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Old 02-01-2017, 11:07 PM
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Used Alignment Machine

Was thinking about buying a used alignment machine off craigslist. I've not had much luck getting good alignments. I've been to tire stores, dealers, and frame shops around Indianapolis. 30 years ago all alignments were good but in the last 25 years all have been crap but one at a goodyear dealer. Right now I have 5 cars in need of an alignment, two need 4 wheel alignments.




I see listings on craigslist of machines running from 500 to 2500 bucks in good working order. What should one look for when picking up a used machine? Have a great day.

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Old 02-02-2017, 07:34 AM
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What issues are you having that need an entire machine to alleviate?

One of the issue we have around here is the operator doesn't check for worn bushing and ball joints so if you have one with some age on it, like most cars on the road, it's never right and seems worse after its paid for.

I use turn plates and a roll off pads on the race cars and it works well on the street cars too.
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Old 02-02-2017, 08:53 AM
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Any tool that indexes off the wheel will need a straight and true rim. Many are not.
Tools that index off the spindle are much better.

I think that's also why many jobber shops get into trouble.
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Old 02-02-2017, 07:40 PM
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Thanks for all the quick replies. All the cars need alignment because of excessive tire wear. 74 vette chops the inside of front tires within a few thousand miles and steering wheel turns short one way and long the other. When centered, turning lock to lock should be the same to the right and also the same to the left. This was messed up at the frame shop that did the alignment. 94 vette chops out the inside of the rear tires in 25,000 miles and front tires wear on the outer edge but not bad. 85 xj6 jaguar chops out the outside edge of front tires within 8,000 miles. Bought a used chevy 1/2 ton truck and the tires were worn funny. Worn on both inside and outside edges. I'm sure from rotation of tires. Bought a new set of Michelin and been watching close. All looks good for now but it would have been nice to trust an alignment to make sure it's correct. Lastly, is a street rod project with an original mustang ii grafted in place.


Always thought the DIY alignment tools were just to get things close to be able to drive to an alignment shop. I have one of those camber caster bubble level tools you stick on the end of your wheel hub/spindle.


So I'm taking it that I'll just be thrown my money away and taking up garage space with a used machine?????

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Old 02-02-2017, 08:57 PM
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Before the high dollar computerized alignment machines, shops had to rely on analog gauges.

I would invest in a tire changer and a spin balancer before an alignment machine. Get the gauges and learn what they do. they work just fine if you read them right
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Old 02-03-2017, 07:14 AM
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The funny thing about all the cars alignment, is they handle fine. I'm not a race car driver though. I'll give the gauges a try, was/am a bit uneasy about messing with the rear of the vette. Mainly just need to correct them eating tires before their time. I live just outside Indianapolis, In.
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Old 02-05-2017, 07:13 AM
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Anytime you have an alignment done , be sure to ask for a printout so that you can see what was changed. Numbers don't lie Most modern alignment machines will show the spec range and will flag any measurement that is not in spec
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Old 02-05-2017, 07:54 AM
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Your right about the printouts. The last two places told me their printer didn't work when I went back to pickup the car. I knew they were not being truthful and the tire wear issues later told me I was correct. I had asked for them to provide printouts before I left the shop. I think my biggest mistake was telling them the car handled fine and didn't pull. Just wanted the tire wear corrected.
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Old 02-07-2017, 09:22 AM
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Old alignment racks, you are likely buying someone else's problem. You'll never make your $$ back unless you do a good number of alignments. It will need to be calibrated upon installation and periodic maintenance. If it is too old, support and software may be non-existent.


I worked years ago on an old 2-wheel Bear rack, simple to use and reliable. The gauges attached to the front wheels. We actually had 2 racks, one used the Snap On gauges that attached to the spindles. Both worked well.
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