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Practical Corner Weighting: Measuring and Adjusting Ride Height

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Measuring and Adjusting Ride Height

03.11

00:00 - As you'll have learned throughout this course so far, adjusting ride height is one of the main ways we can transfer weight around the car, so it stands to reason that you're going to be making frequent adjustments.
00:10 Making these adjustments isn't too difficult however you'll need some basic tools in order to make the adjustments and track your changes.
00:17 Firstly, the essentials will of course be a car jack to life the car and a jack stand to support the car safely while you're working on it.
00:24 In most instances, you'll also need to remove the wheel in order to access the spring assembly so that you can actually make the ride height change.
00:32 The most common way of making the ride height change will be by moving the lower spring perch and this will require a set of C spanners to allow you to make changes without damaging the locking collars.
00:43 Most suspension manufacturers will include a set of C spanners with the coilover purchase.
00:48 Next up you're obviously going to need to track the changes you're making to the ride height and there's actually a few options when it comes to this.
00:56 While of course you can measure the car's ride height directly, personally I prefer to track the ride height changes directly on the coilover body using a stainless steel ruler to measure how much I'm moving the spring perch.
01:09 We need to understand if you're using this technique however that raising the spring perch by let's say 5 mm, may not translate directly to a 5 mm change in ride height.
01:20 This is because many suspension designs provide what's referred to as a motion ratio.
01:25 What this means is that for example with a multi link style rear suspension where the damper and spring are mounted halfway along the lower control arm, there will be a motion ratio of approximately 2:1 or in other words, we make a ride height change of 2 mm at the spring, the actually ride height change will be affected by double this, or 4 mm.
01:47 While this technique provides an easy and accurate way of tracking your changes, you may also need to measure the actual ride height of the car in order to make sure you're not running below a minimum ride height for your class.
01:59 The actual location used to measure the ride height of the car will vary from car to car and will be defined in your rules if you do have a minimum ride height.
02:08 If you don't have any minimum ride height rules then you've got a little bit more freedom as to where to take your measurements.
02:14 A sensible location would be between the ground and the sills of the car.
02:18 There are special ride height measuring gauges that you can purchase exactly for this task or alternatively a measuring tape can usually be used to good effect.
02:29 My personal preference when measuring ride height is to measure between the centre of the wheel and the lip of the guard or fender at each corner of the car.
02:37 Depending on the wheel offset and the relationship between the wheel rim and the guard lip, you can also make your measurement directly from the lip of the rim to the guard.
02:46 I find that this is usually a quick simple and accurate way of defining the ride height of the car however it doesn't do much to tell you how high off the ground the chassis is.