|What's Hot!||Products/ Tools||EFI Tuning||Basic Tuning||Advanced Tuning||Chassis Tuning||Advertise with us|
WHAT IS CAMBER?
And how do I set my car up to dial in maximum grip?
An except from advanced racing:
Camber is the angle of the wheel relative to vertical, as viewed from the front or the rear of the car. If the wheel leans in towards the chassis, it has negative camber; if it leans away from the car, it has positive camber (see next page). The cornering force that a tire can develop is highly dependent on its angle relative to the road surface, and so wheel camber has a major effect on the road holding of a car. It's interesting to note that a tire develops its maximum cornering force at a small negative camber angle, typically around neg. 1/2 degree. This fact is due to the contribution of camber thrust, which is an additional lateral force generated by elastic deformation as the tread rubber pulls through the tire/road interface (the contact patch).
To optimize a tire's performance in a corner, it's the job of the suspension designer to assume that the tire is always operating at a slightly negative camber angle. This can be a very difficult task, since, as the chassis rolls in a corner, the suspension must deflect vertically some distance. Since the wheel is connected to the chassis by several links which must rotate to allow for the wheel deflection, the wheel can be subject to large camber changes as the suspension moves up and down. For this reason, the more the wheel must deflect from its static position, the more difficult it is to maintain an ideal camber angle. Thus, the relatively large wheel travel and soft roll stiffness needed to provide a smooth ride in passenger cars presents a difficult design challenge, while the small wheel travel and high roll stiffness inherent in racing cars reduces the engineer's headaches.
It's important to draw the distinction between camber relative to the road, and camber relative to the chassis. To maintain the ideal camber relative to the road, the suspension must be designed so that wheel camber relative to the chassis becomes increasingly negative as the suspension deflects upward. The illustration on the bottom of page 46 shows why this is so. If the suspension were designed so as to maintain no camber change relative to the chassis, then body roll would induce positive camber of the wheel relative to the road. Thus, to negate the effect of body roll, the suspension must be designed so that it pulls in the top of the wheel (i.e., gains negative camber) as it is deflected upwards.
While maintaining the ideal camber angle throughout the suspension travel assures that the tire is operating at peak efficiency, designers often configure the front suspensions of passenger cars so that the wheels gain positive camber as they are deflected upward. The purpose of such a design is to reduce the cornering power of the front end relative to the rear end, so that the car will understeer in steadily greater amounts up to the limit of adhesion. Understeer is inherently a much safer and more stable condition than oversteer, and thus is preferable for cars intended for the public.
Since most independent suspensions are designed so that the camber varies as the wheel moves up and down relative to the chassis, the camber angle that we set when we align the car is not typically what is seen when the car is in a corner. Nevertheless, it's really the only reference we have to make camber adjustments. For competition, it's necessary to set the camber under the static condition, test the car, then alter the static setting in the direction that is indicated by the test results.
The best way to determine the proper camber for competition is to measure the temperature profile across the tire tread immediately after completing some hot laps. In general, it's desirable to have the inboard edge of the tire slightly hotter than the outboard edge. However, it's far more important to ensure that the tire is up to its proper operating temperature than it is to have an "ideal" temperature profile. Thus, it may be advantageous to run extra negative camber to work the tires up to temperature.
To start tuning the camber on your car you will need to pick up a camber kit. These kits are vehicle specific and usually impossible to find locally. Click on these examples and find one specific for your vehicle.:
ATTENTION READER:If you enjoyed the information and article you just read be sure to check out our newly released book with even more exciting photo's and information:
How to Turbocharge and Tune your Engine
Want to know more about your particular Make and Model vehicle? All of these vehicles are covered in the tech, maintenance and repair articles found above. Enginebasics is the wiki or wikipedia of car part, repair, how to and tuning information. Let us be the class 101 for your automotive learning.
|Ford||General Motors GM||Pontiac||Jaguar||Land Rover||Nissan|
|Lamborghini||Volks Wagen VW||Saab||Audi||Hyundai||Kia|
|Ford Mustang||Mitsubishi Eclipse||Mitsubishi Evo||Subaru WRX / STI||Dodge Viper||Chevrolet Corvette|
|Nissan Skyline||Honda S2000||Nissan 350z||Toyota Supra||Chevy Camaro||Lotus Elise Exige|
|Honda Civic||VW Golf||Dodge SRT-4||Eagle Talon||Acura Integra||BMW M3|
|Nissan 240sx||Porsche 911||Acura NSX||Honda Accord||Toyota Camry||Toyota MR2|
|VW R32||Dodge Truck||Mazda Rx7||VW Jetta||Sand Buggy||Nissan Sentra|