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Thursday, August 6, 2009

Adjustable Camber Plates

Adjustable Camber

Now you can alter the camber settings on your car, anytime, anywhere, whether for street or track use.

Camber Basics

Before we begin, let’s give a rundown on what camber is and how does this affect your car’s overall handling. Remember that camber angle is made by the wheel that exhibits itself either as, positive or negative. More specifically it is the angle between the vertical axis of the wheel and the vertical axis of the vehicle when viewed from the front or rear.

Positive camber is achieved when the top of the wheel is further out than the bottom.

Negative Camber is when the bottom of the wheel is further out than the top.

Negative camber as this diagram suggests is typically found on vehicles that are set up for track/autocross.

Camber angles alters the handling qualities of any suspension design, in particular negative camber improves grip when cornering, at the expense of premature inner tire wear. However in most cases, it is usually desirable to have the car adjusted for neutral steer, so that it responds quickly to a turn of the steering wheel, like the settings on production cars where car manufacturers tend to err towards positive camber to deliberately instill understeer onto its handling as this is deemed safer for inexperienced drivers.

The most common handling problems are:

Understeer

This is the condition when the front tires experience a loss in traction during a cornering situation, thus causing the car to head towards the outside of a corner.

Oversteer

This is the condition when the rear tires experience a loss in traction during a cornering situation, thus causing the rear end of the car to head towards a corner.

Bodyroll

This is the condition when the car’s body leans towards the outside of a curve, whereby this situation can cause the wheels on the inside of the wheel to be loaded with less tire grip that will contribute to an over or understeer situation.

Camber Angle Reduce Understeer Reduce Oversteer

Front camber Increase negative camber Reduce negative Camber

Rear camber Reduce negative Camber Increase negative camber

Adjustable Camber Plates

These plates replace the topmost portion of your McPherson strut or coil-over. Located on its center is what is called the pillowball mount. This allows the strut to move in such a way that it can be adjusted for different camber settings. There are 2 Allen head type bolts on either side, that when loosened will enable one to move the strut inwards (Positive) or outwards (Negative) along with the plate. Also located on the pillowball mounting plate is a graded mark that signifies how many degrees and if it is either negative or positive with 0 as the center. Simply line up the marker with the one on the plate with your desired camber setting and then tighten up the 4 Allen head bolts and that’s all there is to it.

The Objective

Don’t expect a dramatic improvement in handling by simply dialing in way too much camber. Remember that in order to achieve the proper camber angle, the initial camber setting must be sufficient enough to compensate for camber lost due to body roll and suspension design. High performance settings normally dictate more negative camber and more positive caster. This is because both of this will help keep the wide tires more upright during cornering, thereby maximizing the tire’s contact patch on the pavement. However, camber angles greater than 3 degrees negative will affect transient handling (Takes too long for the tire’s sidewall to roll over and flatten out) and is indicative of that one should make suspension changes elsewhere. Bottom line here is that the interaction between driving conditions and suspension limitations dictates compromise.

Pros

No more inconsistent handling

Improved turn-in feel

Keeps the contact patch wider on the pavement

Perfect for vehicles that see autocross and track days

Enhances overall steering feel

Cons

Bit costly, but effective.

Too much negative camber will result into increased rolling resistance.

New Tech

Adjustable Camber Bolts by H&R

H&R Triple C Camber Bolts

H&R’s new Triple C camber adjusters are a simple, yet very effective means of removing excessive camber, adjusting your vehicle’s camber settings, or even correcting small side-to-side camber variations for precise alignment. Consisting of a pair of specially-designed bolts, H&R’s patented Triple C camber adjusters replace the original upper fastening bolts on all McPherson strut applications. As the bolt is turned, a small cam eccentric alters the vehicle’s camber, allowing adjustments from 0-3 degrees, positive or negative. Installation takes only minutes with readily-available hand tools, and benefits include increased tire life, improved tracking and the ability to dial in more camber for weekend track events.

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