Author Topic: Simple DIY Extra Camber  (Read 2757 times)

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Offline BigMike

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Simple DIY Extra Camber
« on: December 10, 2011, 07:04:58 PM »
Hey guys,

This is a really basic concept and it's something I've wanted to do for a lonnng time, so here goes-

I got my '87 aligned earlier this summer and told them to go max negative camber in the front and -1.5 degrees in the rear. Here is what they were able to get:

Driver's front: -1.3 degrees
Passenger's f: -1.4

Driver's rear: -1.5
Passenger's r: -1.5

They were able to match my specs for the rear, but having more rear camber in a car that already has too much rear traction isn't going to help the understeer. So I did some research with crash bolts, ordered some on eBay, and I wasn't happy with how small a diameter they were; I just didn't trust them.

I am running 195x60x14 rubbers, Suspension Technique springs, Tokico Illuminas struts, front S.T. sway bar (on the lightest setting), and a stock rear 1985 sway bar. I like the combination so much and this is my daily driver, so I've never wanted to switch to coil overs + camber plates.

So here is what I did to get more front negative camber on the factory strut assemblies:

I first got a base-line measurement using a digital degree finder. The driver's front (left pic) measured 88.5 degrees above the horizon and the passenger's measured 88.3 degrees (right pic):


I lifted the car up and removed the strut assembly from the top. I had to first check if there was much room between the inside of the spring assembly and the body and thankfully there was plenty of room in there. This is a critical component for what I was about to do and luckily I was able to move the assembly all over the place:


I then slotted the holes as shown below. (I used a plasma cutter which made this really easy to do)

Here is the driver's side slotted:


Here is the passenger's side slotted:


I wanted to get as much in-bound adjustment as possible, so I slotted the inner-most bolt hole as far as I could until the strut assembly interfered with the body. This happened to be right at the body line as shown below. So all you have to do is slot the inner most hole up to this body line, and then match the amount of slotting to the other holes and you're done:


Here is the car lowered back onto the driver's side strut assembly. You can see the amount of slotting done. Also, you'll have to elongate the raised lip so the assembly can move inwards along with the studs. It was a series of lifting the car up, trimming, setting it down, repeat until no parts interfered:


And finally, here is the assembly bolted down with the factory strut brace also slotted and trimmed to match. I used a Dremel to clean all sharp edges from the cuts and spray painted to safeguard against rust. It is difficult to see in this pic, but I used some wide and thick washers to help spread the load from the nut across the slots:


Here are the final measurements with the car back on the ground. According to my degree finder, I picked up exactly an additional 1.1-degrees of negative camber on each side:


(Yes I realize the car had been lifted numerous times, and the wheel position may have changed, and that this may not relate to the same amount of actual suspension camber since my toe got completely thrown off... But this must be an improvement since I am in-boarding the assemblies as if I had camber plates.)

The next morning I took the car to the alignment shop and told them to only realign the front and to set the camber to -2.5 degrees on each side. They told me that is way out of spec and the car can't achieve that, so I told them to humor me & to please adjust it to -2.5 degrees or as much as possible. Here are the final results!!

Driver's front: -2.5 degrees
Passenger's f: -2.5

WOOHOOO!! FINALLY I have some awesome front camber!! And let me tell ya!! WHAT A DIFFERENCE THIS HAS MADE!! HOLY CRAP! I can't believe the difference! The turn-in of the car has drastically improved! So much so that I can control oversteer with the steering wheel instead of relying on the throttle, something I could NEVER do before with its strong tendency to understeer. Also, when the car begins to understeer, the tires make a much deeper squeal than compared to before. I believe this indicates there is more rubber contacting the ground.

Moreover, everything I'm experiencing will only get better and better as the tires wear into the new cambered position.

Honestly I can't express in words how much of a difference this has made for my car and my driving style. If you're like me and have a ridiculous amount of seat time in your MR2, then you owe it to yourself to do this and experience the difference first-hand. This has completely transformed my MR2, a car that I've owned and driven since 1999.

In my opinion & based on how I drive, I now have enough front traction to necessitate a rear sway bar upgrade -- not as the typical "band-aid" to hide the car's understeer, but rather to take advantage of the new & improved turn-in. At corner entrance the car now responds as if the center of mass has moved forward.

If you've been thinking about doing this -- stop thinking and get it done. I should have done this years ago. Because of the trial-and-error nature, it took about 3 hrs from start to finish. I'm sure this can be done in less than 1 hr with the right equipment. The only cost was to get the car re-aligned. I plan on building some roll center blocks for the front, so when I get it aligned again, I'll have the shop check the maximum camber just for kicks. I'm betting its around 3 degrees which is unheard-of with stock parts.

So far it's been 2 weeks after doing this and nothing has moved at all. I've got 4 bolts up there for-crying-out-loud -- I highly doubt they will move. But if they do move (through the slotted holes), all I have to do is take some washers and cut out little half-moon inserts to fit snugly between each stud and original bolt hole body line. Then it will be physically impossible for it to move.

Now I REALLY can't wait to go autocrossing next season!!

Regards,
BigMik
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