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Old 01-25-2011, 01:29 PM   #1
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Default Camber Challenged?

Is there any way to get more camber out of my front suspension? Right now it's at -1.1* and that's all they are telling me they can get. I'm running the Bilstein PSS coilovers. The rear has been lowered as far as it will allow and then the front was lowered until the car has a 1/4" rake. Looking for a way to make this happen without replacing the entire suspension or spending a ton of money.

If I'm just stuck with this, what starting numbers should I be shooting for when I get an alignment to maximize the car with this limitation?
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Old 01-25-2011, 02:08 PM   #2
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JayL, there are some cars that are more camber challanged than others but I would assume that 1.1 is not a legit number. You can add camber by going with offset bushings or and old spec miata trick of heating up the a arm and bending it. If this is for the road course you'll need 2 degrees for street rubber and 3 degrees for r comps/slicks to keep the tires happy. Tune from there with a pyro.
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Old 01-25-2011, 02:38 PM   #3
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I don't believe for a god damn minute that -1.1 is the best they can do, I do however believe they are morons. Is this the NA or NB? What do the bushings look like?

Was this car ever wrecked or entertained by a few speedbumps...at speed. I went over speed bumps at MSR-H a few years ago at about 70mph and it killed the lower control arms.
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Old 01-25-2011, 02:57 PM   #4
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You should have problems getting less than -1.1 if your car is that low. -3 should be easy.
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Old 01-25-2011, 03:35 PM   #5
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i don't believe for a god damn minute that -1.1 is the best they can do, i do however believe they are morons..

+1
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Old 01-25-2011, 03:44 PM   #6
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Are they having this problem on both sides or just one?

If one side, I can believe it. My '92 is the same way. Means that somebody has curbed it other otherwise tweaked one of the A-arms such that it ain't quite factory spec anymore. It happens.

OTOH, if they think they're hitting this camber wall on both sides, then something ain't right about this situation, and it probably isn't mechanical in nature.

Have you made it clear that camber takes precedence over caster? The geometry of the suspension is such that you often can't achieve both -2 camber and +5 caster, so you have to let them know which one you're really targeting.
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Old 01-25-2011, 03:56 PM   #7
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What caster are they getting? If they are trying to max it out, it may keep them from getting camber.
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Old 01-25-2011, 04:13 PM   #8
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Something sounds bent. Start with the lower balljoint, then the lower control arm.
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Old 01-25-2011, 04:42 PM   #9
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It's the left side that's causing this problem. The car isn't very low compared to most people on here, just a little bit lower than stock. It's my 2001 NB and it has never been in any kind of incident whatsoever. All the components are original and the car only has 27K on it. It's had it's fair share of hard launches at the drag strip, but I can't imagine that my launches were hard enough to cause any damage to the A-arm. I did have my dump tube pointing towards the lower arm for quite awhile. The distance closed even more when the car was strapped to the dyno (which was hundreds of pulls) and that heat could have weakened it enough to make a difference. The shop that did the alignment was TC Motorsports, they do a lot of Miatas and are well known up here in the racing community. It did end up with 6* castor and they claimed they couldn't get close to the 4* that I wanted. I gave the tech the specs that 949 Racing has listed for an alignment (the tech didn't like them at all) and told them that's what I wanted.

Regardless, it needs to be fixed. Should I start with trying a different shop? Or perhaps the ball joint, do both top and bottom A-arms? Any other components while I'm in there? Since it costs me money everytime I try to get it aligned, I'd rather bring it back knowing that it's going to be fine.
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Old 01-25-2011, 04:47 PM   #10
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He He... many have scoffed at Emilio's specs until they were actually implemented. Goes beyond old school way of looking at things, but faster is faster.
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Old 01-25-2011, 05:33 PM   #11
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That's weird, I'd suspect a bent part. How much camber in the other wheels? Something is not right, but lowering the car may get you somewhere. Still, if you have 5" at the pinch weld and can only get -1.1 then something is bent.
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Old 01-25-2011, 05:48 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JayL View Post
(the tech didn't like them at all)

...

Should I start with trying a different shop?
I would.

My regular alignment shop in SLO is a basic tire place, but the techs there understand what I do and they never gripe or bitch about the specs, and they do the work quickly. On a recent customer car, the regular shop was full so I took it to a different place. This place is supposed to be the "hot" alignment shop in SLO.

The first mistake was when they wanted to test-drive the car before loading it on the rack - I told them that their alignment tech was going nowhere near the driver's seat of a 400whp LSx Miata, including pulling it up onto their rack. s

The second mistake was when the old geezer barking instructions to his middle-aged tech came into the lobby and recommended that I "toe the front tires in, because with this much caster the car will want to wander on the highway." I politely told him to hit the numbers, do not deviate, and do not ask me about changing them again.

Two HOURS later (at least 30 minutes of which was three techs just staring at the bottom of the car), the old guy comes out and the service writer asks if the car is done. He proceeds to say that he's not happy with the numbers, but they are what I asked for. I roll my eyes and pull out a credit card, and the old dude (who apparently owns the shop) then proceeded to say "But hey, I don't work on race cars, so I don't really know what the specs should be."

Anyone with a laser rack and $10 worth of motivation in his shirt pocket can produce a perfect race alignment - if you doubt your shop at all, switch shops.
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Old 01-25-2011, 06:03 PM   #13
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I would.

The first mistake was when they wanted to test-drive the car before loading it on the rack - I told them that their alignment tech was going nowhere near the driver's seat of a 400whp LSx Miata, including pulling it up onto their rack. s

.
lol, holy crap...
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Old 01-25-2011, 06:05 PM   #14
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I feel really lucky to have a local shop that races Miatas/3s in Continental Tire to handle my alignments after reading this.
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Old 01-25-2011, 07:25 PM   #15
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Funny Story
That was an awful experience.
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Old 01-25-2011, 07:26 PM   #16
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I'm going to try a different shop next week and see what they can do.
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Old 01-25-2011, 07:27 PM   #17
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I'm going to try a different shop next week and see what they can do.
I would. Unless your lower control arms are bent with a 10* angle or something weird.
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Old 01-25-2011, 07:31 PM   #18
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Now the fun part will be choosing a shop. Should I go high end (Speedware) where the tech might feel he knows best or just go to Sear's where the tech will hit the numbers I want because he doesn't care how the car drives when he's done?
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Old 01-25-2011, 07:32 PM   #19
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If the tech feels the need to inform you that want you want is correct, you can feel the need to tell him to suck it.
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Old 01-25-2011, 08:03 PM   #20
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This is why I spent over $400 to get some basic alignment tools. Between the 3 Miatas I own/maintain it seems like I do an alignment on each one every year. The last time when they refused to get the settings the same left to right instead of just in the "green zone" , I just had it. It costs $80-100 for a job that I have no faith in. They also refused to provide me with a before and an after printout of the settings. So how do I know they did not just pull the car on the rack, take a smoke break and charge me $80 bucks an hour later.
About two years ago we went to a pretty respectable shop with my brothers FFR 65 Shelby Cobra kit car to get an alignment done before a weekend trip to Deals Gap. Well in 2 days driving non stop we ate the inside tires down to to the cords due to completely messed up toe angles. They refused to pay for new tires or even offer to re-align the car.
So needless to say I am now spending the time to learn how to do it right myself. It might take longer and I might not be able to set it with quite the precision that the can on a lazer table, but at least I will know it is right.
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