1931 Chevrolet Front End Alignment Maintenance
   For 1929 to 1932 cars, you need to align the front end very infrequently.  But, if it's out of alignment, then you'll have a very unpleasant time when driving the car.  It will wander and not stay on a straight course.   You'll feel the benefit once you get the toe-in adjusted properly.  This is a relatively simple job that can be done under an hour if you don't get confused.

The use of an alignment rod makes the job much easier, but it isn't totally necessary.  The biggest value is to have a second person help you.  If you don't have help, then you might want to make your own alignment rod.   Note:  This could be done fairly easily using a spring-loaded bathroom curtain rod.  Another option is to order the original-style rod through Napa Auto Parts.  We understand that it's still available.  Probably not too expensive either.

(Click on pictures to enlarge them.)

  Our "test" subject was a 1932 Four-door Chevrolet Sedan.  
  <<Click on any thumbnail graphic or photo below, to enlarge it.>>  
  Here is a page from the 1930 Owners Manual.  It explains how to measure the Front and Rear distances.

Your "A" and "B" measurements probably won't be exactly at the front and rear of the rims, but you can fudge a little bit on this location.

Here is my version of this "measurement" activity.  I've added a way for you to remember which way to turn the connecting rod.   If you're like we were, you'll turn it the wrong way at least twice!!

Use a pipe wrench.  Remember you want the REAR measurement to be approx 1/8" wider than the FRONT measurement.


1)  First things first.  Slightly raise the car wheels off the ground.  You need to remove the friction with the floor.

2.  Point the wheel straight ahead.  Then put the bar across the FRONT of the wheels first.  Always measure the front first and then adjust the rear measurement.  Use the front as your "frame of reference" or your "zero" measurement.  The Rear measurement should always be larger!

3.  The bar has a chain on it so that you make it level to the floor.  Just make sure that the chain is the same distance off of the floor at both wheels.  Then the bar will be level.  Place the end of the bar's points where the rim meets the rubber sidewall of the tire.
Note: The photo to the left shows the points ending ON the rubber sidewall.  That is not a good place to measure from.  You want the distance measured between the front of the metal RIMs.
  The photo to the left and right show more details of the "points".   
    Our tag is very old and hard to read the lettering. This enlarged photo shows what the original plate said.  
Thanks to Andy for letting us use his car, and thanks to Dick Olson for letting me help.

--Bill B

Shade Tree mechanics:
Can you perform this measurement with just a simple measuring tape?   Ahhh... yes, and no.  Here's the deal.  You need to measure the most forward part of the Wheel Rim.  This is hard to do with the springs and sheet metal that is in the way.  So, you make it a little lower down the rim.  Now.... How do you measure this distance when you can't hardly see down there and the tape doesn't allow for a right-handed turn?  And, if you do manage to get a measurement that you trust, then you need to do the same thing along the REAR of the rims and now you have even MORE metal in the way.

I was able to do a respectable job of measuring my front-end alignment before I had my engine installed and before fenders and stuff were attached.  (I'll try to add photos later.)  But on a completely assembled car, it is very difficult to do -- not impossible, but clumsy.  To some extent it depends who the second person is helping you.   If you're married to your helper, then you've got OTHER obstacles.  :-)


Photos by me.

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