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What is Camber?


Camber Angle
Camber Angle
Camber (or camber angle) is the angle of the tire from zero degrees (meaning straight up and down) when viewed from the front of the vehicle. If the bottom of the tire is further out than the top of the tire, this is known as Negative Camber Angle. And if the top of the tire is further out than the bottom, this is known as Positive Camber Angle.

Negative Camber Angle

Negative Camber is typically used for road racing and circle track
racing vehicles. Because of the severe side loading of tire, the
tire deforms and typically more heavily loads the outside edge of the tire
than the inside edge. See picture. However, for production vehicles,
high amounts of camber can cause significantly uneven tire wear and other
handling problems the 'non-racer' driver would not be comfortable with.
During cornering, if the outside tire has negative camber, it will more
evenly load the entire tire producing maximum cornering traction.



Camber Angle
Camber Angle ~ exaggerated to 8 degrees of negative camber for clarity

Positive Camber Angle

Positive Camber Angle will typically be used for the inside tire 
during cornering. It works the same way as Negative Camber 
Angle does on the outside tire. While the tire is flexing you may want 
Positive Camber Angle on the inside tire so the Contact Patch of the 
tire is at it's greatest.

Zero Camber Angle

Zero Camber Angle is usually associated with solid rear axels. To keep them simple there is no way of adjusting the camber angle and they are locked at zero degrees of camber angle.

For the purpose of launching a vehicle from a dead stop (usually in a Drag Racing situation) you do not want the driven tires to have a positive or negative camber angle. You want a Zero Camber Angle to get the largest contact patch and therefore the greatest grip for the launch.


Positive Camber Angle
Positive Camber Angle - Image courtesy of off-roadweb.com
On some off-road vehicles with up to +/- 20 inches of travel with specific suspension geometry you will see Positive Camber Angle while the vehicle is in the air. This is usually because of the limits of the suspension type, such as Ford's twin I beam front suspensions in the mid eighties to late nineties. These suspensions systems allowed for Negative Camber Angle while the vehicle was on the ground but in the air with all the travel the tires would have Positive Camber Angle.

Note that in the picture the independent front suspension shows significant positive camber where the solid axle in the rear shows no camber change.

Programs that work with Camber

We have 5 programs that work with Camber when conducting Suspension Simulation. Roll Center Calculator v3.6, Roll Center Calculator Plus v3.6 and Circle Track Analyzer v3.6 all work with and can calculate Camber Angle changes of the front end of vehicles.  

Our Suspension Analyzer v2.4 program is our top of the line Suspension Program and works with Camber Angle with more precise 3D (X, Y and Z coordinates) inputs so you can design your suspension to perform the way you want. And our Suspension Analyzer Full Vehicle v2.4. will also work with Camber Angle of the rear suspension, particularly independent rear suspensions .

And Circle Track Log Book v1.1 allows you to document your vehicles setup for a given track or track conditions. You can record the Camber Angle of both the front and rear suspensions for future analysis.

More Images ~ Tire Sidewall Roll

Tire Sidewall Roll
Sidewall Roll ~ Image courtesy of forums.maxima.org
Tire Sidewall Roll
Sidewall Roll ~ Image courtesy of forums.maxima.org