Ride Height - Part 1

For this discussion the term ride height means a given height from the ground for the chassis.  In most cases the chassis is at the lowest possible height that the rules allow.  But is this the best ride height?

If you have a chassis built by a professional chassis builder, the ride height is already predetermined and should not be adjusted.  But what if you built the chassis or don't know the manufacturers specifications?

The first thing that needs to be determined is whether the chassis is bent.  An easy way to check this is to set all 4 corners of the vehicle at the same height.  Make sure that you are measuring the chassis height from a point on the chassis that is between the front and rear wheels and at a point that would be consistently level with all 4 measuring points.  The best place to measure at the front is where the frame rail comes from the front crossmember to the side rail.  The best place at the rear is where the drivers rear hoop contacts the side rail.  Make sure that you are measuring on the side rail so all the points will be consistent.  If you can get all the points to measure at say 5 inches, then the frame is not bent.  However if one measurement is not the same height, then either that corner or the diagonally opposite corner of the chassis is bent.  An example would be:

Left Front Right Front Left Front Right Front
5 5 5 5
Left Rear Right Rear Left Rear Right Rear
5 5 4.5 5
This chassis is not bent. This chassis is bent.

If your chassis happens to be bent don't despair.  Most chassis' that come off of the jig are not perfectly straight.  This is because when the chassis is welded the heat will tend to draw the metal somewhat

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