Wheel alignment explained...

Discussion in 'Automotive Care' started by lancer2quick, Sep 16, 2010.

  1. lancer2quick

    lancer2quick Well-Known Member

    I am getting an alignment done and adjusting my caster a little bit from my new wheels and suspension setup I put on yesterday, and thought this would help a lot of the members that do not fully understand all the specifics. Alignments are a crucial part of maintaining any vehicle, as well as tweaking for track days, autoX, etc...so, its going in auto care. lol

    Having the straightest wheel alignment will give your tires the largest contact patch as well as the most even treadwear. But when it comes down to having low offsets, big lips and wide wheels, you can't always find wheels that will meet your fenders perfectly. Adjusting your camber is one method to adjusting your stance. But before you do that, you should know some of the basics to suspension and wheel tuning. Too much negative camber will reduce your tire patch and performance, yet somehow it's become the coolest thing since party poppers. I don't know what it is about negative camber. It definitely screams 'loss of performance'. But at the same time a VIP car, drift car or bosozoku style car is nothing without it. Somehow extremely lowered cars with extreme camber trigger a natural attraction in males, much like the mammary glands of opposite sex. Here are some of the basics you should know before you ruin your car.

    Toe is the alignment of two wheels on the same axis. Adjusting your camber will throw toe settings off. Toe-in or toe-out will cause improper tire wear. Similar to skiing, when you have toes inward you will lose speed.

    CAMBER is the angle of the face of wheel in relation to a 90° line off the ground. Camber affects traction, tire patch, treadwear and handling. You might have noticed your tires wearing on the inside due to a bit of negative camber.

    Caster is the degree of angle between the wheel and the steering axis, usually the top hat of the strut. When you have positive caster the wheel will be in front of the top hat. Caster directly affects steering wheel speed and turn radius. Imagine pushing a dolly or riding a bike. It's much easier with positive camber.

    If you draw your kingpin axis all the way down to the ground, and it hits the center of the tire at the same point it hits the ground, then you have zero scrub radius. If it hits the ground before the center of the tire, then you have your kingpin offset. Having too much kingpin offset (or scrub radius) will cause higher steering effort and stronger steering wheel kickback, as well as affect braking and handling. Changing your wheel offset directly affects scrub radius.

    Maybe this will help some of you guys with tuning and setups....enjoy
  2. Jogenmaru

    Jogenmaru Well-Known Member

    thank you sir. Coil overs will be ordered come monday the 27th. Now the question is to do it myself or take it to a good shop. Time to get some opinions from evos in my area.