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From digest.v6.n296 Fri Feb 28 17:33:13 1997
From: "Carl Buckland" <>
Date: Fri, 28 Feb 1997 12:28:15 +0000
Subject: Ground Control Camber Plates

For those of you with E36 M3's, who are seeking a suspension that will suit you for both street and race use, but with a race bias:

I have ordered the Ground Control camber/caster plates to install on my E36 M3. They are said to be precision made of billet aluminum, are easily adjustable for 0 to -4.5 deg neg camber, and allow for as radical of caster settings as one might want to try.

I have heretofore been getting my neg camber from shims, which are not legal in SCCA, are not easily "adjustable", and may not be safe (the strut bolts and the king pins are stressed). I am sure that the plates will work, but I am concerned that by completely replacing the stock strut mounts (no more rubber in the connection) I will experience more road noise and roughness than I would want with my race AND street car. I am optomistc that the downside will be far outweighed by the potential improvement in the car's setup.

Mark asks...

> From:
> Date: Fri, 28 Feb 1997 00:02:50 -0500 (EST) > To: > Subject: Re: Ground Control Camber Plates

> In a message dated 97-02-27 20:44:44 EST, you write:
> << I am worried about rough ride and
> road noise, >>
> You've mentioned this twice without stating why. I'm assuming they
> must be spherical bearings. I've used these before on other
> vehicles, I couldn't really tell a roughened ride change, but NVH
> was increased.
> Mark


You guys (anybody under 49) and your computer emoticons and other computereze---WTH (what the hell) is "NVH"?

Yes , they apparently have sph bearings, but nevertheless, they are metal-to-metal. The strut bearings (rubber) are removed. This is not the case of the simpler camber plates, like Dinan's. The road noise that will result is obvious. The roughness "may" result from the more direct contact between suspension and strut housing. TC Kline tells me that for any spring in excess of about 450 lbs, the innitial suspension travel comes from the give in the strut bearing. Removing the rubber will give me a direct relationship with the springs themselves. This is not, of course, necessarily bad, and may make the car that much more sensitive to imputs, better feel, etc. Moreover, the adjustability of camber (from 0 to -4.5 degs) and caster, combined with the more direct connection between the road and the driver's butt, could result in easier setup and better handling. Again, my concern is not whether the plates will work, for I am sure that they will, but rather their use will render my car too rough to use as a daily driver.

The Ground Control camber/caster plates change ride height, and either require shorter springs, or better, adjustable coilovers. I am using the H&R coilover system.

Roland Graef, from H&R Springs, has provided me with an array of race springs and tender springs with which to experiment. The tender springs, which are an interesting topic for another article, may help the car remain streetable, and may aid in smoother turn in, even with the use of relatively stiff springs. Softer tender springs, which completely compress under static body weight, act mearly as "expandable spacers," whereas increasingly stiffer tender springs will actually participate in the innitial weight loading, such as at the point of turn in. I will start out with my current, 456 (80 Neuton) springs, then go to 515 (90 N), and finally to 570 (100 N). H&R is also sending me some specially valved strut inserts, that are designed to work with springs in the higher weight range (456 to 800 lbs, progressive). My rear springs are proportionately weighted.

My comment that I am concerned that it may be "too rough" expresses a reasonable prospect. Only T&E (see, I can do it too) will tell.

I am obviously optomistic that the road noise and roughness will be within tolerable limits, or I wouldn't be trying it. A lot of work, and it isn't cheap. Further, if it *works*, but is too rough and noisy, I can always use them for blocks of time when there are events, and then go back to a kinder, gentler time when racing is not a priority.

Ground Control is a race shop in Rancho Cordova, Ca. 1-916-638-0220. Bo, Jay and others there definitely seem to know what they are talking about, and are looking foreward to feedback. I will be installing the plates next week, and racing with them on March 15-16. I will report back.

"I don't think that a car can BE too rough riding, but one has to work up to it in stages" (in answer to a recent question, "With all the mods on your car's suspension, isn't it getting kind of rough riding?")

Carl Buckland
Salt Lake City, Utah
E36 M3, #27, CSP

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