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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited by Moderator)
Does your Honda need a camber kit? Well in short, yes absolutely. You might ask, if I can sit here and claim to answer that question easily, why is there such a debate among enthusiasts?

Marcus from Heeltoe Automotive recently wrote an article on exactly this same subject, in which he claims a camber kit in not a necessary modification. I have his article in front of me right now, its very detailed, and in the long run, probably better written than this one will be, Its also completely correct.

So why do Marcus and I disagree on this point, well in actuality, we do not. Marcus starts his piece saying that when one lowers a car, the camber will go out, and you need a camber kit to fix it. He then goes on to explain that incorrect Toe Angle and Caster will wear tires significantly faster then Camber ever will.

So far, we are in complete agreement. The only way to fix the camber is with a camber kit, and that when it comes to your cars alignment, Toe Angle and Caster are also very equal parts of the equation, and will cause to rubber to wear faster then severe negative camber alone.

Now here is where Marcus and I start to digress. Negative camber is a good thing, but it comes on a sliding scale, on one side of the scale is the performance factor, Negative camber in a double wishbone suspension actually helps you. Noel, I know is in fact is using a rear camber kit to push the tires out to a negative 2.8 degrees for performance purposes. Honda Engineers understand the benifits of negative camber as well, and for that reason TSX comes from the factory with some negative camber in the rear wheels. Honda/Acura Factory specs allow for up to a negative 1.7 degree camber, where as the average rear camber after lowering a TSX is a negative 2.3 degrees.

The other side of this equation however is Tire life, -2.3 degrees camber will chew tires, there is no doubt about this, it will not chew tires as fast as Toe or Caster can, but none the less it does do damage. Marcus states: “an improper alignment will WASTE tires in a matter of months (or weeks if you drive like me).” So my Question is this, if getting a proper alignment is so important, why ignore a third of the equation, why not align the camber while your getting the alignment done.

Here is why: Camber and Caster are not adjustable on Hondas. Marcus, Noel, myself and anyone else with knowledge of our automobiles know this. Toe however is fully adjustable both front and rear. In order to adjust the camber you need to purchase a camber kit.

To conclude, I will use one more example from Marcus. He states that Front tires will wear faster then the Rear tires on a FWD car, this is true because your using the same wheels to turn as you are to power the car. the rear wheels are just rotating, they are not used for traction purposes. Marcus says because of this if you only will need a front camber kit if even.

However, for the TSX there is an issue. When you lower a TSX the front camber is not pushed out to a degree that it becomes a problem, however the rear is. In an Acura TSX or Accord Euro, you only really need it for the rear. The question really is this: At what point does purchasing new tires become more expensive then having purchased a camber kit. In my mind with a good camber kit costing 150 USD for both sides, and good tires costing 120 USD a piece, It is completely worth while to spend the money on a camber kit as a preventative measure.

I hope that what I have written above will help anyone who is unsure about this kind of modification, feel free to ask any questions, we are here to help guys.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
narci said:
One question I have.

When you lower the car...does it not 'pull' the driveshaft out a bit or put stress on it because the OEM drive shaft is not long enough?
Cars with a FF layout (Front mounted Engine, Frontwheel-Drive) have a Constant-velocity joint, or CV joint for short. What that does is it allows for a rotating shaft to transmit power at many different angles, at a constant speed. I would assume that the CV Joints characteristics would make up for the difference in height.
(CV Joint cutaway from a Saab 9-3)

I unfortinutly have not done as much research in this area of lowering the car, so feel free to correct me if I am indeed wrong.
 

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Camber and Caster is not adjustable on the majority of Hondas/Acuras from factory. However, this isn't limited to the flagship/top sports models. Aka Legend, NSX, S2000.

In response, FF cars have a lesser concern on driveshaft distance/delivery. FR cars when lowered aggressively have a recommendation by some tuners to use extended spacers to compensate the change. However, a recommendation does not mean a blanket statement for necessity across the board.
 

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Nice write up.

At what point does one need a camber kit? For example, you mentioned that after lowering TSX's, the front camber is neglectable. What about for the rear? I mean, if I lowered the rear 1", would the camber be neglectable? I think the A-Spec lowers about 3/4".. neglectable?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
LiLaSiiAn8 said:
Nice write up.

At what point does one need a camber kit? For example, you mentioned that after lowering TSX's, the front camber is neglectable. What about for the rear? I mean, if I lowered the rear 1", would the camber be neglectable? I think the A-Spec lowers about 3/4".. neglectable?
The A-Spec drop is the only one I would say you can get away with without adjusting camber. The most recent alignment numbers I have seen for the A-Spec is about a -1.92 Drivers side and a -1.86 on the passenger side for the rear. These numbers are fairly close to spec (-1.7 max), so you can get away with them and not notice a significant change in tire life, however I've still heard of some people getting the Camber kit just to be on the safe side with the A-spec.
 

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I am personal friends with Marcus, and value and respect his opinion very much. I will vouch for his technical knowledge and expertise in this matter, but I must say, this "article" was misinterpreted by the vast majority who read it. It serves as a testament to the fact that so many people believe anything they read on the internet wholeheartedly, without regard to the fact that it is all personal opinion and/or open to personal interpretation by each individual. It seems that the main point of the article was missed by the vast majority, and I wonder how many people are now misinformed not because of a poorly written or poorly thought out article, but because they failed to interpret the message of that article correctly.
 

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I posted a response to Marcus' article in the last thread, but I'll briefly touch on a couple of points here.

Nowhere in the article does Marcus talk about the performance benefits of being able to adjust camber, which is by far the most important reason why people should be considering a rear camber kit when they lower their TSX.

The TSX front suspension does not change camber much upon lowering, hovering around -.7, but the multi-link rear can jump well into the -2s, which will result in a LOT of understeer. I suppose if you like that handling trait, it's fair to say you don't NEED a camber kit, but again, the whole point of suspension improvements to me is to make the car handle better, not worse. A track setup like Noel's would have added negative camber up front as well, for a but for street use, -.8 front and -1.2 rear is nice.

Brent, where did you get the -1.7 number? Has Acura revised their specs? On my car, -1.5 was it. With the trouble they had with cars being out of spec from the factory, maybe they just changed the spec to make it work as opposed to fixing the issue?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Just to update this thread with some real #'s... I recently Installed the Tein Flex Coilovers in my car, im running a moderate drop of about 2.5 inches in the front, 2.2 in the rear... Got the Alignment done today...Here are the specs:

Front: Left
Actual Before Range
0.4 0.3 -0.8, 0.8 Camber
3.0 3.0 2.5, 4.0 Caster
0.02 -0.15 -0.08, 0.08 Toe

Front Right:
Actual Before Range
-1.0 -0.9 -0.8, 0.8 Camber (Remember front camber is not adjustible)
2.8 2.8 2.5, 4.0 Caster
0.01 -0.14 -0.08, 0.08 Toe

Rear Left:
Actual Before Range
-2.0 -3.3 -1.7, -0.5 Camber (Camber requested by me, for performance purposes)
0.15 0.24 0.00, 0.16 Toe

Rear Right
Actual Before Range
-2.0 -4.5 -1.7, -0.5
0.11 0.20 0.00, 0.16



As you can see from the above #'s, especially when in comparison to Acura's approved specs (Range), Rear Camber is a huge issue, Caster however is not, Moral of the Story: Get a good Alignment, with a Camber Kit
 

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just for completeness...The right rear link on the suspension may be out of spec. on earlier cars which puts the camber way out of spec, I am aware that Acura put out a bulletin for this, but you have to bring it up specifically with them, to get it corrected. This was also the case for UK cars.

Just as an example of how much wear camber can give on rear tyres.
After lowering, my right rear camber was at -2.5 and left rear was -1.7. Toe was toed in at 0.3mm both sides (which should in theory wear the outer edge of the tyres). After 15000miles for the right rear tyre:

inner edge (about 1inch in) - 2mm
centre - 4mm
outer edge - 4mm

I ended up buying the ingalls rear camber adjusters before they issued a fix, but i wanted adjustable camber anyway.

Now I can adjust my alignment to this: (BTW this is a recent alignment)


And believe me the difference in having a car properly aligned left and right makes for a very balanced driving experience!

If you're having trouble deciphering the readings, I've done an full explanation here

Hope this is helpful.
 

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I went to an alignment to have mine checked after i lowered with Tein SS. Only about the same as Tein Stech Springs.

He's telling me the front's ok. But the back's with a Negative 3.00. I guess that's really bad ehh. @@
But anyway, i ordered a rear camber kit, should be here few days later.

Dunno if i m asking this at the right place, How much..roughly's the price of getting all four tires aligned!?!?

Thanks.
 

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i just got an ingalls rear camber kit....is this the better company to get?i heard SPC n ingalls tend to be the best two.
 

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Nightwalker said:
i just got an ingalls rear camber kit....is this the better company to get?i heard SPC n ingalls tend to be the best two.
Why are you asking after you've already bought it? It's better to do research before a purchase. Anyway, both companies are the most popular. They have slight differences. I'll just quote myself since I haven't heard of any changes in the last year or so:

http://www.tsxclub.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15885 said:
SoCaliTrojan said:
You can get either SPC or Ingalls. Just note that SPC requires more specialized tools (ball joint remover), whereas Ingalls uses simple hand tools. Here's the difference between the two:

Quantity: SPC only needs 2 rods for both sides (IE: 1 rod per side), whereas Ingalls needs 4 rods for both sides
Size: SPC is thicker/beefier, whereas Ingalls is skinny
Toe: Ingalls gives you both camber and toe adjustability, whereas SPC only lets you adjust camber and requires you to use the factory toe adjustment
Cost: I believe SPC costs more than Ingalls
Popularity: Ingalls is more popular
 

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I was told this thread was here and was expecting more slaying. I think that by in large those in the know all generally agree. To clarify my stance and highlight the support for it I chose the following snippet from the first post.


However, for the TSX there is an issue. When you lower a TSX the front camber is not pushed out to a degree that it becomes a problem, however the rear is. In an Acura TSX or Accord Euro, you only really need it for the rear. The question really is this: At what point does purchasing new tires become more expensive then having purchased a camber kit. In my mind with a good camber kit costing 150 USD for both sides, and good tires costing 120 USD a piece, It is completely worth while to spend the money on a camber kit as a preventative measure.


The specific need for a camber kit is really dependent on the general definition of need. This can only be outlined by the particular user. I take a more general approach in the camber article I submitted to Honda Tuning. The degree of wear experienced with bad camber is not to the point where I put a blanket on it and say it is always needed. Because even though camber may go out, and it may not result in the perfect wear pattern, it does have a benefit attached to it for aggressive drivers. This coming from a person who routinely wears the OUTSIDE edge on tire on stock cars with good alignments.

Do we let the single-track-minded alignment machine, or the need-to-please-the-masses engineers decide the camber angle we should be running? Or do we, the daily drivers, make that call on an individual basis?

I feel heightened knowledge and thorough evaluation of individual needs and desires is the key to making product suggestions to customers. I take this stance because too often vendors sell to make money, not to make customers happy. I want my customers to know why they are buying what they are buying and why. I have lost some camber kit sales due to my article. But I have gained more sales than I have lost.

Yes, even though I tell people they don't need camber kits, and tell them I never use them, enough of them make the determination on their own that they need them. More people buying based on all the information, rather than convention. "Lowering the car? Better get a camber kit!" This is old thinking. Better is: "Lowering the car? The camber will be effected. What does this mean to you? Do you feel the need to fix it? A camber kit is the solution."


All in all, I thank you for the respect you have given my writing. I respect your stance as well.

Marcus
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Hey Marcus,

Very nice to see your response to my thread, and in no means was my responce to your article meant as a snipe, just personal opinion.

Just to touch this up now, since this thread is a bit old... I do completely agree with your last note:
Lowering the car? The camber will be effected. What does this mean to you?
thats actually the perfect way to put it, Personally when I was writing this article, I was a bit more conservative about tires.

Now I am lowered significantly more, and running a -2.3 , on both sides for performance characteristics, but if you ask me thats the great thing about a camber kit, its the same thing that separates Coilovers from Spring/Strut Combos, the Adjustability for personal tastes... So I still stick with my opinion:

Lowering the TSX your rear Camber will be pushed to the Negative, If you wish to control this, for either conservative or performance reasons, a Camber kit is the solution

- MR
 

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This is very true also. For the performance aspect camber would want to be adjustable. I touched on that in the Honda Tuning version of the article as well.

http://www.hondatuningmagazine.com/tech/htup_0712_camber_101_honda_camber_guide/index.html


If camber kits are not necessary why are there so many available? The fact is camber kits need to be available to those who actually need them. The finer a car is tuned, the more control a driver will want to have over alignment settings. Adjustability is the key to getting dialed in. Individuals using very expensive oversized wheel/tire combinations generally strive to get every last mile out of them before replacement is needed. Fixing the camber is the only way to ensure a completely even wear on a car built for cruising.


When a car is lowered and the camber goes negative, the contact patch is compromised when it goes straight. Obviously this is bad for you drag racers and you'd want to maximize your contact patch by fixing the camber.

Negative camber is visually apparent from outside of the car. This is a big deal to some people and it is a look that is not always desired. This is particularly true of the Accord, TSX and TL crowd where the aim of lowering is to reduce tire gap, and unwanted camber angle is unsightly. The need for a camber fixing solution is clear.

Marcus
 
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