Update: Read on for the gauge part, but now I’ve finished off the alignment toolkit with a Ryobi self leveling laser. Put that baby in the middle of where the car will be, and use Home Depot $0.59 vinyl floor tiles to get the work area absolutely level before you use the following gauge. With that projecting a horizontal level laser and a ruler at the corners to setup the tiles, you won’t ever have to zero it against the ground anymore (every time you power it off, it goes back to default). I’m within 1/16″ at all 4 corners, with the highest corner getting 0 tiles, and the lowest corner getting 9.
A few years ago I used someone’s “Smart Camber” digital camber gauge. It was awesome! You could zero it on the ground and measure your camber on uneven ground with 0.1 accuracy. I was going to get my own, but the $250 street price kind of discouraged me. Being the DIY type, I decided to make my own.
- (1) Digital Level from Sears with 0.1 accuracy which can be found on sale for $35
- (1) 20in long, 1″ wide, 1/8″ thick piece of steel from Home Depot Racing
- (2) 1″ long 1/4″ thick metal spacers from HDR
- (2) Allen head 1.5″ bolts
- (2) Nuts and washers
Drill a hole on one end of the sheetmetal, then 3 holes for 15, 16 and 17″ wheels on the other end. Put in the bolts into the spacers, through the sheetmetal and throw a washer/nut on the other end. The pictures at the end of the post show what I’m talking about. The level attaches to the sheetmetal and is very sturdy as it has a nice big magnet in it.
edit: This part is no longer necessary if you do the above laser/floor tile leveling of your surface. Only if you are doing this on uneven ground. To do an alignment, just set the gauge on the ground in front of your tire and level out to 0 with the “zero” button.
Then place against your wheel and do a tiny bit of math. 88 degrees on the gauge = -2 degrees camber. Easy, accurate to 0.1, and under $40 including all materials. It’s been working great the last season and between this, and stringing up the car for toe, I can do pro alignments in the garage or the pits whenever I please. After the lift, the Jeep went to the shop for an alignment, so I got to verify the accuracy of the gauge and it matched their Hunter machine.
I’ve thought about making a better mount for the level, which would allow me to zero out the gauge vertically, but this has been working so well, I never bothered. If someone comes up with something better, send me a note.