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Suspension Camber | Caster Bolt Parts

What are Camber Bolts and How do They Work?

Camber bolts are a cost-effective way to adjust camber easily, and in some cases, they are the only way you can operate under the class rules. The camber bolts are eccentric, i.e. they have an off-centered lobe that alters the horizontal position of the knuckle slightly from the strut, thus changing the camber angle. 

Camber bolts are also referred to as "crash bolts" because they are used to align cars that have been bent in an accident. Due to their design, they are thinner than standard bolts and can be weaker than standard bolts. For this reason, it is important to ensure that camber bolts are of high quality and are produced by a reputable manufacturer.

It is important to note that the amount of negative camber increases when you lower the vehicle's driving height. How much it is increased depends on the vehicle and also on how dramatically its driving height has been reduced. For this reason alone, camber adjustment bolts are a simple but very effective method of removing excessive camber on lowered vehicles. 

What is a Camber?

Camber is the angle at which the wheel and the tire stand relative to the road – assuming that it is completely flat. The easiest way to see what the camber looks like is to see the wheel and the tire head on. When stationary, the tire maintains a static camber angle, while when the car corners, due to body roll, the contact patch is reduced. In order to counteract this effect and have the greatest amount of tire on the road while cornering, the camber settings must be taken into account and adjusted accordingly.

While conventional thinking might lead one to believe that the wheel is perfectly perpendicular to the road on which it sits, it is often intentionally tilted slightly to counteract the forces imparted on it by cornering. If the top of the tire is leaned in closer to the center of the car, that particular wheel and tire exhibit what is called negative camber. Positive camber, on the other hand, has the top of the wheel pointed outwards. This arrangement is quite prolific in the tuning scene.

How Can the Right Camber be Determined?

Determining what camber setting produces an evenly applied contact patch can be done by measuring the heat inside, center and outside of the tire contact patch. By using a special thermometer called a pyrometer, one can determine whether one side of the tire is heated more or less than the other. While you may be tempted to use a non-contact thermometer, only the surface temperature of the tire can be misleading. Rapid tire cooling and the disproportional effect of the last turn or turn the car has just been driving does not provide a record of how the tires have been running through several laps, the way a pyrometer can.

Camber is something that should not be overlooked for anyone seriously considering the performance potential or their car. The feeling of increased grip and poise in the middle corner is something that's sure to put an ear-to-ear grin on anyone's face. Because most street cars are not designed with the race track in mind, their camber settings are somewhat conservative in order to ensure even tire wear in normal driving conditions.

Minute camber adjustments can make the standard car much more agile. As we have learned, when considering suspension adjustments, it is important to take into account your suspension design, but more importantly; use a scientific approach to determine what kind of camber is appropriate for your car. Although the addition of some negative camber can lead to higher cornering speeds and a more progressive feeling at the adhesion limit, it can lead to premature wear of tires, while improperly adjusted camber can lead to instability and reduced traction.

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