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Old 05-10-2004, 05:02 PM   #1
jcroy66
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Question Autocross alignment settings?

OK, I've been doing some research, trying to figure out a good starting point for the alignment for the WRX for STX. It has camber adjustment front (JIC camber plates) and rear (H&R camber bolts).

I've pieced together bits and pieces of what people have said and this is what I'm considering going with:

Front:
  • Camber: -4* left and right, if we can get it. If not, max negative that we can get and still have left/right values stay even.
  • Toe: 1/8" out left and right.
  • Caster: ???

Rear:
  • Camber: 0 left and right, if we can get it. If not, min negative that we can get and still have left/right values stay even.
  • Toe: 1/8" out left and right.
  • Caster: ???

Does that sound reasonable to you guys?? I appreciate everyone's advice thus far; I know I've been a pain. With this being the first year we've autocrossed an AWD vehicle and having only made it to 1 event so far this season ( ), I really appreciate everyone's advice to help me not waste the first 5 months trying to get to a reasonable starting point.
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Old 05-10-2004, 05:54 PM   #2
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IIRC, caster really isn't adjustable. Well, not with bolts, but its adjustment is done by an ALK or something like that. and something like that might put you in a different class. I don't know 'bout STX (or whatever ur planning to run) but the ALK is illegal in STS.
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Old 05-10-2004, 06:17 PM   #3
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You can adjust caster with the proper caster camber plates. And you can use the bushing sold as the forrester alk in stx, which adds a degree of caster. There is no reason not to go with as much caster as you can get.(plates will get you a degree and the bushing will get you another degree)

If you had -4 in the front and 0 in the rear you would have a hard time getting the car through a corner anything but sideways, I would probably go with -3.5-4 in the front and -1.5-2 in the rear. Your toe out seems reasonable, you dont adjust rear caster.

Last edited by afpdl; 05-10-2004 at 07:36 PM.
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Old 05-10-2004, 07:13 PM   #4
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ah cool. Didn't know that.

Don
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Old 05-11-2004, 03:03 AM   #5
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You can try the toe out up front, but You may like the toe to be zero up front. In back it'll help rotation bigtime (as you've seen me demonstrate).

Your figures are good starting points anyway.....


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Old 05-11-2004, 04:25 PM   #6
Silver Bullet 02
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Your alignment numbers look WAY off. Do a search on "performance alignment" and you will find what the winners are using. KC won the STX national championship last year so anything he posts up would probably be the best data point.
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Old 05-11-2004, 04:55 PM   #7
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its all about finding your driving style.

There is no magic formula for alignment. If you like the car loose ... then your heading in the right direction.

My personal preference is to have the car planted. While I like the backend to come around a little...I dont like it getting too happy. Esp since I run a stock tire class.

I run -3 in front -1 in the rear with a 22mm front and 21mm rear.

Car is friggin planted

I just ran a GS car with -2 in front and 0 in the rear with kumho 700's. And he has a very loose setup. I found that I could carry the backend around much longer and STILL have it just go cause those tires are just crazy sticky compared to Azenis.
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Old 05-11-2004, 04:58 PM   #8
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I would second that notion...

The best alignment is also dependent on what mods you have to your suspension and drivetrain. I.E. sway bars, bushings, links, struts, and differentials.
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Old 05-11-2004, 05:10 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by JenisonWRX
its all about finding your driving style.

There is no magic formula for alignment. If you like the car loose ... then your heading in the right direction.
Exactly.

I drive differently than some. So really any explanation given by people should always be taken with a grain of salt. This coming from the guy that is still running the same rear pads that came with the car 3 years ago, changed the brake fluid for the 1st time this past Feb and hasn't changed the oil since August.

What was I running last year? Tein RAs with 8K springs front and 10K rear. Front camber was around -3* (camberplates and stock eccentric bolts) with unknown castor. About 1/8 toe out.

Rear was also about 1/8 toe out and whatever negative camber it was natually at. Didn't have camber plates and camber bolts weren't legal.

I'm sort of blase when it comes to mods and stuff that 'should' be done. There is no right or wrong. There have been a few people that are finally coming around to my way of thinking, which is weird in a sense if not a bit perverse.

Stop ****ing with the car. Drive it. Sure an alignment helps. But once you set it... keep it there. Work around it and feel the car.

--KC
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Old 05-11-2004, 10:44 PM   #10
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KC: Would you describe your car as a little loose or a bit on the understeer side of things?
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Old 05-11-2004, 10:46 PM   #11
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Oversteer with understeer tendencies. When I over drive it.
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Old 05-12-2004, 08:30 AM   #12
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OK cool, thanks guys, I really appreciate the feedback!!

Yeah, I totally agree that seat time is absolutely vital. Unfortunately the stars seem to be aligning wrong for me this year.

Realistically, I'm also kinda relieved to hear you guys say those numbers are way off. I spent most of the weekend searching the forum, and what I kept reading was "as much negative camber in the front as possible" and "as little negative camber in the rear as possible". So I figured I'd take those recommendations to their logical conclusion. And it sounds like perhaps the "logical conclusion" isn't all that logical. Which of course, is a big "duh"... Not sure where my brain was this weekend. I think excessive NASIOC searching must have worn it out.

Anyway, I wasn't seeing very much in the way of "this is the settings I happen to have it set at". Which surprised me.

Jenison, thanks for the point about a greater need to keep the car planted in a street tire class. I had nearly forgotten about that!

Anyway, since the car hasn't yet had an alignment since the suspension went on, I appreciate everyone's comments, so I can get it "sorta, kinda" right. Basically, I definitely want an alignment so I can at least get it even left-to-right and get the toe where I want it. And then, yep, I'll just learn the car at that setting, cuz I know very well that it'll take me a while to be able to identify exactly what it needs at that point.

I guess the only good news about having to miss almost all the events so far is that I don't have to worry about getting used to a new setup at every event. Instead, it's going to basically be "going from stock" to "going to finished product" in one fell swoop.

*sigh* And this was the year I wanted to "get serious".

Speaking of changing the car continuously... I never thought I'd be "one of those people". On the DS Celica, the car was almost completely stock, after 3 years of racing it. We put sticky tires on it. We bought new strut inserts at one point. And a performance alignment. And I think that was it. Honestly, the big reason I've been futzing with the WRX so much is simply because everything we've done has been stuff I wanted to do with the car anyway, for happy-fun driving on the street. But I've been trying to get it somewhat competitive at the same time. (Since I'll be competing in the "women who can't drive" ladies classes, I obviously must need as much help as I can get. )

Anyway, thanks again, everyone, I really appreciate it! I think based on everyone's comments, I'll go with a "more moderate" setup of 1/8" toe out all around and -3-3.5*in the front and -1-1.5* in the rear. And then leave it there. At least for this year.

P.S. KC, I wanted to double-check on your comment about the legality of camber bolts. The rear camber bolts are legal this year, correct, as long as there isn't another method of camber adjustment on the rear?? The whole "one method of camber adjustment"? Or did I misunderstand that rule?
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Old 05-12-2004, 08:43 AM   #13
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Camber plates have been legal. Bolts were just allowed. You can only have one method to change it. That is correct. (Plates are more expensive, but easier... bolts are cheaper, but if doing a parking lot alignment, can be frustrating)

--KC
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Old 05-12-2004, 10:14 AM   #14
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One thing I would recommend against based on tire wear is front toe out. I as well as a few other guys who tried front toe out are destroying the insides of the front tires.

Once I setup the suspension finally, I've been able to go a little saner on the alignment. -2.5 camber front, lots of caster, 0 toe. -1.2 rear camber, 1/8th toe out.

Quote:
I'll go with a "more moderate" setup of 1/8" toe out all around and -3-3.5*in the front and -1-1.5* in the rear. And then leave it there. At least for this year
I would go with that, but leave the front toe at 0. Your tires will appreciate it

-Tom
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Old 05-12-2004, 11:00 AM   #15
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I would agree with Tom. You definitely don't want any toe-in up front because the steering response goes to pot but zero toe is pretty good. I think mine is about 0.1 degree toe out which isn't much at all.

After you get the car homed in by adjusting your rear sway bar then fine tune the oversteer characteristics using more or less rear toe out. I agree with KC that seat time is more important than getting alignment settings perfect but changing rear toe out has a dramatic affect on how the car feels and its easy to do so its a relatively easy way to get the car to handle like you like it.

One caveat... not all courses "feel" the same so one may make it feel like you have too much oversteer and another may feel like you have too much understeer so its not a no brainer to get it where you like it but its not too bad. It just takes a few events to get an overall feel for how the rear toe affects handling.
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