Sword of Omens….Show me the path to more camber!
Seriously, our LeMons racer needs camber in a bad way (think Lindsay Lohan in search of cocaine and vodka). The problem is the car as Toyota designed it was never designed to have approximately 1200 lbs cut off of it in a crash diet (insert another Lindsay Lohan joke here). Oh sure there are dozens of after-market parts that can make all our handling dreams come true, they will lower our car, stiffen our ride and make us go all night long (see a doctor if suspension stiffness persists for 4 hours or more) but this is LeMons and those parts all cost way more than we are allowed to spend so we have to get our camber for endurance the way our forefathers used to (you know….think about baseball when things get too intense to avoid early-apexing….) by modifying the OEM parts to do what we need them to.
So we first identified the problem was primarily the front of the car, as the rear can get approximately 2.5 degrees negative which is pretty close to where we want while the front can only muster about 1.75 degrees which just isn’t enough, so we fall back on the old standby of ripping the subframe out from under the engine (thank you harbor freight engine brace for making this a pretty painless process) and started by straigtening up the alignment tabs and welding in reinforcements to re-gain all the OEM adjustment that was lost to mangled alignment points. Sadly this just brought us up to about 2 degrees leaving us a healthy 1 degree shy of where we wanted to be…so now its time to get creative….
So we looked at 3 options:
1: Cut the OEM alignment points off the subframe, elongate the slot and move them outboard to move the base alignment point. After looking over the ridiculous amount of metal work this would require and the fact that we couldn’t move anything more than 1/8 inch wrote this one off.
2: Somehow lengthen the lower A-arm (or lower balljoint). This one made us nervous since it is probably the suspension component that experiences the highest load and carries the biggest risks should it fail, and re-locating the balljoints attachment to the lower arm isn’t really possible. There may be some more here in another project….
3: Shorten the aluminum upper A arm. Ok we might have a winner here since its far easier to remove material than add material, and the upper arm doesn’t get a fraction of the load that a lower arm does. Some tinkering with a marker, tape measure and a camber gauge tells us that shortening the upper arm 1/2″ will add 1.5 degrees negative camber, which will allow us to comfortably get to the magic -3 degrees we are looking for.
So we have pulled some spare upper A arms out of our parts bin and are going to start wrecking some metal. Stay tuned for how this works out…..