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Steeda | The Truth About Camber Caster Plates and Strut Mounts

Suspension geometry is an extremely complicated science – one that drivers can appreciate when it is “dialed-in” properly, but few really understand the technical science behind it. Even many race teams often guess about suspension set-ups and rely in a trial and error method to obtain optimum performance for their vehicles. Rest assured that the suspension experts at Steeda Autosports , who have been engineering and designing suspension system enhancements since 1988 for the Mustang, have a few tricks up our sleeve on how to achieve optimum Mustang performance.

One easy way to “dial-in” increased handling of your Mustang is to install a set of Mustang Camber Caster Plates or Mustang Strut Mounts and adjust your Mustang suspension so that you have more precise control of your suspensions behavior – but beware – not all Mustang Camber Caster Plates / Mustang Strut Mounts perform like they should and there are considerable differences in their engineering, component quality, and most important, their safety.


Fundamentally, the idea of the Mustang Camber Caster Plates / Mustang Upper Strut Mounts is to provide increased camber and caster adjustments so that a more aggressive wheel alignment can be “dialed-in” so as to enhance a vehicles cornering or rolling ability. The principal notion is to maintain as much tire contact as possible during aggressive street driving or whenever you are on the track and to minimize tire rolling resistance when you are at the drag strip. Following is a summary of camber and caster and how it can make a sizable difference in your cars performance:

Camber angle is the angle made by the wheels of a vehicle. Specifically, it is the angle between the vertical axis of the wheels used for steering and the vertical axis of the vehicle when viewed from the front or the rear. If the top of the wheel is farther out than the bottom of the wheel (e.g. away from the axle), it is called positive camber; if the bottom of the wheel is farther out than the top, it is called negative camber.


Camber Diagram​

The camber angle plays a key role in altering the handling capabilities of a vehicles suspension for both road racers and drag racers:

- For Mustang road racers, negative camber improves grip when cornering. This is because it places the tire at a better angle to the road, transmitting the forces through the vertical plane of the tire rather than through a shear force across it and maintaining a proper contact patch.
- For drag racers that want optimum straight-line acceleration, the greatest traction will be attained when the camber angle is zero and the tread is flat on the road.


Proper management of camber angle is a major factor in suspension design, and must incorporate not only idealized geometric models, but also real-life behavior of the components; flex, distortion, elasticity, etc. What was once guesswork has now become much more scientific with the use of computers, which can optimize all of the variables mathematically instead of relying on the designer’s intuitive feel and experience. As a result, the handling of cars has vastly improved over the years with dramatic results.

In cars like the Mustang that utilize a McPherson Strut front suspension, camber angle is fixed at a set degree. The elimination of an available camber adjustment may reduce maintenance requirements, but if the car is lowered by use of Mustang lowering springs, the camber angle will change. Excessive camber angle can lead to increased tire wear and impaired handling – a problem with may cars where their owners mix and match various components from differing suppliers in their quest to improve their suspension.

Caster angle is the angular displacement from the vertical axis of the suspension of a steered wheel measured in the longitudinal direction. It is the angle between the pivot line (the imaginary line that runs through the center of the upper ball joint to the center of the lower ball joint) and vertical. Road racers sometimes adjust their car’s caster angle to optimize their car’s handling characteristics in particular driving situations. When a vehicle’s front suspension is aligned, caster is adjusted to achieve the self-centering action of steering, which affects the vehicle’s straight-line stability. Improper caster settings will cause the driver to move the steering wheel both into and out of each turn, making it more difficult to maintain a straight line.

Excessive caster angle will make the steering heavier and less responsive, although, in racing, large caster angles are used to improve camber gain in cornering.


Caster Diagram​

If all of this sounds very confusing, worry not – because at Steeda Autosports – we take the guesswork out of dialing in your suspension and offer many great components and alignment specifications that are specifically tuned to work together to maximize your performance. Remember, we are not newcomers in this arena, as we have been working on improving Mustang suspensions continuously since 1988 – longer than any other Mustang performance company in history and we manufacture a comprehensive line of Camber Caster Plates and/or Upper Strut Mounts for your application.

Following are just some of the key qualities/features that we engineer and manufacture into our Mustang Camber Caster Plates that we sell:

- We are confident with the engineering and quality of our Camber Caster Plates that we offer a free Lifetime warranty is free with ALL of our caster camber plates
- We use a Teflon-lined spherical bearing that is entirely custom designed for our applications. It is not an “off the shelf part” readily available – rather we took the time to have a special unique part that also provides the level of optimum performance and durability we demanded for street and track applications.
- A special 8,000lb rated stainless steel Spirolock snap ring is used to secure the bearing into the housing – this ensure that the bearing stays where it is suppose to and not fail.
- Our 4 bolt plates also use 7075 grade aluminum – This much higher cost aluminum alloy is strong, with a strength comparable to many high grade steels, and provides very good fatigue strength and less resistance to corrosion than many other aluminum alloys.
- Our plates allow for independent adjustment of caster and camber for better alignment (caster is not adjustable from the factory setting) and are a direct bolt-in application – No modifications required


In summary, the Benefits for using these plates/mounts include:

- Dial in more negative camber for better cornering
- Straighter tracking and better high speed stability
- Better steering response, quicker turn in
- Holds precise alignment in ALL driving conditions
- Less friction than stock bushings
- Offset bushings allow custom adjustment of strut height
- Increase suspension travel on lowered vehicles
- No interference with hoods or strut tower braces – a common problem with some other brands


Many people will ask us if there indeed are differences in Camber Caster Plates or Upper Strut Mounts. Suffice to say – indeed there are. While others may use inferior materials or assemble their parts in foreign countries or under less than ideal manufacturing conditions, at Steeda Autosports, we use only the finest materials in the construction of our parts, and we do that under strict ISO 9001-2008 Certified Standards. Just ask around how many others do the same – and you will find out that there are no other aftermarket company that go to the extremes that we do to build quality parts here in America under strict ISO Standards. Nobody else!

Why do we go to such extremes? Here is an example of a very popular Camber Caster Plate from manufacturer “ABC” that a customer purchased and installed on his car. We became aware of this when recently at our Pompano Beach facility, a Mustang was towed in that had suffered a complete failure of a Camber Caster Plate with devastating results. In this specific example, the Camber Caster Plate bearing retainer failed, causing the strut to literally punch it’s way thru the retainer and separate – you can only imagine the damage that occurred to the vehicle and the shock the driver had when it failed. Thankfully, the driver was able to somehow maintain partial control his car and bring the car to a safe stop – nevertheless, the results could have been even more catastrophic.


Hopefully, you now have a slightly better understanding of Mustang Camber Caster Plates and Mustang Upper Strut Mounts and how that can dramatically improve the handling and performance of your Mustang. To assist in in optimizing your vehicles performance, feel free to check out Mustang Parts | Steeda is The Largest Manufacturer of Mustang and Other Ford Products Made in The U.S.A. or call us at 954-960-0774 and talk to one of our Performance Experts and see what we can do to improve your vehicle’s suspension system today!

SteedaSpeed Matters
 

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Good Info, I have the Steeda Steel caster camber plates, when they were originally installed by Jake Lamotta he sent me to Firestone to get the alignment done; supposedly they had a guy who knew what he was doing. Fast forward a couple years and new tie rods, now my passenger tire is wearing on the outer edge and the car pulls slightly to the right. I took it to Firestone right after the tie rod replacement to have my lifetime alignment adjusted. They gave it back and it pulled to the right bad, took it right back and they worked on it for hours. It still pulls to the right, just not as bad and its ruining my tires. They act like they dont know how to align it anymore. So my question is this, Do you have specific alignment settings or ranges to shoot for that I could bring them. I'm at the point where they tell me its the road causing the pull, but it never did this prior, I'm just looking to get it back to where it was without having to Piss everyone at Firestone off because they cant seem to get it and its on a lifetime warranty, meaning they arent getting anymore money to do it for me. Thanks for the help.
 

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^^^^A good race chassis shop is where to go to have it done correctly in my experience not some kid out of highschool that works at a tire place for a short amount of time on the job...

Thats some good info that help understand it a little better though.
 

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...now my passenger tire is wearing on the outer edge and the car pulls slightly to the right.
There are a few misconceptions that are common in tire and alignment shops. It's a shame, given that this is what they do for a living, but they are so often wrong about things.

One of these is one I heard the other day from a tire shop manager who supposedly knows "everything" about tires. He told me that tire pull is based only on the way a tire is manufactured, and never changes during the life of the tire. He said that if a tire is pulling now, it has been doing that since the first mile, always, no exceptions. A tire never develops a pull.

I got him to rephrase it a few times to make sure I was getting what he was saying, and this is an accurate representation of what he was telling me.

The thing is, he's wrong.

Conicity (the degree to which it looks like a truncated cone) of a tire causes it to want to roll in a circle, causing pull. There will usually be some minor degree of conicity in a tire from the factory because of manufacturing tolerances. This conicity is a function of the shape of the tire casing, not the tread. This is the kind of pull the tire shop guy knew about.

When a tire is worn more on one side than another, it has conicity as well. A tire worn in this way will definitely tend pull toward the side with less tread. I've experienced this a number of times.

As long as you have a tire that is more worn on one side than the other, the car is going to want to pull in that direction (unless something else opposes it, like a tire that exhibits the same degree of pull in the other direction being installed on the other side). A car with no cross caster or cross camber ("cross" refers to the difference between both sides) and no tire pull will also tend to drift to the right on roads that have a crown to them, which is most or all of them (for drainage purposes).

A lot of alignment guys like to set the caster to be greater on the right side, causing the car to pull slightly left, thus counteracting the tendency to pull right from the road crown. The same could be done to counteract tire pull, but there is a limit to how big you want the cross caster to be. My guess would be that you could not entirely eliminate the pull with caster alone. You could dial in more negative camber on the right too... but again, I would stay within a fairly small margin for cross camber. It is not the best solution, and certainly you would want to find out for sure what the cause of the pull is first.

You could swap the front tires and see if it pulls the other way. If they are directional tires, don't leave them that way-- they probably will not be able to efficiently channel water away if you leave them that way, leading to hydroplaning in the rain. You could also swap the right tires (if they are the same size), that would also let you know if it is that tire pulling.

I took it to Firestone right after the tie rod replacement to have my lifetime alignment adjusted. They gave it back and it pulled to the right bad, took it right back and they worked on it for hours. It still pulls to the right, just not as bad and its ruining my tires.
My guess is that it is reverse of that... given that you have had the car back again and again for alignment, it would stand to reason that they got it right at some point (unless their equipment is faulty, which is also possible), and the excessive tire wear on the outside edge of the tire (which may have been caused by your worn out tie rod end a while back) is causing the pull, not the other way round.

My guess would be that you would see some scrubbing wear on the other front tire's outside edge too, but to a lesser degree than the right tire. If so, that would suggest that the toe has been set too toed-in for too long (wear on the outside edges can mean excessive positive camber, which is not likely on a Mustang, or scrubbing from excessive toe-in, which is likely).

I can only guess because I have not seen the alignment numbers. Can you post them?

You have not stated what car you are talking about either... but in my 1990, the toe is specified by Ford to be toed-out... which strikes a lot of people as weird, because "everyone knows" toe-in is set to slightly toed-in on street cars. Maybe some alignment guy missed it somehow (kind of doubtful, unless he was using an older alignment rack that doesn't warn the guy that it is out of spec).
 

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There are a few misconceptions that are common in tire and alignment shops. It's a shame, given that this is what they do for a living, but they are so often wrong about things.

One of these is one I heard the other day from a tire shop manager who supposedly knows "everything" about tires. He told me that tire pull is based only on the way a tire is manufactured, and never changes during the life of the tire. He said that if a tire is pulling now, it has been doing that since the first mile, always, no exceptions. A tire never develops a pull.

I got him to rephrase it a few times to make sure I was getting what he was saying, and this is an accurate representation of what he was telling me.

The thing is, he's wrong.

Conicity (the degree to which it looks like a truncated cone) of a tire causes it to want to roll in a circle, causing pull. There will usually be some minor degree of conicity in a tire from the factory because of manufacturing tolerances. This conicity is a function of the shape of the tire casing, not the tread. This is the kind of pull the tire shop guy knew about.

When a tire is worn more on one side than another, it has conicity as well. A tire worn in this way will definitely tend pull toward the side with less tread. I've experienced this a number of times.

As long as you have a tire that is more worn on one side than the other, the car is going to want to pull in that direction (unless something else opposes it, like a tire that exhibits the same degree of pull in the other direction being installed on the other side). A car with no cross caster or cross camber ("cross" refers to the difference between both sides) and no tire pull will also tend to drift to the right on roads that have a crown to them, which is most or all of them (for drainage purposes).

A lot of alignment guys like to set the caster to be greater on the right side, causing the car to pull slightly left, thus counteracting the tendency to pull right from the road crown. The same could be done to counteract tire pull, but there is a limit to how big you want the cross caster to be. My guess would be that you could not entirely eliminate the pull with caster alone. You could dial in more negative camber on the right too... but again, I would stay within a fairly small margin for cross camber. It is not the best solution, and certainly you would want to find out for sure what the cause of the pull is first.

You could swap the front tires and see if it pulls the other way. If they are directional tires, don't leave them that way-- they probably will not be able to efficiently channel water away if you leave them that way, leading to hydroplaning in the rain. You could also swap the right tires (if they are the same size), that would also let you know if it is that tire pulling.



My guess is that it is reverse of that... given that you have had the car back again and again for alignment, it would stand to reason that they got it right at some point (unless their equipment is faulty, which is also possible), and the excessive tire wear on the outside edge of the tire (which may have been caused by your worn out tie rod end a while back) is causing the pull, not the other way round.

My guess would be that you would see some scrubbing wear on the other front tire's outside edge too, but to a lesser degree than the right tire. If so, that would suggest that the toe has been set too toed-in for too long (wear on the outside edges can mean excessive positive camber, which is not likely on a Mustang, or scrubbing from excessive toe-in, which is likely).

I can only guess because I have not seen the alignment numbers. Can you post them?

You have not stated what car you are talking about either... but in my 1990, the toe is specified by Ford to be toed-out... which strikes a lot of people as weird, because "everyone knows" toe-in is set to slightly toed-in on street cars. Maybe some alignment guy missed it somehow (kind of doubtful, unless he was using an older alignment rack that doesn't warn the guy that it is out of spec).
I should have elaborated a little more. The suspension and Caster camber plates were installed by Lammotta performance, its a 94 GT. They sent me to Firestone, saying they had a guy who did all their alignment work and he did a great job. A couple years later, I installed new tie rods, inner and outer along with Nitto NT555's, brought it to Firestone. A different guy worked on it and he handed it back pulling to the right so bad that it was like turning the wheel 45 degrees while going straight. I took it right back and the original guy who did the alignment then worked on it again for hours. It still pulled to the right, just not as bad and as quick, he blamed the road for this. My tires are directional, I have rotated them but either something is still off or I have a worn suspension piece that I have not found yet. I will see if I still have the specs from the last alignment, I brought them the specs from my first alignment they did but they acted like it wouldnt help them at all. Its only my front passenger tire, its wearing the tread off the outer edge, turning it into a slick. Swapping the tires helped, but I'm sure I'm just wearing the tread off the rotated tire.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Good Info, I have the Steeda Steel caster camber plates, when they were originally installed by Jake Lamotta he sent me to Firestone to get the alignment done; supposedly they had a guy who knew what he was doing. Fast forward a couple years and new tie rods, now my passenger tire is wearing on the outer edge and the car pulls slightly to the right. I took it to Firestone right after the tie rod replacement to have my lifetime alignment adjusted. They gave it back and it pulled to the right bad, took it right back and they worked on it for hours. It still pulls to the right, just not as bad and its ruining my tires. They act like they dont know how to align it anymore. So my question is this, Do you have specific alignment settings or ranges to shoot for that I could bring them. I'm at the point where they tell me its the road causing the pull, but it never did this prior, I'm just looking to get it back to where it was without having to Piss everyone at Firestone off because they cant seem to get it and its on a lifetime warranty, meaning they arent getting anymore money to do it for me. Thanks for the help.
Sorry to hear about your issue getting it aligned properly. What year is this?
 

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They sent me to Firestone, saying they had a guy who did all their alignment work and he did a great job. A couple years later, I installed new tie rods, inner and outer along with Nitto NT555's, brought it to Firestone. A different guy worked on it and he handed it back pulling to the right so bad that it was like turning the wheel 45 degrees while going straight.
So it was fine until that alignment?

Definitely need the numbers! If you can't find them from Firestone, you may want to go to another place to get a printout. Some places will do this for free, and others will charge a nominal fee. It might be good to do that anyway in case Firestone's rack is off.

It would take a pretty massive misalignment to pull as much as you describe.
 

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In my experience, once you have replaced the stock plates with aftermarket, there is a spec sheet that comes with the plates with recommended settings. You should follow the settings for the plates, not the stock, factory settings. If you follow the stock settings there is no telling where you will end up.

Of course, that is just what I have seen....
 

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In my experience, once you have replaced the stock plates with aftermarket, there is a spec sheet that comes with the plates with recommended settings. You should follow the settings for the plates, not the stock, factory settings. If you follow the stock settings there is no telling where you will end up.

Of course, that is just what I have seen....
So, if I put my Longacre caster/camber gauge on a car with stock strut mounts and "set" to stock specs, then later install aftermarket CC plates, I can't use factory specs if that is all the caster and camber I want? Explain that to me.
 

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The alignment shop should have given you a printout of what everything is set to. Can you post up that info?
 

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So, if I put my Longacre caster/camber gauge on a car with stock strut mounts and "set" to stock specs, then later install aftermarket CC plates, I can't use factory specs if that is all the caster and camber I want? Explain that to me.
You can do whatever you want, and set it however you want to. I simply stated that there is NORMALLY a spec sheet that comes with the plates with RECOMMENDED settings. You would then NORMALLY give that sheet to the alignment shop to follow, over the stock settings.

You don't want to follow them? Don't.

You obviously have a lot of empirical wisdom on the matter. Please share with us then what settings Orl1mjf should be using so that he can resolve his problem.
 

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So, if I put my Longacre caster/camber gauge on a car with stock strut mounts and "set" to stock specs, then later install aftermarket CC plates, I can't use factory specs if that is all the caster and camber I want? Explain that to me.
I think what he's getting at is, the stock "settings" are actually ranges about a mile wide in every direction, and left to the alignment tech, you might have it come back with a decent alignment or you might get one that looks like an accelerating 80's escort.
 

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This thread is scary, glad I have a somewhat reliable alignment shop, just afraid of what they're going to do when I bring them the car for an alignment before the new engine is broken in. I can't trust people with my car sometimes.

I may actually read up and do it myself.
 

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here's mine after telling them the specs mfe told me in thread I posted link to above. I have zero complaints and that was over 3 years ago...
 

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Yup
 

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I think what he's getting at is, the stock "settings" are actually ranges about a mile wide in every direction, and left to the alignment tech, you might have it come back with a decent alignment or you might get one that looks like an accelerating 80's escort.
This makes sense; missed the obvious I guess. Rather than come off the way 95-GT did, an answer similar to the above would have been appropriate for the purpose of learning which is the point of these discussions. Too bad 95-GT appears easily offended. It's a tough world for the thin skinned LOL.
 

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This makes sense; missed the obvious I guess. Rather than come off the way 95-GT did, an answer similar to the above would have been appropriate for the purpose of learning which is the point of these discussions. Too bad 95-GT appears easily offended. It's a tough world for the thin skinned LOL.
25.5 years in the military, the LAST thing I am is thin skinned. My response was direct and to the point...I explained as requested. I don't have any gauges in the garage; I depend upon someone who is skilled at their profession. When a manufacture presents me with definitive guidance, I try to adhere to that guidance, if possible. And I will also respond in kind to posts.

In the interest of keeping the technical post of a highly regarded supporter of the Corral in the light to which it was intended, I would invite qtrracer to address any continued conversation directed at me personally to be private and one on one. Thanks.
 
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