A guide to Camber Adjustments & Suspension
What is Camber?
Like toe, camber is an angle associated with the wheel and tyre. In essence it is the lean in or out of the wheel and tyre when viewed from the front of the vehicle.
Why does it matter?
Having too much positive or negative camber can cause uneven tyre wear. In addition to this, the angle of your camber can also aid in the type of driving you are carrying out. For instance, those interested in racing may prefer more of a negative camber angle as it increases cornering performance. Having incorrect camber will affect the vehicle’s overall wheel alignment. Please see below for a visual explanation of positive and negative camber.
What causes incorrect Camber alignment?
- Worn parts such as ball joints and bearings
- General fatigue of the suspension caused by driving through potholes and over speed bumps
- Raising or lowering of a vehicle’s normal suspension ride height
- Replacement of new suspension components
- Structural body damage
- Low tyre pressures
- Uneven surface
- General wear and tear within bushes
What are the types of Camber adjustments out there?
Eccentric / Snail / Cam washer
This is by far the most common type of adjuster, simply by loosening the nut and turning the bolt will move the arms in or out.
These can be fitted to cars that don’t generally have any adjustments, simply replace the standard nut and bolt with these and you have a controlled adjustment, these can be used on suspension legs and wishbones.
Simply undoing the nut and bolt a few turns and with a lever bar move to the desired position.
Poly bush with Cam’d sleeves
Quite difficult to identify but these are out there.
Aftermarket Top mounts
These are a great way of adjusting Camber and Castor on a normally non-adjustable vehicle, but be warned there are many cheap ones out there that are not up to the job.
The 7 Step approach to Adjusting Camber
- Firstly, you will need a flat level surface, check tyre pressures to ensure the car is sitting equally, check suspension heights to ensure no broken springs or other issues. Now were ready for the next stage.
- You’ll need to identify what adjustments are required, this can be done by using a SUPALIGN wheel alignment system. 4 measuring heads are mounted on to wheel alignment clamps and the system measures all the 4 wheels on the vehicle.
- The SUPALIGN wheel aligner will provide live camber readings, if the camber is highlighted red then they require adjustments and if they’re green they are within manufacturer’s tolerance.
- As per your SUPALIGN training videos, navigate to the adjustment page which provides you with live readings.
- There are different methods of adjusting camber and this will depend on the type of suspension system the vehicle has, however for this example we will assume that the vehicle has a McPherson Strut Suspension.
- There are multiple ways to adjust camber however these usually come in the form of camber bolts, adjustable top mounts, adjustable suspension arms and adjustable uprights. With Macpherson Strut suspensions you can use the upper top mount plate for small camber adjustments.
- Adjust this until the readings are showing that you are within the manufacturer’s tolerance. It is important that all adjustments are symmetrical to each other so for instance if you use the adjustable top mount plate on the right side, it must be used on the left.
If you want to adjust the camber on vehicles in your workshop then SUPALIGN can help. Our SUPALIGN wheel aligner has an extensive database of steering, alignment & camber data which will ensure you are adjusting the vehicle’s camber to manufacturer’s requirements. In addition to this, our wheel alignment specialists can provide on-site training with practical demonstrations on how to adjust the camber, how to identify the different suspension systems and the best approach to educating a customer on why they require work carrying out. These training sessions can range from 1 day to 3 days depending on your specific requirements.
Ensuring your staff are up to date with the latest suspension types and best practices on adjusting camber will ensure you have the best wheel alignment shop in your area.