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What is "max camber" front and rear, and what is a good general use "toe" setting?

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#1
Flyntgr

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I need to learn how to set my own alignment, but have spent more time on RH (currently 4 3/8" front, 4 1/2" Rear), CW (50.04%), Cross (3 lbs), and learning to drive. In the meantime, I try to find competent alignment shops close to home, to no avail. Example today:
I entered the shop in my 1999 Spec Miata with -2 degrees front camber and -2.8/2.9 rear camber. I wanted MORE camber, and toe-out in front and toe-in in rear.

After setting the camber front and rear, and the toe front and rear, the shop manager, who was doing the work, disconnected the mirrors and told me they were done. I asked what the final settings were, and he said the most camber he could get in front was -1.9 and rear was -2.6. He also set toe at .03 toe IN both front and rear. I'll take it somewhere else-to a shop 90 miles away because they know how to do it right.

Questions for you:
1. How much camber CAN you get on your own car, F and R?
2. What is a good Toe setting, front and rear on a flat track 1.9 or 2.75 miles around, with mostly right hand turns?

#2
Johnny D

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Have you looked at the SM Setup guide in the downloads section up top? ^^^
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#3
Flyntgr

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Only a dozen times. My car's settings don't even approach that camber, but read my post....I'm wondering what others are getting, and why my alignment shop couldn't get them, or even follow my instructions. I'll ask them tomorrow, but first-some ammunition from other drivers.

#4
HoneyBadger - BrianW

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Couple things... with a brand new front subframe and new control arms the most I was able to get was -2.8 in the front. That was at 4 1/4" front ride height. It is very likely that something is bent if you are only able to get 1.9 in front. I would look at the lower control arms first, but it could also be the spindle, ball joint and or the subframe.

I would also suspect you have something bent in the rear, as you should be able to get way more than -2.6. I have never maxed it out, but at 4 1/2" ride height I would think you should be able to get more than -4 camber. Again, check the lower control arm, the long bolt that bolts the upright and then the upright itself, subframe etc.

As for toe, all else being equal, I generally am looking for 1/16 out in the front and either zero or 1/16 in for the rear. I will leave the conversation of how to get more camber in the front to someone else...
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#5
Cy Peake

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Several vendors sell "special" front spindles that spend some time in a jig to allow more than stock negative front camber.

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#6
Killian

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My problem with getting enough camber was from an unknowledgeable alignment tech. They just max the cams and say that's all it will do.
I had one tech at a shop tell my -1.9 was all I could get in the front and that he "could only do what the machine (Hunter) told him to do."
I brought it back a month later. I didn't adjust anything myself between alignments. I gave the second tech the alignment pages from the factory service manual. Miraculously he could get -2.8.
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#7
Keith Novak

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Camber is going to depend on several things, ride height being one. If you compare max camber to a setup for a smooth track with few bumps, that car can be setup lower and get more camber. Set it up the same for a really rough track and it can get pretty dicey so more height = less camber. When I run the car low with tires around 2/32 unless something is bent I get get better than 3* in front. I don't remember the max in the rear but it was a lot more than I want (I think 4+). I've bent a few things over time and found several that can cause .5 or 1 less camber.

The length of the track and CCW vs CW won't tell you squat about desired toe. Start with something like the JD setup and go from there. The current record at our new hilly CCW track was set using the same setup as our flat CW track. Not intuitive but he knows his stuff well enough to set it up for the most important corners.

It's taken me a while to learn a bit about tuning the suspension and I'm just starting to get the hang of it. Part of that is deciding what the car is doing badly and tackling that problem. I typically run the front lower than the rear to help turn in. I run less camber in the rear than the front to help it rotate although I'll be doing more experimenting with rear setups to improve mid turn to exit handling. At my stage of the game, I find making little tweaks won't tell me much. I'm not consistent enough and my butt cheeks aren't calibrated to the point where I can tell what a little tweak did. I make larger changes and see if that made things better or worse. Sometimes it's worse and within 2 laps I realize that was a really bad change but you've got to try it to know what it does where. Sometimes you get hit and drive a race with 1/2" of toe out on one rear wheel so the experiments driving a badly handling car aren't wasted track time.
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#8
Flyntgr

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I think WhoahstU got it:
"My problem with getting enough camber was from an unknowledgeable alignment tech. They just max the cams and say that's all it will do.
I had one tech at a shop tell my -1.9 was all I could get in the front and that he "could only do what the machine (Hunter) told him to do."
I brought it back a month later. I didn't adjust anything myself between alignments. I gave the second tech the alignment pages from the factory service manual. Miraculously he could get -2.8."

I am sure the tech blew it. What I'm asking is how much YOU can get, and I see that BrianW got the toe question when he answered, "As for toe, all else being equal, I generally am looking for 1/16 out in the front and either zero or 1/16 in for the rear." That's what I had asked for,but got two toe-ins.

#9
HoneyBadger - BrianW

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When I run the car low with tires around 2/32 unless something is bent I get get better than 3* in front.


It looks like you are driving a 95... I believe they get a little more camber than the 99's do. At least that is my experience, I cannot get -3 front camber with brand new parts unless I run below 4" ride height. YMMV
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#10
FTodaro

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If your going to take this hobbie seriously, I would recommend you buy a set of scales, and the iron canyon string kit. It will pay for itself. Other than your driving learning how to set up the car in no. 2.

RH is important to the camber values you can achieve, we're you in the car or your weight equivalent in the car at the time? Were the tire inflated to 38psi? it has to be done right. You need to go to someone who knows what they are doing before you chase the car. If you car has close to 100,000 miles on it then you should expect to have to replace some warn parts and some bent ones.

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#11
Flyntgr

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Car is new. I used my scales. RH and CW is perfect, as is cross (3 lbs). Alignment is all I needed, and the tech dropped the ball. I'll go out of town to a race specialist next time. There is nothing bent, but I replaced a bent lower control arm and lower bolt, which is why I needed the alignment. I went there with -2.8 rear camber and left with only -2.6. NOT the right direction. I've been racing for 4 years, winning a number of races, even with the bent control arm and only minimal rear camber. While I'm improving my car needs to be as good as it can be!

#12
Ken Wilkinson

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If you already have scales, use the money you are giving to a shop to do the alignment and take Frank's suggestion...buy an alignment string jig and camber gauge and do it yourself, you will learn a lot and will not regret it...plus you can sell that equiptment off when you quit having fun!

#13
davew

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Scale and allignment are not seperate jobs. It is a single operation that should be done at the same time.

At 4 3/8 you are too low.

You should have no problem getting around -3* on the front and -3* rear should be easy.

Street car allignments are so totally different than what we use, you might as well be speaking a different language. Either learn to do the job yourself, as you have done with scaling. Or, take it to a SM specialist and get it done right the first time.

Dave
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#14
Walter Vetter

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FWIW, I go to a local tire dealer that permits me to stay in the car while its on the rack. I give them my specs and they set the alignment. I'm looking right at the system monitor the entire time. < $80 for all four wheels. No bubbles, no troubles.

Use to take it to a "racing specialist" who charged me $180.
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#15
Charlie Hayes

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FWIW, I go to a local tire dealer that permits me to stay in the car while its on the rack. I give them my specs and they set the alignment. I'm looking right at the system monitor the entire time. < $80 for all four wheels. No bubbles, no troubles.

Use to take it to a "racing specialist" who charged me $180.


Still need to do the alignment/scales at the same time for best results. What ever you end up doing, being consistent in the set up is the the main part.
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#16
Walter Vetter

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My 'default' crossweight is 0.2 - 0.3 %. It doesn't change after aligning. I'm not sophisticated enough to change cross on a per track basis, and as the great majority of tracks I visit are CW, my 'universal' set-up seems to work.
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#17
fishguyaz

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If your going to take this hobbie seriously, I would recommend you buy a set of scales, and the iron canyon string kit. It will pay for itself.

Flyntgr , arm yourself with knowledge. learn how to adjust the car. its not magic, and its pretty easy when you think about what you are doing and understand it. once you are able to do this yourself, you can then tune your car to the needs of the track on that day.
you now have the same "tools" as everyone else if you can tune your car to your needs to make it do what you want it to do.

this is one of the fun things about racing.

think about the huge disadvantage you are at if we both have the same skill level, but my car is easier to drive because i can adjust it while at the track between sessions, while you cannot.

I have learned how to do this myself, therefore anyone can................I am not that smart,
just meticulous
Josh Pitt
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