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DIY Tracking (String Method)


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Hi guys,

Has anyone checked their Focus wheel alignment using the string method?  

Replaced lower arms today, steering wheel is still straight ahead and it drives fine in town (not been on motorway yet) so don't want to pay for tracking if it's near enough, tyres will need changed soon anyway. 

Checked tracking with string method using youtube guides but got an odd result, both front wheels have a ~5mm difference between 3 o clock and 9 o clock points across the alloy face.  Does that directly translate to 5mm of toe in or do I need to do some maths involving wheel sizes etc?  5mm seems a lot, but I was getting outer edgewear before so I know it was toeing in a bit anyway. :unsure:  

Stupidly, I didn't think to check what it was before I started! :whistling1:


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Now I read the title of this post and my first thought was 'He's going to need a long bit of string!'

Sorry. I'll get me coat 

  • Haha 1
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Fortunately I've got a long piece of string lol.

Realised I'd done this sort of wrong anyway.  I tried to 'cheat' and just do each side individually, when you should do both sides together and make sure the strings are parallel.  Basically I measured so the wheel centres were in line front to back, BUT if the track of the Focus is slightly wider at the back than the front then that'll put the readings off.  Decided to give up with that idea and just pay to have it done properly lol. :laugh:   

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I doubt it will be out by much or perhaps nothing at all. i remember doing my arms a while back and the tolerance of movement other than what is designed was virtually nothing



tracking was the same before and after btw

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Did you use genuine arms?  I couldn't justify the price for them so used mid range branded instead.

Having done a few miles now, there's a slight wobble at about 35mph and a bit more road noise at speed than before so I think it is out a bit.  

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Just to update this, the alignment was done properly this evening on a Hunter machine.  Both front toes were out of tolerance.  Tracking was last done 2.5 years/20k miles ago so I can't say whether it was just the new arms that put it out or not.  I was surprised the rears were still fine though, very slightly off perfect but still well in tolerance, expected worse as I've knocked the NS rear on kerbs of tight town corners a few times lol!

Also, don't waste the time and effort on the string method. :laugh:


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