Measuring your chassis height is a vitally important part of evaluating your setup but has always been a bit awkward. You lay on your stomach on the cold dusty floor and try to hold a tape measure up to the frame. And each time you make a change you must re-measure to be sure you're not too low (won't pass tech) or too high (transfers too much weight to the outside tires). Yes, measuring your chassis height can take all the fun out of setting up your car!
But thanks to the folks at Longacre Racing Products, here's a super easy way to make those measurements, their new Chassis Height Checker. This tool makes quick and easy work of getting critical dimensions accurately and consistently to within 1/16-inch-without getting dirty. Simply slide it under the car, raise the tape until it touches the frame, and read the height. It really couldn't be quicker or easier.
Here's how it works. The tool contains a tape measure with a built-in tape lock, a slider with pointer, a black knob to clamp to the tape, and a 0-10 inch scale. It also has a bearing at the end that changes the direction of the tape from horizontal (parallel to the ground) to vertical to measure height. There are two different tool lengths-a shorter one for perimeter frame cars and a longer one for straight rail cars.
There are three different ways to use it; measure height with the car on the ground, measure height with the car on scale pads, or measure height dynamically/continuously as you are working on the car.
Using the Chassis Height Checker is as simple as sliding the unit under the car and pushing the knob toward the car to raise the tape until it touches the frame. A magnet on the end of the tape will hold it in place. You can now read the chassis height directly.
If the car is on the scales, you need only to place a piece of flat metal on top of the pad so it hangs over the edge. Position the checker under this piece and raise the tape up until it touches. This represents ground level when the car is on scales. Lock the tape, loosen the black knob, set the pointer to 0.0 inches, and tighten the knob. Now move the checker under the frame as above and use the knob to raise it until it touches the frame (again the magnet will hold it there). The reading will be the net chassis height as it would be if the car were on the ground.
Purchasing a set of four Chassis Height Checkers will allow you to constantly monitor the height measurements as you work on the car. Once the tools have been set up to measure either on the ground or on scales, you simply release the tape lock and leave the checker in place with the magnet holding the tape to the frame. As you work on the car and the frame moves up and down the Checkers will follow the movement, giving the actual height at that instant. You can quickly see the height at all four corners, by simply walking around the car.
If you use a Sharpie to mark the measuring location on the rocker panel and the corresponding spot on the tool, you make using it even more convenient. Next time you can simply slide the tool under the car to the correct depth and take your measurement.
The Chassis Height Checker is versatile tool, allowing you to measure the height of other things on your car-headers or collectors, crank centerline, front spoiler, fuel cell, and more. If you need to measure something more than 10 inches, simply use another tape measure and extend the tool's tape to exactly 10 inches. Loosen the black knob and set the scale back to 0. Now, just add 10 inches to any measurement you take.
If the tape is ever damaged it can be easily replaced. Now there's no reason to have to re-setup your car just because the chassis heights got away from you. Individual Checkers start at $79.95 and a set of four runs $299.95.