Stanced. Demon camber. You may know it as oni-camber. You've seen the look, and whether you like it or not is totally beside the point. The great thing about a stanced look is that it catches the eye and gets attention. From the interviews we've read with owners and drivers of stanced machines, being noticed it what it’s all about. And if you can achieve a more radical look than the next guy, that’s even better.
Custom wheels and tires have been around for decades, and continue to be immensely popular. But customizers are always looking for ways to be ahead of the game, to be first with a trend. It’s no longer enough to have the most outrageous set of rims. That’s just a start. Taking those rims to the next level is the process of “stancing” the wheels so they tilt inward at the top. This is done by creating extreme negative wheel camber, which is also known as “demon camber”. Here, we’ll clarify what negative camber is and discuss the most popular ways to achieve the effect.
What Exactly Is Negative Camber?
Camber is one of the alignment specifications which affect the angle, or tilt of the wheel compared to the vehicle's body. If you are looking directly at the front or rear of a car, the angle of the tire relative to the ground is the camber. For a visual reference, take a look at the illustration below. Negative camber means that the tops of the tires lean inward relative to the car's body. Zero camber means the tire is perfectly perpendicular to the ground. Positive camber means the tops of the tires are leaning outward relative to the car's body.
Part of the oni-camber look is lowering the car's body as much as possible. Some of these vehicles are bagged (equipped with air suspension) so that when parked, the body can be brought down lower than would be possible if driven. In general, lowering a car creates additional negative camber because of the nature of suspension design and wheel movement. For years, suspension companies made (and still make) kits designed to compensate for this. So if lowering your car created too much negative camber, an "alignment kit" restored the factory setting to keep the wheels at normal tilt.
Enter the demon camber look. Rather than bring the suspension back to where it was, car owners decided to take the negative camber look to an extreme. On many (but not all) cars today, camber is adjustable. There may be vehicles which have adjustable front camber but not rear, and vice versa. Some vehicles have adjustable camber front and rear. Let's now look at the offerings in the aftermarket which will push out camber to a greater negative angle.
Camber Bolts With Eccentrics
Some vehicles allow for adjustable camber by turning a bolt with a large washer on it. The washer is offset, or eccentric, so that turning it causes a suspension component to move in or out. OEM camber bolts can be replaced with a performance set of camber bolts to provide a greater range of adjustability. They will provide usually no more than about 2 degrees of change, which is moderate.
Control Arms With Adjustable Ball Joints
Control arms (or A-arms) are also the locations for ball joints. If a control arm is designed to allow the ball joint some side-to-side adjustability, camber can be changed by effectively moving the top of the tire in and out.
To make things easier for the enthusiasts out there, we’ve got control arms with adjustable ball joints that slide an inch or so along tracks. Bolts are loosened, the top of the wheel is moved to achieve the desired camber position, then the bolts are tightened to lock the ball joint in place. This setup typically provides more adjustability than the eccentric camber bolts referenced further above. The Spec-D Camber Kit, Skunk2 Pro Series Front Camber Kit, Hotchkis Tubular Control Arms, and Eibach Pro-Alignment Camber Control Arms are just some of the products we offer with adjustable ball joints.
Control Rods With Adjustable Lengths
Some vehicles use control rods in place of “A-arm” control arms. Control rods are often referred to as track rods or locating rods. Their purpose is always the same: to locate suspension points, thereby securing the exact location of the wheel/tire. Therefore, control rods built with adjustability for their overall length make it easy to re-locate (change) wheel camber.
You’ll likely get the biggest change to your camber setting by using adjustable control rods. We’ve got a number of choices, including those from Eibach and Spec-D. A combination of the above adjustments may need to be used to achieve maximum negative camber.
Body / Fender Modifications
Remember that as you lower the car and increase the negative camber, you potentially run into fender clearance issues. You may need to "roll" the fenders (applying a special tool along the fender lip and with pressure, pushing or "rolling" the sheet metal outward for greater clearance). In cases where greater clearance is needed, cutting the metal and installing fender flares may be necessary. Any necessary body modifications will not be easily reversible, so be certain that this is the direction you want to go!
The great thing about extreme customization is that it's your car, and if you're willing to go the extra mile, you will end up with a unique ride. That IS the point of demon camber, isn't it? It's not for everyone, but if it's for you, the only limit is your imagination.