Grant buys alignment equipment for Fordson High School auto tech program

Two Fordson High students use a new alignment machine in their auto tech class on Jan. 5, 2022.

Fordson High School has received a grant from the Margaret Dunning Foundation for a new  alignment machine that will help automotive tech students learn on current equipment.

The $28,688.77 grant will provide for the purchase of a new four-wheel alignment machine for the Automotive Technology Department.  The equipment will replace a 25-year-old alignment machine with a state-of-the-art Hunter HawkEye Elite Alignment System. 

Fordson High School’s auto tech program follows national standards and is an ASE Education Foundation recognized and certified program.

The new alignment machine will be used in the school’s Maintenance and Light Repair Program consisting of Auto 1 through Auto 6.  It will be particularly useful in the Auto 5 class on brakes and suspensions, said Mark Kent, the lead automotive technology instructor.

“We are purchasing it so students can gain real hands-on experience in performing pre-alignment inspections, measuring ride height and performing precision four-wheel alignments on today’s sophisticated vehicles. Additionally the Hunter Hawkeye Elite machine will allow us to calibrate today’s Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) as well as resetting steering angle sensors,” Mr. Kent said. 

“Most of the repair procedures that we are required by the ASE Education Foundation to teach to maintain our certification will require an alignment and steering angle sensor reset after they are performed. Without this machine, a vehicle would need to be towed out of our shop to an alignment shop before it could safely be driven,” Mr. Kent said.

The Margaret Dunning Foundation was founded by Ms. Dunning in 1997. She was born in 1910 in Redford Township and moved with her mother to Plymouth in the 1920s. During her lifetime, Ms. Dunning was a successful businesswoman, philanthropist and civic booster. She was a major supporter of many Plymouth nonprofits. In addition to her personal philanthropy, Ms. Dunning was a classic car enthusiast and a regular participant in the Woodward Dream Cruise with her 1930 Packard 740 Roadster. Ms. Dunning died in 2015 at the age of 104. Her estate provided additional funding for the Margaret Dunning Foundation, which continues to support her charitable interests and legacy.