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Old 09-09-2012, 10:53 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 24,951
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
Power steering aside, this weekend I bought some tools for measuring toe.

Bear in mind there are various approaches for measuring toe:
  1. Plumb bob & tape measure:
    • Hang a plumb bob at the 3 o'clock & 9 o'clock location of the tire tread; mark the floor where the plumb bob hits; measure between marks; and trig out the angles based on the measured distances
    • Here's a laser variant where you mark the floor and trig out the toe (1)
  2. Toe plate & tape measure:
    • Strap flat plates to the outside of the wheels on an axle; measure between them with a tape
    • Here's a much fancier take on the toe-plate concept (1)
  3. Sliding bar & tape measure:
    • Adjust a pointer and lock into place; then measure the distance with a measuring tape.
      • Here's a single square tube approach (where the fingers slide on the outside of the tube) (1)
      • I opted for a similar approach, only with the cheaper circular tube (1)
      • Personally, I like the dual square tube approach (where the outside ends slide into the central tube)
My first idea was to simply slide two lengths of smaller square tubing inside a larger central length ... and I really liked the solid feel of this sliding-bar approach ... but at roughly $18 to $22 for each 6-foot length of square tubing (steel vs aluminum), I just couldn't justify the cost over the vastly less expensive steel 1/2 inch EMT circular tubing which was a mere $2 for a 10-foot length at Lowes.

It would have cost about $40 if I used the sliding steel/aluminum rectangular tubes, which is too close in price to a professional toe gauge to be worth it.

A matching sliding EMT clamp for each end cost about 50, and I added two more of these clamps for the optional central mount.

A threaded rod for the feelers that touch the tire was less than $2, and wingnuts to replace the hex nuts on the two clamps cost a total of $1.

EDIT: Here's a pic of the parts ... (total cost is roughly about $7 not counting the extra nuts and wingnuts I bought):
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Please read the suggested threads, where the best always add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need

Last edited by bluebee; 09-09-2012 at 10:58 PM.
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