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Matt93SE

String alignment systems-- pre-purchase advice ?

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Looking around I see a couple different systems out there..  are they all "the same", or are there qualitative differences between them?

Smart Strings and BG racing seem to be the ones I see online and they're about the same price point.   BG looks to have had some minor quality issues like threaded holes needing re-tapped, but that's not a big deal to me.  however if the smartstrings is $50 more and has zero quality issues, why not just go that way?

There some others out there that go laser and do this and that and the other.  while they're cool, I'm not ready to fork out that kind of money for an alignment setup.

I already have a standard bubble-type camber/caster gauge, bumpsteer gauge, and corner scales, so I have the base model of all ancilliary equipment needed.  now I'm just looking for the string tools and any other things I don't know I'm missing.   (scale platform would be baller, but again I'm not that flush with cash after all the other recent racing related purchases.)

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I've looked at them, considered fabbing something similar, but am happy with using jackstands and strings. And measurements with strings are plenty precise. E.g. when doing a buddies Mustang we were able to identify the small thrust angle in one side of his solid rear axle. He later had it checked on a fancy machine and matched our results. Only word of caution is to be aware if front and rear track widths are different.  Other than that it doesn't take much more than a 4 level spots for the tires to rest on.

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I've used jackstands and two pieces of conduit with 3 holes drilled into each conduit. (1 at each end for the string, 1 in the middle). It worked but its not quick. You have to set it up and then measure. If you need to make an adjustment, need to roll the car and setup the strings again.

A chassis mounted option would be so much faster. I want to get one someday...

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I once made my own using small (1/2"?) angle aluminum. Built a little frame for each end that attached to the hood and deck lid pins. Clamp the main pieces together and drill the holes for the string so they will be parallel. Once I set it up the first time, I made little marks on the front and rear bumpers to line up with the center of the cross bar.

After a few uses, I could have it set up and ready in under 10 minutes. I also built some wooden stands to put the car on with lubricated turn plates. With the car a foot in the air, it was really easy to measure and adjust.

I don't have it anymore, or I'd show you a picture...

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Update...   so I learned that SCCA members get a ~10% discount through Summit, and I also had a 10% coupon from recent membership renewal.   They sell the BG kit, and I was able to get it for about $350 with all of the discounts.  Smart Strings kit is $550 for similar setup, so I figured that was a win...   So I placed the order.

Turns out the mofo is on backorder and they're saying 3/24 delivery date.  faaaaak!  LOL

I'll be doing the jackstand and conduit trick this week since I have a race at COTA this weekend and just rebuilt the whole damn suspension.

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