Curious, anybody use the Flyin Miata alignment stands? Looks like it could give repeatable results and no need to roll the car.

Purchased the FM hub-stands in March.  Great for caster and camber.  Car is extremely free on the stands (almost too free, car will move on you if you're not careful when wrenching down the cam bolts).  The stands do get the car off the ground and they do save the rolling back & forth.  Do not care for their toe-bar system and use Iron Canyon's string system.  


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#19
RazerX

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No matter what system you use, you need to use the same system all the time. When using strings, and measuring toe as the measurement between the wheel and the string, you have a 15" wheel you are measuring from. If you then measure with typical toe plates, you have a 24" measurement angle. Your 1/8" toe measurement with the strings will read as almost 1/4" with toe plates, yet nothing changed on the car, you changed your measurement system.

 

I make my own camber gauge. It is available on my website, no batteries and very easy to use.

 

Dave

 

This is an interesting point.  We have used string boxes in the past and used toe plates to validate.  But a few times we have been really frustrated by the difference, but i guess this explains it.  Dave, do you use toe plates at the track?


 - Speed

 

 

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#20
RazerX

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No matter what system you use, you need to use the same system all the time. When using strings, and measuring toe as the measurement between the wheel and the string, you have a 15" wheel you are measuring from. If you then measure with typical toe plates, you have a 24" measurement angle. Your 1/8" toe measurement with the strings will read as almost 1/4" with toe plates, yet nothing changed on the car, you changed your measurement system.

 

I make my own camber gauge. It is available on my website, no batteries and very easy to use.

 

Dave

Any idea how this would differ from say a commercial alignment system?  I go to a setup shop and say, lets go 1/16" out, they use a laser alignment rack and get that effective toe.  What will it read on a string box? and on toe plates? 


 - Speed

 

 

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