How to measure your camber using common tools


Rice-Rocketeer
12-17-2001, 09:49 AM
Just thought I'd repost a cheap solution to constantly having to measure camber on lowered vehicles. Originally posted by Fritz, Have fun:

There are all kinds of fancy-smancy camber measuring devices. But you can do it quite accurately with stuff every garage should already have: a ruler and a square (that steel 'L' shaped thingie.)

Put the short side of the square flat on the ground (park on a flat surface). And push the other side up against the tire. If the square touches both sidewalls, then you have 0 camber; if it only touches the top sidewall, you have positive camber; and if it only touches the bottom sidewall, you have negative camber.

Now have a friend (or a couple of bricks) hold the square in place while you go find the ruler. Use the ruler to estimate where on the square the center of the wheel is - mark this point with a pencil or some tape. Now measure 7" above this point and mark it too - now measure the distance between the edge of the wheel and this point on the square. Make sure to hold the ruler parallel to the ground (maybe even use a bubble level). Record this value. Now, measure 7" below that center point, mark it, and measure the distance to the wheel again.

Now subtract those two measurements and multiply the result by four - this is your camber in degrees. How easy is that?

Example: The upper measurement is 13/16", and the lower measurement is 1/2". Since 13/16 > 1/2, the camber is negative.
13/16" - 1/2" = 5/16" difference.
5/16 * 4 = 20/16 = 1 and 1/4 degrees of negative camber.

This is usually easier to do if you cut out a round piece of plywood to hold against the wheel - then you can just measure the distance to the square between any two points that are 14" vertically apart, and you don't have to worry about centering the square on the wheel.

Could you explain how the heck you came up with that and how do we convert that to the Metric system for the Non-US'ers???

The actual equation would be:

angle = arctan( h / l )
where h = the difference between the two measurements
and l = the vertical distance between the two measurements.

We used 1/4" = 1 degree because it's simple. Then we picked 14" because it just so happens that arctan (1/4" / 14") = 1 degree. As long as h<<l, the tangent function is reasonably linear; so we can make the approximation of just saying that:
angle = 4 * h (in inches)

To do this in metric, we need to just pick a h to represent one degree, and make sure that the required l is within reason.
If we wanted to pick 5mm for h, then l would be 286 mm.
If we wanted to pick 10mm for h, then l would be 573mm.

That's probably the best: Measure two points 57 cm vertically apart, and you get one degree of camber for every one centimeter of difference between the measurements. angle = h (in cm). :cool:

95hbMatt
12-26-2001, 08:48 PM
and to add to your post, here's a simple rear camber how-to:

http://www.geocities.com/kingmantis81/rearcamber.html

enjoy.....:D

drewgrew
03-27-2002, 07:49 PM
thanks, very helpful

MustBeDaMonkey
07-23-2002, 02:05 AM
wow, i'm impressed!

97civiclx
05-16-2003, 01:38 PM
damn i wish i would have seen this before i ordered my camber kit. but i only orderd the front so i try this on the rear and see how it goes. thanks for the post and link.

pimpnaccord
07-25-2003, 02:57 AM
Will this work on a 97 accord?

eckoman_pdx
07-30-2003, 05:58 AM
Damn, thats easy. I know what my camber is currently, but that will come in handy for my friends. Thanks for the tip:biggrin:

CivicLeader
08-03-2003, 09:57 AM
Sweet info...thanks!
CL

Grunnsetning
06-29-2009, 02:16 PM
This isnt all that accurate.
Your assuming your tire sticks out as far on the bottom as the top which isn't the case. You need to measure it with the suspension loaded. The bottom of your tire will be further out than the top from the weight of the car.

j cAT
06-30-2009, 09:45 PM
This isnt all that accurate.
Your assuming your tire sticks out as far on the bottom as the top which isn't the case. You need to measure it with the suspension loaded. The bottom of your tire will be further out than the top from the weight of the car.

this post is like 8years old ......is this guy still alive ???

I believe he was refering to the rim not tire ,,,he did say tire and obviously the tire would be bulged out on the ground...throwing this off..

I do agree that these crude tools with knowledge ..you can do a good job aligning most vehicles..

my 2000 was aligned by me in 2000 ...so far all is still good ..original tires worn at 93,ooomi///all with 65% wear all looked the same...

most alignment shops adjust with too much toe....

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