Turntable Set Up Questions again?

Hello everyone. So I am trying to align my turntable and after buying some new gizmos and spending a lot of time making adjustments and leveling the table I have a few questions.
1. Tracking Force- I realize that you set this based on cartridge requirements, then adjust by ear. My question is what are the outer bounds? If the Manuf. says 1.5 grams and I double it is that too much (ok, I'm really not gonna double it, but the point is how much play do you usually have?) How about 1.8? 2.1?

2. VTA. Here is my idea here. I have a small bubble level that I can place on top of my headshell. If I place enough post-it notes under the cartridge (alongside but not under the needle) I can very closely duplicate the "play" position where the needle is tracking a groove without worrying about depressing the needle into oblivion with the application of downward force onto the tonearm. So I can attach the bubble and adjust tonearm or pivot height to level the bubble without depressing the needle to cause damage. I can also use this and secure the bubble to the tonearm to measure whether it is level. good idea or not? How does one tell if the tonearm is tracking level?

3. I am working very hard on VTA, and may be at the situation where the tonearm height needs to be lowered past its lowermost point. Since this is impossible, is it acceptable to raise the record instead? I could get an aftermarket record mat to place on top of the existing one, which will raise the record to give me a good VTA, and then adjust from there. If this is ok, what mats do ya'all recommend?

4. What test records for setup do you recommend? I bought a Cardas one that seemed to be useful, but turns out it is pretty useless. You can tell L and R and it has like 5 tracks for absolute polarity. Not much else.

-thanks in advance, I appreciate your comments.
On your 1st question, I would say generally about +/- 20% from the center of the recommended range is about all you should go. The higher the compliance, the more careful you have to be about adding force. If you have to go very far out of the recommended range, then there is likely something wrong somewhere.

On the 2nd question, you are overdoing the concern about absolute level of the tonearm, regarding VTA adjustment. All you have to do is look at it from the side while it is playing. The level is simply a starting point, from which you make your final adjustments by ear. Get it where it looks level by eye, and listen to a record. Then make adjustments according to the frequency balance. Typically lowering the VTA will shift the balance toward the bass, and raising it will shift it toward the highs. Fine tuning within this range will allow you to adjust out sibilance and other artifacts that might be present.

Question 3. What kind of TT, arm, and cart do you have? If you are out of adjustment range, then you may have some other conditions we need to know. Even to recommend a mat, we need to know more.

Question 4. Alot of folks use the HFN&RR test record. I don't use any test record, except my collection.
Here is my opinion based on years of experience with vinyl, in response to your questions
1. I say stay with the maximum tracking force and do not exceed it at all. the designer of that cartridge is telling you that the 1.5g is where the sensativity deminished in the laboratory where it was designed
2. VTA referes to the angle of the cantilever in relation to the playing surface. If its 15 degrees, with the stylus at rest in a groove, look at eyelevel and determine the angle. Bear in mind that 180/220 gram vinyl is thicker and will alter this angle. So I usually set it for the 180 gram.
3.You don't mention what turntable you have. What type of mat is on it now? What is your cartridge,tonearm, etc. I would not alter the mat as a solution to VTA. Adjust your VTA correctly and then if after a time you "seek to tweek" try a different mat.
5.Anti Skate don't forget this very crucial adjustment. Once the other two have been set make sure that anti skate is set. If you have a glass platter it is very easy. Gently set the sylus at approximate center of playing field and adjust tracking force to a point where it wants to just start creeping away from the spindle.
6 happy listening
4. The best test record is the one that is most similar in thickness to your collection. I also have the Cardas record and though they make great cables, the record was a waste of money.
My suggestion would be to contact the manufacturer of your turntable/arm -- they should be able to offer the very best advice on setup. My turntable/arm is VPI and they have very definite opinions on how to best set up their turntables. As an example of this, their anti-skating "devise" is very different and is based on the design of their JMW arm; likewise they think that tracking force is extremely critical (and should be set by an accurate electronic gauge) and recommend 10% over the max stated by the cartridge maker. Would this advise be applicable to your turntable/arm -- I doubt it unless its VPI. My point is-- go to source!
What exactly is Compliance?
A spring constant of the cartridge's cantilever. This parameter describes centering force versus excursion of an excursed cantilever and is usually measured in mm per Newton.
So is there more bass if the arm is going downhill, or is it uphill?
Generally there is an increase in bass and a decrease in treble, as you lower the VTA(lowering the pivot end of the arm). You can only do a certain amount with this, and is not intended really, as a tone control. It is a guide to show you how to "zero in" the VTA. However small changes for adjusting frequency balance can be done.