First, we must define the requirements of a well-designed upper strut mount. What goals must be met that lead to installing caster/camber plates?:
- It must allow the range of motion required for the suspension to move through any bumps and turns encountered.
- It must be capable of regaining the suspension travel lost at a lower ride height.
- It must have the adjustment capability to allow alignment of the front-end to the desired settings, and then maintain those settings under all conditions, both on the street and on the track.
The original factory strut mount does not do well in meeting any of these requirements. The original mount uses rubber to retain the strut, and does not allow free articulation. It does not provide enough range of adjustment to achieve an acceptable alignment on a lowered Mustang, let alone one destined for the track, and it is incapable of maintaining an alignment when dynamically loaded. Furthermore, the original mount is not capable of regaining any suspension travel on a lowered vehicle.
The MM Caster/Camber Plates meet and exceed all of the requirements for a well-designed upper strut mount. A spherical bearing allows full, unrestrained articulation of the strut without inducing bending loads on the shaft. The alignment can be adjusted over a much wider range, easily accommodating both street and track alignment settings. The stiffness of the steel caster/camber plate with spherical bearing system maintains the static and dynamic alignment settings. It also allows adjustment of the strut shaft height, relative to the strut tower, to regain bump travel if the car has been lowered. Regaining lost suspension travel will improve both performance and ride comfort.
Static Alignment, Dynamic Alignment, and Tire Wear
A static alignment is what you get at your local alignment shop. Obtaining a proper static alignment can be a challenge even on an unmodified car, as some Mustangs have too much negative camber as they came from the factory, even at stock ride height. Once a Mustang is lowered, the negative camber will increase and it may be impossible to achieve a proper alignment using the factory parts.
Too much negative camber will wear the inside edges of the tires and too much positive camber will wear the outside edges of the tires. Even cars that are never driven aggressively need the correct alignment in order for the car to feel stable and to get the most life from a set of tires. The MM Caster/Camber Plates provide the adjustment range needed to set the camber to stock specifications, regardless of ride height. They also provide a means of adjusting caster, something that was not designed to be adjustable on the Mustang as it came from the factory. Having the ability to adjust caster allows for the accommodation of individual vehicle irregularities, as well as a means to improve performance.
Dynamic alignment accuracy refers to the ability of a Mustang to maintain its static alignment settings during hard cornering. This accuracy is impossible with the stock rubber strut mounts because they deflect, allowing the camber and caster settings to fluctuate, which in turn causes the effective toe setting to change. Any time the effective toe setting changes it creates a steering input which is not coming from the driver. When engineering the MM Caster/Camber Plates, we discovered that the only design that allows the necessary strut top movement is a spherical bearing. The only desired movement is a strut top that swivels without moving side to side, while the strut bottom is also allowed to move in an arc.
Achieving high performance handling requires alignment settings different from the factory specifications. When cornering, body roll causes an increase in positive camber, which pulls up the inside edge of the front outside tire, reducing the effective size of the tire's footprint. Adjusting the static camber setting towards more negative will counter this effect, and maximize the size of the tire footprint on the ground. For example, if a Mustang is aligned to have 1 degree of static negative camber, and the camber moves 3 degrees due to body roll, the result is 2 degrees of dynamic positive camber. If the car is then aligned to have 3 degrees of static negative camber, it will end up with 0 degrees of dynamic camber - resulting in a larger tire footprint.
Due to the steering geometry at the front of the Mustang, simply turning the steering wheel will cause the camber of the outside front tire to change, to becoming more positive. This effect can be countered by increasing the amount of caster. Adjusting in enough positive caster will cause the camber of the outside front tire to become more negative while cornering, increasing the tire's footprint.
Maximum Motorsports Caster/Camber Plates are unique
- The MM Caster/Camber Plates are double adjustable. They have separate adjusting slots to change caster and camber, independent of one another. One can be adjusted without affecting the other.
- The all steel construction of the MM Caster/Camber plate is thinner than aluminum and allows for more bump travel and hood clearance.
- The MM Caster/Camber Plates have double the range of camber adjustment, compared to stock.
- Caster adjustment is not limited by the design of the plate, but rather by the physical limitations of the strut tower.
- A spherical bearing accommodates the required motion without binding. Urethane binds and puts a bending load on the top of the strut shaft, which may cause the strut top to break.
- The spherical bearing also provides a non-deflecting strut mount. With the absence of deflection, steering response is improved, enhancing performance.
- Progressive rate urethane bump stops soften the impact when the suspension bottoms out.
- Retains the use of the factory dust cover, in non coil-over applications.
- Finished with durable powdercoating or triple-plated chrome, for great looks and long lasting protection.
- The plates are spaced above the strut tower to allow the greatest increase in suspension travel possible for lowered cars.
- Suitable for use with coil-over conversion kits.
- The use of high alloy steel and top quality spherical bearings allows us to offer a warranty.
Patented '4-Bolt' MM Caster/Camber Plates for 1994-2004 cars!
Our patented '4-bolt' configuration utilizes 4 bolts to evenly spread the load into the car's strut tower. With this design, there is little chance of strut tower damage or plate bending from hard impacts. It also offers the most bump travel possible. How did this unique design come about? The MM Engineering Team designed the new 4-bolt MM Caster/Camber plates by thinking outside of the box; the triangular box that everyone else was stuck in.
The stock upper strut mount configuration of 1994-04 Mustangs places the strut shaft outside of the triangle formed by the three original mounting bolts. A 3-bolt main plate will overload the rear bolt and may bend the strut tower. Our 4-bolt mounting to the strut tower places the strut shaft inside the square formed by the four mounting bolts. This evenly distributes the suspension loads into the strut tower.
Our latest patented '4-bolt' design is the toughest ever! All MM Caster/Camber Plates now have a lifetime warranty against spherical bearing failure and plate bending. That's right - If you wear it out, bend it or break it while driving, we will replace that component for free. This warranty applies to the original retail purchaser of all genuine MM Caster/Camber Plates purchased after January of 2003.
Counterfeit MM Caster/Camber Plate Warning
A former MM dealer has sold counterfeit MM Caster/Camber Plates. This dealer blatantly made counterfeit copies of Maximum Motorsports Caster/Camber Plates. These poorly made copies are intended to defraud the consumer into believing they are buying Maximum Motorsports Caster/Camber Plates. If you purchase from a retailer other than Maximum Motorsports, be sure to insist on the latest patented '4-bolt' MM Caster/Camber Plates. Look for the 4-bolt bearing plate on top of a 4-bolt main plate. If it's not a '4-bolt' plate, it's not good enough for your Mustang.
A brief history of Mustang camber plates
When Maximum Motorsports designed our first double-adjustable caster/camber plates in 1992, there were only two companies offering aftermarket upper strut mounts for 1979+ Mustangs. The term "caster/camber plate" had not yet been coined, because the existing aftermarket parts were simply called "camber plates". Those camber plates did not allow independent adjustment of caster and camber.
One of the companies made upper strut mounts with a fixed caster setting, that had two sets of fixed holes to change the stock range of camber adjustment, for street and race settings. The other company's design allowed caster adjustment only, with different main plates (street & race) available, to shift the stock range of camber adjustment. The MM-designed double-adjustable caster/camber plates (yes, we coined the term) filled a void in performance tuning by providing Mustang owners with the ability to do a high performance alignment on their cars. Caster could be greatly increased over the stock setting, and camber could be easily, and independently, adjusted for any driving situation, from mild street driving to all-out road racing.
In the years after the innovative MM Caster/Camber Plates were introduced, many others have tried to copy our design. Some imitated only the basic concept of a double-adjustable plate, while others have made as close of a copy as their limited abilities would allow, sometimes even counterfeiting MM logo stickers. MM's unique double-adjustable design has become the industry standard by which all others are judged. The other companies who have tried to copy our products fail to provide the features and quality of an MM Caster/Camber Plate. The subtle nuances of design escape them, and they end up with an inferior product. For example, many fail to realize the subtle, yet very distinct differences in the strut tops between 1979-89 Mustangs and the 1990-93 Mustangs. Some even try to get away with a cheap universal fits-all (actually a doesn't-fit-anything-correctly) design.
As we again demonstrated with our 4-bolt Caster/Camber Plates for the 1994-04 Mustang, MM's engineers think outside the box. We lead the way in creating innovative solutions to improve the performance of the Ford Mustang. MM's unique double-adjustable C/C Plate design is the industry standard by which all others are judged.