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Oversteer (loose) and understeer (pushing or tight) handling problems on Circle Tracks can be caused by great variety of vehicle parameters. Stock race racing, dirt track modifieds can all diagnose the specific causes with the steering wheel and tape method of troubleshooting.
To diagnose your handling problems use a small piece of white adhesive tape on the steering wheel. Place the tape at the top of the wheel when the front wheels are centered and pointing forward.
Now keep track of where the tape is when you drive through the turns. You will notice that in some handling conditions the tape is farther around the wheel and at other times it will be near the top of the steering wheel. Use the following sections to help diagnose the probable causes for different handling conditions.
TAPE AT TOP OF WHEEL
If the tape is straight up but the car is still turning, the car is considered to be in an oversteering (loose) condition. Automotive engineers call this condition the "Critical Speed." This is considered the limit of stability for an oversteering car. Race car drivers, of course, can control a race car well beyond this point, but the approach to chassis set-up is different past this point.
If the tape is somewhere between the top of the wheel and a normal steering angle (as when driving through the corner at a slow speed) then items such as rear axle steer and rear tire slip angles should be addressed to change your race car's handling. If the tape appears as described here, review the Chassis Set-up At The Rear For Cornering page and/or the Rear Suspension Geometry and Computerized Chassis Weights software pages for an understanding of how to change this handling condition.
If you race on dirt and have to apply opposite lock steering (turning the steering wheel in the opposite direction of the turn, i.e.dirt track style), then the rear tires are most likely spinning/sliding and your approach to chassis set-up must be different. If you have this condition, review the Dirt Track Set-up At The Rear For Cornering page and/or the Computerized Chassis Weights software page for an understanding of how to change this handling condition.
TAPE LOCATED WELL AROUND THE STEERING WHEEL
If the tape is turned past the normal steering angle (as when driving through the corner at a slow speed), then this condition is considered to be understeering (pushing or tight). When you have this condition and the additional steering angle does not make the race car turn sharper, then it is likely that the front tires can not generate enough cornering force and the tires are starting to slide. If you have this condition, review the Front Suspension Set-up for Cornering page and/or the Front Suspension Geometry Pro software pages for an understanding of how to change this handling condition.
If the tape is turned past the normal steering angle and the additional steering does make the race car turn sharper, the car is still considered to be understeering, but your approach to altering this condition should be different. If you have this condition with your race car, it most likely due camber issues on the inside wheel or slip angles and you should review the Front Suspension and Slip Angles page and/or the Computerized Chassis Weights software page for an understanding of how to change this handling condition.
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