Drag racing newcomers often drop prey to the ideology that overall performance and consistency both begin plus end with the rear suspension settings and setup. After all, that’s in which the drive tires are, right? In fact, though, the rear suspension functions in direct concert with the front side shocks and springs, and what is going on up front can make or split you, whether you’re a heads-up or bracket racer. All in all, it’s all about transferring weight effectively and efficiently, and while it’s not skyrocket science, there’s much to be discovered through trial and error to balance the particular setup.
With the help of the particular gang at QA1 , we’ll work to consider some of that trial and error out of the formula to get you in the ballpark and on your path to quicker, more consistent commences.
Most drag race and performance suspensions include several shape or size of adaptable shocks as the norm. Mastering the particular shocks and springs is as defined as putting the best racing motor together yet missing on the tuneup. With input from Steve Cruz, the Lead Technical Writer designed for QA1 Top rated Suspension and Driveline , we are going to concentrate on your front suspension and supply some in-depth explanation of surprise and spring applications, along with their fine-tuning.
Stored Power In Your Front Springs Is The Key Kick off point
Before all of us get into shock tuning, let’s glance at the springs that a racer installs on the front suspension.
“Whether it be a stock-style spring, certainly one of our stock mount coilover techniques, or a true custom mount coilover shock system, your front suspension systems should be compressed by the weight from the car at 30-35-percent of that spring’s overall length, ” Smith describes.
Smith adds, “This spring compression setting baseline is crucial at placing kept energy in the front suspension motion. This energy is a big element in extending the front end of your vehicle upward on the launch. It is after that our shock adjustments may control that energy and movement. ”
We know, for instance , that the QA1 coilover spring installed in the stock subframe associated with our Project Rover first-gen Camaro has an uncompressed length of 10. 25-inches; with our ride height set as well as the full weight of the car in position, our compressed length on our springtime is 7. 25-inches. According to the springtime rate technical pages on the QA1 website, our current compression price for our front springs is twenty nine. 5-percent. The lighter spring compression setting makes sense, as the car has gone within serious front end weight reduction since buy.
“The recommended springtime rate charts on our website depend on street cars. If you’re setting up a pull race-only front suspension, you can take the particular spring recommendation from our website plus choose a spring that is one springtime rate lighter to give you more kept energy, ” Smith explains. “For example, if your car is determined to run a 450-lb. spring, you may use a slightly lighter 400-lb. springtime on your drag car to provide a lot more spring compression to aid the release. ”
With that said, the Camaro will be receiving a jump from the pair of 500- to 400-lb. suspension systems, not only to correct our current springtime compression of only 29. 5-percent but also to achieve extra stored springtime energy, since we are using this in the race-only application.
“On the other extreme of items, if you’re using too soft of the spring that allows too much compression, adjustable ride height, ” Jones continues. “I will hear a client say that their adjusting collars are usually jacked all the way up, and the vehicle is still not coming up to trip height. That’s when you understand you have too soft of a springtime. ”
Smith records, “Adjusting the vehicle to your desired trip height may leave the springtime seat collars sitting at any elevation on the shock threads. Having obtainable compression and rebound travel with ride height is more important compared to where the collars end up. ”
If you range your front end weight and select one particular spring rate softer than our own street car charts provide, you are able to verify the compression target following the spring is installed. With 30-35-percent of the spring compressed, there should be not surprising when the spring correctly does the job. – Steve Smith, QA1
Surprise Tuning Is A Matter Of Controlling Suspension Movement
Tuning the front shock rebound plus compression is a practice of statement first and then making adjustments depending upon how the car reacts. There is no magic formula just for achieving a proper shock adjustment as the car is sitting still.
“Variables such as suspension angles, overall racecar weight transfer, back suspension settings, horsepower, and rpm, can all be affected by your front side shock adjustment, ” Smith states.
With the ease of capturing video today, Smith stresses the particular adjustment of your front shocks through using a video camera. This playback is not going to let the racer review what the front of the car is doing, but also will certainly illustrate chassis flexing, side-to-side motion, and how the back tires load or unload within relationship to the front end travel.
“We are concentrating on front side suspension motion to achieve weight move to the back of the car to improve traction, ” Smith explains.
If you’re starting from scratch along with your front shock setup, QA1 suggests adjusting your front shocks towards the softer side for maximum bodyweight transfer and tightening as required after seeing how the car responds. Smith says, “Our goal would be to get maximum weight transfer without having huge wheelies at the launch. ”
“When your car roll-outs, analyze how quickly and how higher the front end comes up, ” Jones describes. “If the front end increases just enough to fully extend the suspension system and slightly pull the wheels from the racing surface, that is your own optimum weight transfer. ”
At any point in your videos, in case you view an abrupt change within the rear suspension movement or at the sidewall “wrinkle” pattern of your slicks, rewind your video and see what the front suspension is doing in that precise moment.
Rebound Adjustment Basics
If the front end goes up too quickly, you can harshly top the front suspension movement and result in your rear slicks to sell. By carefully watching your operates, especially in slow motion, it is essential to see the rear tires, as well.
“To achieve proper shock come back, also called ‘extension’ by various surprise manufacturers, you will adjust the rate associated with motion to get a desired front end increase, ” Smith instructs. “If front side end is wheelstanding or increasing too quickly, you need to stiffen the surprise rebound at the adjusting knob in order to slow the rate of rise. ”
Compression Realignment Basics
“The goal of adjusting the data compresion side of your shocks is to build a proper settling of the front end adopting the launch, ” Smith stresses. “If your shock settings are appropriate, the car will set the front wheels down gently and slowly always settle down the ride height because the car continues to accelerate down the monitor. ”
As the car continues to accelerate over the track, it should not settle in order to ride height immediately. You should expand the weight transfer to the rear auto tires at a lesser rate as the vehicle continues on your pass.
If your front compression settings are very soft, the car will come down to world too quickly, thus letting the front finish bottom-out the front suspension or even create a bouncing effect following the launch.
Soft compression setting could be a big problem, as it causes the trunk suspension to unload as the bodyweight transfer drastically changes from the front bottoming-out.
“If your front shocks are arranged with too stiff of a compression setting adjustment, it will force the auto tires to strike the racing surface area when they come back in contact from a wheelstand, as opposed to gently settling down, ” Smith adds. “This creates exactly the same unloading effect on your weight transfer as being a soft setting allows your front side suspension to bottom out. A lot of instances of tire-shake or spinning would be the effect of your weight transfer jumping close to with a poorly adjusted front suspension system motion. ”
Making The Adjustments
With 18 settings among soft and hard shock valving, the QA1 chart for single-adjustable front shocks advises beginning on 0 to 6 clicks clockwise from the softest or “-” placement on your front shock adjusting button.
The adjustability benefits of a double-adjustable shock are highlighted by QA1’s recommendation to begin with twelve to 16 clicks from the most comfortable setting with the compression valving plus 0 to 4 clicks using the rebound.
Many educated racers will soften or tighten up their shocks with a “two-click” technique: as you adjust the settings firmer or softer, adjust in two-click steps — then, fine-tune along with single clicks as you get near to an optimum setting.
“If you can not control your front end travel using these steps, the car may have other complications, ” Smith says. “There a few theories about tuning shocks through side-to-side to compensate for torque plus steering motion — I deal that if you need any adjustment more than four-clicks from side to side, you likely possess other chassis problems to address. ”
Clicks In order to Win
Whether or not you’re fine-tuning your front shock absorbers and springs for consistency or even all-out performance gains, all these modification theories hold true to get the most from your own racecar based on the motion of your front side suspension.
Smith’s last point seemed best to finish these types of fundamentals on spring and surprise tuning.
“My general pitch with anything to do along with suspension on a drag car is the fact that what works for the guy in the pits next to you doesn’t mean everything to your car. You must get the correct springtime and shock setup to begin with, arranged your base settings, and alter based on how the car reacts from there. ”