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Discussion Starter #1
Ok the information is back :) Not going anywhere again either...

“1. There is no "best"...

2. In order to pick what may work best for you're application, you need to take a look at what the car is doing now... cant make improvements if you have no base line to compare it to. So, what’s the car doing now that is unsatisfactory? and is it actualy the car thats causing the problem or is it the driver? This means learn how to drive your car to the absoulute LIMIT before you modify it!!!!!

3. People tend to recomend what they have or what they've heard is "best" rather then give any sort of usefull info. So be picky as to who you take your advice from. EVEN ME I am heavily biased towards a race oriented setup.

4. You'll probably gain more by picking out the right tire then you would by changing out the suspension.... “


WHEN TO USE CAMBER KITS?/DO I NEED A CAMBER KIT? YES!!!!

The real answer is its up to you. Do you want to handle better, reduce tire wear or have real control over your suspension?


ALIGNMENTS!!

Well you guys spend alot of money on your suspension parts right. Then you go right back to the OEM alignment which uh sucks. That alignment is not for performance. It is strickly to make tires last and make sure your car understeers. Both of those things don't make a car turn well. You will need a set or 2 of front camber bolts, and a rear camber kit to adjust camber.

The factory specs are as follows.
Camber
Front
0 º 00 '±30 '
Rear
-1 º 30 '+1 º 05 '-0 º 45 '
Caster
Front
7 º 00 '±1 º
Total toe-in
Front
0±2 mm (0±0.08 in.)
Rear
2+2-1 mm (0.08+0.08-0.04 in.)

So why are these specs Crap? We want more oversteer without Murdering our tires right. A balanced less "pushy" car.
Well, If you look at the OEM spec's, Honda has setup these specs to pretty much allow for NO camber up front. And about -1 degree in the rear. Why? So your car understeers. This is so the car is safe for you to drive without the waggin the tail all over the place. This also does not allow for good turn in or a "fun" car to drive.

We need to change this. Why Camber does not eat tires. Ok so maybee it does but not nearly as bad as TOE, we will get to this. So the more -camber up front the car will handle better. TO a point anyway. And you need to balance out the rear’s camber to “match” to front to have a balance, slightly overteering FWD car is the "fast" way around a track.

TOE TOE eats TIRES!! Toe can help a cars handling. Too much toe and you eat tires and the car can wander on the highway. Too little and you are hindering the cars ability to turn.

Toe out on the front will tend to make the car turn in better and toe in on the nose will make the car understeer more. For the street I say 1/32 shouldn't effect tire wear enough for the gains.

For the rear, Toe out will increase the cars tendency to oversteer, where toe in will decrease it. More toe in to make it understeer more (less oversteer) More towards toe out to make it rotate more.
If you want to keep your tires ok and still turn well.

Camber Front = -1.5 to -1.75
Camber Rear = -1 to -1.25
Toe front = 1/32nd toe out I am now suggesting 0 Toe Most people won't be able to realize that the car has the toe, especially on the street.
Toe Rear = 0

EDIT by ERIC AKA bluroadster-toll booth operator- alignment specifications depend on the nature of driving. Driving on the twisties, one would want more - camber vice if one was driving on the highway all of the time where their style of driving would eat the inside of the tires.

A "race"/track day alignment is going to be even more wear but will handle better.

WHAT DO SWAY BARS DO?

They connect both sides of the suspension together. When a car turns and weight is transfered to the outside wheel the anti-roll bar pushes on the inside wheel and compresses the spring, preventing body roll. How much the bar pushes on the inside wheel is determined by the size of the sway bar which means how much force it can push on the inside wheel. Preventing body roll, or making the stiffness of one end of the car stronger.

By changing the anti-roll bars is the basic handling balance of the car. Anti-roll bars are not just that. Preventing body roll is one job of them but their main job is to change Roll COuple Distribution. Roll couple is adjusted with spring and anti-roll bar rates. All that really is is the difference in stiffness (roll resistacne) front to back.

The stiffer end of a vehicle will lose traction first. So if a car’s front suspension is stiffer that the rear, the roll couple distribution will produce understeer because the front end is handling more weight transfer. Chances are your car is heavily biased to the front. This is why the car understeers in most situations. By adding a larger rear bar you are adjuting that Roll Couple to be more to the back, reducing the cars amount of understeer. Do both bigger rear and smaller front or even no front bar and you get even more oversteer, how controlable is driver related, and what conditions you are driving in.

"Fun thing about anti-roll bars. in doing thier jobs of resisting body roll, they also increase the load on the outside tire. which, given the way tires make traction, means that there is a Net reduction in the total amount of traction that end of the car can make (the end with the stiffer anti-roll bar). So... in some cases, it may be advantagious to reduce the effectiveness of an antiroll bar. Such as on the front of a FWD car.

As weight is increased on a tire that tire generates a greater amount of traction, HOWEVER, that tires coeffecent of friction decreases as weight is applied. Meaning traction increases at a decreasing rate as weight is applied, so there will be a point where the amount of traction gained is less then the amount of weight on the tire, and the tire slips.

This also means that a tire will gain traction at a slower rate as weight is applied then it will lose traction as weight is removed."

Meaning, weight transfer = an overall reduction in the amount of traction a car can make.... THE most traction your car will ever make is when it is sitting in a parking spot...think about it.

This sway bar discussion brings us into Motion Ratios, which will then go to
wheel rates etc. But we will discuss those items another time "

CHASSIS BRACING!!

"Chasses braces dont really alter the way the car handles much, What they do is remove the variable of chassis flex from the tuning equation, allowing the car to be more precicely tuned. And this is the important aspect from a compitition stand point. As being able to finely tune the chassis = better lap times. But in most cases your talking about a few tenths. So on a street car this really doesnt apply, as with out a timeing system your never going to notice if you were a tenth of a second faster in a given turn. DON"T WASTE YOUR MONEY.

The benifit of chassis braces on a street car, to me at least, are more psycological. See, chasses braces also make the car "Feel" more stable, solid. This in turn enspires more confidence in the cars capabilities. Which typically causes the driver to drive the car, conscious or unconsciously, harder. Where as the cars handling really hasnt changed. the driver is just driving differently. which explains why people claim that adding a strut tower bar or a lower X brace some how increased the amount of understeer the car has. When in reality, the car always understeered... the driver had probably just never had driven the car to that point to notice it.'

Any way. Point is for compitition chassis braces are important to allow you to get those last few tenths out of the car. For the street they instill more confidence in the cars capabilities, for better or for worse...

SHOCKS, SPRINGS, COILOVERS!!!

Don’t run the OEM dampers with any lowering springs, Progressive rate springs don’t have a definitive spring rate because as their compressed their rate will increase, although they will be more comfortable than a linear rate spring, which rate will always stay constant.

“For Street use, It really makes very little difference what suspension you buy. If you are looking for a soft ride, pick one with a low spring rate. Dampers, do make a difference here. However ride quality is mostly influenced by Mid to high shaft speed valving (mostly bump). And really good single ajustible dampers, ones that allow you to tweak your cars hanlding the best, Should only adjust low speed rebound.

And this is why what damper you choose for street use doesnt really matter... Because most if not all of these "coilover" companys run Single adjustible dampers that adjust both bump and rebound with the same knob, which is silly for any sort of tuning for handling. AND the dampers the do run adjust mostly in the Mid speed valving range, limiting their usefull ness for any thing other then tweaking your ride quality.”

“Sure “pre-built” coilovers are easier. They are very convient, the car handles better than stock but not as well as it could. With a bit of luck someone else has “tuned” the coilover to your car. Will it be tuned specifically for you, no. They are tuned for a wide variety of customers with many different wants out of a suspension kit. Most of which are street drivers.

If you decide to order individual suspension parts then you can choose exactly what you want for your car, the use of the vechile, and your own driving style. Can a “pre-built” coilover compete with a separate spring shock combination, maybe/maybe not.

If you are only driving you car on the street and you will never see the track or any type of competition then a “pre-built” coilover is probably fine for you. If you want the absolute best out of your car and can take the car there then I would say stay away from most of the “pre-built” coilover kits. Either way it won’t matter if this is a street car you will never get the max out of your suspension on the street, and chances are your car isn’t properly prepared anyway, why is this, you don’t know what adds that last 10th of a second unless your timed.”.

Why am I in such dislike of any of the “pre-built coilovers? Dampers and Valving!!!!

“With all of the items that come with your coilovers the damper is the most expensive part that comes with the kit. A lot of companies promote the # of adjustment "clicks" on their dampers as a feature, with out posting a dynograph of the adjustment range of that damper.... well its time to start questioning why. Because "32 way adjustible" really tells me squat about the damper other then it is suposidly adjustible. It doesnt tell me what gets adjusted, it doesnt tell me the range in which those things get adjusted in. in order to lower costs, they end up using dampers of a more primitive design. you'll notice that most if not all use dampers that adjust both their bump valving and rebound valving with one knob. There's a reason for this, as dampers of this sort are easier to design and manufactur (theres only one set of Valve stacks that need to be turned with the adjuster, Vs ones where you only adjust rebound that have two sets of valve stacks, one that gets alterd by the adjustment knob and one that doesnt). Great for the company as they can sell their "coilovers" for less, bad for tuners because you now have an inferior damper. Also valving adjustment range tends to be very limited with the "cheep" coilovers.

In the whole, why would some one want a single adjustible damper to only adjust Rebound rather then Bump and rebound at the same time... well, that deals more with ride quality and how the car reacts to rough surfaces and impacts. See, bump valving has a much bigger influence on how the car reacts to impacts then rebound... It could be said that stiffer bump valving sort of Fakes a higher spring rate. The problem with that is, since they have the side effect of "faking" a stiffer spring, you are also "faking" a higher suspension frequency.... meaning the car will have less traction over bumps and rough surfaces. With a damper that adjusts bump and rebound at the same time, you end up running in to an issue of "I need stiffer valving to get the car to handle and respond the way I want, but I cant run to high of a bump valving with out making the car unstable in turns that arnt perfectly smooth"

"Low speed Valving deals primairly with Handling, as it influences how quickly weight gets transfered around the chassis.
High speed Valving deals primairly with how the shock reacts to impacts, such as bumps and ruts....
Mid speed Valving deals a bit with both.
then you get in to Bump Valvling Vs Rebound Valving.
Bump Primiaily deals with ride quality.
Rebound Primaily deals with handling."


There you have it this is why “pre-built” coilovers are not ideal for competition. For most these are perfectly fine for daily/street driving, but if you even think you will do any competiton then double think your purchase of a “pre-built” coilover.

SPRING RATES, WHEEL RATES, ROLL COUPLE DISTRIBUTION AND SUSPENSION FREQUENCIES!!!

Spring rates are the force it takes to compress the spring. A linear spring has a set rate. A progressive spring doesn't, it will contiune to raise in rate as it is compressed. Not so good for competition. Spring rates are eh, its the wheel rates that is the important information to know. The wheel rate will always be less than the spring rate, that is the motion ratio of the suspension, picture it as a lever. The wheel rate is the spring rate at the tires contact patch. Who cares what your wheel rate is, well that is the best way to figure out your roll couple distribution. Roll Couple is the balance of Roll resistance at the front of the car Vs the rear of the car and directly influences the oversteer/understeer balance of the cars Roll couple. Roll couple is adjusted with spring and anti-roll bar rates. All that really is is the difference in stiffness (roll resistacne) front to back. The stiffer end of a vehicle will lose traction first. So if a car’s front suspension is stiffer that the rear, the roll couple distribution will produce understeer because the front end is handling more weight transfer. Chances are your car is heavily biased to the front. This is why the car understeers in most situations.

Let me start with the higher the suspension frequency grip decreases. SO WHAT? Well this frequencey is a measure of how many cyles per minute or in a second, the car would go through and bounce up and down on springs alone. This matters greatly to you because the stiffer the suspenion is the less contact pactch will be touching the ground over rough surfaces, and if the tires in the air your not gaining traction or grip. The more grip your tires can make, the more force your putting into the car so you will need to up the resistance to body roll to keep it at an acceptable level. Race tires need a much stiffer suspension than a street tire. Cause their grip is that much higher and will cause the body to roll, losing camber and reducing grip.
In simpler terms...you want to run the softest springs you can get away with that reduces body roll to an Livable level, and has an approperate roll couple balance to give you the oversteer/understeer charateristics you want with the most grip your car can achieve.

Tuning a car to be neutral in almost all turns is an impossibility. Also neutral would not be the "fast" way around alot of turns. And you will only find out an ideal setup against the clock not on the street.


- Comments? Concerns? Don't care :box: SO STFU

Legitimate Questions?- Ask away :coffee::waiting:
 

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Good post, but alignment specifications depend on the nature of driving. Driving on the twisties, one would want more - camber vice if one was driving on the highway all of the time where their style of driving would eat the inside of the tires.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Eric don't make me - rep you :lildevil: Just kidding :)

You are Correct this is mainly from a performance point of view.
 

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I have something to add. The #1 issue with the handling of the 2006 Civic is in the difference in camber curves from front to rear. Where the rear has a high camber gain in under compression, the front has no camber gain.

The purpose of a camber curve is to allow the tire to maintain contact with the ground when the car rolls (in a turn). In a turn, the rear tire gains alot of camber, and that tire remains solidly on it's tread surface and working as well (good grip). However, the front has no camber gain and the tire is not working well because it's leaning off the tread surface. And if you are doing alot of spirited driving or racing, you'll overheat the outside edge of the front tire, and that makes it even worse. The car goes from understeering at the to rediculousness at the limit after the tires heat up.

So, if you can make the car use it's tires correctly (camber plates or bolts in front), then it will handle WAY better at the limit. The whole point with suspension/chassis design is to 1) understand and manage the tires contact with the road and 2) control the car's mass properly.

So, alignment is the most important thing. If you set the 2006 Civic up to stock specs in front, the car will handle horribly at the limit. So, I'd recommend even for a person who wants the most life of our his or her tires to run at least 1.5" camber in front if you can get that much (you can't with the stock bolts or even the Honda crash bolts...you have to get aftermarket parts for that). You'll lose a little life of the tire, but you'll have a car that handles WAY better than the Civic next to you.

Chris at RedShift
 

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RedShiftChris said:
I have something to add. The #1 issue with the handling of the 2006 Civic is in the difference in camber curves from front to rear. Where the rear has a high camber gain in under compression, the front has no camber gain.

The purpose of a camber curve is to allow the tire to maintain contact with the ground when the car rolls (in a turn). In a turn, the rear tire gains alot of camber, and that tire remains solidly on it's tread surface and working as well (good grip). However, the front has no camber gain and the tire is not working well because it's leaning off the tread surface. And if you are doing alot of spirited driving or racing, you'll overheat the outside edge of the front tire, and that makes it even worse. The car goes from understeering at the to rediculousness at the limit after the tires heat up.

So, if you can make the car use it's tires correctly (camber plates or bolts in front), then it will handle WAY better at the limit. The whole point with suspension/chassis design is to 1) understand and manage the tires contact with the road and 2) control the car's mass properly.

So, alignment is the most important thing. If you set the 2006 Civic up to stock specs in front, the car will handle horribly at the limit. So, I'd recommend even for a person who wants the most life of our his or her tires to run at least 1.5" camber in front if you can get that much (you can't with the stock bolts or even the Honda crash bolts...you have to get aftermarket parts for that). You'll lose a little life of the tire, but you'll have a car that handles WAY better than the Civic next to you.

Chris at RedShift
So what's the preferred front camber plate for the Si? I use my Si as a DD and as an occasional track car. I'm running a stock suspension and the only changes that I want to make right now are alignment settings and I'll need camber plates (up front, at least) for that.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
You could always get two sets a total of 4 bolts. That way you could get about -2 degrees of camber.
 

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Thanks for the info Greg( i guess thats your name) Today I got the car aligned and went with -1.5 in the front and -1.25 in the rear, 0 toe all around. From that 2 hours of driving around the highway and street i noticed a nice difference. The car wants to turn alot more and seems to be a bit more responsive. When doing some quick turning is a closed road about 25mph's the car felt great, seemed to really grip and switch back quickly. need to turn the damping to a bit stiffer and I shall see how much better that will feel for me. I dont like alot of body roll. i wont get rid of it all but the less the better for me.

Again, thanks for all the info!
 
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Discussion Starter #12
Excellent, Don't worry about the body roll, unless your totally mangling the outside "shoulder" of your tires. If you are then it may be benifical to up the -camber. Congrats and enjoy your new found handling :)
 

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Good article

I got the Honda HPF suspension kit this week end and 18x8 rims with PS2 40/225/18. I am going to bring the car to honda for an alignment this weekend, whats the most camber I will be able to get with this set up, i.e. without the camber kit? form the dealership?

Thanks
El Mahone
 

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Discussion Starter #14
The front and the rrear are non adjustable without a camber kit. The dealership will only go within factory specs.

Camber
Front
0 º 00 '±30 '
Rear
-1 º 30 '+1 º 05 '-0 º 45 '
Caster
Front
7 º 00 '±1 º
Total toe-in
Front
0±2 mm (0±0.08 in.)
Rear
2+2-1 mm (0.08+0.08-0.04 in.)
 

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I understand the basics behind Camber and Toe, but i'm a noob when it comes to the tuning and the hardware behind it.

So out of curiosity...

I have the 18" HFP rims/tires (225/40/18) and eventually want to go with the slammed to the ground look. Any idea how low of a drop I can actually get without wheel rub?

With your suggested drop in height what kind of alignment would I be looking at? I would still like to be able to keep my car at a performance/track worthy steering capability. I would assume the car would respond better with the lower center of gravity anyways but I worry about taking a hard corner on uneven pavement and flying away because the suspension would be too stiff. Finding balance is so difficult :confused:

If you could suggest in general what kind of parts I would need to acheive this I would also appreciate it.

This is a great writeup by the way and i'm sure everyone here appreciates your time invested!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
TronSteez said:
suggestions on "good" dual rate ajustable dampers?
Dual rate? Double adjustable? For real competition dampers that adjust rebound and bump with one knob are not as effective as single adjustable, or double adjustable with two seperate adjusters.
 
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