How to Measure and Set Toe-Out Adjustment
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How to Measure and Set Toe-Out Adjustment

This is a discussion on How to Measure and Set Toe-Out Adjustment within the ACE How-To's and Guides forums, part of the Polaris ACE Forums category; The dealer told me 1/8" to 1/4" toe out is the recommended settings. So I went to my local Alignment/Frame specialist guy who has kept ...

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Thread: How to Measure and Set Toe-Out Adjustment

  1. #1
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    cumminsdieselgt's Avatar
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    How to Measure and Set Toe-Out Adjustment

    The dealer told me 1/8" to 1/4" toe out is the recommended settings. So I went to my local Alignment/Frame specialist guy who has kept all my vehicles in alignment for 45 years.

    In talking with my alignment fellow who does frames, etc. and straightens bent vehicles, here's what he told me to do.

    1. Take a couple of jack stands and set them up at the front of the vehicle, one on each side about 2-3' in front of the tires.

    2. Tie a HD rubber band on a long piece of string, like mason's string, orange or pink, etc., and hook it to the hitch on one side of the back of the machine.

    3. Route the string around that side of the rear tire and have the string travel across the widest diameter (across the center hub) of the rear tire all the way to the jack stand in front of that side's front wheel, then over to the other jack stand, and going down the other side all the way back to the receiver hitch connecting the string with another rubber band to keep the string taut.

    NOTE: Because the rear wheels are wider than the front wheels, there will be a slight gap between the string and the wheels in front with the wheels straight.

    4. Adjust the jack stands in or out so that the string will just barely touch the front metal lip edge of the rear wheel that sticks out farther than the tire. This makes sure that the sting is parallel to the rear wheel and not the tire.

    5. Center the rack (jacking up the front of the ATV a bit makes it easier) and see if the steering wheel is straight. If the steering wheel is off center and you are sure you are in the center of the rack, then the steering wheel will have to be removed and centered (if possible). Once the rack is centered (equal traveling distance of the tie rods on both sides of the rack), and the steering wheel is straight, lock the steering wheel if possible.

    6. Using a good, straight metal ruler with 1/32" marks on it, measure from the inside edge of the string to the outer front lip edge and from the inside edge of the string to the rear lip edge of the front wheel with the string height such that it crosses the center hub of the wheel. Adjust the tie rod accordingly to achieve 1/16" to 1/8" less distance between the front lip edge of the wheel and the string than what you have at the rear lip edge of the wheel. If you set it to 1/16" toe out on each side, you will have the total setting of 1/8" toe out.

    7. Adjust the other side front wheel accordingly. Be sure to check the tightness of the tie rod end lock nuts, and recheck your steering wheel for straightness and recheck the toe settings. Adjust as necessary.

    8. Maximum is 1/4" toe out, or 1/8" on each side...

    I understand that Caster and Camber are set with the struts and not adjustable. This may or may not be correct, I haven't seen it written down anywhere.

    BTW, My ACE had an ungodly amount of toe out! It was truly unreal. The thing would not coast at all, if you let off the accelerator, it felt like a parking brake was on! Nothing bent, but way out of adjustment.

    Hope this helps!
    Last edited by Scoundrel; 05-20-2014 at 02:38 PM.

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    Scoundrel's Avatar
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    I just tried this.

    My primary concern was the placement of the jack stands.
    I had heard of the string method before, but the last time I heard of it, it was suggested that I run the string around all four wheels/tires.
    That did not work out well because the rear is wider than the front in most ATVs, so it totally threw off the measurement.
    That is the reason for the jack stands - to get the front of the string to the same width as the rear.
    But how do you make sure the jack stands are placed correctly?
    Well, to be honest, I'm not 100% sure I got it right.

    What I ended up doing was this:

    I tied a string to a fixed point on the rear of the ACE, then wrapped it around one rear tire, past the front of the vehicle, around two jack stands, down the other side of the vehicle, around the other rear tire, and tied it to another fixed point on the rear of the vehicle. I used a rubber band for the last few inches, to give the string tautness. I might skip the rubber band next time and just slide the jack stands away from the vehicle until the string is taut. We'll see.

    Then I adjusted the height. For the rear, I just hooked the string around tread lugs until the string passed the center of the hub on both sides.

    For the elevation adjustment on the front, I raised the jack stands and hooked the string into one of the detents in the jack stand until the string was passing the center of the front hubs as well.

    Now here is the tricky part: getting the right width and placement of each jack stand. To accomplish this, I moved each jack stand inward toward the middle until I could see the string bend against the front of the rear tire, then moved it back out again SLOWLY until I could JUST see light between the string and the front of the rear tire, and then nudged it back inward JUST A HAIR until the light disappeared but I could not see any bend in the string. I did this a few times each side until it was as good as I could make it.

    At that point, I had a gap between the string and the front wheels.

    The next step is to measure the gap at the rear of the front wheel, and the front of the front wheel. The difference between those measurements is the toe.
    If the gap is smaller in the rear of the front wheel than the front of the front wheel, the wheel is toed out.
    If the gap is larger in the rear of the front wheel than the front of the front wheel , the wheel is toed in.

    Then you loosen the locknut on the tie rod end and rotate the tie rod until the gaps are where you want them.

    In my case, I was surprised to find that my adjustment was very nearly spot on already.
    This is the adjustment I made by eyeball when I got frustrated with trying to measure things before I heard about the string/jack stand method.

    My left toe is 1/16 out, and my right toe is 1/8 out.
    I decided NOT to try and adjust it further, for two reasons:
    1. It tracked fine on the trail for 250 miles last weekend, no complaints from me, and...
    2. Given the inexpert way in which I set up this test, there could easily be 1/16" error in the placement of the stands or in my reading of the measuring tape, which has a wobbly metal bit on the end and reads differently based on the angle at which I look at it.

    I have never been good at fine adjustments on things like carburetors and wheel alignment, and if there was a professional I could trust to do it better than me using laser equipment or some such, I'd take it there to have it adjusted.
    But since I found that my dealer is less competent than me in this regard, I'm going to go with "1/16" is close enough if it feels good on the trail".

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    Last edited by Scoundrel; 06-04-2014 at 04:53 PM.
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    luvdamud's Avatar
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    We have used this method for years but instead of a string we use a long straightedge across the outside of the back tire from back to front. The string method would work great if you were alone and didn't have an extra set of hands. Great pics too Scoundrel!
    Scoundrel likes this.

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    ACE Ventura Polaris's Avatar
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    I know this sounds like a stupid question but while this is great info on how measure for toe out would it be possible for someone to actually post pics and explain how to adjust the toe? I am mechanically inclined but I'd love to see how it's actually done

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. And Happy 4th of JuLy.!

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    Scoundrel's Avatar
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    Umm, Post #2 does exactly that.
    Or am I missing something?
    ------------------
    I sold my ACE and am no longer a moderator on this forum. In fact I'm not participating on this forum at all. Sending me questions about my previous signatures is not likely to generate a response. But if you ask your question to the forum publicly, I'm sure you'll get what you need.
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    ACE Ventura Polaris's Avatar
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    It shows measuring the toe in or out not how to actually adjust..

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    Scoundrel's Avatar
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    Leave the vehicle on the ground, don't jack it up.
    Set up the string as indicated above.

    Hold the tie rod end (1) with one wrench while you loosen the locknut (2) with another wrench.
    Once the locknut is loose, use a smaller wrench to grab the tie rod on the flat spot (3), and rotate it.
    Which way you rotate it depends on whether you're on the left or right side, and whether you want the toe to go in or out.
    Don't ask me to tell you which way is which because I always forget and get it confused, so I just turn it one way, and if it doesn't go where I want, I turn it the other way.
    Make sure to roll the vehicle forward and backward a few feet after EVERY adjustment, so that the measurement is true, and not affected by the tire pulling against the ground.

    Once you have it the way you want it, hold the tie rod end and tighten the locknut again.
    Suggest doing both sides before you tighten it up.

    Some vehicles have two sets of tie rod ends with locknuts, and once they're both loose the shaft rotates - but the ACE thankfully only has the outer ones, the inner end rotates freely.

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    Last edited by Scoundrel; 07-05-2014 at 12:10 AM.
    ------------------
    I sold my ACE and am no longer a moderator on this forum. In fact I'm not participating on this forum at all. Sending me questions about my previous signatures is not likely to generate a response. But if you ask your question to the forum publicly, I'm sure you'll get what you need.
    Keep the rubber side down!
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    Check out my UTV Guide to Washington State at http://www.utvadventuresllc.com!
    -=-=-=-

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    ACE Ventura Polaris's Avatar
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    Awesome!!! Thank you Scoundrel exactly what I needed! Off to the shed to set it up! My Ace has a wicked Toe in and needs adjusted! Thanks agin for your help and have a great 4th!

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    Good luck!

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    I got around to checking this out this afternoon, one side was as good as it gets but the other side was out over 1/2. I checked to make sure nothing was bent or twisted since Colorado was pretty rough on stuff but everything looks good. We'll see how she does in a little while out on the back 20 acre's.
    Last edited by Lonnie Wrights; 10-04-2014 at 06:08 PM.

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