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About Alignments

Some notes on Lowering your car and what it does to the alignment:

> If I lower my SE-R can an alignment correct a severe
> camber problem. I checked, and the Stillen camber plates
> are only available for the front wheels, which makes me
> wonder if their is another way to a just the camber on the
> car.

Here's a quote taken from one of Sam Strano's last postings, a snippet about lowering springs and camber plates:

"The second thing is that he was sold camber plates by [deleted]. Something he didn't need. They told him that he has to get his camber back to spec or he'll ruin tires. If he had 3 or 4 degrees [of negative camber], then he would, but lowering a car doesn't give such a change. Generally it is about 1 degree. Most of you would kill for negative camber. The point a lot of you miss is that when the car gets lowered the [negative] camber increases, BUT the toe settings also change. The toe is what rips the tires up, not the camber! I can't state this enough. You have to get the car aligned after lowering whatever. If you want to put it back toward stock specs go ahead. And BTW, even non-adjustable cars a little room for camber adjustment especially after lowering them. I'm not blowing smoke here. Anthony Saeli's '92 SE-R has Eibachs and springs etc. on it. When we did that stuff we didn't have time to align it. He drove for a month before he got it done and destroyed a new set of RE71's. After we aligned it (and kept -1.1 degrees in front and -.8 in the rear) he had no tire wear problems at all. You see when lowered the length of the tie-rods doesn't change and causes toe-out, of which he had about 1/2 inch, a lot. You end up dragging you tires down the road a bit sideways. It looks like the camber is at fault because the tire is running more on the inside, but if you had 0 camber and that much toe a tire would wear just as fast."

Just a little something to keep in mind before you spend you hard-earned cash on adjustable camber plates.

About Thrust Angle

red_triangle.gif (202 bytes) Comments by Dan Thompson

Thrust angle is determined by measuring the toe angle on the back wheels (something like this - \/ if the wheels are "toed out" or /\ if they're "toed in"). A bisecting line is drawn to this angle ( \|/ or /|\ ) to determine thrust angle. If this line doesn't run straight up the middle of the car (or close to it) the rear tires will "steer" the car in the direction of this line. A good (but extreme) example is that rusted-out '79 Chevy pickup truck you get stuck behind. The thing goes down the road at an angle (I believe they call it "dog walking") because the axle is askew - in a sense it's thrust angle is way off. Being that it has a beam-type rear axle, I don't know whether the toe angle on the 200 is adjustable or not (the Chevy truck's isn't, though you *could* give the axle a couple of hard whacks with a 50 pound sledgehammer to put it back into place... don't laugh, I've seen it done!).

I don't really see how the toe could go out of a spec on a beam axle (if it's non-adjustable) unless it experienced some kind of damage, so it's probably not something to worry about.
[Editorial Note: Dan is correct on the 200SX's beam axle, the beam is totally non-adjustable.  On the 200SX you can ONLY adjust the toe on the front wheels]