November 13, 2007 Rob

Camber, Toe, Caster – For Dummies

We get a lot of people asking about proper alignment setting. While this is one of those factors that are different driver to driver, here are a few good tips to get started:

Neglecting to get an alignment or improper alignment can hurt performance and make driving un-fun. This will be very basic explanation of different settings ( recommended race settings are for a rear wheel drive car, 240sx etc)

Camber – During cornering a tire will get maximum traction at negative camber due to body roll, tire roll, suspension travel. By adding stiffer coilovers you can minimize the movement and it will help keep the static settings. Fronts will see more load so more camber is recommended. Camber plates and adjustable rear upper control arm recommended. Good starting point – 3deg front/ 1.5 deg rear

Caster – Positive steering pivot angle helps with high speed stability, cornering response and helps straighten the steering when going forward. Generally speaking more caster is better. Too much caster will make the steering feel heavy. Excessive caster will add negative camber to the outside wheel during turning, altering static camber settings. Sometimes you will lose some steering angle. Adjustable tension rods recommended. Good starting point – 1-2 deg over stock setting.

Front: Toe in (not recommended) will help with straight line stability, encourages understeer. Toe out (advanced driver) will enhance turn-in response, encourages oversteer, too much will create bump steer and scrub. Good starting point – 0 toe or slight toe out

Rear: Toe in will help with stability under acceleration, good control at high speeds, encourages understeer
Toe out – (not recommended, advanced driver) Car will feel funny (4ws), hard to control under acceleration, very easy to go sideways. Good starting point – 0 toe or slight toe in