Pedders Suspension released a video series called “Pedders Virtual Tech Stop” in which they break down the various aspects of vehicle handling and how weight, suspension, and brakes play a role in vehicle dynamics. We covered this when they reviewed how to control vehicle dynamics with brakes, and this next video showcases alignments and what they mean for your car once you start adding weight. Led again by Neil Crompton, Pedders Suspension gives us an in depth look at alignment setup with their 3D modeled car demonstrating how each alignment setting changes.
Pedders Suspension breaks wheel alignment down to three common adjustments–camber, toe, and caster. Alignment angles constantly change with impact, wear and tear, and weight. When this happens, the tire footprint on the ground is reduced along with increased tire wear which can be both costly and hazardous while on the road.
In the video, they add weight to their truck. Although the truck is quite a bit different than your race car, similar things happen when you start adding or subtracting weight. Oh, and this might be very applicable to your tow vehicle that gets you to the track and back, so keep that in mind while loading up the trailer next.
As you load up the rear, the suspension compresses as ride height goes down, negative camber increases, and generally toe goes out. Weight on the back of the vehicle affects the front too, causing weight to shift rearward which increases suspension travel on the front wheels, creating positive camber while causing toe in.
Of course how much change in alignment and which direction the settings change are vehicle specific depending on your current setup and suspension type. Once your alignments start to change, the way your vehicle brakes, turns, and handles will be change. Of course there is no “one size fits all” approach that can be taken, which is why it’s important to make sure that your vehicle is setup properly with all aspects of the suspension working together.