The Importance of Toe-in or Toe-out - Focus Fanatics
Ford Focus Forum
HomeContact UsAbout UsGalleryDiscussion ForumsMarketplace


Go Back   Focus Fanatics > Ford Focus Tech Discussions > Wheels & Tires - Sponsored By Tire Rack

Wheels & Tires - Sponsored By Tire Rack The place to go for answers on wheel types, tire sizes, offset, wheel patterns and more.
Sponsored By:
Tire Rack


Search This Forum | Image Search | Advanced Search    
Ford Focus Tire & Wheels FocusFanatics Merchandise

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 12-15-2007, 03:58 PM   #1
Geezer
Focus Fanatic
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Fan#: 1427
Location: Westminster, CO
What I Drive: 99 miata, 05Mazda6, 09GTI, 12Imprez

Posts: 8,023
FF Reputation: 141 Geezer Excellent Standing MemberGeezer Excellent Standing Member
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (0)
The Importance of Toe-in or Toe-out

There has been quite a few questions about alignment lately. Alignment is most affected when a car is lowered. The more it is lowered, the more impact occurs. In general, camber and toe are the main settings that are impacted. Since camber is discussed so frequently, we all pretty much know what it is and the problems it can cause. The impacts of toe (whether toe in or out) are not nearly discussed as much. You've heard me indicate many times that excessive camber combined with too much toe can be the death to tires. This remains true. But we rarely discuss the impacts of toe in or toe out so I'm going to give this issue a shot. I will do it as simple as possible and hope not to offend any engineers.

Toe-in is when both tires on the same axle (front or rear) point toward a line drawn through the axis (center) of the car. Toe-out is when the tires point away from the centerline of the car. The amount of toe measured is tenths of a degree or hundredths of an inch. It's minute measurements that have major impacts!! Zero toe means the tires are perfectly parallel to the centerline of the car. In a perfect world, with perfectly flat roads, and the ability to have rigid suspensions, zero toe on the front and rear would be the ideal. But because we have crowned roads and enjoy nice compliant rides (meaning movement in the suspension) zero toe would lead to a car that tends to wander (wants to roll off the road in the direction of slope). To correct this, toe adjustment was built into cars. Caster is also an integral component of directional stability but we'll save that for a later discussion.

A Focus and almost all front wheel drive cars have TOE-OUT in the front. This is reflected by "negative" numbers on the alignment specs (TOE-IN are the "positive" numerals). Why toe out on the front? Its simple physics. As the tires pull themselves forward (aka torque) they pull themselves into the desired toe-in position. In essence it's a self compensating. Once at a consistent speed the resulting front toe ends up being a tiny bit inward. Just enough to allow that directional stability that is needed. If the toe is set to far out it never gets to the proper amount of toe-in when the car is moving. What are the downsides besides bad handling....tire wear. Too much "toe-out" causes inside edge tire wear (toe-in causes the outside edges of the tire to wear). Combine it with camber and it only amplifies the problem. Another thing to consider, the alignment specs were determined using factory bushings. When you install harder bushings, the wheels may not be able to pull themselves fully back into the desired toe-in position. Watch yours tires carefully for wear after installing bushings and be prepared to reduce the amount of initial toe-out if wear is occurring.

The rear of the Focus is just the opposite. Since the rear wheels have no power to them and they are not able to pull themselves into the correct or needed toe-in angles, it must be set with some initial toe-in. The ever going debate is how much toe-in. While Ford provides some specs we have learned that the rear tires are very temperamental to too much toe especially when combined with a lot of rear camber (even if its within the allowable spec range). In simple terms, you want to reduce toe-in if you want to increase camber. My philosophy is to run the minimum allowable rear toe-in to avoid wear problems.

What about toe out in the rear? First, Ford specs don't allow it. This should only be used for autocross and the track and not the street. It will make the car react very quickly to any steering input. Stability is drastically affected and 100% driver concentration is required if rear toe-out is used. A sneeze can literally cause you to change lanes. If you intend to use it for motorsports events, use VERY small initial toe-out adjustments until you understand the full impacts of the adjustment. And please don't use the freeway for testing as these changes are amplified by speed.



Last edited by Geezer; 12-15-2007 at 10:34 PM.
Geezer is offline  
    Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 12-15-2007, 04:09 PM   #2
starfuryt550
I Speed Often.
 
starfuryt550's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Fan#: 18440
Location: Plymouth,, MI
What I Drive: Audi S4, Turbo ZX3

Posts: 4,156
FF Reputation: 22 starfuryt550 Great Standing Member
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (57)
this is a good writeup, good job!!
__________________
Daily: Audi S4 b5 | Project: Turbo ZX3
LED Conversions | Vinyl Carbon Wrapping | Powdercoated Valve Covers
starfuryt550 is offline  
    Reply With Quote
Old 12-15-2007, 04:10 PM   #3
toolnut7
Focus Enthusiast
 
toolnut7's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Fan#: 50293
Location: Lakewood, CA
What I Drive: 2006 white SES ZX4

Posts: 103
FF Reputation: 5 toolnut7 Good Standing Member
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (0)
I know ALOT about alignment and its effects, good and bad(years of trial error) Use to road race sportscars. This posting is great info and should be a "sticky" Thanks for the re-fresher course!

Rick
toolnut7 is offline  
    Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-2007, 02:58 AM   #4
SVTF4243
Focus Addict
 
SVTF4243's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Fan#: 4068
Location: Pasadena, CA
What I Drive: SVT 2002

Posts: 710
FF Reputation: 11 SVTF4243 Great Standing Member
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (1)
Nice explantion of Toe in /out

Thanks
__________________
Silver SVT 2002 svtf4243.com
Silver ST3 MR::: 02 11 2013
GO :: Cobb RRM | Accelerator petal mod| JBR OCC | STS | Springs| Rear Swaybar | Tune
SHOW :: Lights tint | Calipers Painted| Graphite colored wheels| Back up Cam | Window Tint
SVTF4243 is offline  
    Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-2007, 12:06 PM   #5
Pistonbroke
Focus Enthusiast
 
Pistonbroke's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Fan#: 42552
Location: Canada
What I Drive: Black 2000 ZX3 mtx

Posts: 336
FF Reputation: 1 Pistonbroke Good Standing Member
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (1)
So the tow is always changing? with speed and different amounts of torque to the front wheels? If you're going down the road at 60 mph and you let off the gas then the front tow will go negative so the car will wander slightly?
__________________
-There is no water holier, than the sweat off a man's brow.-
Pistonbroke is offline  
    Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-2007, 12:54 PM   #6
illinipo
Token Engin-nerd
 
illinipo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Fan#: 37693
Location: Well wouldn't you like to know?, Not Listed
What I Drive: dirty wag; Party; Bavarian phallus

Posts: 3,408
FF Reputation: 272 illinipo Outstanding Standing Memberillinipo Outstanding Standing Memberillinipo Outstanding Standing Member
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (19)
could we discuss the implications of running toe in at slightly less than the recommended spec?

I think it would be fine, a little more touchy handling-wise, but imo it can only help things with respect to tire wear. especially when you put a lot of weight in the car.
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis_Grant
Remember this list: Bilstein; Penske; Koni; Ohlins; Sachs; Dynamic Suspension.

Not on this list? Almost certainly crap.
SUV this!
illinipo is offline  
    Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-2007, 01:09 PM   #7
Geezer
Focus Fanatic
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Fan#: 1427
Location: Westminster, CO
What I Drive: 99 miata, 05Mazda6, 09GTI, 12Imprez

Posts: 8,023
FF Reputation: 141 Geezer Excellent Standing MemberGeezer Excellent Standing Member
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (0)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pistonbroke View Post
So the tow is always changing? with speed and different amounts of torque to the front wheels? If you're going down the road at 60 mph and you let off the gas then the front tow will go negative so the car will wander slightly?

Theoretically yes. But remember, these are very very small changes and the condition of then suspension will be the determining factor. A car with sloppy bushings, tie rods, ball joints, etc would be far more noticeable than a new car. If you were to drive an identical model 2000 focus with 100+K miles vs a 2005 focus with 25K miles stock suspensions you'd notice different handling characteristics based on plain ol wear and tear.
Geezer is offline  
    Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-2007, 01:09 PM   #8
Pistonbroke
Focus Enthusiast
 
Pistonbroke's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Fan#: 42552
Location: Canada
What I Drive: Black 2000 ZX3 mtx

Posts: 336
FF Reputation: 1 Pistonbroke Good Standing Member
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (1)
Anybody know the toe specs? Also, is there any way to check toe yourself?
__________________
-There is no water holier, than the sweat off a man's brow.-
Pistonbroke is offline  
    Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-2007, 01:16 PM   #9
Geezer
Focus Fanatic
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Fan#: 1427
Location: Westminster, CO
What I Drive: 99 miata, 05Mazda6, 09GTI, 12Imprez

Posts: 8,023
FF Reputation: 141 Geezer Excellent Standing MemberGeezer Excellent Standing Member
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (0)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pistonbroke View Post
Anybody know the toe specs?
For 2000 to 2005 front is -.07" to 0.00" the rear is 0.04 to 0.11

A recently posted alignment printout for a 2007 was -0.1 to 0.1 front and 0.08 to 0.28 rear as the specified range.

I'm not sure what the specs are for a 2006 falls or 2008.
Geezer is offline  
    Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-2007, 02:04 PM   #10
Pistonbroke
Focus Enthusiast
 
Pistonbroke's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Fan#: 42552
Location: Canada
What I Drive: Black 2000 ZX3 mtx

Posts: 336
FF Reputation: 1 Pistonbroke Good Standing Member
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (1)
Geezer, after I install the SVT spring and damper kit, how much will my toe change?
__________________
-There is no water holier, than the sweat off a man's brow.-
Pistonbroke is offline  
    Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks & Social Networks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
anyone know alot about alignments?? blackturbohatch46 Wheels & Tires - Sponsored By Tire Rack 25 11-22-2007 04:24 PM
F/S: FC Rear Control Arm Toe Adjusters NEW chris-13 Archive 7 05-03-2007 08:41 PM
Is rear toe adjustable with stock suspension? brianwitt Brakes, Suspension & Body Chassis 5 02-13-2006 11:23 AM
SVT Pedals and Heel and Toe Oni Focus SVT 36 12-17-2005 01:01 AM
Heel to Toe? GaRyMaN DURATEC Performance (2003-2007) 16 10-21-2003 11:10 PM


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:01 AM.


Copyright 2002-2014 FocusFanatics.com. All Rights Reserved : Terms of Use : Privacy Policy : Advertise Information : Site Map

Focus Fanatics Ford Focus Forum offers many fun ways for you to engage with other Ford Focus Owners from across the world. Whether it be about the aftermarket performance modifications, technical how-to's, European tuned suspension or awesome fuel economy similar to the Acura TLX or Fiesta ST. You can find all Ford Focus and Focus ST related information here. Join our Ford Focus discussion forums and chat with local Focus enthusiasts in your area.