PDE Camber Plates – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

For the past 2 years I’ve been running RaceComp Engineering Tarmac 2 coilovers. I’ve been using Cusco camber plates out back, paired up with a set of PDE camber plates up front.

The PDE plates are an absolutely excellent product. Their build quality is incredible, and they fit perfect. Their unique design sets them apart from all other manufacturers, as they feature a unique set-interval camber adjustment system, by the use of different holes. Each hole represents .2 degrees of camber, and the plates can be adjusted accordingly. For me, this setup has worked out great as I’m able to have my daily driver camber setting for the street, and then I’m able to max out the front camber when I go to autocross events. After I’m done with my event, I simply change the plates back to my DD “hole”, and I’m back at exactly -1.7 camber with 0 toe!

Coilovers are great, don’t get me wrong, but they sometimes come attached with other variables, including added noise, vibration, and harshness, also known as NVH for short. My Tarmac 2’s have been great as a daily driver setup as well, but I’ve noticed that they have promoted a creaking sound in my front and rear windshields. To many, this is expected and is not an uncommon occurrence.

To fix the issue, I’ve decided to invest in a set of Whiteline front and rear strut braces. The rear brace installed without a hitch. The Cusco camber plates provided plenty of thread on the tophat bolts for the brace to latch onto.

Although the front was a bit more of a challenge. After loosening the 3 tophat nuts on each camber plate, I quickly discovered that the tophat bolts on the PDE camber plates simply weren’t long enough. As part of the strut brace, Whiteline provides a set of washers, and in the instructions asks that you place them under the brace at each of the 3 bolts. This is done because the strut tower area isn’t exactly level, and the washers are meant to help fix this.

So, to help visualize, the setup goes:

PDE Camber Plate > Tophat Bolt > Strut Tower (Body of the car) > Washer > Strut Brace > Tophat nut

With the supplied washers in place, I was only able to get about 3-4 full turns out of each tophat nut. This left me with a bolt that wasn’t able to fully thread through the tophat nut. A picture is really worth a thousand words, so I’ve included one below:


As you can see, the nut definitely has some thread to latch onto, but by no means do I feel this is secure. Therefore, I’ve opted to get some longer bolts, as the original bolts are designed to be removed from the PDE camber plates.

For those readers who might run into this problem in the near future, I’ve found that I need the following bolt size:

M8 x 1.25 Metric Button Head Bolt

The length can vary, although something probably around 60mm should be sufficient. I still haven’t picked up a set of these bolts myself, but I plan to sometime this week. I will keep you updated on how it turns out, and on the final size that I end up with.

Another picture:


Moving on, I also feel that I should point out that PDE’s customer service appears to be non-existent. I’ve emailed them about 4 days ago, and still haven’t received a response. I also noticed that their website states that the camber plates fit with most aftermarket strut braces. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the Whiteline strut brace isn’t very different that any other braces on the market. Therefore, I’m not really sure how this statement can be true, but it’s still on their website.

Overall, PDE without a doubt makes an excellent product, though when it comes to customer service, they don’t shine very well. (if at all!) If your thinking about getting a set of PDE camber plates, by all means go for it, just don’t be surprised if it takes 3 weeks to get them, or if you don’t receive a reply from customer service. (they don’t even have a phone number posted!) In the end though, if you do end up getting the plates, take them and run!

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3 Responses to “PDE Camber Plates – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”

  1. Acejam says:

    It should also be noted that the 2 pictures above were taken with the sliding adjustment plates removed. I had removed them to test fit the strut brace, which requires the removal of the top adjuster.

    However once you get the end of the brace on, you can then of course put the adjustment plate back on. (it’s just removed for initial fitment)

  2. PDE-USA says:

    With regards to your comments on the length of top hat studs: They cannot be any longer, or full range of adjustment would not be possible with the PDE Camber Adjuster. A longer stud would prevent the adjuster top plate from aligning with all of the adjustment holes, as it must slide over top of one of the studs to do so.

    It is entirely possible that since these camber adjusters were initially released to market in 2003, some aftermarket manufacturers have designed strut braces that are not compatible with the length of the studs on the PDE Camber Adjusters. We will modify the wording on our website to reflect that to make future customers aware of this possibility, and appreciate you bringing it to our attention.

    Should you choose to, the studs in the PDE Camber Adjusters can be easily replaced with longer M8x1.25 BHCS bolts enabling installation of your aftermarket strut brace, as long as you are using a camber / caster adjustment location on the PDE Camber Adjusters that will not interfere with the longer stud.

    We would be happy to reply to your email, but there is no history of any email from you on any of the PDE email accounts, so naturally there hasn’t been a reply due to this reason. Should you have any further questions, please send us an email to sales@pde-usa.com. We’ll be more than happy to assist you in any way we can.

  3. Acejam says:

    Thanks for the official comments.

    I’ve managed to pick up a set of longer M8 x 1.25 bolts for my PDE plates. Luckily, the adjustment positions that I use do not interfere with the tophat studs, but I can definitely see what you’re referring to now. I’ve published an update post here: /modifications/suspension/tophat-bolt-length-update/

    As for my email, it was sent on May 2nd to tech@pde-usa.com. The original message source can be found below:

    MIME-Version: 1.0
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    Date: Sat, 2 May 2009 15:10:11 -0400
    Delivered-To: ******
    Message-ID: <1fc6d8e40905021210v2a493dd8ue306ee233e5eb041@mail.gmail.com>
    Subject: PDE Camber Plate Stud Size
    From: “Joshua”
    To: tech@pde-usa.com
    Content-Type: multipart/mixed; boundary=0015175cda72a2535c0468f2ada2

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    I have a set of your PDE camber plates mounted onto a set of RCE Tarmac 2
    coilovers on my 07 STi. I’ve been running this setup with great success for
    about 2 year now. I just bought a set of Whiteline strut braces, to add a
    bit more stiffness and get rid of some windshield creak.

    The rear brace went on without a hitch. Although up front, with the brace
    on, the tophat nuts won’t completely tighten down onto the tophat studs. In
    other words, the tophat studs aren’t long enough. I’m able to get about 4-5
    full turns on the nuts, but I don’t feel it’s secure enough for daily
    driving. I know that the tophat studs are remoable, hence they can be
    changed out for the camber only or camber/caster positioning. My question to
    you is, what is the size of this tophat stud?

    I plan on going to a hardware store, and hopefully picking up a slightly
    longer version of the stud. I’ve already checked the clearances, and longer
    studs will not interfere with the plates in the postitions that I run them.
    Hopefully I can find a stud that is the same thread size, but a bit longer.
    (and could always cut it to size if need be) My end goal is to have the
    tophat nuts fully threaded onto the bolt, with the bolt fully going through
    the nut.

    A picture is worth a thousand words, and therefore I have attached two of



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