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Each hyperlinked question below takes you to the answered question further down the page.

What is a camber plate?

  • "Camber plate" is the generic term used to describe the upper mount for a MacPherson strut that attaches the strut to the chassis. The word "camber" implies that a specific mount provides a means to adjust the camber setting of the front wheel.
  • Ford has had several design generations of the stock Mustang upper strut mount.
  • The various stock 1979-04 Mustang strut mounts offered a small range of camber adjustment, but no provision for caster adjustment.
  • The 2005 to 2014 stock Mustang strut mounts have no provision for adjustments.

Is a "caster/camber plate" something different?

  • MM coined this term in the early 1990s to effectively describe our newly designed Mustang upper strut mounts that offered adjustment for both camber and caster. These were the first double-adjustable strut mounts for late model Mustangs.

What does a caster/camber plate do?

  • MM caster/camber plates allow the top of the strut to be moved fore/aft and side to side. Those are the movements required to adjust camber and caster. Some manufacturer's plates only provide adjustment for camber, and some plates only provide adjustment for caster. These adjustments are done as part of a front end alignment.
  • The MM plates for 1979-04 Mustangs provide a much greater range of camber adjustment than the stock upper strut mounts allow. The extended range is needed to align lowered Mustangs, or provide camber settings suitable for open-tracking.
  • The stock late model Mustang upper strut mounts have no provision for caster adjustment. The MM caster/camber plates provide a means to adjust caster
  • The design of the MM plates and bumpstop increase bump travel by over 1" on the 1979-04 model years, which is very beneficial on a lowered Mustang.
  • In most cases, the MM caster/camber plates allow adjusting the position of the strut shaft up or down relative to the plate. This feature allows adjustments to increase either bump travel or droop travel.
  • The MM caster/camber plates use a spherical bearing instead of rubber, like the OEM strut mount uses. The spherical bearing does not deflect under load, as the stock rubber does. Rubber allows the dynamic alignment to change in unwanted directions while driving, which adversely affects handling.

Why would I want to adjust camber?

  • Even on a completely stock Mustang, camber may need to be adjusted to achieve proper alignment. An incorrect camber setting can lead to uneven tire wear.
  • When a Mustang is lowered, the ride height change causes the camber to become more negative. Being able to adjust camber allows setting it for best tire wear.
  • When cornering, the outside front tire traction can be increased with more negative camber. Increased front grip allows a higher cornering speed.
  • The stock Mustang camber settings are optimal for an average driver and driving conditions, as determined by Ford. If you are more interested in vehicle performance, then they are probably not optimal for you.

Why would I want to adjust caster?

  • A difference in the caster setting from one side of the car to the other will cause the car to pull (self-steer) towards the side with less positive caster. Being able to adjust caster allows correcting that problem. Tolerances between many different parts can create a significant caster split between the left and right side of the car, even on a stock, unmodified Mustang..
  • Increasing the amount of positive caster over the stock amount provides a handling benefit. If the caster can be adjusted far enough positive, the negative camber of the outside front tire in a corner will "increase" (become more negative). The amount of negative camber will increase only when the tire is steered into the corner, which is when the extra camber is most needed to increase front tire grip.
  • Increasing the amount of positive caster will improve straight-line stability. It causes the steering to return to center more easily and quickly. It increases steering effort slightly, which aids straight-line stability. This is very beneficial on the drag strip.

Why do I need camber plates?

  • Whatever your driving situation is, whether a daily-driven Mustang, drag racing, autocrossing, open-tracking, or road racing, caster/camber plates allow you to align the front of your car to your desired settings.
  • When you lower your Mustang it is usually necessary to use camber plates to get the alignment back within factory specifications, to ensure best tire life. Any available stock adjustment is rarely enough to allow aligning a Mustang to factory specifications.
  • Any type of driving can be enhanced by having camber settings adjusted to best suit your car and driving habits. Luckily, the best camber setting will deliver both the best performance and the most even tire wear.
  • Camber plates allow aligning your street-driven Mustang for autocrossing or open-tracking, and then back to your street setting for best tire wear.
  • Caster/camber plates have a much wider range of adjustment than any stock upper strut mount allows. Therefore, you may adjust your alignment far beyond what the factory parts would allow, and also or back to stock on a lowered Mustang.
  • On lowered 1979-04 Mustangs, MM caster camber plates will allow the suspension to regain lost bump travel, resulting in better ride quality.

What's wrong with my stock upper strut mount?

  • The original mount uses rubber to retain the strut. Ford uses rubber to reduce NVH (noise, vibration, harshness). Rubber deflects, and is incapable of maintaining the alignment when dynamically loaded. That is not good a good characteristic for a high performance car.
  • The original mount does not provide enough range of adjustment to achieve an acceptable alignment on a lowered Mustang, let alone one destined for the track.
  • The original mount is not capable of being adjusted to regain suspension travel on a lowered Mustang.

I am going to be lowering my Mustang. Do I really need caster/camber plates?

  • In a word - yes. After lowering your Mustang, you will need to have an alignment done. Typically, there is not enough range of adjustment in the stock upper strut mount to achieve a correct alignment on a lowered car, which will result in poor tire wear and handling. MM Caster/Camber Plates provide a much wider range of adjustment than the stock upper strut mount, which makes a proper alignment possible. Additionally, MM Caster/Camber Plates add 1" of bump travel, which regains some of the suspension travel lost on lowered cars.

Do caster/camber plates cause noise?

  • No. MM Caster/Camber plates themselves do not cause any noise.
  • They do transmit other suspension and brake related noises more readily than the stock rubber-bushed upper strut mount. Ford used rubber to reduce NVH, so replacing rubber with a spherical bearing will increase NVH. In this application, most people do not notice any change in noise, and very few people notice any additional vibration or harshness. You may notice a slight increase in road noise from the tires, and slightly increased noise from the brakes.
  • Installing tires with a lower profile than stock tires causes a greater change in NVH than installing MM caster/Camber Plates does.
  • The slight change in NVH is a change in noise transmitted through the camber plate. In some cases, the rubber upper strut mount masked noise from rattling brake pads, bad wheel bearings, etc., and the noise became noticeable only after installation of the camber plates. That does not indicate of a problem with the camber plate bearing.

Why does MM use a spherical bearing instead of a urethane bushing?

  • A spherical bearing allows the motion required for the strut to move with suspension travel and steering input.
  • As the suspension compresses and rebounds the angle of the strut relative to the chassis changes. A spherical bearing is designed to allow a change in angularity while also precisely locating the strut shaft. A urethane bushing must compress and deflect to allow the angle to change. That deflection means the strut shaft is not precisely located.
  • As the car is steered the angle of the strut relative to the chassis changes because the steering axis is not the same as the strut axis. As stated previously, a urethane bushing must compress and deflect to allow the angle to change.
  • The urethane does not easily deflect, that causes binding of the strut shaft (prevents the angularity from changing freely), which in turn puits a bending load on the top of the strut shaft. The hollow strut shafts used with adjustable struts have been known to break off from this load.
  • Urethane strut bushings do not provide enough support for a coil-over conversion.

Will MM camber plates work with any struts?

  • Yes, as long as the struts are listed as being a direct replacement for the appropriate Mustang application.

Why does the year of my car matter when ordering camber plates?

  • It matters because Ford changed certain aspects of the upper strut mounts in specific years. MM offers camber plates for all 1979-2014 Mustangs (five different plates cover those years), plus versions for special applications such as Thunderbirds.

Will MM camber plates work with a coil-over conversion?

  • Yes. MM caster/camber plates are specifically designed to support the loads of a coil-over conversion.
  • We use a high-grade alloy steel, rather than aluminum or mild steel, to ensure enough strength for coil-overs.
  • SN95 c/c plates have are designed to require adding a fourth bolt to the stock three bolt upper strut design. That places the strut shaft inside the rectangle formed by the four bolts, ensuring maximum strength for coil-overs.
  • Fox chassis c/c plates do not require a fourth bolt because the strut shaft is always inside the triangle formed by the stock strut mount attachment bolts, and is therefore suitable for coil-overs.

Is any drilling or cutting required for installation?

  • Drilling depends upon the model year. No model year (1979-2014) requires any cutting.
  • 1979-93 (Fox) Mustangs do not require any drilling for installation.
  • 1994-04 (SN95) Mustangs require that one hole be drilled on each strut tower.
  • 2005-14 (S197) Mustangs do not require any drilling for installation.

Should I lubricate the spherical bearings?

  • No. The spherical bearings are lined with Teflon for low friction movement and elimination of unwanted looseness.
  • Lubricating the spherical bearings will attract dirt into the bearing, damaging the Teflon.
  • Lubricating the spherical bearings will void any MM warranty on the c/c plates.

Why does Maximum Motorsports include such a large selection of strut shaft spacers with your Caster/Camber Plates? Other companies use 1 or 2 spacers, which seems simpler.

  • We opted for a multiple-spacer design to allow adjustment to achieve the maximum amount of bump travel possible when using a Bilstein or MM monotube strut that has an internal bumpstop.
  • Lowering a Mustang reduces the available amount of bump travel; spacing the strut shaft up will regain the precious bump travel lost from lowering. More bump travel provides better ride quality and better handling performance.
  • A large variety of spacers allows easy and precise adjustment of the height of your strut shaft relative to the Caster/Camber Plate.
  • For a Mustang at stock ride height, or lowered a moderate amount, the strut shaft should be set close to the original factory height to ensure the full range of suspension travel.
  • For a Mustang lowered an extreme amount, the strut shaft should be raised relative to the Caster/Camber Plate to ensure the damper's piston will never bottom inside the strut housing.
  • On Mustang Coil-over applications, a selection of strut shaft spacers is necessary to properly adjust the upper spring perch. It is critical that the upper spring perch is positioned as high as possible for maximum bump travel, but not so high that it can contact the bottom of the strut tower.

Why don't the factory Mustang dust boots and the MM bump stops you provide with your Caster/Camber Plates fit Bilstein or MM struts?

  • Those struts are an inverted monotube design, unlike nearly all other brands of struts. The strut shaft of an inverted monotube is much larger in diameter than a conventional strut, and therefore our polyurethane bump stop will not fit.
  • Since the Bilstein and MM monotube struts have an internal bumpstop, an external bumpstop is not required. Aftermarket Bilstein struts (not the OEM Ford Cobra replacements) come with a dust boot, therefore the original Mustang dust boot is not used.

Why are Maximum Motorsports Caster/Camber Plates spaced above the strut tower?

  • MM Caster/Camber plates are spaced above the strut tower in order to maximize bump travel. By spacing the plate above the strut tower, the strut rod and piston can be moved up, relative to the strut housing.
  • When using an inverted monotube strut (such Bilstein, or MM) that has an internal bumpstop, the amount of bump travel is increased in direct proportion to the distance the strut shaft is raised.
  • With a conventional strut design, the external bumpstop thrusts on the bottom of the raised C/C plate, so the amount of bump travel is increased in proportion to the amount that the C/C plate is raised. Caster/camber Plates that are not spaced above the strut tower will not provide the benefit of increased bump travel.

Why doesn't Maximum Motorsports make Caster/Camber Plates from aluminum?

  • Caster/Camber Plates made from aluminum must be much thicker than those made from steel because of the difference in strength and fatigue life between the two materials. The bottom surface of an aluminum Caster/Camber plate cannot be spaced as high above the strut tower without the top of the thick plate causing hood clearance problems. That will unnecessarily reduce the available bump travel. MM uses a high-grade alloy steel that allows our plates to be thin enough to be spaced above the strut tower, providing the best hood clearance possible.

What should I set my alignment to?

  • You can always simply adjust the alignment to Ford's specification for your model year Mustang.
  • For improved performance, there are several deviations from the factory settings that will provide a benefit.
  • Increasing negative camber will keep the tire footprint flatter on the ground during cornering, which will increase front grip.
  • Increasing positive caster will increase negative camber on the outside tire when it is steered into a corner. That counteracts the loss of negative camber caused by body roll.
  • For improved performance when autocrossing or open-tracking, setting the toe to toe-out rather than tie-in will improve turn-in response and reduce understeer.
  • Setting the alignment for a track-driven Mustang is often done by trial and error. Camber and toe settings are often changed from one track to the next, and even from one track session to the next.
  • Lowered Mustangs that are only street-driven usually have camber and toe set to stock or near-stock settings. Caster for all applications is usually set to an amount greater than stock.

If I adjust my Mustang's camber for autocrossing or open tracking, do I need to also readjust the toe setting?

  • Yes
  • Any adjustment to camber will cause the toe setting to change. For example, if you adjusted your normal street setting of .75 degrees negative to a setting of 2.5 degrees negative, the toe setting will change, moving in the toe-out direction. This toe change is due to the inward movement of the top of the strut when negative camber is increased. Since the tie rod length remains constant, and the relative position of the spindle is moved inward, the tire toes out.

Why doesn't my Fox chassis Mustang require 4-bolt Caster/Camber plates?

  • The 1979-93 Mustang Caster/Camber Plates only require three bolts because the strut shaft top is captured inside a triangle formed by these three bolts (as viewed from the top). This means each bolt carries a portion of the vertical strut load and the plate is in fixed bending (loaded in the middle, supported by the three bolts).
  • On 1994-04 Mustangs, the OEM strut shaft top is outside of the triangle formed by the three factory mounting bolts. This means that two bolts carry the majority of the vertical strut load. Upon installation of a caster/camber plate, and with camber and/or caster adjusted as is typical of a lowered mustang, the plate is in cantilevered bending. The plate, and the Mustang's strut tower, are much more likely to bend.
  • To ensure a robust caster/camber plate design, MM invented the 4-bolt plate. By adding a 4th mounting bolt to the main plate, the strut top is now always captured inside the square formed by the four mounting bolts. Now the vertical strut load is shared between all four bolts, so the Caster/Camber plate and your Mustang's strut tower will not bend.
  • Therefore, the 3-bolt Fox chassis plates are just as robust as the 4-bolt SN95 plates.

My Mustang is an SN95 chassis. What is meant by "positive" and "negative" orientation of Maximum Motorsports MMCC9994 caster/camber plates?

  • The names for the two different bearing plate orientations refer to the effect they will have on the camber adjustment range. Having the plates installed in the positive orientation does not mean the tires will have positive camber. It simply means that the range of adjustment allows for the most positive settings possible (least negative camber). Having the bearing plates installed in the negative orientation means the range of adjustment allows for the most negative settings possible.
  • For Mustangs driven on the street, where too much negative camber can cause excessive tire wear, the positive orientation will allow for the least negative range of adjustment possible. This will allow setting camber to keep tire wear to a minimum, and minimize steering wandering from "camber thrust. Even in the positive orientation, the MM Caster/Camber plates will usually allow the camber setting to be as much as one degree negative.
  • Mustangs used for open-tracking and autocrossing will nearly always have the bearing plates in the negative orientation, as they rarely have camber set to as little as one degree.

Why have "Positive" and "Negative" reversible Bearing orientation? Why not make the slots longer and get all the adjustment with one orientation?

  • The MM design allows reversing the bearing orientation (changing the position from "positive" to "negative"), which doubles the adjustment range for the given slot length.
  • There is a limit to how long of a slot can be put in a camber plate and have everything still fit the strut tower of a Mustang. Our camber adjustment slots are 1.1" long, so when the orientation is reversed the slots are effectively 2.2" long!
  • Check the slot length from anyone who says that they can get that much camber adjustment out of a non-reversible bearing cup. You will not find any slot close to 2.2" long. Note that when two bolts placed in one slot, the effective slot length is reduced by no less than the diameter of the second bolt.
  • MM caster/camber plates allow moving the strut shaft from one side of the center hole in the strut tower to the opposite side. No more adjustment is possible without modifying the chassis.

Why is MM's bearing plate on the top of the main plate on 1994-04 Mustang Caster/Camber Plates, when everyone else puts the bearing plate under the main plate, including MM's 1979-93 Mustang Caster/Camber Plates?

  • On 1979-93 Mustangs the clearance between the strut tower and the hood is very good. This allows the main plate to be high enough that the bearing plate can fit underneath. The entire assembly is still lifted over 1", so that the bumpstop passes through the original factory hole and contacts the bottom of the bearing plate, restoring sufficient bump travel on lowered Mustangs.
  • On the 1994-04 Mustangs the clearance between the strut tower and the hood is very tight. We positioned the main plate as close to the hood as possible for maximum increased bump travel, but the main plate still ends up being 3/8" lower than the earlier cars. It is simply not possible to get the main plate high enough to have the same gain in bump travel as the early cars if the bearing plate is placed underneath.
  • BUT, there IS enough hood clearance to put the bearing cup plate on TOP of the main plate. The hole in the main plate is large enough that the bumpstop passes through the main plate and contacts the bearing plate. This configuration yields an additional .47" of bump travel compared to the bearing plate being under the main plate.
  • The MM 4-bolt top plate on 4-bolt main plate design was awarded U.S. Patent #6485223.

Why do I need MM Caster/Camber Plates when I install a coil-over conversion kit on my Mustang?

  • The stock Mustang upper strut mount is designed only for the forces from the struts, not the load of the car's weight on a spring. The rubber in the factory strut mount will deform and eventually fail from the increased loading from a coil-over conversion.
  • A coil-over conversion kit requires installing an upper spring perch under the strut tower. This upper spring perch will occupy a certain amount of vertical space, and therefore use up precious bump travel. To regain bump travel, the MM Caster/Camber Plates are spaced above the strut tower. Without these, your coil-over equipped Mustang will actually have less bump travel than it had when it was stock.

Why not use "crash bolts" to adjust camber?

  • Crash bolts are only able to offer a limited range of adjustment. You may find yourself unable to get the right specs for your car.
  • Crash bolts are always smaller in diameter than the stock spindle to strut bolts. On the S197 Mustangs in particular, that can be a significant problem. Ford upgraded the bolts, increased the tightening torque along with other changes in 2010 as the inadequate clamp load was leading to broken spindles. Ford also specifies that the bolts are for one-time use only. We think reducing the diameter of this mission-critical fastener is a bad idea. If the strut-to-spindle bolts loosen, at the very least the camber will change, and that in turn will alter the toe setting.

How long does it take to install Maximum Motorsports Caster/Camber Plates?

  • The typical installation time is under 2 hours (not including a front end alignment).

Can I install them myself?

  • Yes, MM Caster/Camber Plates can be installed by a novice. We provide detailed instructions with photos for each series of camber plates that we make. Only basic tools are needed in order to perform the task.
  • Any professional mechanic can install MM caster/camber plates, assuming the professional can read, and follows the installation instructions. MM installation instructions can be found here.

What is a "front end alignment"?

  • It is aligning the front wheels to specific angles. Camber is the angle from vertical, when viewed from the front. Toe is the angle relative to the centerline of the car, as viewed from above. Caster is the angle of the axis the wheel rotates around when steered, as viewed from the side.
  • A proper alignment will provide the best performance, as well as the most even tire wear.
  • The alignment is usually quite different for different driving situations. A daily driven Mustang will require different settings than a Mustang that is open-tracked.

Can I do my own alignment?

  • Yes. The MM Camber Gauge (MMT-3) makes it easy to adjust camber and caster.
  • There are several methods to adjust the toe setting. An Internet search will reveal several different techniques for measuring toe.

Does alignment affect bumpsteer?

  • In general, alignment changes do not have a significant effect on bumpsteer. An exception is if a large amount of positive caster is set; that will affect bumpsteer. It is easy to avoid adjusting-in that much caster.

What is the difference between "static alignment" and "dynamic alignment"?

  • Static alignment refers to the alignment when the car is in place, and not moving.
  • Dynamic alignment refers to the alignment when the car is actually moving, and parts are possibly deflecting under load.

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