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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: 21,112
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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Last edited by bluebee; 09-09-2012 at 10:58 PM.
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