The Ultimate Guide to Suspension and Handling: Part Seven – Tuning your Toe

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The Ultimate Guide to Suspension and Handling: Part Seven- Tuning your Toe
Mid engine cars can sometimes benefit from a slight amount of toe in to prevent wandering and to keep them from feeling too twitchy.

Front Toe In

Front toe in can be used to help straight line stabilty, especialy with RWD rear and mid engine cars.  Front toe in usualy slows steering response and can cause understeer in the first third of a turn,

Front Toe In

 

Just RightToo Much
Generally helps make the car feel more stable. Usually done in small amounts on RWD and rear engine cars.Wandering under braking
You would probably do this on your mom’s car or a car that you mostly care about driving on the street for normal use.The car will refuse to turn in or turn in very quickly and immediately go to understeer, feels sluggish to steering input.

 

The Ultimate Guide to Suspension and Handling: Part Seven- Tuning your Toe
Rear engine cars can benefit from a little toe in like mid engine cars.  A lot depends on driver preference.
The Ultimate Guide to Suspension and Handling: Part Seven- Tuning your Toe
RWD front engine cars like this S2000, especially ones with a close to 50/50 weight distribution can also sometimes do well with a little front toe in.

 

7 comments

  1. Practical tip: after using toe plates double check your work by placing a toe plate on the front and rear wheel on the same side of the car with the steering wheel pointed straight ahead. Lie on the ground and sight along the toe plates. Do the same on the opposite side of the car. This will show up any large errors in your toe plate alignment. It’s easy to turn a turnbuckle in the wrong direction and not notice if you skip this step. Also, be aware that changes in camber may or may not change toe. And ride height changes can affect camber and toe. So after lowering your car off the jackstands you need to bounce it at all four corners or drive it a short distance to make sure the suspension has settled back to its normal ride height. This last step is especially important if you have poly bushings which tend to have some initial resistance to rotation (hint: poly bushings occasionally need to be taken apart and greased). One last tip: On your street car if you see feathering on your tires (tread blocks wear into a wedge shape) you have a toe problem. On your track car if you have tire chunking (pieces of tread break off the tire carcass) you may have a toe problem.

  2. when you refer to 1/8 or 1/4inch adjustments are you talking about just one side or the total amount of both left and right wheels?

  3. Hey Mike!
    I was reading your The Ultimate Guide to Suspension and Handling for like three years without racing just dreaming of racing some day.
    This year was my first year of ice racing. And damn! The difference correct toe tuning makes!
    Just wanted to say how greatful I am for the guides.
    Thanks mate!

  4. Another thank you for Mike from me.

    After reducing front toe-in to the minimum the equipment could register (0.03degrees each side) and reducing the rear toe-in (0.06 degrees each) and camber (from 2.6 to 2.0 degrees) and nothing else, cornering G went from 0.8 to 1.0 on winter tyres. 0.8 was ok, but 1.0 is excellent for a street setup and i can keep the car there as long as the turn lasts. Above 1.0G understeer sets in but I think a slight increase in track width, caster and SAI might raise that.

    On good summer tyres the limit is higher but cant tell how high yet. With 215/50r17 Hankook Ventus prime2 on the rear and 225/45r17 Hankook ventus v12 evo2 up front the rear stepped out at 1.05G. Ordered wider wheels and 4 235/45r17 tyres, will see where we are after lockdown, but 1.15G or above i suspect.

    Just wanted to share those numbers for people who are wondering how much differernce toe can make, though the reduced camber in the back will also have helped to make the car turn.

  5. Hi from halfway across the world, Mike. I’m a big fan of your articles and this series in particular. What are your thoughts about using toe out to counter the toe in moment/effect caused by negative camber thrust? Assuming we don’t care about tire wear, of course.

    Hope to hear from you soon. Cheers

    Chez

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