Need Alignment After Camber Adjustment?

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I've always read that you should get a four-wheel alignment performed if you make major changes to suspension geometry, such as lowering your car. I am planning on buying camber adjusters for my front wheels; they
replace the damper pinch bolts on the MacPhersons. The maximum negative camber I can set is 1.75 degrees, which I will be doing.
Is that going to require an alignment? I'm wondering if changing camber values has an effect on your toe. Alignment service is expensive, and my budget is tight.
And hopefully, having some negative camber up front will help with the understeer...
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Abso-frickin-lutely will it affect your alignment, and too much negative camber will eat the insides off your tires.
Get the alignment done, or, spend tons and tons on tire replacements.
Spdloader
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Correct.
Macpherson struts do not have damper pinch bolts.
Why on earth you would want to mess with your camber I cannot imagine.

You racing this thing?

Well, yeah.

Yes it does, since you have positive caster.

Then don't mess with it. ANY alteration of some aspects of your geometry will require verification of the other ones.

You have it quite backwards here, which clearly indicates your misunderstanding of the issues at hand. Understeer is a product of your REAR suspension setup. Since you initially mentioned a "pinch bolt", this suggests a pre-Macpherson vehicle (pre-'00), and thus one with an independent rear suspension. Rear toe on such cars is positive, and rear camber is negative. Honda wished to bestow directional stability on users of the public road who may not have the sort of training F1 drivers have.
Should you be stupid enough to want to reduce understeer on a road car, all you need to do is make your rear toe zero, which is easily done without the installation of new parts. What will then result is highly entertaining behavior in turns. You insurance company may notlike it, and neither will you once you find out what it will cost you...
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TeGGeR,
I have the 2006 Civic Si Coupe, with MacPhersons up front and independent double wishbone in the back. The Helms OEM service manual specifies them as "damper pinch bolts", but maybe we are talking about two different things.
While this car is not being prepped for autocross, I live in an area with long, curvaceous roads with above-average speed limits. I enjoy driving my cars fast and hard, somewhat dangling on the border of recklessness.
I understand that a car with understeer is more predictable and intuitive than a car with oversteer/neutral steering capability, which is why most production cars understeer by default. However, I'd like to achieve neutral-ness and then force myself to adapt, as an experiment of my driving technique/vehicle capability.
Saying that understeer is a product of the rear suspension setup is only a half-truth. The rear has more of an effect than the front. The Si comes stock with a 1.5 LSD up front and about two degrees negative camber on the rear... and even with an aftermarket 28mm rear swaybar, I can still detect mild understeer. Increasing negative camber on the front WILL decrease understeer: as the car corners, the stroke of the suspension brings the outside wheel camber to zero, widening the tire contact patch and increasing traction. This is a step I am taking only because my other upgrades were not sufficient, but such is the way of a FF car.
However, I am interested in this method of manipulating rear toe to achieve oversteer. I believe I can mess with it easily enough if its the thread-type adjustment, but I have no way of measuring the changes. Can you elaborate, or is this something I shouldn't try to do myself?
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<snip>

You certainly seem to have an abundance of suspension knowledge. Why ask here? Just do what you so obviously know already.
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TeGGeR

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TeGGeR wrote:

I read up a lot on the subject, but what I know is only from what I read. I have little hands-on experience when it comes to suspensions, so I go on theory and basic physics.
Also, I do not feel comfortable realigning my wheels without accurate measurements. I was wondering if you knew anything about that, besides the "string around the car" method.
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Well, the first thing you need to do is establish the car's "thrust centerline". This is determined from the rear suspension toe. Once that is known, you can then adjust front toe on either side so that it is parallel to the thrust centerline.
Can you do this with a "string"? I suppose, but I wouldn't want to try it.
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While this car is not being prepped for autocross, I live in an area with long, curvaceous roads with above-average speed limits. I enjoy driving my cars fast and hard, somewhat dangling on the border of recklessness.
I understand that a car with understeer is more predictable and intuitive than a car with oversteer/neutral steering capability, which is why most production cars understeer by default. However, I'd like to achieve neutral-ness and then force myself to adapt, as an experiment of my driving technique/vehicle capability.
******************
Tele,
As a former Lotus Europa driver I can't let this go without a warning from my own experience. Neutral steering and hard driving are a fractious combination. Twice I found myself pointing the wrong way in curves with absolutely no warning; I didn't even have my foot in the accelerator very much. At least oversteering cars give some change in feel before coming around; a neutral steering car puts Newton in the driver's seat very suddenly indeed. All four wheels lose traction simultaneously and it makes not the slightest difference if you try to steer out. You may as well let go of the wheel because it does exactly nothing when you lose traction on all four.
The Europa is a rear mid-engine design. I understand FWD is less controllable at the limit if the suspension is set for neutral steering, since there is a "dead man's corner" in the throttle response where either increasing or reducing throttle will cause loss of control. I read a book about sports car suspension in my enthusiast days, and it mentioned a FWD racing car (Porsche?). Only two people ever agreed to drive it a second time - one was reputed to be able to drive anything, and the other was a motorcycle racer who thought all race cars handled like that.
Just sayin'
Mike
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Mike,
All this input is forcing me to reconsider the modifications I have done and had planned on doing. A nice RWD roadster would be nice *cough* S2000 *cough* but, alas, I am bound by practicality and a budget. I imagine oversteer would be hard to get used to after having driven FWD all my life, but understeer is a wicked mistress. It's easy enough to control (by letting off the throttle), but it slows me down when I want to cut through a corner.
You've shown me how hellish neutral cars can be at the limit. Losing grip on all four wheels at once seems frightful, but since traction is divided equally on all four wheels, isn't the threshold for slippage higher than on an unbalanced vehicle? In other words, in two identical FF cars where one is set for moderate understeer and the other is neutral, will the understeering car lose traction first, assuming both cars are subjected to identical road conditions/lateral Gs?
I've often read that neutral steering is ideal for professional drivers, and I'm struggling to understand how that correlates with my limited skill and the limits of FWD.
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somewhere and it's a doozy. Truly expert drivers will beat me every time and must have a better idea of where the limit is, but I wonder if they prefer neutral steering when not competing. It is loads of fun under moderate stress; the Lotus tires never squealed but would sing metallically in high speed curves. At that point I always eased off, since I knew the edge was somewhere near. The times I lost it were at under 30 mph with nobody ahead of me or behind me, while the singing was more of a 50 mph + thing.
BTW, the rear wheels of the Europa have a large fixed camber, probably -10 degrees or more. Not sure just what effect that had.
Mike
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Most (if not all) FWD Hondas are set up with zero toe. The steering IS neutral. The difference is at the REAR. Positive toe back there along with negative camber provide the propensity to understeer.
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"TeGGeR����������������������" wrote:

the same geometry in a rear engine vehicle will over-steer. and the rear toe provides stability at speed. depending on configuration [like that taken advantage of in 4ws preludes] it can improve cornering significantly.
under-steer is partly a function of weight distribution and traction - it tends to decrease as more power is applied. fwd vehicles have /all/ their significant weight on the steering wheels - as you try to turn, inertia of the heaviest part of the vehicle wants to continue in a straight line.
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televascular wrote:

highly biased opinion, if you have mcphersons, you're wasting your time. if you're talking integra, you don't have mcphersons.
replacing the damper pinch bolts? what kind of car?
alignment? what kind of car?
understeer? what kind of car?
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jim beam wrote:

I am far from being a suspension guru, so excuse my ignorance. Why am I wasting my time putting negative camber on MacPhersons? I have read that they are inferior to double-wishbones, purely as a matter of being able to control suspension compliance. Are MacPhersons inherently less adjustable, or harder to get favorable results from?

more room for the engine bay, which is already tiny enough as it is!
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televascular wrote:

if you mean compliance in terms of vertical travel, there's no difference. if you mean compliance in terms of geometry control and degrees of freedom, wishbones are the way to go. basically, you can keep the camber appropriate to lean angle /both/ sides of the car. with mcpherson, you can kinda-sorta get it ok-ish for the outer wheel, but the inner one goes to heck. in low traction environs like rallying on dirt, it doesn't matter, hence subaru dominance in that arena. but on black top, wishbone is the way to go. somewhere on the web is a table of cornering g's pulled by different compact sport cars from the 80's & 90's. the crx was [is] better than than any other car in it's class/tire width. look at any mcpherson vs. wishbone - they all have wider tires just to keep the thing on the road. better yet, check out any wide-tired car like bmw in a parking lot with the wheels at full lock. see how much [how little] rubber is on the road on the inside tire?

both.
that's minor. biggest advantage is /significant/ cost saving - much lower component count and each component that's left is /much/ cheaper to manufacture. look at the [forged?] knuckle on an integra - that thing is at least 3 forming operations, each needing very expensive tooling. a strut just has a cast sub axle bolted on the bottom.

there's plenty of room. mcpherson is all about cost. end of story.
if you want a car that can be tweaked and really handle on the curves, get a post 88, pre-2000 civic, a post 88 crx, post 89 integra or a prelude. the 06 si has a nice motor, but that's about it. seriously, if you sell that car, you'll have money to spare for a good base car from the above, /and/ a motor like this:
http://www.theoldone.com/articles/Larryscivic/Larrys_Civic.htm
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jim beam wrote:

Thanks for clearing up some of those questions. As for buying an older car, it's out of the question for me. I don't have the money/know-how for swaps and total modification, nor do I want to start with a used chassis. I bought the '06 Si for its styling too, not just for the K20.
I perused through that link (too long for me to read tonight), and I noticed from the pictures you used an aftermarket closed-jacket block. Hypothetically, if I were to supercharge my K20, would I *need* aftermarket pistons/conrods/block? I hear Honda crankshafts are rock solid, and don't need to be upgraded.
I'm just wondering. I don't plan on supercharging, especially with 11.1:1 compression.
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televascular wrote:

with respect, that means you're not serious. if you were, you'd take the money you have into the si back out, and put less than half of that money back into a vehicle that actually has the potential you "say" you want.

don't ask me, ask larry widmer. that's not my car.
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jim beam wrote:

jim beam,
I'm not a serious tuner, no. I bought the Si for a combination of style, performance, and practicality. But mostly because it's a Honda and it's a K20. I'm not trying to improve slalom times, only to refine my daily driving experience.
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televascular wrote:

is, any of the hondas previously mentioned can double as daily drivers /and/ serious performers. the only thing missing from your equation is "style" and that's highly subjective. no one that's being passed by a low flying honda on the outside curve of a negative camber is in a position to worry about how your car looks from any direction other than the rear.
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On 31 Aug 2006 10:46:36 -0700, televascular wrote:

But the only thing I would expect would improve the Si for daily driving would be increased Torque.
AAMOF, the understeer in the Si is easily corrected in corners by hitting the gas, not the brake. Odd as it may sound, I go through some pretty drastic on-ramps at 2AM at 60 MPH, accelerating when the understeer presents itself.
This was also the opinion of almost every reviewer whose work I read before buying the car.
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