Forza 3 Tuning Basics Guide & Tips
I ran across this great Forza 3 tuning primer, written by fellow Xbox 360 gamer, WWR Hightower. He gladly allowed me to reprint the article here for you.
Forza 3 Tuning Basics Guide & Tips
First off, FM2 tuning is different to FM3 tuning. Not sure if you played FM2, but the basic rule of all the cars in the game (once you had a build sorted) was to I) stop FWD cars understeering II) stop RWD from excessive oversteering, and III) tune AWD cars for acceleration and slight oversteer. (Ok, this is a personal preference!)
FM3 sees the introduction of in depth tire physics. Although I have only had the game just over a week, I have tuned a few cars already. The basic principles I stated above are still true, but the way to go about it is a little different. I have analyzed telemetry data on a few cars and managed to tune them in a way to suit the tire dynamics. Now, I'm not sure how in depth you want to go into tuning, but you will soon find that when your car starts to improve and you feel more comfortable with what each tuning aspect does to the car, the more you will want to go deeper. So, here's a quick summary:
TIRE PRESSURES : Very important, try to set the pressures so that when the tyres are fully heated up (after 3 or 4 laps) so that the overall tire pressure is around 32psi.
GEARS : If you have Race Transmission on your car, you will want to tune your gears for specific tracks. Adjusting each individual gear is self explanatory in practice. In theory though, you might want to look at where all the Horsepower or Torque is on the rev range. Setting gears too high ratio on a car where all of the power and torque are low in the rev range makes no sense. Adjusting the final drive will leave individual gear settings, but change the overall length of all 6 gears together.
CAMBER : Basically, the amount of angle needed to create a "straight up" tire whilst cornering. Sideways movement of the car through a corner makes the tire surface rock side to side. The more tire you have touching the surface of the track, the more grip you will have. Typical negative adjustments to the camber are made, generally speaking with more negative camber on the front than the rear (for FWD, AWD.)
TOE : In a nutshell, this setting adjusts the turn in response of your car. For more responsive turn in, make POSITIVE adjustments in increments of +0.1 at a time. Negative adjustments give your car cornering stability, but decrease the turn in response. Typically for a FWD car, small amounts of positive toe FRONT give a good turn in response.
CASTER ANGLE : The way I interpret this, is the overall feel of "liveliness" of the car. A low setting makes things feel sluggish, whilst a high setting makes the car feel more lively. Adjust to suit your driving style.
* A good point to make here is about the difference Ive found in FM3 over FM2 with regards to the tires. If you watch the telemetry data on one of your replays, have a look at the tire heating screen. You will see all 4 tires of the car, and 3 different temperatures on each tire. I have done some tuning on FWD and AWD cars so far. For both these car types, try to tune the car so that the front tires are evenly heated across each of the 3 temperatures. I'm not saying be exact, but a stock tune might give you temps like this: 220 - 205 - 190, so thats a 30 degree change from the outside to the inside of the tire. Tweak your tune, and check the temps again. I can run my cars now so that through the course of the entire lap, the temperature range is no more than 6 or 7 degrees difference.
SPRINGS : Fairly self explanatory. Softer springs might cause the car to bottom out while cornering, creating understeer. In FM3, it seems stiffer spring settings help. A balance needs to be found (depending on car and its weight distribution) between front and rear settings. This balance will effect the cornering as well as the braking of the car.
RIDE HEIGHT : Again, easy enough. If you ride a lot of curbs, or if the track is very undulating, increase the ride height.
REBOUND : Similar to the springs settings, the rebound is the rate of the compression of the springs. Low settings mean the spring is quicker to recoil and vice versa. Setting too high (stiffer) will make the springs recoil too slowly so a quick succession of bumps will cause the car to understeer. I generally keep mine around 9 or 10, balancing front and rear to suit the track and car. Experiment with this.
BUMP STIFFNESS : Again all related to suspension. This is the rate which the springs originally compress. The lower the setting, the softer the bump stiffness. Lower settings are good when you are riding a lot of curbs or have a bumpy track surface. Too high, and the wheels will lose traction with the ground when you hit even minor bumps.
AERO : For a front wheel drive car, the trick is to stop understeer, so you will improve the cornering ability by increasing the front aero. Rear aero depends on your medium/high speed corners. With lower rear aero on RWD cars, you will find the car OVERSTEERING a lot, and spinning out. A balance on all cars is needed between handling performance, and top speeds.
BRAKES : If you are using ABS, you can try a setting of 72 - 74% brake pressure. This will help you get the most from you brakes when your foot is hard to the floor, i.e. the ABS not kicking in too much. Moving the braking BALANCE to the rear by 8% in a RWD car can give you more control under braking, allowing you to turn in more in the corner.
DIFFERENTIAL : Probably the least understood by most Forza tuners. My advice is to read the info on the screen to the right when you're tuning. As a general rule of thumb, set ACCEL values around 30-40%. DECEL values are handy for AWD and RWD cars, and a setting of 20% can give the car more stability under braking (decelerating) into a corner.
Thanks to WWR Hightower for these tips! You can find him at the Wire-to-Wire Racing Forum. This is a more basic guide, and he has offered to make a much more in-depth one. Please post in the comments if you'd like to see more.