Basic Drift Chassis Setup: The S-Chassis Tension Rod
We removed our plywood jig and lengthened the tension rod ¾”. As tempting as it might be to just copy our tension rod length, I encourage you to really make your own jig and find your own value, as it can vary greatly. Meliton’s car is quite high, so ¾” works for his car, but my personal car is quite a bit lower, so mine is extended well over an inch. Your track width and whether or not you have a drop knuckle will also play a huge role.
After making the adjustment we put the jig back on and took measurements. You can see what a huge difference that made! Satisfied with only ⅛” of toe out under compression, we measured the length of the tension rod and copied it over to the other side.

Keep in mind that the ⅛” of toe change we measured is across the entire suspension stroke. Realistically, once the coilover and sway bar is bolted on, the car will probably use ⅓rd of that stroke when in motion, unless you dirt drop or something. This means that the ⅛” of toe change across the suspension stroke translates to an almost insignificant toe change when the car simply squats or rolls.

You can even see with your own eyes how much of a difference this simple tension rod adjustment made!
Now that we are happy with tension rod, we have to re-adjust the camber. Adjusting the tension rod moved our camber to +0.8 degrees.
And finally, we re-aligned the strings and set the toe back to ⅛” in!
After making all the adjustments, we decided to hit up a track day to test out the car. Meliton reported that the car now transitioned butter smooth. He also reported that the car now had a ton of forward bite, so much so that he had to change his driving style, entering corners at a much higher speed as the car would dive in so hard.

As you saw, the toe curve with a factory set tension rod is just horrific. Addressing it makes a huge difference in the way the rear end of the car behaves. Hopefully you can now see that making these basic tension rod adjustments is not black magic. It only took us 3 minutes to make the jig to allow us to measure the toe curve!

Leave a comment if you would like to see any other suspension related tech articles!


  1. awesome article!!
    I’d like to know what adjustment I would need to make if i wanted my suspensio to toe in on compression and how to make my rear suspension squat under throttle

  2. This article just changed my life. I had to recently swap out an aftermarket tension rod after it had been bent and thought to myself, “wtf does this even do?” Then BAM, this article gives me not only the information but the awesome visuals to better understand.

    Phenomenal write up and I cant wait to see how my S13 feels after a proper adjustment.

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