Caster, camber, toe

Pointed the Right Way

Camber, Caster and Toe: What Do They Mean?

The three major alignment parameters on a car are toe, camber, and caster. Most enthusiasts have a good understanding of what these settings are and what they involve, but many may not know why a particular setting is called for, or how it affects performance. Let’s take a quick look at this basic aspect of suspension tuning.

End of an era

The gold 1992 BMW 325i sedan is no more. State Farm has declared it a total loss after a front-end altercation in a parking lot (no-fault accident).

I bought this car in March 2005 with 172,000 miles. As of December 2006 it has 233,400 miles, still on the same engine, transmission, clutch, etc. That’s 61,400 miles in 20 months, or almost exactly 100 miles per day average.

It made two appearances on track — Talladega Gran Prix (TGPR) and Barber Motorsports Park, and three trips to Deal’s Gap (Tail of the Dragon). I’ve salvaged the suspension (Bilstein Sports/BavAuto springs) to reuse on the next car, along with my personal additions.


Accident damage

BMW E36 Links

These are mainly for my own reference, as I’m at work and won’t have these bookmarks when I get home to work on the car. I bought another BMW today, same as the one I already have — a 1992 E36 325i sedan, 5 speed manual with 201,000 miles in decent condition. Definitely needs some attention, but that’s what this is for.

Installing a Valentine One Radar Detector
E36 electric window fix
E36 back seat removal
Other guides
Installing gauge cluster trim rings

Live from the BMW Performance Center, Spartanburg, SC

7:50am – Got in around 7:30pm ET yesterday, 6h 15m drive from Pulaski to Greer, SC. Terrible traffic in Atlanta. Got a good night of sleep, woke up early. About to leave hotel and head to the Performance Center. Updates to follow.

4:45pm – Back at the hotel. Activities today included slalom course, ABS braking exercise, skidpad, another slalom, oval skidpad/mini-race, powerslides, and timed autocross. I had the best autox single run time, but only by a couple tenths. I’m exhausted.

Morning started out slow, classroom session was overly simplistic and nothing new (define apex, etc.) and the first few exercises were easy, but looking back built up both confidence in the car and set some benchmarks for the rest of the day. I’m the youngest in the group by quite a few years. Many in the class don’t even own BMWs. One of the instructors does WERA road racing. Going to get dinner and get some sleep. More tomorrow.

Day 2: Wow! Delayed posting this, I’m back at work, but what an awesome time. Due to special circumstances, we got bumped up to M3s from the 330is we drove on day 1. Amazing cars, and I may be convinced on SMG now. More slalom, skidpad, emergency braking, emergency lane change, just at faster speeds. Also more autox. Then we got to test-drive the Z4M Roadster, M5, M6, 760Li, 650Ci, and X5 4.8L on the autox course. After that we took the X5s out to the off-road course for a bit of fun.
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“Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” -Benjamin Franklin (attr)

Numquam ponenda est pluritas sine necessitate.

People should not fear their government. Governments should fear their people.

“I think we risk becoming the best informed society that has ever died of ignorance.” -Reuben Blades

“Government is not the solution to our problem. Government is the problem.” -Ronald Reagan

“I don’t believe in a government that protects us from ourselves.” -Ronald Reagan


I went with my grandfather today to check out the popcorn crop. We met with Charles Johnson, writer/editor for The Furrow magazine (published by John Deere) and he interviewed us about the popcorn and how its grown, etc.

The crop is going to be lean this year, which isn’t good, but considering how dry this summer has been it could be worse.

Merritt-Pop 2006

Merritt Popcorn Company

BMW Performance Driving School


So it looks like I’m going to the BMW Performance Driving School on September 15-16 (tentative, date subject to change).

I think this will be a bit low-key: emphasis on car control, maybe a bit of skidpad. Not really an advanced track school or anything, but hey, its a(n expensive) freebie.

This is in Spartanburg, SC at the BMW Performance Center. I may try to work in a drive through Deal’s Gap on the way there or back. Or I may decide to fly and skip the 8 hour drive there & back.

Update Dates confirmed, hotel reservation made.

Little of this, little of that.

Some cool stuff I’ve found lately:

· RumbleStripRadio: a motorcycle racing podcast, covers MotoGP, WSBK, AMA…
· MotoGPod: another, focus on MotoGP
· Rossi Files: blog of Valentino Rossi news, etc.

Some of you know I recently got a used Powerbook G4. So far, I love it. Here are some Apple links.

· Applepedia: Like Wikipedia, but for Apple/Mac stuff.
· VersionTracker: software repository

The pictures are posted from our trip to The Porsche 250 at Barber Motorsports Park. And if you missed it, my album is still online from the AMA Superbike round at Barber back in April.

Barber Motorsports – AMA Superbike – 2006
Barber 2006 – The Porsche 250

The AMA Superbike album also has pictures from the awesome museum there. Check it out!