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Camber gauges. On the cheap.

Old 01-03-13, 04:57 PM
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Camber gauges. On the cheap.

S&G Tool Air Strut Alignment Levels SG61800 - SummitRacing.com

Can these be used to measure camber accurately or is it only for adjusting for camber changes after changing struts or adjusting ride height? Or do you simply calibrate it once with a level and leave it that way? Otherwise I don't get why it has a calibration joint.
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Old 01-03-13, 05:47 PM
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well the ground isn't usually flat, so the adjustment is kind of nice.
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Old 01-04-13, 05:20 AM
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That makes sense. I guess it means you have to buy a triangle to go with it and adjust it to be level to 90 degrees from the surface you're using.
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Old 01-08-13, 01:40 PM
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I wouldn't use that gauge for a real alignment. it's a good "rough guess" gauge, but calibrating it well enough to be accurate for a proper alignment wound take quite a while-- then would change if you looked at it funny.

IMO, spend a few more bucks and buy a good used Longacre or similar camber/caster gauge.

Bought one of these about 98% new condition for $75 a few months ago..
Longacre Racing - Online Catalog: Electronic Wheel Scales, Gauges, Pyrometers, Chassis Setup and More!

Keep your eye out on racing forums and such- you'll be amazed what you can find.
(i.e. found a set of Longacre corner scales for $500 a while back too. bought 'em and they've been sitting in their boxes ever since because I'm too lazy to actually scale the car!)
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Old 01-08-13, 03:21 PM
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i guess it depends on the tire, but the Ra1/R888 and hoosiers aren't super picky about camber, they just want a lot, but if its -3.45 or -3.55 doesn't seem to matter.

in a pinch i have used a level app on my phone to set camber, again it doesn't compensate for the ground being not flat, but its better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick
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Old 01-08-13, 04:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Matt93SE View Post
I wouldn't use that gauge for a real alignment. it's a good "rough guess" gauge, but calibrating it well enough to be accurate for a proper alignment wound take quite a while-- then would change if you looked at it funny.

IMO, spend a few more bucks and buy a good used Longacre or similar camber/caster gauge.

Bought one of these about 98% new condition for $75 a few months ago..
Longacre Racing - Online Catalog: Electronic Wheel Scales, Gauges, Pyrometers, Chassis Setup and More!

Keep your eye out on racing forums and such- you'll be amazed what you can find.
(i.e. found a set of Longacre corner scales for $500 a while back too. bought 'em and they've been sitting in their boxes ever since because I'm too lazy to actually scale the car!)
damn, please pm me where do you get your crazy cheap race car stuff haha. I wouldn't mine a set of scales for $500...
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Old 01-08-13, 06:15 PM
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Originally Posted by j9fd3s View Post
i guess it depends on the tire, but the Ra1/R888 and hoosiers aren't super picky about camber, they just want a lot, but if its -3.45 or -3.55 doesn't seem to matter.

in a pinch i have used a level app on my phone to set camber, again it doesn't compensate for the ground being not flat, but its better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick
the wider you go on tires, the more critical camber is on tire life. If you're running -2 deg of camber on a 195 width DOT tire, you're going to have a lot less issue than a car running 275 Hoosiers.

I've also had issues in the past with crazy camber wear on RA1 and R888, but that was on a heavy FWD car that was limited on camber. I had to air up the front tires to >50psi to keep the shoulders from chewing off in less than a weekend. I would still go through a set of shaved RA1 in 3 track days. (I finally gave up and quit tracking that car!)

But yes.. for a DOT tire, 0.1deg camber difference isn't going to kill you on tire wear. However, 0.3deg camber will show a difference on the stopwatch- on my car, it was worth about 0.5sec when I redid my alignment at the track between sessions.

Originally Posted by eage8 View Post
damn, please pm me where do you get your crazy cheap race car stuff haha. I wouldn't mine a set of scales for $500...
Ebay, Craigslist, car forums, and local racers/race shops. Keep your ear to the ground and things come up- usually when you can't afford to buy them!

Last edited by Matt93SE; 01-08-13 at 06:18 PM.
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Old 01-15-13, 06:33 PM
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Well, I was planning on buying some toe plates and a cheap camber gauge just to install my coilovers but I never got around to it... good thing since my suit case already weighed too much.

Alignments do cost way too much here, though.
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Old 01-16-13, 01:27 PM
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if you're gonna spend moneys, buy the toe plates, toe is critical. camber can be set all kinds of ways
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Old 01-16-13, 04:58 PM
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ID

Agreed about the toe plates. That is money well spent. For camber gauge, I went with the SmartCamber digital gauge. It was expensive, but has been used a ton both by me and the students at work (University of Idaho). It does everything from little kart wheels, up to huge wheels on my full size truck. On the regular vehicles I just use it to check if camber has moved each time I do an oil change. But on the track car I use it a lot to play around with camber.

I primarily use a tire temp probe and g-meter to determine if the camber change is better or worse. As others have said, a modest width track tire is pretty forgiving when it comes to the 'optimal' camber.
-Dan
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