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Thread: Alignment

  1. #1

    AZmike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Previous: '89 Accord LXi hatch, '89 Accord LXi hatch, '86 Prelude Si
    Tucson, Arizona

    Post Alignment

    Stock specs
    Caster: 0.5 +/- 1 degree
    Camber: 0 +/- 1 degree
    Toe 0: +/- xx
    Camber: 0 +/- 1 degree
    Toe: 0 +/- xx

    Recommended specs for a daily driver:
    Caster: maximum with left and right matching (2.2 degrees on my car)
    Camber: -0.5 to -1.0 degrees
    Toe: 0 degrees

    Camber: -0.5 to -1.5 degrees
    Toe: 0 degrees
    More negative camber can be run on the rear than the front since the front does the majority of the braking and supports most of the weight of the car.

    Caster is the angle that the axis through the upper and lower ball joints leans backwards from vertical. Increasing caster increases steering effort and the steering’s tendancy to self-center. It also increases the amount of negative camber that is added as the steering is turned off center. This allows a lower static camber setting for even tire wear, but adds camber when the car is cornering.

    Camber is the angle that the wheels leans outward (positive) or inwards (negative) from vertical. Some negative camber is good since it more evenly loads the contact patch when cornering. It also reduces the wear aggressive driving can cause to the outside shoulder of the tire. Excessive negative camber reduces maximum braking traction and causes excessive wear on the inner shoulder. Tire wear gives a good indication of how well your camber settings agree with your driving style. The camber difference between the front and rear can affect the handling balance as well. For example, adding negative camber front or reducing negative camber rear will reduce understeer.

    Toe is the direction the wheel points as it rolls. Setting the toe so that it is zero when cruising produces the least tire wear. Adding toe out front makes the car twitchy and improves turn-in. Toe in front or rear adds stability. Toe out rear tends to make the car unstable without much of any benefit.

    DIY Alignment

    On 86-89 Accords the caster is set first, then camber, and finally toe

    Caster – Caster is nearly impossible to set accurately yourself since the angle of the centers of the upper and lower ball joints is what needs to be measured. A difference in caster between sides causes the steering to pull. Some techs like to use this to make up for the slope of roads away from the center.

    Camber – Park on level surface. Hold a level or a large square (or anything that will be as close to vertical as possible) near the wheel. Measure the horizontal distance from your vertical reference to the upper and lower edges of the rim. Find the difference between these measurements. Measure how far apart the places on the top and bottom of the rim that you measured earlier are. This should be close to the diameter of the wheel.

    Camber = arctan(difference/measured_diameter)
    0.25” difference in horizontal measurements from vertical for a wheel measured at points 13.5” apart
    Camber = arctan(0.25/13.5) = 0.0185 rad = 1.06 degrees
    If the upper horizontal measurement was larger than the lower the camber is negative.

    Front Toe -- Get a 1" x 2" and cut two sections each about 3' long. Find something 4-6" tall that you have two of (like a brick) and use them to hold the 1" x 2" sticks level above the ground sitting beside the outside sidewalls of both front tires with part of the stick on ahead of and behind the tire. Measure the distance between the sticks directly in front and behind the tires. Adjust the tie rods until the numbers match. This will not get the steering wheel, but it will help your tires last.

    Center steering wheel -- Turn the steering wheel straight. If the front toe is already right (no toe in or toe out is right for most purposes) then the tie rods need to be adjusted equally in opposite directions. With the steering wheel centered find the front wheel steering inward. The tie rod for this corner should be lengthened until the wheel in pointing straight ahead. Count the number of turns it takes. Remove the same number of turns for the other tie rod (to keep the toe setting the same). This is an iterative process, it may take a few short drive and adjustments to find the correct setting.

    Rear Toe – Setting the rear toe is more difficult than the front since the wheels don’t just need to be close to parallel, but must be parallel to the chassis. The rear toe is adjusted by turning an eccentric bushing on the inside of one of the lower control arm links. Setting up a string on each side about 12” above the ground (close to the height of the center of the wheels) that is parallel to the centerline of car is the most common reference to use to set rear toe. Rear toe out can make the car more likely to spin so it should be avoided.

    Thread about DIY alignment
    Last edited by AZmike; 01-11-2006 at 08:03 PM.

  2. #2
    LX User cardoc33's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    88 accord lxi hatchback
    sf bay area

    Re: Alignment

    For autocross, I would recommend more camber in the front than in the rear. This is to promote oversteer. Try -1.5 front, -.5 rear. Maybe even a little toe out in the front to help turn in.
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