DIY Corner Balance And Ride Height Adjustment - Page 3 - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
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post #41 of 140 (permalink) Old 08-31-2009, 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by apk919 View Post
Thanks for the input Ralph... let's call it "Advanced Topics In Car Setup" (actually that would make for a pretty good thread all by itself).

And as you said... what's most important is starting from a good baseline. Everyone who tracks their cars (auto-x, HPDE, TT, racing, etc) should know what their actual suspension settings are. And if you change things, take lots of notes... paper is cheap!
Spot on! You have to know where you start! The notes are for how to get back there without getting out all the equipment. I have a binder that goes with me to the track for every car. Everything that I change gets noted. Trust me don't try and rely on your memory. It will also add resale if you have complete history of setup notes.

Track time is not cheap. If you can apply what you have learned at a track you will be that much ahead of the game when you go back to that track again.

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post #42 of 140 (permalink) Old 09-30-2009, 10:34 AM
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Excellent writeup. Thanks for taking the time. After reading through the whole thing, could you clarify what was meant by 1 turn of the perch collar? I'm assuming it means a 360' turn of the perch collar and not turning the collar one spanner hole right or left (the spanner holes on the perch collar that were labeled 1,2,3 or A,B,C).

Now to scan GRM magazine to find out where to get a good, but reasonably priced, set of scales...

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post #43 of 140 (permalink) Old 09-30-2009, 10:45 AM Thread Starter
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Excellent writeup. Thanks for taking the time. After reading through the whole thing, could you clarify what was meant by 1 turn of the perch collar? I'm assuming it means a 360' turn of the perch collar and not turning the collar one spanner hole right or left (the spanner holes on the perch collar that were labeled 1,2,3 or A,B,C).

Now to scan GRM magazine to find out where to get a good, but reasonably priced, set of scales...

-Brad
Yes, one turn would be a 360 turn of the collar.
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post #44 of 140 (permalink) Old 10-17-2009, 03:37 PM
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This is great info on corner balancing. Is there a need to callibrate the scales? Just because a scale reads 600lbs does not mean it is supporting exactly 600lbs and and a couple of percent error could have a significant affect on the result.

Here's an idea for simple callibration... Lift one corner of the car and put the same wheel on each scale in turn. Hopefully they all read the same but, if not, mark each scale with the amount it differs from the first scale. If a scale is reading 5lbs high, then subtract 5lbs from its values when doing the corner balancing. As we are only looking for the difference in values across the scales, this should eliminate most of any error.

I have never done corner balancing so don't know if the average scale is accurate enough to make this type of calibration unnecessary. What do you think?
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post #45 of 140 (permalink) Old 10-17-2009, 11:20 PM
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Adjusting in situ

I have Nitron SA and tried to adjust the ride height at the front but could not get the spanner onto the collar. Is there a simple way without removing the damper?

2009 Elise S,Rev 400 ,t Ferrea Valves , MWR springs,PPE headers and decat,SSC Harness bar, PenskeDA,Shaved V2 steering arms ,FF engine damper. Saikou Michi catch cans, Modded Toyota E153 gearbox ,60l Proalloy fuel tank , Aeromotive 320 fuel pump,Exedy clutch LSD , SSC ECU, CompositeWorx SP1 seats ,Varexy muffler, Haltech Elite 1500 ECU, Racepak IQ3 Street dash, Aussie-clamhinge.
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post #46 of 140 (permalink) Old 10-18-2009, 03:40 AM Thread Starter
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This is great info on corner balancing. Is there a need to callibrate the scales? Just because a scale reads 600lbs does not mean it is supporting exactly 600lbs and and a couple of percent error could have a significant affect on the result.

Here's an idea for simple callibration... Lift one corner of the car and put the same wheel on each scale in turn. Hopefully they all read the same but, if not, mark each scale with the amount it differs from the first scale. If a scale is reading 5lbs high, then subtract 5lbs from its values when doing the corner balancing. As we are only looking for the difference in values across the scales, this should eliminate most of any error.

I have never done corner balancing so don't know if the average scale is accurate enough to make this type of calibration unnecessary. What do you think?
I guess it depends on the quality/age of the scales that you're using, but most modern corner balancing scales are digital, calibrated by the factory, and have a "zeroing" capability. That said, there's no harm in checking them for consistency.

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Originally Posted by RichardNHCooper View Post
I have Nitron SA and tried to adjust the ride height at the front but could not get the spanner onto the collar. Is there a simple way without removing the damper?
I use a pin punch with a pin diameter equal to the "pin" on the end of the spanner, and a length roughly equal to the handle of the spanner.
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post #47 of 140 (permalink) Old 02-02-2010, 10:03 AM
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hunter target technology alignment rack
... is useless in the hands of someone that isn't competent or doesn't really care. We typically get more precise alignment doing it ourselves then having some garage that has a Hunter Target Technology Alignment Rack in the hands of someone that doesn't work precisely/carefully!

I personally use a $500 Hilti Laser measuring device (to doing toe and thrust), that is MM precise ... even though the documentation says it's I believe only 3 mm precise. After double checking with a metal tape for a number of years, we pretty much just use the laser ... measuring between inexpensive Home Depot shelf'ing boards.

I use math for Camber ... and have sold my Smart Camber Gauge ... after again double checking many times. This on-line plug in is useful: Law of Cosines and Law of Sines for Triangles

Basically stand the shelf board next to the tire, measure distance from where it touches the tire to the point where you measure the gap between board and upper part of the tire. Make sure your tire pressures are where you want them. Not 100% accurate due to tire bulge, but our modern performance tires have very stiff side walls.

One cheap device that IS useful for doing relative changes in Camber is my WIXI digital inclinometer (eBay). Being small, it's easy to use on brake discs. etc.

What's important is to have a very flat surface to work on. You can create a flat surface by measuring the side to side and back to front rake of your floor and correcting using vinyl flooring tiles. You need to have a very rigid "beam" to go between where the tires will be situated ... sitting on equal heights "stands," I use two ratchet sockets of the same heights, to take your level measurements. Mark the tiles, how many tiles and where the tires will sit for future reference. I bought a square section steel "tube" at my local OSH to use as my beam.

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post #48 of 140 (permalink) Old 02-02-2010, 11:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mako View Post
... is useless in the hands of someone that isn't competent or doesn't really care. We typically get more precise alignment doing it ourselves then having some garage that has a Hunter Target Technology Alignment Rack in the hands of someone that doesn't work precisely/carefully!

I personally use a $500 Hilti Laser measuring device (to doing toe and thrust), that is MM precise ... even though the documentation says it's I believe only 3 mm precise. After double checking with a metal tape for a number of years, we pretty much just use the laser ... measuring between inexpensive Home Depot shelf'ing boards.

I use math for Camber ... and have sold my Smart Camber Gauge ... after again double checking many times. This on-line plug in is useful: Law of Cosines and Law of Sines for Triangles

Basically stand the shelf board next to the tire, measure distance from where it touches the tire to the point where you measure the gap between board and upper part of the tire. Make sure your tire pressures are where you want them. Not 100% accurate due to tire bulge, but our modern performance tires have very stiff side walls.

One cheap device that IS useful for doing relative changes in Camber is my WIXI digital inclinometer (eBay). Being small, it's easy to use on brake discs. etc.

What's important is to have a very flat surface to work on. You can create a flat surface by measuring the side to side and back to front rake of your floor and correcting using vinyl flooring tiles. You need to have a very rigid "beam" to go between where the tires will be situated ... sitting on equal heights "stands," I use two ratchet sockets of the same heights, to take your level measurements. Mark the tiles, how many tiles and where the tires will sit for future reference. I bought a square section steel "tube" at my local OSH to use as my beam.

Jay-05' ST, HT, Touring Red
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post #49 of 140 (permalink) Old 02-03-2010, 05:06 AM
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A friend dropped off his Auto Crossing Miata last night. The local tire shop that DOES do an excellent job of tire mounting ... always gets the dots lined up without being told ... just couldn't give him his alignment specs that he wanted ... using their Hunter. He wanted the camber maxed out ... one side is close to zero, the other side only has minus 1.1, he wanted no more the 1/8th in toe in in the back ... they put in 1/4", he wanted a 1/16th toe out in the front ... they gave him toe in.

The Hunter operator said he "only does alignments," he doesn't align to customer specs?!

After I finish the Vette today, looks like the previous owner might have put the new front spring in slightly offset ... I'll get the Miata done, for this weekends races.

Mako, Team Blew, SCCA SM WRX>Elise>CS NB Miata>SS Z-06
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post #50 of 140 (permalink) Old 02-03-2010, 01:50 PM
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unfortunately the software is setup for the most basic alignment tech.. if you turn off some of the "alignments for dummies 101" you can get back to the basic measurements.. rather than going for the OEM tolerances..

plus you can edit your own tolerances and custom alignment specs saved for each customer, or setup..

most shops dont have tuner..
WinAlign Tuner™


hunter also makes excellent mounting/balancing machines.. Roadforce is pretty sweet..

Jay-05' ST, HT, Touring Red
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post #51 of 140 (permalink) Old 02-03-2010, 02:26 PM
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Just curious, is there an active thread on alignment specs and driver notes? Would be interesting to see everyone's settings and thoughts on those settings.

It would be interesting to see:
Track and configuration (CW/CCW)
Surface Temp
Ambient Temp
Tires
hot/cold tire pressures each wheel
air or nitrogen or something else
Camber/Caster each wheel
Front/Rear Toe
Front/Rear ride height
Spring rates
Shock settings
Corner weights
Tire wear

Both good and bad findings. I'd be happy to contribute my results, I'm sure those competing for money or glory might not be so willing, but it could prove a useful thread to everyone.

Rob

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post #52 of 140 (permalink) Old 02-03-2010, 06:13 PM
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Don't kid your self this stuff takes time. Every change you make in corner weights affects ride height at all 4 corners. You have to re-measure all 4 corners with each adjustment..When I set up a car I can get it within 1mm and the weights within 1-2lbs. Then set camber and total toe and string for thrust angle. This takes 4-7 hours (you can add 2 hrs it you want to max out the caster) there is no fast way to do it that's why nobody wants to spend the time. carl

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post #53 of 140 (permalink) Old 02-03-2010, 06:27 PM Thread Starter
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Don't kid your self this stuff takes time. Every change you make in corner weights affects ride height at all 4 corners. You have to re-measure all 4 corners with each adjustment..When I set up a car I can get it within 1mm and the weights within 1-2lbs. Then set camber and total toe and string for thrust angle. This takes 4-7 hours (you can add 2 hrs it you want to max out the caster) there is no fast way to do it that's why nobody wants to spend the time. carl
+1

It takes time and patience to get it all right.
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post #54 of 140 (permalink) Old 02-03-2010, 07:27 PM
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+2!

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post #55 of 140 (permalink) Old 03-26-2010, 02:52 PM Thread Starter
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It's Essential To Level Your Scales

I put my car up on the scales today to check corner balance and ride height. As I placed the scales under the car, I noticed one of them (LR) was a bit wobbly... that is, the legs were not all making contact with the floor. Hmmm...

When I checked the corner weights, I was surprised that they were off a bit:

LF: 356
RF: 324
LR: 620
RR: 570

That's a 50.48% corner balance (RF+FR)

As I was about to check ride height, I first check the distance from the top of each scale surface to the laser plane. They were all 12mm below, except for the LR, which was 10.5mm below. Aha! I lowered the LR legs until the scale was at the same 12mm below the laser as the rest.

Now the weights are:

LF: 361
RF: 319
LR: 615
RR: 575

Now the corner balance is 49.95%. As close to 50% as is reasonable.

So the moral of the story is, you must have your scales very close to level (+/- 0.5mm) if you want to get an accurate corner weight measurement.
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post #56 of 140 (permalink) Old 03-30-2010, 09:09 AM
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I have a couple of questions for you guys using a Hunter system. I just picked up an older ProAlign unit using DSP heads and standard wheel clamps with the spade feet for alloy wheels. My first question is how do you get the wheel clamps to work on the front wheels (base wheels with stock AD07 tires)? The rubber protection bead on the tires is so tight to the edge of the wheel rim there is nothing for the spades to grab. My second question is for everyone. What are you using to make up the ballast weights, assuming you can't have a person or persons of the correct weight sitting in the car? I am looking for a creative way to ballast the car with something inexpensive that is easy to accurately adjust the weight yet can be placed on the seats without damaging anything.
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post #57 of 140 (permalink) Old 03-30-2010, 09:18 AM Thread Starter
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...My second question is for everyone. What are you using to make up the ballast weights, assuming you can't have a person or persons of the correct weight sitting in the car? I am looking for a creative way to ballast the car with something inexpensive that is easy to accurately adjust the weight yet can be placed on the seats without damaging anything.
I first get in the car when it's on the scales... and I note the corner weights. Then I put a terry towel on the driver's seat to protect it. Then I place weight plates, followed by dumbbells on the seat until the weight (and distribution) is equal to the corner weight with me in the car... here's a photo:
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post #58 of 140 (permalink) Old 03-30-2010, 09:35 AM
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I have a couple of questions for you guys using a Hunter system. I just picked up an older ProAlign unit using DSP heads and standard wheel clamps with the spade feet for alloy wheels. My first question is how do you get the wheel clamps to work on the front wheels (base wheels with stock AD07 tires)? The rubber protection bead on the tires is so tight to the edge of the wheel rim there is nothing for the spades to grab. My second question is for everyone. What are you using to make up the ballast weights, assuming you can't have a person or persons of the correct weight sitting in the car? I am looking for a creative way to ballast the car with something inexpensive that is easy to accurately adjust the weight yet can be placed on the seats without damaging anything.
DSP 400?

talk to your service rep and ask him to get you some tireclamps..

they look like this, you put the condoms over the spades and use them to center you on..

but... fwiw, the hawkeyes+ wheel off adapter saves you a TON of time adjusting measurements..



home gym weights.. if you want to go fancy go to a tire shop and ask for their old lead weights, sew them up into a plush bag..

if you want to go SUPER fancy see if your local BMW dealer will sell you theirs.. BMW issues fancy weight bags in 50lb increments and 30/20lb bags..

Jay-05' ST, HT, Touring Red
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post #59 of 140 (permalink) Old 03-30-2010, 09:38 AM
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wheel off adjusters


live ride height


hunter tire clamps

Jay-05' ST, HT, Touring Red
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post #60 of 140 (permalink) Old 03-30-2010, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by apk919 View Post
I first get in the car when it's on the scales... and I note the corner weights. Then I put a terry towel on the driver's seat to protect it. Then I place weight plates, followed by dumbbells on the seat until the weight (and distribution) is equal to the corner weight with me in the car... here's a photo:
That looks like it works well.
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