Let’s talk about a trend that seems to be getting pretty popular.
Everywhere I turn I see guy’s widening out the front of their car.
Most put a longer right front lower control arm on to increase the camber gain.
Some are increasing the whole width of the front end by putting both a longer left and right front lower on.
First, a wider front and a narrower rear will make the car tighter overall. We know that putting the right rear further under the car than the right front will add side bite to that corner and tighten entry.
But, one inch is a lot to move. And, two, will make the car really tight.
If you’ve read my book, you know all about wheel alignment and how important it is to proper car handling. It’s one of the big three primary areas of focus.
The other two are traction and weight transfer.
Essentially I think we want our right side tires lined up, or really close to it, when the car is in a dynamic state.
Too many don’t look at their car in a dynamic state, but I really believe this is the only way to think about your car.
The problem is that it’s a lot easier to see as a car in it’s static position; especially on a dirt car with the amount of body movement as we commonly see.
You basically need to take all the shocks out and install ride height bars to hold the car at that right front down, left rear up position as if it were on the track. Then string the right side tires and see where you are at.
There are a bunch of factors which affect that alignment.
To get a better idea on all the factors, just check out my book.
Let’s get back to our discussion on the right front.
In a dynamic state, I really don’t believe you want more of a ½” variance in right rear tire misalignment either way; either inside or outside.
Like I said, I think a right rear too far under the car will make the car too tight on turn entry and likely screw up the position of the car through the entire corner.
On a large radius corner where there is not as drastic of a slow down in the middle of the corner, it will also seem to add a tightness to the even car on corner exit.
Then what about the increase in camber gain you get from a longer right front lower?
I don’t believe the small amount of camber gain steering increase you get from the longer lower is enough to compensate for the one inch difference in offset between the right front and the right rear.
What I’m trying hard to say is, ‘forget about it’. Try to get camber gain a different way. As long as you’re getting ½ degree for every inch of bump, you will be good.
More camber gain can be better achieved by changing the roll angle of your car instead. But that’s a whole different can of worms we won’t get into here.
Now let’s compensate for the tightness by sliding the rear end to the right.
This will get the car to drive a little better, but it will have a strange effect on the left rear.
It’s funny, you would think this would increase left rear drive because of the increase in left side weight and wedge (which we can unscrew out of the car anyway), but it doesn’t. Because the left rear is so far under the car it will feel like it will loose drive tightness.
Now, we stick a wheel spacer on the left rear to get some of that drive tightness back.
It will make the car tighter on exit, but what else did it do to the car?
You will loose weight transfer because the entire car is now wider.
And we can continue sticking band aid on top of band aid to do what we originally set out to do; get more of that crazy camber gain on the right front and get the cars to steer better.
Next time we’ll address how to get this without changing out to lower control arms.
Til next time,