Hands Free Camber Gauge




Introduction: Hands Free Camber Gauge

About: general bloke type of tinkering

Hands free Camber Gauge for cars made from angle iron, it can also be used to check castor too.
uses 2 small spirit levels and the read/write spindle and bearing from an old 250Mb hard drive for the pivoting plate and the spirit level.

Step 1: General Overview

The hands free part is provided by a section of innertube that uses 4inch nails bent to from "s hooks", and small 5mm irrigation tubing used on the nails to protect the car rims from damage.

The frame is constructed from 30mm equal angle iron, the pivoting plate made from some alluminuim swings on an old hard drive read/write head spindle.
I used 2 spirit levels, 1 a cheap plastic line level, and the other an even cheaper bubble level on the bottom less critcal axis

The design is a result of 2 sources of inspiration, Sheldon's Mazda Miata resource page, here http://www.quadesl.com/miata_alignment.shtml, a fine example of a well engineered product.

the other site is Rick Dormoi's site , showcasing his nice aluminum design
at http://www.toyheadauto.com/CasterCamberGauge.html

Step 2: The Frame

You will need a welder here, I used a total of 700mm of 30mm equal angle,
I've included a Sketchup file here for interest, thought I'd hop on the latest trend :)
I used M8 bolts at all 3 points where it touches the wheel rim, with slip on clear tubing for protection.. of the rim that is.

Step 3: The Pivoting Plate

I found it easier to first mount the bearing on the angle frame, create an index mark to measure from on the frame, and then glue the top plate to the bearing.

the small spacer block under the thumbscrew was to lift up the short screw that I used, which increased the amount of uptravel on the ally plate.
In this configuration the gauge ranges from -15 degrees to +12 degrees.

Step 4: Side View

Side view of the top plate showing more use of my spaceage bonding process on the level and the bearing..CA glue and microballoons.. works quite well, even if I say so myself.
Also showing the index mark used to align the top plate to the frame index mark.

The distance between the screw and bearing is critical to accuracy of the completed gauge.
For my screw of 6M1.0 pitch 1 turn of the screw = 1mm, so the distance between must be 57.29mm to equal 1 degree.
the common metric sizes for interest are 6M1, 7M1 (at 57.29mm distance),
8M1.25 , 9M1.25 ( at 71.62mm distance),
10M1.5 ( at 85.94mm distance)

Step 5: In Use

It is possible to discern between 0.1 of a degree as shown in these 2 pics,
each of the 10 segments is .1 of a degree.
the arrowed segment pointing at the level indicates 0 degrees when the top plate is level with the frame edge, as is the trend with these devices.
if you flick back and forth between these 2 pics the approx 1mm movement of the bubble can be seen

Step 6: Revision of the 3 Rim Contact Points

After using the gauge some, I decided to toss the bolts with clear tubing method in favour of something better.
The bolts shift position on the rim, due to the curvature in the area where they usually put the balance weights, check the profile of the rim in the pic below.
This introduces an error of 0.4 of a degree every time the gauge is moved or replaced on the wheel.

My new method involves 15mm dia nylon feet slipped over the bolts, the larger footprint of the nylon gives a more repeatable reading and is also kinder to the rim than the old bolts were.

Step 7: Revision of the Frame Upright to Add More Functionality

Looking at the gauge I realised that by adding a small section of angle iron to the upright piece, the swivel plate with the level could be unscrewed and flipped around to the other side to measure level in the horizontal plane.
Instead of knowing whether or not an object is level, you would be able to determine its inclination in degrees

Who would need to know horizontal level to 0.1 degrees accuracy? ....
dunno not me, but its there if you need it :)

Step 8: Revision of Rubber Band Hold-down Method

After deciding the rubber band wasn't doing it for me cosmetically,
I have upgraded to a spring, it looks better and wont perish,
hopefully now I can leave well alone.

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    8 years ago on Step 7

    Use of the horizontal gauge: on-site calibration.

    If you are someplace that you don't know for sure if it is level or not, you can lay the gauge down on the ground to calibrate it (using the horizontal gauge to find the level point)


    12 years ago on Introduction

    What about using it on wheels that dont have a lip?  For example alloy wheels?


    15 years ago on Introduction

    I think Its not easy when u handle this process in old carscars - used cars?could u please answer..........is it ok ?


    Reply 13 years ago on Introduction

    oh its very easy you just gotta be creative and like to use yur hands if you know what i mean


    Reply 15 years ago on Introduction

    as you say, its not easy, on any cars not just old ones.....its much easier paying to have it done, but if you want to do it yourself, this is one way to do it.


    16 years ago

    I agree with you radiorental, its a hassleusing epoxy for small jobs, hence my preference for CA glue...possibly not as strong as epoxy, but I have been able to drill and tap a thread in the stuff. As for on the side of a hill ...the car would have to be level.. ie all 4 wheels at the same level. Easily done with a 5 metre length of clear plastic tubing filled with colored water, sort of thing builders use. Tape one end to a wheel, note where the water level is and walk round to the other 3 wheels and jack/prop up each wheel to the same reference height as the first one ... bobs yer uncle


    16 years ago

    superglue and microballoons. Genius. How strong is it? compared to something like epoxy and balloons? its a pain mixing epoxy for small jobs. Well documented. Now, I know nothing about setting up wheel camber and stuff. What if you live on the side of a hill?