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Old 03-27-2005, 04:47 PM   #1
SgWRX
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Default Need to talk to someone about camber plates

Was looking at Noltec's, however have a technical question first. Anyone know a good source - someone i can contact or call?
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Old 03-27-2005, 05:59 PM   #2
nhluhr
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You might be surprised at what can be answered here. . . try asking the technical Q here.
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Old 03-27-2005, 07:32 PM   #3
SgWRX
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well, i kind of already asked, at least i know some hard-core guys have already seen the question, but maybe you didn't!

it was an alignment thread and the problem is this:

factory suspension 2003 wrx sedan except for cobb sway bars front/rear with hotchkis comp end links.

stock, front left camber adjusts to -1.5 no problems. front right adjusts to only -0.8. if we lift the car up off the wheels, we can get right front to go to -1.5ish, but as soon as the car is lowered, it goes back to -0.8.

so i was going to ultimately ask if i go ahead and get plates (camber and caster) am i going to be masking a problem that should otherwise be addressed? said another way, should i worry about getting the stock suspension into spec before doing plates?



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Originally Posted by nhluhr
You might be surprised at what can be answered here. . . try asking the technical Q here.
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Old 03-27-2005, 08:24 PM   #4
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I don't see how you're measuring camber with the wheel off the ground - it will definitely change when you drop it - that's normal.

Plates are nice in that they give you a degree of adjustability, but realize that by adjusting the camber with a plate will have different ultimate effects than adjusting camber with a camber bolt - namely, camber bolts change nothing other than camber (and of course toe, but you ALWAYS readjust toe after any suspension adjustment). Adjusting camber with plates also alters the instant center of that side of the suspension which would have unknown effects on your handling balance - for sure, left turns would not feel the same as right turns.

So if you use camber plates, you ought to use them an equal amount on both sides - camber bolts should then be used to get left and right to match camber.

The cause of your mismatch in camber could be a number of things though. Are you using a helper to push/pull the hub while you tighten it to get the slop out and use more adjustment range? It also wouldn't hurt to loosen ALL the front suspension bolts and do a TomHoppe alignment pull while tightening them all back up - this would allow you to determine if the camber mismatch was simply due to a difference in the way things were bolted up vs an actual problematic part.

Of course, if you are able to discern a problematic part, replacing it will yield better overall results in the long run than masking it with more points of adjustment.

In the end though, to summarize:
You can use the camber plates (equally on both sides) to move the adjustment range of the stock bolts to say -0.8 to -2.0 - and then you should have plenty of range on the stock bolts to get the final camber equal and since the camber plates will be mirrored you won't have a difference in IC location on left and right suspensions.

Last edited by nhluhr; 03-27-2005 at 08:31 PM.
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Old 03-27-2005, 10:19 PM   #5
SgWRX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nhluhr
I don't see how you're measuring camber with the wheel off the ground - it will definitely change when you drop it - that's normal.
right. and what's scary to me, is that it increases in a positive direction when the car was lowered back onto it's wheels - but, maybe that's not unheard of? when the car _was not_ raised off the wheels, the max we could get on the right was -.8. but then, when we raised it up, despite the droop, we could easily push it to -1.5 according to the read-out on the computer screen. it was a flashing light and paddles affixed to the wheels that measured. when initially raised, due to the droop, it went positive (to zero if i recall?), then when we pushed on it, it went to -1.5, then tightened up and dropped back onto the wheels and it went back to -.8.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nhluhr
Plates are nice in that they give you a degree of adjustability, but realize that by adjusting the camber with a plate will have different ultimate effects than adjusting camber with a camber bolt - namely, camber bolts change nothing other than camber (and of course toe, but you ALWAYS readjust toe after any suspension adjustment). Adjusting camber with plates also alters the instant center of that side of the suspension which would have unknown effects on your handling balance - for sure, left turns would not feel the same as right turns.

So if you use camber plates, you ought to use them an equal amount on both sides - camber bolts should then be used to get left and right to match camber.

The cause of your mismatch in camber could be a number of things though. Are you using a helper to push/pull the hub while you tighten it to get the slop out and use more adjustment range? It also wouldn't hurt to loosen ALL the front suspension bolts and do a TomHoppe alignment pull while tightening them all back up - this would allow you to determine if the camber mismatch was simply due to a difference in the way things were bolted up vs an actual problematic part.

Of course, if you are able to discern a problematic part, replacing it will yield better overall results in the long run than masking it with more points of adjustment.

In the end though, to summarize:
You can use the camber plates (equally on both sides) to move the adjustment range of the stock bolts to say -0.8 to -2.0 - and then you should have plenty of range on the stock bolts to get the final camber equal and since the camber plates will be mirrored you won't have a difference in IC location on left and right suspensions.

i'll research the Tom Hoppe alignment. as far as pushing/pulling to set the camber, we did nothing special, just good ole push on the top and/or pull on the bottom of the wheel. we tried it both wheels up and wheels down. the good news as far as that is concerned, the results were repeatable and consistent (wheels up/down). we also tightened it with wheels up/down and got the same results.

so if i'm understanding this correctly, as long as i set the plates equally, and then adjust within the range of the factory bolts, i should be ok. i'll have to go back and refresh on instant center - i know that can be a big deal and i'd want to keep that the same left/right, but sticking with the plate/bolt procedure here i should be ok no?
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Old 03-27-2005, 10:24 PM   #6
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I'm not sure you'll find much info on the TomHoppe alignment - I just call it that because he told me about it - he had the car on the alignment rack with all the suspension bolts loosened then used a winch on the bottom of the strut and the top of the strut to pull it in the negative camber direction (to max out the camber for a stock class sti).

The reason the plates move the instance center is because the plate moves the top pivot point of the suspension.

Also, it sounds like you might be making a forehead-slapping error on your alignment rack - when you let the car down, the friction of the tire on the surface you're dropping it onto will hold it in and prevent it from reaching its full actual camber position - simply rolling the car back then forward will reveal the true measurements.

I've done this a few times while using my digital camber gauge and then gone back and been all at the change.
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Old 03-27-2005, 10:30 PM   #7
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hm. seems like something the porsche mechanic told me! for the alignment rack and forehead-slapping comment, i remember the rack had 4 plates the tires rested on, they were able to move left/right, front/back, circular even. would this negate what you were talking about?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nhluhr
I'm not sure you'll find much info on the TomHoppe alignment - I just call it that because he told me about it - he had the car on the alignment rack with all the suspension bolts loosened then used a winch on the bottom of the strut and the top of the strut to pull it in the negative camber direction (to max out the camber for a stock class sti).

The reason the plates move the instance center is because the plate moves the top pivot point of the suspension.

Also, it sounds like you might be making a forehead-slapping error on your alignment rack - when you let the car down, the friction of the tire on the surface you're dropping it onto will hold it in and prevent it from reaching its full actual camber position - simply rolling the car back then forward will reveal the true measurements.

I've done this a few times while using my digital camber gauge and then gone back and been all at the change.
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Old 03-27-2005, 10:33 PM   #8
nhluhr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SgWRX
hm. seems like something the porsche mechanic told me! for the alignment rack and forehead-slapping comment, i remember the rack had 4 plates the tires rested on, they were able to move left/right, front/back, circular even. would this negate what you were talking about?
yep those plates would eliminate the effect. . . oh well, it was worth mentioning anyway.
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Old 03-27-2005, 10:34 PM   #9
SgWRX
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oh, one other quick question occurred to me that may be unrelated to this specific problem...

i don't know much about them, never had any, but do strut-tower bars assist in holding alignment settings when using a camber plate or anything like that or on coilovers?
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