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Home » How to Adjust Caltracs: The Ultimate Guide for Optimal Performance

How to Adjust Caltracs: The Ultimate Guide for Optimal Performance

To adjust caltracs, start by locating the adjustment bolts and adjusting them as needed. Then, check the ride height and make any necessary changes.

Caltracs can be adjusted by locating the adjustment bolts and making the necessary changes. Begin by determining how much adjustment is needed and then adjust the bolts accordingly. It is important to ensure that the adjustments are made evenly on both sides to maintain proper balance.

Additionally, checking the ride height and making any necessary changes will help optimize the performance of caltracs. By following these steps, you can effectively adjust caltracs and improve the overall performance of your vehicle.

How to Adjust Caltracs: The Ultimate Guide for Optimal Performance


Understanding Caltracs Suspension

Caltracs suspension is a popular aftermarket system designed to enhance the performance and traction of vehicles. It provides improved control and stability, particularly for vehicles that are frequently subjected to heavy loads or aggressive driving conditions. Understanding the key aspects of caltracs suspension is essential for maximizing its benefits and ensuring optimal performance.

Let’s delve into the details.

What Is Caltracs Suspension?

Caltracs suspension is a specialized suspension system that replaces the stock rear leaf springs in your vehicle. It consists of various components, such as adjustable traction bars, mounting brackets, and shackles, which work together to enhance the traction, reduce axle wrap, and improve overall handling.

This system provides better weight transfer to the rear tires, resulting in improved acceleration, reduced wheel hop, and enhanced control.

Here are the key points to remember about caltracs suspension:

  • It replaces stock rear leaf springs.
  • Consists of adjustable traction bars, mounting brackets, and shackles.
  • Enhances traction, reduces axle wrap, and improves handling.
  • Improves acceleration, reduces wheel hop, and enhances control.

Benefits Of Caltracs Suspension System

Now that we understand what caltracs suspension is, let’s explore the benefits it offers:

  • Improved traction: Caltracs suspension system significantly enhances traction, particularly during launches and acceleration. It ensures better power transfer to the ground, reducing wheel spin and maximizing grip on the road.
  • Reduced axle wrap: Axle wrap, a phenomenon where the rear axle rotates and causes wheel hop, is a common issue in high-performance vehicles. Caltracs suspension effectively reduces axle wrap, resulting in better stability and control during acceleration.
  • Enhanced control and stability: By replacing the stock leaf springs, caltracs suspension improves control and stability, especially when carrying heavy loads or towing. The enhanced weight transfer to the rear tires enhances handling, making your vehicle more responsive and predictable.
  • Reduced wheel hop: Wheel hop can be a major headache for performance enthusiasts, as it leads to loss of traction and potential damage to driveline components. Caltracs suspension minimizes wheel hop, ensuring smooth and consistent power delivery to the wheels.

Key Components Of Caltracs Suspension

To fully understand how caltracs suspension works, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with its key components:

  • Adjustable traction bars: These bars allow you to fine-tune the suspension’s behavior according to your specific needs. They connect the axle to the frame and help control the amount of weight transfer and traction during acceleration.
  • Mounting brackets: These brackets secure the traction bars to the frame and axle. Designed for durability and strength, they ensure the stability and reliability of the entire system.
  • Shackles: The shackles provide flexibility and allow the suspension to move up and down. They play a crucial role in absorbing shocks from road irregularities and maintaining consistent contact between the tires and the road surface.

Importance Of Proper Adjustment For Optimal Performance

To reap the full benefits of caltracs suspension, it is vital to ensure proper adjustment. Properly adjusted caltracs suspension can enhance traction, reduce wheel hop, and improve overall performance. Here’s why proper adjustment is crucial:

  • Optimal weight transfer: Adjusting the system correctly ensures maximum weight transfer to the rear tires during acceleration, improving traction and control.
  • Prevents wheel hop: Accurate adjustment helps reduce axle wrap and subsequently minimizes wheel hop, resulting in better stability and reduced chances of driveline damage.
  • Customizable performance: With proper adjustment, you can fine-tune the suspension to suit your vehicle’s specific characteristics and your desired driving style, allowing you to fully optimize its performance.
  • Balanced handling: Ensuring proper adjustment ensures a balanced suspension setup, preventing any issues such as excessive understeer or oversteer. It promotes safer and more predictable handling, whether on the street or the track.

To achieve optimal performance, it is recommended to consult the manufacturer’s guidelines or seek professional assistance for adjusting your caltracs suspension.

Preparing For Adjustment

Checking The Condition Of Caltracs Suspension System

Before you start adjusting your caltracs suspension system, it is important to check its condition. This will ensure that everything is in proper working order and prevent any potential issues during the adjustment process. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Look for any signs of damage or wear on the caltracs bars, brackets, and bolts. Make sure there are no cracks, bends, or rust that could affect their performance.
  • Check the condition of the bushings and ensure they are not worn out or deteriorating. If needed, replace them with new ones to maintain optimum performance.
  • Inspect the shackles and ensure they are securely attached to the leaf springs. Tighten any loose bolts or replace any damaged parts.
  • Verify that the pivot points are clear of debris and properly lubricated for smooth movement.

By carefully checking the condition of your caltracs suspension system, you can be confident that it is in good shape and ready for adjustment.

Gathering The Necessary Tools

Having the right tools on hand is essential for a successful caltracs adjustment. Here are the key tools you’ll need:

  • A jack and jack stands or a vehicle lift to raise your vehicle and support it safely during the adjustment process.
  • Wrenches or sockets in the appropriate sizes to loosen and tighten bolts.
  • A torque wrench to ensure proper bolt tightness.
  • A pry bar or a large screwdriver to help with positioning and adjusting components.
  • Safety glasses and gloves to protect yourself while working.

Ensuring you have all the necessary tools beforehand will save you time and frustration during the adjustment process.

Taking Safety Precautions

Adjusting your caltracs suspension system involves working with heavy hardware and potentially lifting your vehicle. To ensure your safety, it is important to take the following precautions:

  • Wear safety glasses and gloves to protect your eyes and hands from any debris or sharp edges.
  • Use proper lifting equipment, such as a jack and jack stands or a vehicle lift, to securely raise and support your vehicle.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for adjusting the caltracs system. Each vehicle may have specific requirements, so it is important to refer to the appropriate documentation.
  • Avoid working under a vehicle that is only supported by a jack. Always use jack stands or a vehicle lift to provide additional support.

Prioritizing safety throughout the adjustment process will minimize the risk of accidents or injuries.

Identifying The Ideal Set-Up For Your Vehicle

To achieve optimal performance and handling, it is crucial to identify the ideal set-up for your specific vehicle. Here’s how to do it:

  • Consider your vehicle’s weight, power, and usage. Different setups may be required for heavy-duty trucks compared to daily drivers or racing vehicles.
  • Research and consult with experts or fellow enthusiasts who have experience with caltracs suspension systems on similar vehicles.
  • Experiment with different adjustments and track your vehicle’s performance to determine what works best for your driving style and needs.
  • Take into account any modifications done to your vehicle, such as engine upgrades or changes in tire size, as they can affect your suspension setup.
  • Fine-tune the caltracs suspension system based on your driving preferences, whether you prioritize improved traction, enhanced stability, or a combination of both.

By identifying the ideal set-up for your vehicle, you can maximize the benefits of your caltracs suspension system and enjoy a smoother and more controlled ride.

Step-By-Step Adjustment Process

Adjusting The Caltracs Bars

When it comes to improving your vehicle’s performance, adjusting the caltracs bars can make a significant difference. These bars are designed to help with weight transfer, ensuring better traction and stability. In this section, we will guide you through the step-by-step adjustment process for caltracs bars, so you can optimize your vehicle’s performance on the road or track.

Determining the initial bar angle:

  • Before you begin adjusting the caltracs bars, it’s essential to determine the initial bar angle. This angle will serve as the starting point for your adjustments.
  • Use a protractor or angle finder to measure the angle of the bars. This will help you maintain consistency throughout the adjustment process.
  • Take note of the initial bar angle, as you will need this information for future adjustments.

Loosening the front and rear mounting bolts:

  • To make adjustments to the caltracs bars, you need to loosen the front and rear mounting bolts first.
  • Use a suitable wrench or socket to carefully loosen these bolts without removing them entirely.
  • Ensure that both the front and rear mounting bolts are loosened evenly, maintaining balance and stability.

Adjusting the bar angle incrementally:

  • Once the mounting bolts are loosened, you can begin adjusting the bar angle incrementally.
  • Start by making small adjustments to the bar angle, either by tightening or loosening the bolts on either side of the bar.
  • Remember to make equal adjustments on both sides to maintain balance and stability.

Ensuring proper weight transfer:

  • Proper weight transfer is crucial for optimal traction and stability. As you adjust the caltracs bars, pay attention to how weight is distributed on your vehicle.
  • During adjustment, monitor the weight transfer from the front to the rear and vice versa. Strive for a balanced transfer to maintain control and prevent excessive wheel hop.

Fine-tuning the spring pre-load:

  • To further optimize the performance of your caltracs bars, you’ll need to fine-tune the spring pre-load.
  • The spring pre-load refers to the compression or tension in the springs. Adjusting this can help fine-tune the handling characteristics of your vehicle.
  • Use the manufacturer’s guidelines or consult with an expert to determine the appropriate spring pre-load setting for your vehicle.

Understanding the impact of pre-load on performance:

  • The spring pre-load affects how the vehicle’s weight is transferred during acceleration and deceleration.
  • Increasing the pre-load will stiffen the springs, resulting in a higher ride height and potentially improved weight transfer.
  • Decreasing the pre-load will soften the springs, allowing the vehicle to settle lower but potentially reducing weight transfer.

Adjusting the pre-load according to vehicle specifications:

  • To make precise adjustments to the pre-load, refer to your vehicle’s specifications or the recommendations provided by the manufacturer.
  • Different vehicles may require different pre-load settings depending on factors like weight, suspension setup, and intended use.
  • Follow the recommended guidelines closely to achieve the best performance from your caltracs bars.

Verifying correct spring alignment:

  • As you adjust the caltracs bars and fine-tune the pre-load, it’s essential to verify that the springs are aligned correctly.
  • Misalignment can cause handling issues and affect your vehicle’s overall performance.
  • Inspect the springs carefully, ensuring they are straight and positioned correctly within the suspension components throughout the adjustment process.

Setting the pinion angle:

  • Proper pinion angle alignment is crucial for maintaining a smooth and efficient drivetrain operation.
  • The pinion angle refers to the angle between the driveshaft and the differential’s pinion gear.
  • Adjusting the pinion angle can help reduce driveline vibrations and ensure optimal power transfer.

Importance of proper pinion angle:

  • A correct pinion angle ensures that the driveshaft and the differential are in alignment, reducing stress on the universal joints and improving overall performance.
  • An incorrect pinion angle can lead to driveline vibrations, premature wear on components, and even drivetrain failure.
  • It’s essential to adjust the pinion angle accurately for a smooth and reliable driving experience.

Using a pinion angle gauge for accurate adjustment:

  • To achieve accurate pinion angle adjustments, using a pinion angle gauge is highly recommended.
  • A pinion angle gauge allows you to measure the exact angle and make precise adjustments.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to install the gauge and obtain accurate readings.

Adjusting the pinion angle incrementally:

  • Similar to adjusting the caltracs bars, it’s best to make pinion angle adjustments incrementally.
  • Check the current pinion angle and make small adjustments as needed.
  • Take the time to verify and measure the pinion angle after each adjustment to ensure accuracy.

Verifying correct alignment:

  • After making adjustments to the pinion angle, it’s crucial to verify the correct alignment.
  • Inspect the driveshaft, universal joints, and any other relevant components to ensure they are aligned without excessive stress or strain.
  • Test the vehicle and monitor for any vibrations or abnormal noises, indicating the need for further adjustments.

By following this step-by-step adjustment process for your caltracs bars, you can optimize your vehicle’s performance, achieve better weight transfer, and enhance overall traction and stability. Remember to consult your vehicle’s specifications and follow manufacturer guidelines for the best results.

Testing And Fine-Tuning

Performing test runs to evaluate performance:

When it comes to adjusting caltracs, one of the most important steps is performing test runs to evaluate the performance. This allows you to understand how well your adjustments are working and if any fine-tuning is needed. Here are the key points to keep in mind:

  • Start by setting a baseline: Before making any adjustments, it’s crucial to establish a baseline for comparison. Take note of the current performance metrics of your vehicle, such as acceleration, traction, and stability.
  • Choose a suitable testing ground: Find a safe and controlled environment where you can conduct your test runs. It could be an empty parking lot or a private track that allows you to push your vehicle without any hindrance.
  • Define your criteria for success: Determine what specific aspects of performance you want to focus on during the test runs. For example, you might want to assess how well caltracs improves launch control or stability during cornering.
  • Conduct multiple runs: Perform a series of test runs, varying the conditions such as road surface, tire pressure, and weight distribution. This will help you gather a comprehensive dataset for analysis.

Analyzing the results and identifying areas for improvement:

Once you’ve conducted your test runs, it’s time to analyze the results and identify areas for improvement. Here’s what you need to consider:

  • Compare performance metrics: Compare the performance metrics before and after the adjustments. Look for any noticeable differences and evaluate if the caltracs adjustments have had a positive impact.
  • Assess handling characteristics: Pay attention to the handling characteristics of your vehicle. Are there any improvements in terms of traction, stability, or cornering? Analyzing these aspects will help you pinpoint areas that may need further fine-tuning.
  • Solicit feedback from experienced drivers: If possible, seek feedback from experienced drivers who have used caltracs or have expertise in vehicle dynamics. Their insights can provide valuable perspectives on potential areas for improvement.

Making small adjustments for optimal performance:

After analyzing the results, it’s time to make small adjustments to achieve optimal performance. Here’s what you should keep in mind:

  • Start with incremental changes: Rather than making drastic adjustments, start with small and incremental changes. This will allow you to evaluate the impact of each adjustment and avoid any potential negative effects.
  • Fine-tune one aspect at a time: Focus on fine-tuning one aspect of performance at a time. Whether it’s improving traction, stability, or launch control, prioritize one area and make adjustments accordingly.
  • Keep track of changes: Maintain a record of the adjustments you make and the corresponding impact on performance. This will help you keep track of what works and what doesn’t, ensuring a systematic approach to achieving optimal results.

Regular maintenance and re-adjustment intervals:

Lastly, it’s important to establish regular maintenance and re-adjustment intervals to ensure ongoing optimal performance. Consider the following:

  • Follow manufacturer’s recommendations: Consult the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding maintenance and re-adjustment intervals. These guidelines are specific to your caltracs system and will help you keep it in top shape.
  • Inspect for wear and tear: Regularly inspect the caltracs components for any signs of wear and tear. Replace any damaged or worn-out parts to maintain consistent performance.
  • Re-evaluate performance periodically: Even after the initial adjustments, periodically re-evaluate the performance of your vehicle. This will help you identify any changes or areas that may require further adjustments.

By following these testing and fine-tuning steps, you can ensure that your caltracs adjustments are optimized for maximum performance. Regular maintenance and re-adjustment intervals will further guarantee the longevity and effectiveness of your caltracs system.

Common Mistakes To Avoid

When it comes to adjusting caltracs bars, there are some common mistakes that you should avoid. These mistakes can prevent you from achieving optimal performance and can even cause damage to your vehicle. In this section, we will discuss the most common mistakes people make when adjusting caltracs bars and how to avoid them.

Over-Tightening Or Under-Tightening The Caltracs Bars

  • Over-tightening the caltracs bars can lead to excessive pressure on the suspension, resulting in a harsh ride and potential damage to the bars themselves. It can also cause the rear tires to lose traction, affecting the overall stability of your vehicle.
  • Under-tightening the caltracs bars, on the other hand, can reduce their effectiveness in transferring torque to the rear wheels. This can compromise your vehicle’s ability to launch quickly and efficiently.

To avoid these issues, it is crucial to find the right balance when tightening the caltracs bars. Here are a few tips:

  • Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and torque specifications for your specific vehicle model.
  • Start by tightening the bars evenly and gradually. Avoid applying excessive force all at once.
  • Check the suspension after the initial adjustment and make any necessary fine-tuning to ensure the bars are tightened to the optimal level.
  • Regularly inspect the bars for signs of wear or damage, as they may need readjustment over time.

Neglecting The Importance Of Proper Pinion Angle

The pinion angle refers to the angle at which the driveshaft connects to the rear end. Neglecting to consider the pinion angle when adjusting caltracs bars can lead to various issues, including:

  • Increased driveline vibrations, which can cause discomfort and potential damage to other drivetrain components.
  • Premature wear on u-joints and other driveline components.
  • Reduced traction and stability, negatively impacting overall performance.

To avoid these problems and ensure the proper pinion angle:

  • Consult your vehicle’s manufacturer guidelines or a professional to determine the recommended pinion angle for your specific model.
  • Adjust the caltracs bars while considering the pinion angle, ensuring they are properly aligned.
  • Double-check the pinion angle after the adjustment to make any necessary tweaks for optimal alignment.

Failing To Perform Test Runs And Evaluate Performance

Adjusting the caltracs bars is not a one-time process. To achieve the best results, it is essential to perform test runs and evaluate the performance of your vehicle. Ignoring this step can prevent you from fine-tuning the adjustment and identifying any potential issues.

Here’s what you should do:

  • Take your vehicle for several test runs under different driving conditions, such as straight-line acceleration, cornering, and braking.
  • Pay attention to the overall stability, traction, and responsiveness of your vehicle.
  • Make note of any unusual vibrations, noises, or handling characteristics.
  • Based on your evaluation, make any necessary adjustments to the caltracs bars and repeat the test runs until you achieve the desired performance.

Ignoring Regular Maintenance And Re-Adjustment

Lastly, it is crucial not to ignore regular maintenance and re-adjustment of the caltracs bars. Over time, factors such as wear and tear, vehicle modifications, or changes in driving habits can impact the effectiveness of the initial adjustment. Here are some maintenance tips:

  • Inspect the caltracs bars regularly for signs of wear, damage, or loose connections.
  • Clean the bars and lubricate any moving parts as recommended by the manufacturer.
  • If necessary, re-adjust the caltracs bars to maintain their optimal tightness and alignment.

By avoiding common mistakes and following these guidelines, you can ensure that your caltracs bars are adjusted correctly and enjoy improved traction, stability, and overall vehicle performance. Regular maintenance and re-adjustment will help you maintain these benefits over time.

Frequently Asked Questions For How To Adjust Caltracs

How Do You Adjust Caltracs?

To adjust caltracs, start by loosening the locknut and turning the adjustment screw. Then, tighten the locknut to secure the adjustment in place.

What Tools Do You Need To Adjust Caltracs?

To adjust caltracs, you’ll need a wrench to loosen and tighten the locknut, and a screwdriver to turn the adjustment screw.

Why Is It Important To Adjust Caltracs?

Adjusting caltracs is important as it helps improve traction, stability, and control of your vehicle, especially during acceleration and cornering.

How Often Should You Adjust Caltracs?

It is recommended to adjust caltracs whenever you make changes to your vehicle’s suspension or if you notice any handling issues.

Can I Adjust Caltracs Myself?

Yes, adjusting caltracs can be done by yourself if you have the necessary tools and follow the proper instructions provided by the manufacturer.


To summarize, adjusting your caltracs can greatly improve the performance of your vehicle, enhancing both stability and traction. By following the step-by-step instructions detailed in this blog post, you can ensure that your caltracs are properly adjusted for optimal results.

Remember to carefully measure and make small adjustments at a time, allowing for precise tuning that suits your specific vehicle and driving preferences. Regularly inspecting and maintaining your caltracs will also contribute to their long-term effectiveness. Whether you use your vehicle for racing, towing, or everyday driving, properly adjusted caltracs can make a noticeable difference in your vehicle’s performance.

So go ahead and get your tools ready, and take the time to fine-tune your caltracs – you won’t be disappointed with the results!

John Thompson

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