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Unread 04-25-2019, 05:45 PM
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Default 6th gen Camaro Camber Plate Design and Testing

When the 6th gen Camaro came out I was excited - GM had knocked out 200+ pounds from the 5th gen, updated the entire chassis with a good bit of aluminum, the GEN V V8 "LT1" engines were great, and the suspension was heavily updated.

Vorshlag wasn't "known for Camaros" back then, so we didn't get many through our shop. In late 2016 we got to work with this 6th gen Camaro SS 1LE.

Weighed the car, studied the spindle camber adjustment, measured the chassis for wider wheels, and even took the front suspension apart to make some measurements.

We looked at this new Alpha chassis with an eye towards building a new camber plate design, but we were a bit stymied by the funky shape and gussets that protruded downward, inside the CAST ALUMINUM strut tower. This made it look like a camber plate for the OEM diameter springs would not have sufficient room to move the strut/spring inboard enough to get any additional camber adjustment travel.

After seeing some challenges we deescalated some of the "rush" we normally have to making a camber plate for a brand new chassis. The fact that there was a bit of camber adjustment at the spindle-to-strut connection contributed to that. We were able to dial in -1.3 front camber on this 2016 Camaro SS without changing any parts, which was helpful for track use with the stock sized wheels. That worked, for a bit - when the owner bought 19x10" wheels and the tires, the insides of the wheels wouldn't clear inboard at the strut - a common issue when you are adjusting camber at the spindle like this. We had to "remove" the camber we dialed in to make his wheels fit, and it was back to having closer to 0 degrees camber. Dialing in camber "at the spindle" eats up inboard wheel room, so a camber plate now seemed like a bigger need...

For the first few years of the 6th gen the demand for a better camber plate was fairly small, as the Mustangs still out numbered Camaros 10:1 at HPDE events we attended. But late in 2018 (above) the 1LE optioned cars became very popular and 6th gens were showing up at track events in ever larger numbers. We needed to get another 6th gen into our shop to take it apart, measure some things, but we couldn't find the right tester locally. Its a long story but not everyone is a good tester for prototype parts.

When Brian Matteucci bought a 6th gen in late 2018, he instantly became our best possible tester to use for a new camber plate design, for a number of reasons. Brian is my college racing buddy of 30 years, an accomplished engineer, and actually designed our first 2 camber plates in the early 2000s. I bought his company, Motor-Force, then we radically expanded this product coverage. We had already purchased a stock Camaro SS strut and top mount, so we began taking more measurements...

Since the first time we looked at the Alpha chassis in 2016 we have tackled a number of challenging OEM camber plate applications. Now we had found a way to make this design work without raising the ride height and still use our famous radial bearing equipped, OEM style upper spring perch. This type of replacement upper perch - which we machine to exactly match the OEM spring diameter, stack up height, and often can work with the stock rubber isolator, added to our weatherproof, rugged radial bearing, is part of why our camber plates seem to outlast the competition by a factor of 10 or more. We have some camber plates in the field that are 15 years old.

We machined the prototype perches and main plates, CNC plasma cut some top rings, welded in M8 studs to make the sliding "bolt rings".

Once all of those pieces were made, we assembled everything and sent him a prototype camber plate set (with a few alternate versions of the assembly) in January 2019.

Brian installed these onto his "track rat" V6 1LE 6th gen Camaro, which he uses when his other two primary race cars are down for work. He has a membership at MSR-Houston and goes there weekly for laps, and this Camaro was eating front tires due to the lack of camber. So this car sees daily driving and a LOT of track use - a good qualification to be a parts tester.

Brian verified the "stack up" height calculations we did, making sure the new Vorshlag camber-caster plate does not alter ride height up or down. This is critical when you are running a non-coilover application, as we want to prevent raising or lowering the car. Our setup matches the stock stack-up height and stock ride height. We've seen others that can raise the car as much as 1/2" when installed.

At the January 2019 NASA Texas event at MSR-Houston Brian ran his car in TT3 class, and won it outright in his 2017 Camaro 1LE... with V6 power, on 340 TW Continental street tires! He was there to do some track testing on the new Vorshlag camber plate, but winning the class on Saturday was a nice bonus.

He aligned the front end to get -3.5 camber, which is more than enough for the 275mm street tires he runs on track. For most folks a setting of -2.5 to -3.0 front camber will suffice and this more extreme -3.5 setting is for stickier street and race tires. My 2018 GT on 315mm Hoosier R7s (above at left) uses -3.6 front camber, with a similar front suspension, and it wears the front tires perfectly.

continued below

Last edited by modernbeat; 04-29-2019 at 04:40 PM.
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Unread 04-26-2019, 01:57 PM
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Default Re: 6th gen Camaro Camber Plate Design and Testing

continued from above

We also had some testing help from Sean and Turner at SPL Parts. They have a 2018 Camaro SS 1LE with the Magneride struts, which have a completely different "upper stem" on the factory struts. We needed some critical measurements for this setup, which is much more common than the "non-Magneride" traditional struts that Brian had on his V6 1LE. Those guys are designing some killer spherical-ended adjustable control arms for this chassis, so we look forward to seeing what they come up with.

Once we had the Magneride strut measurements from SPL and some first hand experiences with the prototype design from Matteucci, we made some small changes for the production version of this camber-caster plate.

One of those was an additional set of 4 tapped holes in the "top pointer ring" of our camber plates. The prototype (black at left) was steel, but the production unit is aluminum and has these threaded holes. This allows the production version to be bolted to the strut tower, which replicates the plastic locating pins of the OEM top mount (see above right).

This makes it easier to adjust camber and not allow the plate to move fore-aft at all. See the OEM top mount uses 8mm bolts, and we use 8mm diameter studs to locate the non-moving portion of the sliding camber plate. But GM uses massive 12mm holes, which allows the plate to slide around a bit - these two bolts remove any unwanted movement during adjustment. We include two stainless steel button head bolts to install from above the strut tower.

Of course the production versions are all anodized, plated, and pretty. The main plates and perches are aluminum and hard anodized red. The top ring is also aluminum, and the first batch is red while future versions might be silver or black - will post up when we make that decision.

The "pointer" on the top ring is enlarged and lines up with some reference hash marks engraved in the main plate. These do not correlate to any hard-and-fast camber numbers, as camber changes depending on ride height as well as the position of the adjusters on the plates. We also added our "long reach top nut" for the Magneride version, which replaces the factory nylock nut on the strut. This was necessary to reach down inside the spherical and get enough thread engagement during assembly.

You will need to remove the strut from the car, use a spring compressor to compress the spring, and then likely use an impact (pneumatic or electric) to remove the factory top nut and top mount from the strut. Then install the Vorshlag camber plate + spring perch assembly, then our long reach top nut (Magneride strut) or the stock strut nut (non-magneride strut) and install with an impact gun (see this video for more details).

Get an alignment immediately after installation and use our recommended numbers listed above (-2.5 for street + HPDE track use or -3 to -3.5 camber for more dedicated track tires or racing). Keep the front toe at ZERO to minimize tire wear for street use or go to up to 1/8" total toe out up front for more aggressive turn in, for a track-only alignment.

Thanks for reading,

Last edited by modernbeat; 04-29-2019 at 04:44 PM.
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