new suspension

Bernie Benz b.benz at
Tue Oct 19 13:02:54 EDT 2004

> From: Ken Keith <auditude at>
> Hi Bernie,
> That's an idea.  I'll think about doing that after I exhaust the other
> options.  I'm going to first try to get what I paid for.
> As for the camber/caster plate adjustments, I did receive a printout
> of all the adjustment specs.  I was a bit disappointed initially
> because the guy didn't do any caster adjustment at all from what I had
> it initially installed with.  However, both the guy that did the
> actual work and the guy that rang me up said that the caster setting
> was good.
As I said before, with the 2B camber plates camber and caster are not
independent adustments!  Change one and you change the other also (bad
design IMO!).
> Actually, what they said was that they like to see the caster set
> unequally, "to compensate for the crown in the road".  That must be
> shop policy, since both guys said the same thing separately.  I was
> very suspicious because the guy didn't adjust caster at all on either
> plate, having paid for that type of adjustability with the plates.
This is a good idea, correcting for road crown or any other irregularity in
the specific suspension causing slight pull right or left.  But it must be
done after camber and toe are set correctly and as a result of actual road
> I was all over them the whole time, because I overheard one of
> the guys telling the other, "I don't care if you can't do it, just
> make it look like you did something," regarding loosening and
> retightening my transverse links in the rear like he said he'd have
> the guy do.  This is supposedly a shop that specializes in alignments.
> The guy who said that had like two teeth in front, but I was trying
> not to judge.
> They "explained" that more caster is good as it makes the car more
> stable at speed.
> Anyway, I just went out to the car and grabbed the Visualiner 3-D
> printout.  Here's what happened:
> Front specs:
> Min. Camber: -1.00 degrees
> Min. Caster: +0.31 degrees
> Min. Cross Caster: -.-- degrees
> Min. Toe: 0.00"
> Min. Total Toe: 0.00"
> Preferred Camber: -0.50 degrees
> Preferred Caster: +1.00 degrees
> Preferred Cross Caster: -.-- degrees
> Preferred Toe: +0.02"
> Preferred Total Toe: +0.04"
> Max. Camber: 0.00 degrees
> Max. Caster: +1.69 degrees
> Max. Cross Caster: -.--
> Max. Toe: +0.04"
> Max. Total Toe: +0.08"
> Left front:
> Before Camber: -0.60 degrees
> Before Caster: +2.50 degrees
> Before Toe: +0.59"
> After Camber: -0.60 degrees
> After Caster: +2.40 degrees
> After Toe: +0.02"
> Right Front:
> Before Camber: -0.70 degrees
> Before Caster: +2.10 degrees
> Before Toe: +0.40"
> After Camber: -0.40 degrees
> After Caster: +1.90 degrees
> After Toe: +0.02"
> Front Totals:
> Before Total Toe: +0.99"
> After Total Toe: +0.04"
> Before Cross Camber: -1.30 degrees
> After Cross Camber: -0.20 degrees
> Before Cross Caster: +0.40 degrees
> After Cross Caster: +0.50 degrees
> Rear Specs:
> Min. Camber: -0.50 degrees
> Min. Toe: 0.00"
> Min. Total Toe: 0.00"
> Preferred Camber: -0.25 degrees
> Preferred Toe: +0.03"
> Preferred Total Toe: +0.06"
> Max. Camber: 0.00 degrees
> Max. Toe: +0.06"
> Max. Total Toe: +0.12"
> Left Rear:
> Before Camber: -0.10 degrees
> Before Toe: -0.09"
> After Camber: -0.30 degrees
> After Toe: +0.07
> Right Rear:
> Before Camber: -1.20 degrees
> Before Toe: -0.04"
> After Camber: -0.40 degrees
> After Toe: +0.03
> Rear Totals:
> Before Total Toe: -0.13"
> Before Cross Camber: +1.10 degrees
> After Total Toe: +0.10"
> After Cross Camber: +0.10 degrees
> Other stuff on the printinout:
> Left Max Steering Angle: -.--
> Right Max Steering Angle: -.--
> Front Setback: -0.10 degrees
> Left S.A.I.: +13.50 degrees
> Left Included Angle: +13.10 degrees
> Right S.A.I.: +13.20 degrees
> Right Included Angle: +12.70 degrees
> Toe Out on Turns Left: -.--
> Toe Out on Turns Right: -.--
> Thrust Angle: 0.00 degrees
> Rear Setback: -0.10 degrees

IMO, they're just feeding you a bunch of BS.  If you have a fairly level
garage floor and the interest, you can do a much better job DIY with the
simplest of carpenter tools.  BTDT for years.

> So I guess after having typed that, I'm concerned about two things.
> One is that the camber is unequal in the front.  My driver side
> camber/caster plate was maxed out toward positive which measured out
> to -0.60 degrees, and my passenger side plate was just about centered
> and measured -0.40 degree.  My inclination is to think that the
> passenger side should have also been set to -0.60 degrees since it
> seems like it could have been.  The other concern is that the caster
> is set beyond both maximum recommendations as well as unequal between
> the sides.  But like I wrote, they responded to that concern twice and
> since I didn't know otherwise I could only accept it.
> The car seems to ride and handle well.  I have no complaints yet,
> based on driving it.  I suppose if I end up going back after adjusting
> my rear height and possibly subframe alignment, I can specify that
> they try harder in certain areas if there is something specific I
> should be asking for.
> Thanks,
> Ken
> On Tue, 19 Oct 2004 07:16:17 -0700, Bernie Benz <b.benz at> wrote:
>> Ken,
>> Why don't you just put the stock rear springs back in?
>> As you may know, using the 2B camber plates the camber and caster
>> adjustments are not independent.  Do you know exactly what the camber and
>> caster on each side were adjusted to?  They should be exactly equal, side to
>> side.  Zero tolerence, my spec.
>> Bernie
>>> From: Ken Keith <auditude at>
>>> Hi,
>>> I finished the suspension on my 200q20v (mostly).  I went in the last
>>> time to replace the control arms.  That's a fun job!  Those in
>>> addition to Bilstein/Eibach's, 2B plates, S-car strut mount/spring
>>> seat/strut bearings, dust boots, and tie rod ends.
>>> I got it aligned and used up all the camber plate adjustment on one
>>> side, while the other side was pretty much in the middle.  I'm
>>> wondering if there's enough room in the subframe mounting area to move
>>> it over and split the difference somehow.  I have heard the answer is
>>> no.
>>> I have the 1529.140 springs, and the rear is pretty low compared to
>>> the front.  Of course the fender cutout is part of that, but the body
>>> itself is either level or even lower in the back.  For example, I have
>>> "half a finger" gap in the rear and "four fingers" in the front.  When
>>> it is going down the road, it looks as if it is accelerating and
>>> squatting, when it really isn't.
>>> If it wasn't for the lack of further camber adjustment, I might cut a
>>> coil off the fronts, but I want my tire wear to be decent so I'm not.
>>> I'm aware of the ECS spacers for the rear, and heard of some from
>>> too.  I would prefer to reserve the use of spacers for when I
>>> have a speaker box in the trunk, and I think the 20mm spacers might
>>> not even be enough to make it sit right.
>>> I left a message with Eibach to see what they have to say about it, in
>>> case they want to swap my rears for different springs, or offer
>>> spacers.   I'm a bit surprised that it is so low in the back, because
>>> I checked the part numbers on the springs themselves and they were
>>> supposedly the longer of the different variations.  I don't remember
>>> the numbers right now tho'.
>>> Anyway, as far as how I like the suspension itself, how it handles and
>>> rides, I have to say I like it.  When I first drove around the
>>> neighborhood, I felt I had ruined my car.  All the ups and downs in
>>> the road that were previously imperceptible moved the car, and the
>>> texture of the surface itself seemed to be transmitted as well.  This
>>> is even with the stock tires and wheels.
>>> However, after driving it more and getting used to it, I have to say
>>> I'm very pleased with the setup.  Shifting, launching, changing lanes,
>>> and "emergency maneuvers" are much tighter and under control.  It does
>>> transmit the undulations of the road surface, but I can't say it
>>> bothers me as much as the initial shock of how dramatically the cars
>>> personality changed.
>>> Now I have to just deal with the low rear suspension issue, or accept
>>> it, and then I will focus on getting some adequate braking in place.
>>> I'll work on getting some pics posted somewhere so someone can tell me
>>> if its stance is normal for one of the 3 versions of 1529.140 kits.
>>> Cheers,
>>> Ken
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> 200q20v mailing list

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