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Old 09-04-2004, 02:50 AM   #1
kurtfriedrich
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changing the alignment of 04 cobra for autocross

Anyone have any experience changing the alignment of an 03/04 Cobra for better turn in at autocross? I got some advice from last years national ESP champ Dave Schotz. He said:
--------------------------------------------------------
"Alignment is very easy on that car... You need to remove the Front rivets in the Strut Tower Camber Plates (Easily done with a screwdriver and hammer)... and then loosen em up... and kick em in! That will give you about 1 1/2' Negative Camber... which is at least a Degree still to shy... but without buying Caster Camber plates... that is the best you can do...

Same goes for the rear... although there is just one bolt that adjusts camber in the rear... and it's simple too...

----------------------------------------------------

I want to replay what I think he said to make sure I got it correct. Maybe someone can give me some extra info so I can attempt this on Saturday.


Given that I don't have camber plates, I should

(1) remove each of 2 pop rivets on each side on the top assembly of the struts, then I would lossen the 3 bolts, and then push the stuts away from the outside of the car, and towards the engine as far as possible. As I am doing this, am I trying to maintain the "front to back" position of the strut? If I am not carefull, can the stuts angle towards the front or back, or are they only free to move left and right?

(2) for the rear, he said there is "just one bolt that adjusts camber in the rear" ... somehow this sounds different than the front ... where is this bolt located? Is it a bolt that lossens a structure and then I push some assembly, or is it more like, I need to lossen some other bolts, and then this is an adjustment bolt? Also, what direction am I trying to move what? (as in, am I moving the bottom or top of some assembly; towards the center of the car, or away from the center?

thanks
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Old 09-04-2004, 06:36 PM   #2
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One thing that was not mentioned was that by changing camber you will throw your toe out the window. I have the unfortant luck of doing 5-10 alignments a day most days at work. so once you do change your camber make sure you go and reset your toe also. your tires will be toed in tons after adjusting the camber like that.

The front struts will only move in and out so you know. Not very much at that from the stangs I have done either.

the rear is a cam bolt on one of the uper control arms. you can see it if you look above the brake rotor near the centerline of the wheel. you losen one end. just losen, to much and it will not act like it should. Then you turn the other end. You will see the bolt has a offset washer. hence the adjustment.

The rear toe like the front WILL HAVE TO BE RESET before you drive to far. TOE is the major wearing factor in tire wear. Plus will all the toe you will be creating the car will be super twitchy and not drive right at all. Really making it seam worse than when you started.

Sorry for the long post, LOL. Front end tech and got to know my cobra very well on the alignment rack.. The camber caster plates are awesome I would highly recomend getting them. they make it so you can play with caster too and get more feel in the wheel by bumping up the caster some. plus make it alot easier. The factory set up in the front does not have much adjustment at all.

Hope I helped some
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Last edited by wrenchturner; 09-09-2004 at 12:05 AM. Reason: my bad spelling... LMAO
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Old 09-08-2004, 01:38 AM   #3
kurtfriedrich
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thanks for the help

thanks for the post. I did change the front and rear to get max camber, guess I better get it into a shop to get the f and r toe checked. Can you tell me how front caster is set? Someone else suggested I go for more of that too?

Kurt
http://mywebpages.comcast.net/kurtfr...ages/cobra.JPG
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Old 09-08-2004, 12:15 PM   #4
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toe in/out settings

Also, does anyone know what the stock settings are for front and rear toe on the 03/04 Cobra's? Doesn't seem to be in the owners manual or the SVT supplement.


scratch that, I just called the SVT 800 number, and they tell me 04 stock cobra should be:

Front +0.125 deg +/- .004 deg
Rear +0.10 +/- .004 deg

but then, anyone know how to covert these degree values to simple inches?
I would hate to trust my math calculating the radius to the edge of the tire, so hopefully there is a better way?

Kurt

Last edited by kurtfriedrich; 09-08-2004 at 01:51 PM. Reason: added detail
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Old 09-09-2004, 12:02 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kurtfriedrich

Front +0.125 deg +/- .004 deg
Rear +0.10 +/- .004 deg

but then, anyone know how to covert these degree values to simple inches?
I would hate to trust my math calculating the radius to the edge of the tire, so hopefully there is a better way?

Kurt
I have thursday off but when i get back to work on friday I can punch up the specs on the machine and convert them to inches if you still need them. You think I would be able to do it off the top of my head after 15 years of doing alignments.. LOL but I cant. and thats the total toe in and out you have to split it in half for each wheel. its small small amounts.

More caster will make you have more returnability in the wheel and higher wheel effort. Not that youll notice it with the power steering.

ANd nope the only simple way is to pay a shop to do it.. LOL youll need a straight edge and a level be able to eyeball the centerline of the tire and measure the difference in the front and rear readings to tell you the toe, wish i could say its simple.
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Old 09-09-2004, 02:43 PM   #6
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stopped by work and pulled these off the alignment machine.

front toe 1/8" (0.25) total toe
rear toe 3/32" (0.20) total toe

so you would want that split in half for each wheel. unless your super lucky you wont get the wheel straight doing it at home. hard to figure out the thrust line (center line) from the rear. And thats what sets the push of the car and where is straight ahead on the wheel.

There is no caster adjustment on these things from the facory. FOr that you will need the caster/camber plates. Another plus of those is you also can get more negitive camber in the front too.
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Old 09-10-2004, 12:08 AM   #7
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sway bar change alingment?

thanks a bunch for the good data.


now, when I replace my 29mm front sway bar with a 35mm one, will my front toe be affected (in which case I should not get the alignment checked until after I get the new bar installed?)

thanks
Kurt
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Old 09-10-2004, 11:41 AM   #8
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If you are doing several autocross events, suggest installing camber plates - Kenny Brown's have caster pre-set making camber adjustments much easier.

For camber settings, suggest starting with about 1.25 degree negative. You will probably have to adjust this value by doing tire temp readings, and looking at tire wear. The reason for the negative camber is to set the loaded outer tire flat to the ground when the car is at full lean.

As for caster, you want as much as the car will allow, just make sure the settings are equal side-to-side.

When you set your car up to do autocross, in addition to the negative camber, I would suggest about 3/16 to 1/4 (total) TOE OUT. With this setting, the car will have some wander in a straight line, but it WILL turn in to the corner.
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Old 09-10-2004, 08:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kurtfriedrich
thanks a bunch for the good data.


now, when I replace my 29mm front sway bar with a 35mm one, will my front toe be affected (in which case I should not get the alignment checked until after I get the new bar installed?)

thanks
Kurt
The sway bar will not do a thing to the front alignment so no worries there.
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2 chamber flowmaster cat back, off-road mid pipe,(loud is better) 18x9,18x10 chrome saleen reps, 265/295-35-18 BFG KDWII's
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Old 09-10-2004, 11:58 PM   #10
kurtfriedrich
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more alignment questions

Much to my amazement, the alignment place says that "toe out" is negative, sure hope that is true. My front toe is now

left -0.11 deg right -0.14 deg total -0.25 deg

I hope that is close to what I asked for, which was 1/4 INCH toe out total?

Kurt
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Old 09-11-2004, 01:49 AM   #11
wrenchturner
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kurtfriedrich
Much to my amazement, the alignment place says that "toe out" is negative, sure hope that is true. My front toe is now

left -0.11 deg right -0.14 deg total -0.25 deg

I hope that is close to what I asked for, which was 1/4 INCH toe out total?

Kurt
toe out is negative and .25 is a 1/4 inch so thats what ya wanted

negative camber would be the top of the tire leaning in towards the car

and positive caster would be the line from the lower ball joint to the upper strut mount.. leaning back towards the windshield is positive and forward negative.
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2001 Black Cobra coupe,
#377 of a build of 3867,
2 chamber flowmaster cat back, off-road mid pipe,(loud is better) 18x9,18x10 chrome saleen reps, 265/295-35-18 BFG KDWII's

Last edited by wrenchturner; 09-11-2004 at 01:56 AM. Reason: added info
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