What Are The Factory Alignment Settings?
[A/H] The Yokohama/ Bridgestone tires that originally came on the NSX and the NSX-T were designed for this car. Very hard sidewall, built in bias, VERY soft compound. The target for the car was "The best handling production car." Many magazines have given the NSX that title.
Also see the Tire Tech section for more information on tires and tire wear.
Factory front alignment (ALL years):
Total toe: -3.5mm +/- 1mm
Alternative front alignment with OEM tires (ALL years):
[KJ] The front tires typically wear out on the inside long before the outside is worn. Reducing or even removing the front toe-out and minimizing the camber improves the tire wear, at the cost of some turn-in crispness and, high speed stability. Even with no camber or toe, the front Yokos would wear on the inside due to their internal bias that pre-tensions them for turning. The rears have the opposite bias, so negative camber acts to balance the wear between outside and inside.
Total toe: -2.5mm
What the front tires do:
The front tires pull out (RF pulls to the right, LF pulls to the left) slightly to follow the alignment settings. The purpose of this is to remove the compliance or "slop" associated with moving parts, (ball joints, tie rod ends, pivot points, etc.) Each tire slips sideways 1.75mm with each revolution.
The Toe is there to make the car push (understeer) slightly. The camber on the front is to give you a better rubber patch on the ground when turning. The car wants the tire go straight when the alignment setting makes the tire want to turn, thus, (simplified) the car is dragging the inside of the tire more than the outside. and wearing the inside. Hard cornering does not effect wear as much as straight line driving.
What you feel when driving:
With the Yoko-Bridgestone tire and the stock settings, going down the freeway at 70 mph, a slight tug on the steering wheel would put the car in the next lane.
With Goodyear Eagle, Firestone, Comp T/A, Michelin, etc. the car will feel like it has low tire pressure when compared to the OE tires, and a quick lane change will give a *** wind-up/sling-shot ***effect before the car starts to go into the next lane.
1991-1992 Factory Rear alignment with OEM tires
The original factory alignment specs for the rear were designed to provide maximum performance at the expensive of shorter tire life.
Total toe: 6mm +/- 1mm
1993+ Factory Rear alignment with OEM tires
After a class action lawsuit about what they considered to be premature tire wear, the rear alignment settings were changed. With less rear toe, the rear tires last longer. There is no reason you can't run the original '91-'92 settings if ultimate performance is the goal and tire life is not a primary concern.
Total toe: 4mm +/- 1mm*
Alternative rear alignment with OEM tires
Running 1.5mm toe-in per side seems to provide even tire wear on the rear tires and
makes them last even longer. Again, but further reducing rear toe there is some
What the rear tires are doing:
The rear tires pull in (RR pulls to the left, LR pulls to the right) slightly to follow the alignment settings. The purpose of this is to remove the compliance or "slop" associated with moving parts, (ball joints, tie rod ends, pivot points, etc.) AND to help keep the rear of the car tucked IN when in turns.
What you feel when driving:
Take out the front toe AND/OR changing brands of tires will give you more of the low tire pressure feel. Acura does not recommend changing the brand of tire. It is advised to check the alignment each time new tires are installed.
How Much Should An Alignment Cost?
An Acura dealer should charge 1 - 1.5 hours of labor for a four-wheel alignment.
[LE - 2000/8/4] My dealer normally charges one hour labor to align my car. It is always the way I want it and I get the print-out to verify. During the summer every year they have a special for a couple months where they do a 4-wheel alignment on any Acura for $49.95
[LB - 2000/8/4] I pay $60 for a full alignment in my NSX. The car is actually very easy to align. I basically pay one hour labor.
[KHR - 2000/8/4] We have a special discount from our local Big O Tire store for NSXCA members for four 4 wheel alignment with Hunter laser equipment for $49.99.
How Can I Maximize Tire Life?
[KJ] If you don't take the car to the track or drive aggressively on the road, set the front toe to zero and camber to -0.3 (minimum). This will *almost* even-out the front wear, at the expense of less crispness in extreme maneuvers and on the track. This is how mine is set up now.
[AT] Your main culprit with the front tires is the "positive" toe-out setting on the car is too great. Positive toe aids in quicker turn in and tracking of the front in hard turns but at a price for excessive wear. You may also have too much negative camber if the car has been lowered in combination with the toe-out. I lowered my car and set the negative camber to around -1 1/2 degrees. The toe-out was removed to zero-toe. Yes "zero". The car understeers a little bit more now but the wear on the tires are even and I'm probably reaching 20k miles with 1/3rd the tread left.
I've driven the car hard and have autocrossed it on these tires which are Michelin MXX3's. I have 205x50x16" front and 255x40x17" rears. I'm going to a bigger tire in the front, hopefull 225x45x16" to help compensate for the understeer since changing the toe-out. The rear alignment specs for my car are the same as the 94+ factory specs. They are doing great with good cornering hold. Just thought you might want to know what someone else is doing out there to save on tire wear with some decent traction during cornering.
Decrease rear toe to the '93+ specs, or you can try even more radical settings. Here's what some people have reported:
[JG] I checked with my tuner and he showed me the specs of the alignments on my rear
wheels. He reduced the factory toe-in to almost 0. I think it was 0.005 at the most. He
said this is what he has found over the years to give the best performance on track (or
street). This guy is known for his suspension and alignment work. He's got people coming
from several states away for his work.
What Should I Know About Changing Alignment?
Suspension Tech Session by Don Erb, Comptech USA
Alignment of any car including the NSX can make a jewel or a sow depending on how it is done. There are several setup considerations that need to be looked at before the alignment is done, each one will also affect tire wear. So, do you want MAX mileage or ultimate performance? Is it strictly for the race track or just occasionally the track? As you can see you need to consider all these before you spend your hard earned money.
Today's new radial tires love camber and the more you five them the better the car will handle. If this is a track only car, we would aim for approximately 3 1/2 degrees to 4 degrees negative camber. This would use up the inside edge of the tires at a rapid pace if driven on the street.
Let's start with what is adjustable on your car and the affects each one can have on handling. The thing to remember is that everyone drives differently and what is the best setup for your friends NSX could seem evil to you. A good example of this was when Jimmy Vasser changed back to his old setups on his Reynard instead of using Alex's and he started winning again. Obviously Alex's setup worked for him but Jimmy's driving style was different enough that he needed his own.
Camber: This can and will, as said above, be the number one reason for rapid inside tire wear, 2nd is toe setting, but we will come to that later. The more camber you have the more high speed grip you will have, but be realistic, if you are excessively wearing out the inside of the tires, you not driving the car hard enough and should reduce what you are using. On a street driven NSX I would recommend setting the front to 1 1/4 degrees to 1 1/2 degrees negative camber and the rear to 2 degrees negative. Typically, the most you can get out of a stock NSX is 2 degree negative on the front and 2 5/8 degrees negative rear. This can be increased with offset bushings if it is track car. It will also change as you lower or change the ride height.
If you want MAX performance and you are going to the track, get yourself a tire pyrometer. This is the best way to test your setup. After doing several laps you should test the tire temps at three places across the tire(outside 1/4, middle and 1/4 inside edge). Start from the side of the car that you think the tires will be hottest (usually the most loaded corner of the car). You can tell several things from the temps as follows: hot in middle = too much air pressure; hot on each edge = not enough air pressure; equal temps across tire = not enough camber; hot on outside edge of tire = not enough camber; 5-15 degrees hotter on inside = camber is good!
Caster: the standard setting on the NSX is between 6-7 degrees, this is fine for all models and I would not change. You do however want it to be equal on each side. This in street car terms is 3 times higher than most cars. This is why non-power steering NSX's have fairly heavy steering. The reason for high caster is to give you more grip on initial turnin into the corner, as you turn the wheel the front end gains camber and this gives you more grip. As you can see the engineers refused to compromise in designing the NSX suspension.
Toe Setting: The toe on the front of the NSX should be approximately 4mm or 3/16" toe-out. This is a good spot to start with. If the car seems slow on turning into a corner you can add more toe out to give you more aggressive steering. Be careful, there is no such thing as too much toe out, but it will increase the tire wear and will decrease the straight line stability. Remember, what is comfortable for your friend may be different for you. Unless you are racing I would not recommend going over 8mm out.
Rear toe should be about 3-4mm toe in. The more toe in you have on the rear the more stable the car will be down the straight and the more stable understeer you will have in the corner. Some factory settings on certain models had up to 8mm toe in. This was to keep the car more stable. The tire wear was very high and many owners complained about it, so the next year they went back to lower settings in the 4-6mm range. In an ideal world, as the suspension moves the toe would never change, but it does. This is why we make the low compliance rear beam and toe links. If you don't believe me, do this simple test. Look at the rear wheel out your door and roll you car backwards and hit the brakes, see the wheel move in and out? This is toe change! The less you have the better.
More toe out in the front: Turnin quicker, also called Turnin oversteer, if excessive.
These are just the basics and as you can see all these settings affect and interact with each other. This can be very difficult to grasp in one easy lesson.
What Settings Have People Tried?
[HM] Front Toe: Factory spec.