Remember when we were paying between $3 and $4 a gallon for gasoline. People supposedly in the know told us the days of paying less than $2 a gallon where over.
Many claimed gas shortages were because the supply was growing short and demand was ever increasing.
People I listened to blamed it on politicians; they blamed it on our economy; they blamed it on simple supply and demand.
“They’re not making it anymore!”
Well, it’s been quite a while now I’ve been paying under $2 a gallon.
My point is sometimes you never really know what is going to happen or why for that matter.
You just need to take stuff as it comes and go from there.
Nothing is the absolute truth.
There are just various opinions.
You always need to take those opinions, think about them, and put your own plan into action.
I promised you my opinion on camber gain on the right front and what you can do to affect it in ways other than lengthening your lower control arm.
First, making the upper control arm shorter and the lower control arm longer will give you more camber gain.
Will that actually make the car steer better? I told you in the last article that I didn’t believe so.
My argument was that the amount of traction gained from the camber probably couldn’t be felt.
I’ve also seen a lot of people put a really soft right front spring in there car to get the car to turn better. This works, but it’s not because of the camber increase.
If you’ve read my book you have an understanding on the difference between elastic and kinematic roll centers.
I believe two things are going on here to make the car steer better.
The super soft right front spring moves the elastic roll center left in the car and keeps the left front tire loaded more by producing less jacking of the left front.
Upper and lower control arm angles also have a huge effect on jacking, but I believe most cars nowadays have there control arm angles close enough to say it lessens the jacking of the left side of the car.
Also going on is that the right front being very soft is keeping more weight on the left front tire and giving it more traction.
The reason the car steers so much better with a soft right front spring is because it keeps more weight on the left front and makes it steer better.
All most people see is the ‘crazy camber’ being produced at the right front and really fail to understand the effect on the left front tire.
So, what are some other ways we can load the left front tire. Couldn’t we move the static kinematic roll center left?
Let’s get a really good understanding on how kinematic roll centers can affect camber gain.
Look at your car from the front and put the car into roll. If the upper control arm moves laterally more than it move vertically, camber will be taken out of the front as the car rolls because it will not increase angle as much.
If the upper movers vertically more than it moves horizontally it will increase in angle with more roll and increase gain.
Now to put this in roll center perspective. Take out a sheet of paper and lay it flat on the table. Picture each corner being your control arm pick-up points.
Put your finger at the bottom of the page in the middle and roll the paper like your car would roll.
Notice that the upper control arms move horizontally for the first little bit of roll the start moving more vertically the more roll you put in. This takes out camber gain initially then begins adding more in with more roll.
Put your finger at the top of the sheet and begin to roll the car, I mean sheet of paper. Notice that the upper control arm instantly begins to move vertically instead of horizontally.
This adds camber to the right front instantly and an ever increasing rate. Now repeat this experiment by moving your finger left and right on the sheet of paper and see how the upper control arm reacts.
As you move your finger left to right also notice how the left and right sides raise and lower.
This is important.
Everyone I meet always wants to talk roll centers and where they should be. But most really don’t see the basics for what they are.
As you move your roll center left, the left will raise less and unload the left front tire less and make the entire front end squat.
Moving your roll center right will increase jacking of the left front and unload the left front more and raise the entire left side of the nose.
This also doesn’t do anything good for aerodynamics.
So where should the roll center be?
I think it needs to be a balance between elastic and kinematic. these should work together not one being a band aid for the other.
If your kinematic roll center is right and you run a really soft right front spring to band aid it left, your car will feel bad. And not anything the ‘plop plop fizz fizz’ of Alka-seltzer will cure.
I think it should left of center and higher in the car. Be careful not to get it to high because this will lead to a situation of not getting any roll.
You need enough split between the center of gravity and the roll center to trigger sufficient movement in the front.
Oh, and by the way, you need to make it work with the roll center in the back of the car.
Which is a whole other can of worms.
My suggestion is to learn as much as you can through small experiments with driver feed back. Make small changes until you start feeling some thing better.
But, take my thoughts here; ponder them. Maybe just throw them out.
We’ll talk soon.