Toe-In And Toe-OutNo, we are not talking about the Hokee Pokee. Toe is the number of degrees the wheel and tire are angled on the steering axis. Toe-in is a result of the wheels being pointed toward each other; toe-out is a result of the wheels pointing away from each other. Although toe-in and toe-out are not usually affected by lowering your vehicle, the problem might occur as the result of hitting a pothole or bump in the road. Severe toe can destroy tires as well as affect traction. Most vehicles run a very slight toe-in for more precise turning, but too much can hurt handling.
Performance ShocksLike all car parts, suspension components wear over time and eventually go bad. The first parts of the suspension system to wear are the shocks. Most factory shocks can last 50,000 miles, if you drive like a grandma, but we all know few of us display such restraint. As a vehicle is lowered, the shock rod travel (stroke) is also decreased which can cause poor ride quality and dampening characteristics. The lowered stance also decreases the service life of the shocks, resulting in the untimely death of the shock. On the brighter side, some aftermarket performance shocks utilize a shorter case with a shorter rod to help retain the same pump stroke volume as the factory shock. The short-rod and short-case shock will ensure better ride quality and handling characteristics on lowered vehicles and is built to last.
Along with the short-rod and short-case technology, many aftermarket units offer adjustable dampening shocks. These units allow the owner to customize the ride quality and handling to his or her preference. At the drag strip, an adjustable unit allows the racer to dial-in the dampening forces needed for the best traction. Although adjustable units are generally more expensive than non-adjustable units, the advantages usually outweigh the costs.
ConclusionTimes have changed; racers and enthusiasts alike have acknowledged the importance of suspension tuning. Look at the big picture, weigh the consequences and make sure you take the correct steps when lowering your ride. Remember, not only can you have the look you are going after, but you can also reap the benefits that go along with it.
One of the easiest ways to correct suspension geometry and increase traction to the road is by performing a two- or four-wheel alignment. Here we see Project Boneyard Buick with the calibration equipment already mounted to the front and rear wheels. All it needs is the technician to adjust the rod ends to ensure perfect alignment.
Some vehicles are not equipped with camber adjustment, but there's no need to worry, as the aftermarket has some answers to the problem. Adjustable pillow-ball mounts and adjustable A-arms are available to correct negative and positive camber situations.
If you examine the two shocks closely, you can clearly tell the zinc-colored shock on the bottom utilizes a shorter case and rod for increased shock travel on lowered vehicles.
Some performance shocks offer adjustable dampening so the user can custom tailor their ride to his or her preference. Shocks like the Tokico Illuminas and Tanabe Sustec Pro offer adjustable dampening which can be done with a twist of a knob or screwdriver.