Elise alignment for A Street? - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-26-2018, 06:43 AM Thread Starter
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Elise alignment for A Street?

I haven't found quite the the specs I'm looking for in my searching. Most people are asking about track, or different suspensions, or sound like they don't have much autocross experience.

I'm an experienced autocrosser about to take my new-to-me Elise to its first event. I'm familiar with mid-engine autocross alignments but I know that the weight in the Elise is more rear-biased than in my Boxster Spyder so I'm not sure if the same settings are correct. The Spyder also has more closely sized tires: 245s in front and 275s in back.

My Spyder's set up as follows:

Front camber: -1.2 (that's max)
Rear camber: -2.0
Toe: 0 front and rear
Caster: In the middle of normal factory spec (8.0)

My Elise is on SSR wheels with 205x16 in front and 245x17 in the rear. (RE71R tires)

My plan was to go with this for the Elise:

Max neg front camber
Rear camber of front -1.0

But toe is where I don't know what to do. I bought the car from Washburn, who autocrossed it, and described it as under-tired in the front. I was thinking either 0 toe front or a little toe-out. In the rear do I want to have some toe in to control it from spinning?

2005 Lotus Elise Ardent Red
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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-26-2018, 07:03 AM
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You're on the right path, im not an expert on AX alignments since I mostly track, but I suspect you want around 1/8" total front out and 1/4" total rear in and adjust from there per your taste. On the track I use 0 front. .18 degrees per wheel in the rear.

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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-26-2018, 07:51 AM
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-2.2 up to -2.5 front
-2.5 up to -2.7 rear

2.2/2.5 is basically the ultimate street set-up
2.5/2.7 is more for track

Front toe: 0
Rear toe: 3mm total

It's possible you could need more toe in the rear, but I'm doubting it. The only way to know is try it.

And make sure you maintain the 5mm rake. The body itself has negative rake, so if you were level you'd be at negative rake.

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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-26-2018, 08:05 AM
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Originally Posted by VisualEchos View Post
-2.2 up to -2.5 front
-2.5 up to -2.7 rear

2.2/2.5 is basically the ultimate street set-up
2.5/2.7 is more for track

Front toe: 0
Rear toe: 3mm total

It's possible you could need more toe in the rear, but I'm doubting it. The only way to know is try it.

And make sure you maintain the 5mm rake. The body itself has negative rake, so if you were level you'd be at negative rake.
Your car does 2.2 degrees front camber in a street? I Protest.

You want front toe for AX. VE, you've never driven your car in anger right?

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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-26-2018, 10:17 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by kfennell View Post
but I suspect you want around 1/8" total front out and 1/4" total rear in and adjust from there per your taste.
Great, thanks!

And yeah, second your reply to VisualEchos - I'm sure that alignment is great but it's impossible for an A Street car. I'm specifically looking for an alignment for a stock Elise whose focus will be autocross.

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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-26-2018, 12:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VisualEchos View Post
-2.2 up to -2.5 front
-2.5 up to -2.7 rear

2.2/2.5 is basically the ultimate street set-up
2.5/2.7 is more for track

Front toe: 0
Rear toe: 3mm total

It's possible you could need more toe in the rear, but I'm doubting it. The only way to know is try it.

And make sure you maintain the 5mm rake. The body itself has negative rake, so if you were level you'd be at negative rake.
Re the rake - page 157 of my 2005 Elise owners' manual says that the ride height for the sport pack cars is 130mm front and rear. So no rake (if I'm understanding this correctly).

05 Elise, ST, sports, touring, hardtop, DBA 4000 slotted discs, Ferodo DS2500 pads, Sector 111 gpan3, EP Tuning Quickrack, Pro Alloy rad, DS brace, HnT pad, front and rear tow hooks, CG lock, ORE double cup holder (caffeine for track); '86 911 Targa (sold); '68 MGB (being restored)
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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-26-2018, 12:35 PM
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I haven't set my car up for autoX but I think the recommendations thus far for rear toe are likely too much. 1/4" in the rear is waay too much, 3mm is good for track, for AX I think you'd want even less.

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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-26-2018, 02:28 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jds62f View Post
I haven't set my car up for autoX but I think the recommendations thus far for rear toe are likely too much. 1/4" in the rear is waay too much, 3mm is good for track, for AX I think you'd want even less.
Agreed. I got from it the ratios I was looking for, though and the confirmation that I might want a touch of toe out in front.

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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-26-2018, 03:17 PM
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I don't autoX but I do road race.
I have Nitron single adj for shocks and have shaved the front steering arms for more camber.
Car is neutral in a slide running a slightly stiffer from to rear shock setting.
Attached pic is a high speed right hand bend. Car rides fast and is very predictable.

Here's the setup I run:

- Front: Zero Toe, -2.5 Camber
- Rear: 1.5mm left and right Toe-In, -2.6 Rear Camber
- 106mm Rear Ride Height
- 96mm Front Ride Height
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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-26-2018, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by jds62f View Post
I haven't set my car up for autoX but I think the recommendations thus far for rear toe are likely too much. 1/4" in the rear is waay too much, 3mm is good for track, for AX I think you'd want even less.
Why do you think less? I just said 1/4 (and I'm talking total btw, so like .35 degrees on each side) because I run 1/8 on the track and its arguably too little. Maybe I shouldnt have answered about the rear at all, where are fred and the others who are national level AX here.

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post #11 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-26-2018, 03:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kfennell View Post
Why do you think less? I just said 1/4 (and I'm talking total btw, so like .35 degrees on each side) because I run 1/8 on the track and its arguably too little. Maybe I shouldnt have answered about the rear at all, where are fred and the others who are national level AX here.
I'd prefer an AX officianado reply to, but this is my reasoning:

Lotus toe recommendations for the rear on sport suspension per side are:
1.2mm - 1.8mm toe in per side (0.16* - 0.24* per side)

The rear toe in recommendations for the standard elise are 1.2mm per side, which I would think would still be on the conservative side for rear end stability.

For AX you'd often run a looser rear end because the elise has small percentage of weight on the front tires. Running a little less toe in the rear will make the car easier to rotate in the lower speed smaller turning radius conditions of AX. My inclination is to start at 2mm total toe in and see how it feels.

Seems like many in AX try to combat the above by running wider fronts, but that wasn't mentioned here, so I made a more aggressive recommendation on rear toe.

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post #12 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-26-2018, 03:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jds62f View Post
I'd prefer an AX officianado reply to, but this is my reasoning:

Lotus toe recommendations for the rear on sport suspension per side are:
1.2mm - 1.8mm toe in per side (0.16* - 0.24* per side)

The rear toe in recommendations for the standard elise are 1.2mm per side, which I would think would still be on the conservative side for rear end stability.

For AX you'd often run a looser rear end because the elise has small percentage of weight on the front tires. Running a little less toe in the rear will make the car easier to rotate in the lower speed smaller turning radius conditions of AX. My inclination is to start at 2mm total toe in and see how it feels.

Seems like many in AX try to combat the above by running wider fronts, but that wasn't mentioned here, so I made a more aggressive recommendation on rear toe.
So I am basically thinking the same thing, but that the rear rotation will be easier to manage with more toe. Maybe in a A street car it is too hard to rotate with lots of toe in the rear. My car is always trying to kill me in slow speed corners with 1/8th. Mostly in entry around the point where I am getting to 0 brake.

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post #13 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-26-2018, 04:32 PM
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Originally Posted by kfennell View Post
... My car is always trying to kill me in slow speed corners with 1/8th. Mostly in entry around the point where I am getting to 0 brake.
I am inferring this is true for you for one or more of the following:

1. 1/8" toe out up front is very aggressive, perhaps requiring an equally aggressive toe in for the rear to balance out the car's handling.
2. Your car is far away from stock.
3. Your driving style.

It would be great to see a few others chime in here! I don't plan to alter my setup significantly but would also like to see what others are doing for an AX type setup.

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post #14 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-26-2018, 05:33 PM Thread Starter
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I'll definitely report back how it feels. Getting the alignment next week so I have a couple days to decide on the final settings.

I have considered running 225 fronts on 15" wheels. I might try that next season, but RE71s don't come in that size and this car has a fresh set of them so I'd rather wear through what I've got first. A lot of people report steering feel loss going to the 225s on a 6.5" wheel so that's also a consideration. I've got a friend with an MR2 on 225s and he also made that comment since the Elise is stiffer than his stock suspension by quite a bit.

Good stuff, thanks for the input!

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post #15 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-26-2018, 05:51 PM
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Originally Posted by jds62f View Post
I am inferring this is true for you for one or more of the following:

1. 1/8" toe out up front is very aggressive, perhaps requiring an equally aggressive toe in for the rear to balance out the car's handling.
2. Your car is far away from stock.
3. Your driving style.

It would be great to see a few others chime in here! I don't plan to alter my setup significantly but would also like to see what others are doing for an AX type setup.
Just so we are on the same page, I dont run this on the track. .01 degrees out front .18 in rear. Car is very far from stock. My driving style could be better, everyones can, but note that I am quite fast, faster or on the same second at COTA then national winning cars.

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post #16 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-26-2018, 05:53 PM
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Originally Posted by kfennell View Post
Your car does 2.2 degrees front camber in a street? I Protest.

You want front toe for AX. VE, you've never driven your car in anger right?
My car is set to -2 front and -2 rear at the moment, but it's been as high as -2.7 front and -3.5 rear.

This is done for tire fitment, not racing.

I don't drive my car in anger, no.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Supagoat View Post
And yeah, second your reply to VisualEchos - I'm sure that alignment is great but it's impossible for an A Street car.
Impossible for a street car?? Where do you get that notion? What the hell does negative camber have to do with a street or track? Camber is camber, doesn't matter how you drive it. And because the Elise/Exige is so light, you can pretty much run whatever you want without any increased tire wear. I had no additional wear with -2.7 in the front.


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post #17 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-26-2018, 06:01 PM
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Originally Posted by craigyirush View Post
Re the rake - page 157 of my 2005 Elise owners' manual says that the ride height for the sport pack cars is 130mm front and rear. So no rake (if I'm understanding this correctly).
The manual is a joke, they'd have the American public believing that -.2 front camber is enough .

The car handles best with 5mm of rake, regardless of the ride height. That is direct from one of my guys at Lotus. Believe it or not, makes no difference to me. The subject came up because I have 17's in the front, so slightly negative rake, even being very low in the front.

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post #18 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-26-2018, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by VisualEchos View Post
My car is set to -2 front and -2 rear at the moment, but it's been as high as -2.7 front and -3.5 rear.

This is done for tire fitment, not racing.

I don't drive my car in anger, no.





Impossible for a street car?? Where do you get that notion? What the hell does negative camber have to do with a street or track? Camber is camber, doesn't matter how you drive it. And because the Elise/Exige is so light, you can pretty much run whatever you want without any increased tire wear. I had no additional wear with -2.7 in the front.
So even through you've never driven your car hard, and you don't know the rules of A-Street, which a class in autocross where you can't run steering arms, or modified balljoints etc, you keep arguing with a variety of people who do. Got it.

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post #19 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-26-2018, 06:37 PM
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Here's where I ended up with "street" class setup, netting 2nd place in SS at 2015 nats. The stock Elige chassis has chronic understeer. I focused on setup changes to make the rear rotate more than stock and in a more predictable manner. Then learn to drive the car with the intent of sliding everywhere.

Front settings -
max front camber (about -.7deg)
max front caster
~1/8" total toe out
medium rebound settings
low-medium compression settings
BWR S/T front bar on 3/5 (5 is full stiff)
25-26 psi hot
205/50/15 RE71Rs
minimum allowable wheel offset

Rear settings -
camber: -1.7 degrees
zero total toe
medium rebound settings
maximum compression settings
27-28 psi hot
245/40/17 RE71Rs
maximum allowable wheel offset

Edit: corrected front toe
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Last edited by jdawson; 07-26-2018 at 07:07 PM.
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post #20 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-26-2018, 06:42 PM
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Originally Posted by kfennell View Post
Just so we are on the same page, I dont run this on the track. .01 degrees out front .18 in rear. Car is very far from stock. My driving style could be better, everyones can, but note that I am quite fast, faster or on the same second at COTA then national winning cars.
Ah! I did miss that first part, or somehow forgot it between my brain and my fingers. Also, wasn't insulting your driving style, but pointing out that it matters, sometimes a lot!

This past week, a friend who I consider quite skilled was complaining that his new car setup had snap oversteer he couldn't get rid of. When I drove the car I found it to be neutral. It was a very different conclusion on the same car, same setup, same day, same weather, etc. - The only difference was the driver.
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