Originally Posted by bsmooth
Are any of you using the Niftech alignment tool? I just got mine, and am having a heck of a time trying to understand how it works!
I'm able to get it attached to the car, but how the hell are you supposed to derive any measurements when there is nothing scribed anywhere (except for the white lines)
The surgeons were unable to kill me so here I am, back to pester.
Here is what I posted via pm to a fellow regarding how to use the Niftech alignment gauge. For simplicity/speed sake I use a RPM camber gauge to set camber. For toe, though, even though I have a Unity station I invariably use the Niftech gauges--just a lot less hassle setting up, much more (MUCH much more) compact, works as well, etc. Plus as was indicated the Niftech gauge is also excellent for adjusting center on the rear axle.
lmk if I can provide additional info.
The single-hole bar has precision etched lines on either end that line up with a rod sticking through the other. It is the accuracy of the bar holes and these lines that make it work.
Set car on a stand that supports it off it's wheels. I use foam stands from p-dub but others are fine too.
Center the servo horn as best possible using the sub-trim on your radio to fine tune
Front wheels removed, install the bars on either axle. I install the one with 2 holes that holds the rod on the rf (to my left--the chassis is facing me). It really doesn't matter which side, I just find it easier to be consistent.
Radio transmitter and receiver on.
Pull the front of the car so it hangs out over the edge of your bench/set-up board/whatever. You need clearance to swing the bars around. Your batteries and motor are installed so there's plenty of weight to hold the car on the table.
You can eyeball the bars pretty straight. Once you're close push the rod through and see how it lines up with the line on the opposite (lf bar--to my right). Once it's pointing straight at the forward line flip the bar to your left (the one with the rod) over and check it against the back side of the other bar...how does it line up with the line there. It likely won't quite, what this means is one side is toed in a little and one side is toed out.
If it is pointing behind the line that means the rf (to your left) is toed in a bit and the lf (to your right) is toed out a bit. Give a part turn (not more than 1/8) to the rf turnbuckle (again, to your left) to shorten it and a similar amount to the lf turnbuckle (to your right) to lengthen it and check again. THIS is the fiddling that takes a little getting used to, but after a few times you'll see exactly how it works.
Once I get it so the rod points at the lines front and back you have it set with zero toe--the wheels are pointed exactly parallel to the centerline of the chassis. I ran like this for a couple years but this year I've taken to running about 1mm or a bit more of toe out. To get this I find the zero point then shorten each turnbuckle by about 1/8 turn. You can measure how much this yields by checking with the rod again. If you have it flipped back and push it through to touch the other bar then flip it to the front. There will now be a gap, divide that gap by 2 and you have your toe.
I RARELY need to adjust my steering trim to have the car track straight after I've done this. It's amazing how such a simple device can work so well.
It is also PERFECT for checking to see that your rear axle is centered in the car.
If I knew how to post things to U-Tube, etc, I'd make a video on doing this. I spent far longer typing this than it takes me to perform the check/adjustment.
The BIG key to making this work is to have your turnbuckles properly oriented. I can't tell you how many times I've bought or worked on cars that weren't so you're spending your time guessing which direction goes longer or shorter. I have ALL my cars set up so that when I use my turnbuckle wrench(es) the turbuckles get longer if I pull forward and shorter if I pull to the rear. This is done by making sure that ALL of the right-hand thread ends of ALL your turnbuckles point to the right side of the car.
I think I've mentioned that I've got a Unity station. They're a VERY nice piece, but I never use it. It's really no more accurate. It might be a little faster to use but the time to set it up WAY more than offsets that. Plus it needs a lot of space, you gotta be careful around it, etc. The Niftech bars are pretty much indestructible and sit nicely with my wrenches, etc.