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Toe versus camber, what eats tires most?

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  • Toe versus camber, what eats tires most?

    Good morning everyone, I remember reading and while back that toe (toe in) will wear tires more than camber. Is this the consensus?
    I have a daily driver that in lowered a bit and never had it aligned (I was hoping to get some tools to do it myself) the car never pulled and drove straight so I kind of put it aside. Fast forward a year and all four tires are bald with additional (extreme) wear on the inside.
    I realize that by lowering the car I had induced some toe-in at both ends.

    Regardless the car drove and handled great but I need to correct the issue now that I have new tires (more on that).

    Do you guys consider 1 deg of camber too much for a daily driven car? (Mixed driving)
    When at the track, at what interval do you add or take away camber?

    I know lots of questions. Sorry, but thanks in advance.

    Btw, the car I question is a fiat 500 abarth. Front Wheel drive.

  • #2
    If you have toe-in your car will feel very unstable at freeway speeds and tires will be worn on the outside. If you have toe out and/or negative camber the tires would be worn on the inside shoulder. Most BMWs have at least 1 degree and they do wear the tires on the inside.
    My X5 has a double a-arm suspension in the fron and very little static camber. With my aggressive cornering it wears the front tires in the outside, not the inside.

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    • #3
      It is not camber or toe that eats tires. What eats tires is not having a suspension set-up for the conditions that you are driving. So you might have lots of camber and maximize your tread life for heavy cornering loads. You might have that same camber and kill tires and minimize your tread life if you ran lots of camber and only took long trips down I5.

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      • #4
        -1* camber is very mild, even for a street car. Is yours positive or negative?

        You should probably try to understand or study how your suspension geometry changes as it moves through it's arc. McPherson suspensions are realtively simple and compact, but have their limitations.

        Adjusting the static camber on these suspensions has tradeoffs, you would be best to understand that before you make those changes at a place like a track. In order to make those changes accurately and quickly, you may need camber plates added to your assemblies. Eccentric bolts are another option, but they lose their effectiveness with multiple adjustments and have limitations.
        Yer pal,
        Force

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        • #5
          Originally posted by fatbillybob View Post
          It is not camber or toe that eats tires. What eats tires is not having a suspension set-up for the conditions that you are driving. So you might have lots of camber and maximize your tread life for heavy cornering loads. You might have that same camber and kill tires and minimize your tread life if you ran lots of camber and only took long trips down I5.
          There is really no compromise on street alignments and track/race alignments. The two are inherently incompatible. You can try and split the difference, but you will still get undesirable tire wear on the street as you drive about 99 miles there for every mile on the track if you are like most drivers.
          To the right of The Sheriff. Isn't everyone?

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Olitho View Post
            There is really no compromise on street alignments and track/race alignments. The two are inherently incompatible. You can try and split the difference, but you will still get undesirable tire wear on the street as you drive about 99 miles there for every mile on the track if you are like most drivers.
            If you do a corner or two on your commute "enthusiastically" (one with lots of runoff like two lanes turning right), the primary wear you'll see should be "tracklike". Just be sure to be conservative on the toe. For that reason lower power car track alignments do better on the street than the big rear toe in that some bruisers have for the track.

            -2* for the street should be doable. Set the toe to be factory like or slightly out up front and deal with the freeway wandering.

            (you'll also eat tires on the street, just from the 2 fun corners)
            Last edited by robburgoon; 05-07-2017, 11:32 AM.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by AMFoxSTI
              I remember reading and while back that toe (toe in) will wear tires more than camber. Is this the consensus?
              Yes, toe-out (and toe-in if that suites you) will wear the tires faster than camber when talking street driving - and adding a heavy dose of generalization.

              It's the combination of toe out => 1/8 _AND_ camber => 2 can lead to horrendous wear on the inside edge of the tires. We can add UTQG < ~300 to that too, though less influential as the former two.

              It's like the old engineering triangle: fast, good, cheap - pick any two.

              It's easy to dangerously cord the inside edges of tires in just a few months with a suboptimal alignment for street driving (and worse yet, it happens suddenly and is difficult to spot unless the driver thinks to proactively check periodically). What works on some cars doesn't on others (with geometry and a host of other variables in the mix, as others have said).

              Tire Rack claims "if the toe setting is just 1/16-inch off of its appropriate setting, each tire on that axle will scrub almost seven feet sideways every mile! Extend it out and you'll discover that rather than running parallel to each other, the front tires will scrub over 1/4-mile sideways during every 100 miles of driving!".

              My two cents on street alignments: sporty alignments are fun and certainly very worthwhile for enthusiasts (do it!). But avoid extremes more often seen on race alignments, unless you're willing to compromise on cost (and likely safety too).

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              • #8
                1 degree negative camber is nothing for street driving, based on experience even up to 3 degrees negative won't produce a whole lot of uneven wear in a light car.

                In the Sprinkles household we have two Suzuki Swifts, a road car and a dedicated track car, they are 1.6 litre FWD, so similar to your Arbath. On the track they get faster and faster the more negative camber we add, the track car runs negative 5 degrees on the front, this is pretty typical for McPherson Strut. So you might want to teach yourself how to do your own wheel alignments, set it up with plenty of neg prior to your track days, then change it back if you ahve a few weeks of street driving coming up.

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                • #9
                  I wouldn't drive a 500 to track even if I were paid....saw one rolled at Thunderhill.... no contact, while ON asphalt...... didn't know that's possible
                  S1 Supermiata - 220whp
                  13 Tesla, ma: no engine !!
                  17 GT350R
                  03 Miata Club Sport
                  96 NSX
                  06 EVO MR
                  15 Mini Cooper S
                  Beck 550 Spyder

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by bellwilliam View Post
                    I wouldn't drive a 500 to track even if I were paid....saw one rolled at Thunderhill.... no contact, while ON asphalt...... didn't know that's possible
                    weight transfer vs track width. the scales reached 0 :-D

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                    • #11
                      Negative 5 deg camber uh? Wow.
                      I understand fwd typically run toe-out is that right? (Front). And zero rear.

                      I have not had a chance to measure the toe settings but I know I have - 2.5 camber up front.

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                      • #12
                        A lot of Honda fwd cars we work with run 1/4-3/8 out in the rear. If macpherson strut, -2.5 camber may not be enough. YMMV. My street BMW's are over -3 F/R (@near 0 toe) and exhibit no unusual tire wear. Of course I work hard to square the tires off .
                        AiM Data and Video systems, Suspension Setup, Race car builds, support, and rentals. At your beck and call.

                        Mark Nichols
                        Iron Canyon Motorsports
                        http://www.ironcanyonmotorsports.com

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