Ground Control Camber/Caster PlatesWanting to do more adjustments and lower the car a little more without losing wheel travel, we installed some Ground Control Camber plates. These plates can lower a '91 to '94 Sentra or NX2000 or a '95 to '99 200SX-Sentra by about 0.5 inches with no reduction of wheel travel.
They also are adjustable in caster as well as camber. We have found running close to three degrees of positive caster helpful in getting our cars to turn in better. With positive caster, the camber tends to go more negative as the wheel is turned, which is exactly what you want. The wheel actually leans into the turn as the wheel is turned, giving you negative camber on the outside wheel, plus the camber goes toward positive on the inside wheel, just the way you want it.
The Ground Control plates are unique in that they mount on top of the shock tower. This top mounting moves the whole strut assembly upwards, lowering the car without reducing the strut's travel like adjusting the shock lower will.
Because of this top mounting, the Ground Control camber plates won't work with all strut tower braces. They worked with our Eibach strut tower brace. Shigspeed also sells an adaptor so the Ground Control plates will work with Stillen billet strut tower braces.
Another good feature of the Ground Control camber plate is it has a roller-type Torrington thrust bearing to support the vehicle's weight, taking a lot of stress off of the spherical bearing that supports the shock shaft. This feature makes the spherical bearing last several times longer than on a typical camber plate with a single spherical bearing. Usually the spherical bearing is a fast-wearing item on most camber plates.
Finally, the Ground Control plate has a conical seating surface for the upper spring seat. This allows the seat to locate itself while the steering wheel is turned and not bind or cock sidewise. This feature makes the plate quieter than other brands. Most camber plates rattle and clunk as the wheels are turned, especially when doing things like slow-speed, tight turns. The Ground Control plates are quieter than most others we've tried. Overall, we think these camber plates are the best on the market.
The world's best chassis man, Darren Nishimura of West End Alignment, set Project SE-R's camber at 2 degrees negative, caster at 3 degrees positive and toe at 1/8-inch toe out. Darren set the ride height 2.5 inches lower in the front of the car and 2 inches lower than stock in the rear.
This slight rake helps reduce aerodynamic drag and lift. We corner-balanced the car with 180 pounds in the driver's seat. This is not the best set-up for long tire life, but should work well on the road course and still be fairly reasonable for street tire wear.
If we have to do any changes from this baseline at the track, we use a digital Smart Camber camber caster gauge from True Choice and toe plates from Longacre Racing. For drag racing, we can quickly reset our camber to negative 0.25 degree and zero toe for a better launch using these tools in the pits.
If your car is set up to have a lot of suspension adjustability like ours is, then these tools can save you a lot of money and allow you to adjust your suspension to its fullest potential.
Shock MountsTo bolt the shocks in place with a minimum amount of soft rubber which can cause a small amount of undamped travel, we obtained some Shigspeed Pillow ball upper shock mounts for the rear shocks.
The Shigspeed upper shock mounts feature an all-aluminum construction, mounting the shock shaft by means of a single spherical bearing instead of a big, squishy biscuit of soft rubber. This makes every bit of suspension motion go through the damper instead of having undamped travel due to flexing of the upper mount. On some cars, this flex can be as much as 1 inch up and down-not good, considering this is uncontrolled wheel motion.