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Author Topic: Replicating original camber settings  (Read 4651 times)

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Replicating original camber settings
« on: 08 September 2010, 15:10:10 »

Before starting any job affecting camber, changing wishbones or shocks, take some basic measurements first with a view to replicating the camber setting later. This can be done via a couple of methods.

Please note this is not to replace full geometric set up but to give a good start point to allow the car to be driven without destroying a good portion of tyre tread on the way to wim. The idea is to get the setting as close as possible, and to a point, raise awareness that camber should be set when fitting shocks. Otherwise a pair of tyres can be destroyed in as little as 3k and all sorts of handling oddness can result.

Also be aware that if the camber setting is altered, then the toe setting should be altered as well, so even more important to get the camber setting exactly as it was before.

with a spirit level and a ruler

if the car can be parked on level ground all well and good but its not essential provided the measurement is taken with the car on the same piece of ground before and after the work. The above shows a measurement of something approaching 14 mill. This is taken on my drive which slopes to the left in the picture, so dont use that measurement.

This method is best used as a guide and in conjunction with, what i call "the socket method" which involves measuring the gap between inside vertical edge of the wheel rim and the shock body. Reason being its a pita to do the work, drop the car of the jack, ,measure, re jack and adjust etc, could be there all day.

 Its not possible to get a ruler in there or any other measuring device, so a "long pokey thing" is needed to reach in there and "feel" the gap. I use a socket of the appropriate size ,sometimes on an extension, as theses are readily available if your working on the car in this area and obviously loads of sizes are available, between metric and imperial sizes its possible to get it fairly close. Or pack out the nearest one by wrapping in tape to get the gap right.

So, having measured both sides with a spirit level as shown above and noted the measurement, jack the car both sides and place on stands to allow room to get your arms round the back of the wheels and under the wheel arch, it may help to turn the wheel to full lock (toe out) to see what your doing. Leave the steering lock off. Turning and jacking the wheel does not affect the gap from shock to wheel rim so whatever is easiest. Measure both sides, and keep that socket on that side of the car for later. (provided you dont need that size to do the work of course ::)  )

Do the work.
Depending on what your doing depends on the best method, wishbone swap does not involve undoing the camber bolts at the bottom of the shock, but shock change does so i'll concentrate on that job first.

Shock change is fairly easy and at some point you'll come to doing up the bottom  shock bolts to hub assembly with new shock in place, these bolts set the camber position and should be replaced with new, they come with GM shocks i believe.

The key to this is to get the right tension on the bolts to allow the wheel to lean in and out without dropping away, it should be tight enough to hold still if you let go but loose enough to allow you to pull the camber/wheel to lean in and out as needed. Now simply place the socket only, used to measure the gap previosly on the wheel rim, at the top of the wheel and adjacent to the shock with one hand, and shove the wheel in at the top with the other hand so as to trap the socket between shock and wheel rim as the pic below, (be carefull not to trap your fingers)

And yes I know the clip, brake line to shock, is missing in this pic.

 now simply do up the bolts to the correct tension. Camber should now be set exactly as before.

Wishbone change is a little more vague, and this "double checking" of the camber is the same after changing a shock, although shock change is far easier to set back up again.
With work done drop the car off the jack/stands and drive the car back and forth to allow the wheels and suspension to settle back to the right track. The wheels will be pinched otherwise. Now measure with the spirit level again, if the measurement is the same as before, fine, job done, but if not note the difference in the before and after measurement. If the gap from the vertical spirit level is, say 2mill too big you have too much camber. So simply repeat the socket method with a 2 mill bigger socket allowing the wheel to lean out/ stand more vertically. Or vice versa as required.

Its wise also to check the toe setting after all this is done as camber movement means toe will be affected, and this is where the whole thing becomes a little vague and proves the point that the car MUST be set up correctly after work of this nature.

As with all these guides and tips i suppose it's fair to say this is a work in progress, in as much that this is just my experience and does not imply this is the only or best way to go about the job. General forum ideas and thinking constantly evolve and improve so best to keep an open mind IMO.

Hth.  :)

« Last Edit: 15 September 2010, 14:38:50 by jimbob »
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