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Chassis Tuning - Alignment
With any fast road or trackday car it is always worth paying attention to the chassis alignment or geometry if you want to exploit the best out of the vehicle. Once springs, dampers, roll bars, bushes have all been chosen and fitted, checking that the car's geometry is within the manufacturer's suggested settings or adjusted according to the individual driver's requirements is properly worthwhile.

Pocket Guide to Chassis Tuning.........
Location Adjust Decrease Understeer
Common in FWD & AWD
Decrease Oversteer
Common in RWD
FRONT CAMBER More Negative More Positive
FRONT CASTER More Positive More Negative
FRONT TOE Favour Toe Out Favour Toe In
FRONT SPRING Softer Harder
FRONT ROLL CENTRE Higher Lower
FRONT ROLL BAR Smaller (Softer) Larger (Stiffer)
FRONT TYRE PSI Decrease Increase
REAR CAMBER More Positive More Negative
REAR TOE Favour Toe In Favour Toe Out
REAR SPRING Softer Harder
REAR ROLL BAR Large (Stiffer) Smaller (Softer)
REAR TYRE PSI Decrease Increase
Remember not every setting on a road or track day car can be altered and altering one thing may have an adverse affect on another. The above is just a guide.
Source: Whiteline
So what are the best alignment settings?

The simple answer is there is no such thing! Alignment settings are not an absolute truth that can be held up as an undisputed rule. It is a dynamic process with the "correct value" varying from driver to driver and car to car, not to mention the driving environment, but for fast road or trackday use (unlike a race car which generally has much more adjustment) optimising the settings to the best set up from what is available will pay dividends. In some instances this may be a 'compromise' for road use because too aggressive a set up may adversely affect tyre wear.

Static and Dynamic are terms often referred to when carrying out chassis alignment. This is the difference in alignment angles between a stationary and a moving vehicle. The same vehicle will typically have different caster, camber and toe readings when it is moving compared to when the set up was carried out the the static vehicle in the workshop. In an ideal world all chassis alignment would be carried out on a dynamic wheel aligner, but these are expensive and rare. The only suspension angles that matter are those present when the vehicle is moving (dynamic). In reality what is done to the vehicle's alignment while the vehicle is stationary (static) is a process of trying to predict the levels of change while the vehicle is moving and setting the angles according to these predictions.

In reality ensuring manufacturer's settings are achieved is a good place to start and minor changes can then be made as required.
So what makes up suspension geometry?

Camber - Is the inclination of the wheel from the vertical when viewed from the front or back. Properly set camber maximises a tyre's contact patch with the road, leading to even wear. Camber can be either positive (top of wheels lean out) or negative (top of wheels lean in). A strut brace is good for maintaining camber angles under cornering loads as they help to minimise body flex.
Camber
Camber Caster - Caster is the backward (positive caster) or forward (negative caster) tilt of the steering axis. Proper caster alignment is to achieve optimal balance between low-speed steering effort and high-speed stability.
Increasing positive caster enhances high speed stability, but increases low-speed steering effort.
Increasing negative caster decreases low-speed steering effort and high speed stability.
Positive caster improves turn in.
Toe - Toe is the difference in distance between the front and rear of the tyres and describes how close to parallel the they are. Toe-in (closer at the front) or toe-out (closer at the rear). The goal of toe is to provide proper tyre wear through various driving conditions. The amount of toe your suspension is set to varies by the drive layout of the vehicle, driving preference and car's handling characteristics.
Correctly set toe will improve turn in steering response and torque steer on a FWD car.

On a Front Wheel Drive car, the front wheels pull themselves forward under acceleration. This happens because as he driven front wheels claw for traction, they pull themselves forward dragging the rest of the car along. For this situation, static toe-out will will result in a zero-toe condition at speed.

On a Rear Wheel Drive car, acceleration forces on the tyre tend to push the front tyres back slightly, so static toe-in will result in a zero-toe situation at speed.
Front Toe Rear Toe
Understeer and Oversteer Characteristics.

Oversteer is when the rear wheels do not track behind the front wheels, but instead slide out towards the outside of a turn. Oversteer can throw a car into a spin. Rear wheel drive cars are more prone to oversteer, in particular when applying power in a tight corner.

Understeer is the opposite effect. Understeer is the condition where the front tyres do not follow the trajectory the driver is trying to impose while taking a corner, instead taking a more straight line trajectory with the front of the car washing to the outside of the corner. The condition exists where the front wheels lose traction for whatever reason - too much speed, turn angle to great.

Most car manufacturer's try to configure FWD production cars deliberately to have a slight linear range understeer, as a car that understeers slightly tends to be more stable and predictable to drive. But this is not always welcome for the more experienced driver, hence where geometry changes come into play.

The following products from Whiteline and Eibach are available to help with chassis alignment when a 4 Wheel Geometry set up is carried out.
Whiteline M12 Front Camber Adjustment Bolt Kits  
Allows up to +/- 1.5 degrees of camber adjustment per side. Useful for lowered vehicles.

Applications:
Astra G - Hatch, Coupe, Convertible, Van
Astra H - ALL
Astra Mk 2
Corsa B
Corsa C
Corsa D
Vectra B
Zafira A
Zafira B

Kit consists of a pair of adjustable 12mm camber bolts.
All Models £27.60

Buy Now Click Here!
 
Whiteline Front Lower Wishbone Rear Caster Adjustment Bushes*  
Astra G - Hatch, Coupe, Convertible, Van, Astra H - All, Zafira A and B.
This kit is designed to increase positive caster setting by up to 0.5 degree, whilst at the same time reducing bush compliance. The result is dramatically improved traction, reduced understeer, increased negative dynamic camber, increased vehicle stability and steering feedback.
£62.50

Buy Now Click Here!

Kit includes a pair of uprated polyurethane bushes (split allowing easier fitment), 2 offset metal sleeves and grease.

*Important Note: When replacing the lower front wishbone rear bushes with these caster adjustment bushes, we would also suggest replacing the front wishbone front bushes for uprated polyurethane ones and also changing the wishbone bottom ball joints and drop links, in case there is any wear in them. Additional items are available from us.
 
Whiteline Rear Camber and Toe Adjustment Shims    
Astra G - Hatch, Coupe, Convertible, Van, Astra H - All, Zafira A and B.
This kit is a pair of shims that offer a fixed change to the rear geometry and are designed to provide +0.5 degree of camber reduction and 2.5mm of toe-in change per side from base settings. This provides better grip and improved back end stability. The shims fit between the hub and the rear trailing arm.

Kit consists of a pair of pre-set dual angle full contact shims to adjust Camber and Toe.
£56.25

Buy Now Click Here!
 
Eibach M12 Front Camber Adjustment Bolt Kits  
Allows up to +/- 1.75 degrees of camber adjustment per side. Useful for lowered vehicles.

Applications:
Astra G - Hatch, Coupe, Convertible, Van
Astra H - ALL
Astra Mk 2
Corsa B
Corsa C
Corsa D
Vectra B
Zafira A
Zafira B

Kit consists of a pair of adjustable 12mm camber bolts
All Models £19.39

Buy Now Click Here!
 
Eibach Rear Camber and Toe Adjustment Shims    
Astra G - Hatch, Coupe, Convertible, Van, Astra H - All, Zafira A and B, Vectra B
These dual shim kits are designed to provide an adjustment range for Camber and Toe of:
Camber -1.50° to +1.50° and Toe -1.50° to +1.50° They fit between the hub and the rear trailing arm. This helps to provides better grip and improved back end stability (depending upon settings) and can aid correction to factory settings or further adjustment.

Kit consists of a pair dual angle shims to adjust Camber and Toe.
£17.42 per pair

 
Fitting of the above alignment components is available in our workshop.

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