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Old 06-29-2011, 06:35 PM   #1
Avalnch

 
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Ride Height vs Weight Balance + Handling

I recently had my car professionally corner balanced. The shop ended up having to raise the car's rear height to get close to a 50/50 front/rear balance.

This brings to mind my past experiences (cue dream sequence music).

Stock Car.
I had one auto-x event in which my (very accomplished) friend/co-driver and I beat on the car with stock suspension and tires. Although the weak point was the lack of tire traction, we were both amazed at how well the Camaro was balanced. It did not over or under steer to extremes and the rear end was very easy to handle.

Full suspension - take one.
After the full suspension and R888s were installed, I had the ride height set so that there was very little rake to the car (less than 1/4"). Although the car looked awesome, the handling wasn't even close to the stock car. The first auto-x event was not good because of excessive understeer. I did notice that the car launched very well. In hind-sight, I think that having the car near level likely shifted the weight onto the rear tires.

Full suspension - take two.
I discussed the situation over with my friend and we agreed that we should put the car back to stock rake. I raised the rear end a bit to get more rake (but to stock rake). Back on the track, we noticed an improvement right away, but understeer was still our enemy. The rear end felt more lively.

Full suspension + corner balance.
I've got (2) back-to-back events this weekend and we shall see how the corner balance has affected the handling. I'm optimistic that the car will get back to feeling how it did bone stock.

Has anyone else running coilovers played with their height front-to-rear and noticed what differences there are?

I think that maybe the straight-line guys might consider leveling their car to maximize traction, while us auto-x guys need to have the car raked for handling?
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Old 06-29-2011, 07:02 PM   #2
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Can you post your alignment specs please?
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Old 06-30-2011, 07:37 AM   #3
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yes post your alignment specs. Also was the car corner weight with you in it?
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Old 06-30-2011, 02:47 PM   #4
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Alignment specs as requested. It was just my luck that the shop owner is about the same weight as me, so he took my place.

The Toyo website recommends starting with -2.5° camber up front, so that's what I put it to.

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Old 06-30-2011, 04:15 PM   #5
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Please measure your ride height as shown in this picture. Your 5th gen should be on a level surface, empty as it was new with a 1/4 tank of fuel. Use a metric tape measure if possible.



Measuring this way eliminates tire inflation, size and profile. It is based on the rim size. There are other more intricate ways to measure ride height, but this is straight forward and repeatable. Please post the ride heights at all four wheels at the current setting. Maybe you can estimate the previous heights?
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Old 06-30-2011, 06:31 PM   #6
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Hey Avalnch! That alignment looks pretty great for an aggressive Autox setup. The Toe Out in the rear may contribute to some pretty hairy oversteer conditions at high autox speeds, so if you're chasing oversteer issues that cant be tuned around via tire pressures you might want to look at dialing back your Rear Toe.

The Rake of the car does absolutely have an effect on the chassis, and with coilovers is one more useful fine tuning tool at your disposal. The biggest effect you had when raising the rear of the car probably wasn't the rake it's self, but the change in roll center by adjusting the rear only. There is a direct relation between roll center and how effectively the sway bars are able to work, it acts similarly to changing the hole on an adjustable sway bar, although has a much more subtle effect.

Now that the car is corner balanced, I wouldn't adjust the ride height much more. Instead I would focus on getting the car balanced using the tools at your disposal, sway bars, dampers, alignment and tires.
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Old 07-29-2011, 05:53 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JusticePete View Post
Please measure your ride height as shown in this picture. Your 5th gen should be on a level surface, empty as it was new with a 1/4 tank of fuel. Use a metric tape measure if possible.
My ride height is as follows:

FL:653 mm | FR:665mm
...................|...................
...................|...................
...................|...................
...................|...................
RL:668 mm | RR:677mm

The surface I'm on is fairly square, but might have a very slight right-to-left incline.
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Old 07-30-2011, 01:51 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Avalnch View Post
My ride height is as follows:

FL:653 mm | FR:665mm
...................|...................
...................|...................
...................|...................
...................|...................
RL:668 mm | RR:677mm

The surface I'm on is fairly square, but might have a very slight right-to-left incline.
Are the differences in side to side ride height the result of corner weighting?
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Old 07-30-2011, 03:20 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JusticePete View Post
Are the differences in side to side ride height the result of corner weighting?
+1 seems like a significant difference enough so that you can probably stand off and notice the car is leaning. Also seems strange that it is on one side up front and the other in the back. I would have guessed one or two mm side to side.
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Old 07-31-2011, 01:20 AM   #10
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Yes, I assume that the height difference is from corner weighting. I should get a set of measurements done with me in it. Keep you posted.
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Old 07-31-2011, 10:37 AM   #11
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Standing by.
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Old 08-05-2011, 09:09 AM   #12
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If you are not going to get it corner balanced then should you set up the passengar side a bit lower so when the driver gets in it will square it self?

My settings are:

FL- 649mm FR- 649mm

LR- 655mm RR- 663mm

Sorry, dont mean to hijack this thread but Im just wondering if im going to go thru the same situation as I autox quite often.

Last edited by toilets; 08-05-2011 at 09:12 AM. Reason: mistake
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Old 08-05-2011, 09:10 AM   #13
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and should my rake be set higher or do you feel this maybe good?
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Old 08-05-2011, 11:33 AM   #14
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Let’s get her rear even at 660mm

Alignment Per Wheel
Caster is Fixed from the factory
Camber -2
Toe OUT.50

Rear Per Wheel
Camber -.75
Toe IN .05

Set your fronts to 27 or three off full hard
Set your rears to 20

Front bar full soft
Rear Bar full hard

Running my square wheel and tire setup, I like the rear lower, but the vast majority of Camaro5 members are running staggereds making it harder to get the rear low without rubbing issues.
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Old 08-05-2011, 11:50 AM   #15
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Quote:
If you are not going to get it corner balanced then should you set up the passengar side a bit lower so when the driver gets in it will square it self?
Well if the car isn't going to be corner balanced you're just guessing as to what your cross weights are, so any ride height compensation for drivers weight you're going to make is going to be a guess at best and may be a little counter productive. If the car isn't going to be corner balanced setting it up so that it visually looks good is the best way to go about setting ride heights. Even them up for the sake of consistency.

Until you get really serious about autox or road racing in most instances driving technique, alignment and damping/bar settings have a much greater influence on lap times then ride height does... unless the car is slammed and you've found a ride height that the suspension just refuses to work well at. I think you will find that the car will respond the best to a ride height about an inch lower than stock while keeping about a stock rake. A Corner balance with driver and fuel load you will be racing at, an alignment and away you go!

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Old 08-05-2011, 05:49 PM   #16
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Ride height and corner balancing typically have little to do with each other.

As does rake.

Basics of understanding a vehicle's weight and what it is to 'corner balance' a car.

Before starting any balancing of a car, the car should have the final alignment setup on it, have roughly 1/2 of a tank of fuel (you don't race empty), and have all tire pressures set to their correct HOT tire pressure. Even a 1 to 2 psi change in tire pressure can change scale readings, and thus throw off your balancing act.

Do not forget to add driver weight. We use lead to simulate the driver, you may do the same, or use yourself or the driver as actual weight.

In this example we are going to be looking at a road race setup, and assume a track with equal right and left hand turns.

On your scale you will notice that you will have a read out of all four corners of the car. They will also allow you to select either side weights, front or rear weights, and also cross weights (LF to RR and vice versa). Changing % either Right to Left or going Front to Back will require you to physically move weight on the chassis of the car. You can do this by say moving the battery to the rear of the car, or by simply removing un-wanted weight. No adjustable suspension in the world will change this.

For most road racers, we would like to see a 50-50 split Right side to Left side. Most would also consider 50-50 front to rear, but in some cases slightly more rear weight will help bite on cars with big HP and traction problems. Keep in mind this will take weight from the front tires so do not get carried away.

The cross weight is what we will be focusing our adjustments on with the shocks (ride height adjusters on factory leaf spring cars). To calculate cross-weight percentage, add the RF weight to the LR weight and divide the sum by the total weight of the car. You would like to have this right at 50%, and keep this with in 1/2% either way from this.



To Corner Weight your car:

* Work on static weight percentages first, then work on cross-weight percentages.

* Changing the ride height at a corner will change the cross-weight percentage.

* If you raise the ride height at a given corner, the weight on that corner will increase, as will the weight on the diagonally opposite corner. The other two corners will lose weight as a result.

* If you lower the ride height at a given corner, that corner will lose weight as will the diagonally opposite corner. The other two corners will then gain weight.

* To add weight to a corner, raise the ride height at that corner or lower the ride height at an adjacent corner.

* Before making a change, be sure to look at heights first. As you may want to lower the car before raising.

* Think of the car as that annoying table at a restaurant that rocks. You add napkins, sugar packets, or even utensils to keep it from rocking. That table, is your car. The sugar packets are your springs.

* Make small changes first, instead of a big change at one corner. This keeps the ride heights as close to ideal as possible. You would like to see heights close to the same. With street based cars and OEM build tolerances, you would like to see no more than 1/8" difference side to side.

* Always record the cross-weights and ride heights for reference at the race track in case changes are needed. Keep a log book and record before events and after to note changes in the car. This also allows you to keep notes on good and bad setups.

* The distance from the ground (scale pad surface) to a known fixed chassis point at each corner will help give you ride heights. Try to not measure to body work as this can vary from car to car.

* Remember that changes in alignment, tires, tire pressures, and springs will change the ride height and alter the cross-weight percentage.

Also remember you do all of this with the sway bars un-connected as they can and do play a factor in changing these numbers, which is why adjustable end links are key to making sure the car stays this way when it is at ride height and the bars only come into play when the car is in a lean condition.
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Old 08-08-2011, 07:59 AM   #17
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Awesome info guys!! Thank you
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Old 02-09-2013, 11:01 AM   #18
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Bringing this back from the dead. There is some good info here for the AutoX/ road course guys.
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