posted on January 30, 2009 04:52
By Mike Bonanni Double Down Motorsports
In this article, we will show you how to install aftermarket rear camber arms for the Nissan 370Z from SPL Parts, but first lets talk about what camber is and how it affects your vehicle.
What is camber?
|Camber is the vertical angle of your wheel and tire in relation to the road surface
What effect does camber have?
Camber is an alignment setting on your car that denotes the angle of your wheel and tire in relation to the road surface. Camber can be zeroed out, negative, or positive. When camber is zeroed out, it means that your tire is perfectly parallel to the road surface. When camber is negative that means your wheel and tire is tilted inward at the top. When the camber is positive the tops of the wheels tilt outward. Above is a diagram to help better explain.
Camber can affect a number of things including tire wear and grip. The wrong camber settings can cause uneven tire wear and reduced tire life. Too much negative camber and your tires will wear out more quickly on the inside edge of the tire. Too much positive and your tires will wear out more quickly on the outside edge of the tire. It is important to have your camber properly adjusted for the type of driving you are doing.
Road race and autocross cars tend to use negative camber settings to maximize tire contact patch and grip in high speed turns where the car transfers weight to the outside tires. Drag race cars are set up to keep a neutral camber setting to maximize tire contact patch and grip in a straight line. Oval track race cars tend to use negative camber on the outside (right side) tires and positive camber on the inside (left side) tires as they only need to worry about tire contact patch and grip while making left hand turns. Outside of oval racing, positive camber is almost never used.
How do I know if my settings are right?
If you’re want maximum tire wear and setting your alignment for normal every day street driving, it is best to stick within the factory alignment specs found in your owner’s manual. If you are road racing or autocrossing, you will want to dial in more negative camber, particularly in the front tires. If you are wondering how much negative camber you might need, the best way to tell is to take tire temperatures from the outside, middle, and inside parts of each tire after a few hot laps to tell which parts of your tire are heating up the most. If your outside edge is heating up much more than your inside edge, you need to dial in more negative camber. Lacking a tire pyrometer, you can also monitor the tires wear, if the outside edge of the tire is wearing quickly, then more negative camber is needed, if the inside is wearing faster, more positive camber will help.
Why are SPL camber arms better than the stock ones?
Unfortunately, for a lot of cars, including the 370Z, the stock camber arms have a minimal amount of adjustment. In a car with an aggressive camber curve like the 370Z, you will have too much negative camber in the rear, more than can be adjusted out with the stock adjusting eccentrics if your car is lowered significantly. This is important if you are involved in road racing or autocross or if you just want to maximize tire wear for street use.
The SPL camber arms, like the ones we are about to install on the DoubleDownMotorsports.com Project 370Z, offer a much wider range of adjustability than stock. The have a left and right hand thread on the adjuster itself so adjustments are an easy twist away without having to remove the ends of the arm when setting things up. This greatly speeds up the process of aligning the car. The SPL parts feature a spherical bearing or Heim joint that replaces the squishy stock rubber bushing. This means that the SPL arm will help hold the camber true under the side load that big sticky tires and racing conditions create. The spherical bearing also has less static friction or sticksion which allows the suspension to follow the road better for better grip and ride. The SPL parts are also tubular and bigger in diameter making them stiffer and more ridged, reducing flex is important to keep the camber true under heavy side loading.A final cool thing is that the 370Z SPL part interchanges with the part on a 350Z so owners of earlier car can benefit from this part as well.