If you have ever lowered your DSM, chances are you have ran into some alignment issues. These alignment issues can cause excessive wear to the tires which can create unsafe driving if you let it go too long. Though I am going to try and not get into the “why” of how this all happens in this article, I will show you a simple and cheap solution that will help those tires last longer.
Words By: SPOOLIGAN | Images By: SPOOLIGAN, ExtremePSI, Street Tuned Motorsports, Andy’s Auto Sports
When we lower our cars, the alignment changes drastically. In most cases, it will create negative camber as well as more toe-in. This is mostly an issue only with the rear alignment, but can also happen to the front although the fix for the front is much different. Thankfully, the problem is more common and more severe in the rear, because the rear much easier to fix than the front.
The upper control arm bolts to the unibody of the car using two upper control arm mount brackets (shown in red below). Each mount has an upper bolt and a lower bolt. Each bolt is vertical from each other. What you can do is install spacers or “washers” between the mount and the unibody to draw in/out the adjustments we need in camber and toe.
To add positive camber to the wheel, bring the top bolt holes OUT by using several washers/spacers. This will tilt the top of the wheel OUT.
To add Toe-Out, bring the bolt holes in front of the wheel OUT by using spacers. This will tilt the front of the wheels OUT.
In order to do this, we won’t be able to use our existing M10 x 1.25 bolts because they will be too SHORT once we add the washers. Think of it like adding a slip-on wheel spacer to a hub. Well when you do this, you won’t have many threads left to tighten down your wheel studs, if any at all. So you need to buy extended wheel studs. The wheel studs in this example are like the bolts we are using.
In the picture below, the new, longer bolt on the left is 40mm long. The old one on the right is the stock, 20mm-ish bolt. If you re-use the old bolt, you will not be able to put many washers on it because it is too short. This is why the longer bolts are needed.
If you have a lot of negative camber in toe-in, then you will need to apply more washers between the top two bolts, and the lower bolt that is closer to the front of the car. This will tip the top of the wheel out and tip the front of the wheel out. Generally, you don’t apply any at all to the other lower bolt or maybe one washer if any at all.
There are many different kits out there and of course you could simply make your own if you can track down the correct bolts (M10 x 1.25 x 40mm long).
The STM Rear Camber Kit consists of longer bolts and normal, small washers. The bolts are said to be only 30mm long. I personally use 40mm long. I have heard people say their 30mm worked fine but then I’ve heard people say the 30mm bolts were too short because they needed a lot of washers. You can buy 35mm bolts at the hardware store, but my 40mm bolts always work great and do not bottom out.
There are other kits out there for the extended bolts and spacer kit. Some kits use much thicker washers. I have used this kit on #VirginMary and loved it. But I use regular washer spacers with #Charlotte as well. I personally prefer the thicker spacers but these kits aren’t as easy to find or make.
Of course there are a few other methods to fixing your rear camber like using an Eibach Adjustable Upper Control Arm. You can also use Ingals Rear Adjustable Control Arm Camber Kit that gives you new mounting brackets that adjust using a cam bolt. Regardless of which you use, you need to use good quality washers.
I ended up putting about 10 washers on one upper bolt and 8 washers on the other.
Keep in mind I will be adjusting these when I get an alignment. This will get you close.
On the bottom, I used 1 washer on one bolt, and 5 on the other. Keep adding or removing spacers until you get where you need.
When you do this, you can just eyeball it close and then go get an alignment. But in order to adjust it on the alignment rack, you will need to either be there in the shop with the mechanics making the adjustment yourselves or at least showing them what you have going on so they can do it.
The easiest and quickest way to immediately fix your camber is to use just the extended bolts and washers method. Most people use this as a permanent fix but there are other methods as mentioned above.