Bang for the buck suspension and brake upgrades

Discussion in 'Suspension, Steering, Brake & Wheel Topics' started by hutchenc, Dec 28, 2013.

  1. hutchenc

    hutchenc Veteran Member

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    I have a '72 Camaro that's in good shape and drives relatively well, but I want to make some suspension and brake upgrades. The car already has QA-1 coil-overs up front with 450 lb/hr springs and single adjustable shocks. I bought the car this way. The rear suspension...I really don't know what's back there but I know it has 1" lowering blocks and the rear suspension rides just awful over the bumps (expansion joints, etc). I also have 17x8 wheels on all four corners with 245/45/17's Kumho's that all need to be replaced. It has a stock front sway bar, no rear sway bar along with stock 11" front brakes and drums out back (with power assist)

    Anyway, I would like to take the car to the occasional autocross just for fun and I want it to handle well, but not be intolerable on the street (I can tolerate quite a bit though as this car isn't a daily driver).

    What's worth it and what isn't?

    I know I want to rebuild the rear suspension completely, but with what...Custom Works GT stuff? The front steering linkage has been rebuilt btw. The steering box is loose so I want to replace that as well with a 600 box with the 12.7:1 ratio. I think new upper control arms with additional caster and tall ball joints are in order as are front and rear sways, and solid body bushings. What about the coil-over front suspension...leave it be? Get higher rate springs? Go back to stock style springs and shocks? Should I add SFC's? BTW...I won't put g-braces on the car...it's not a consideration honestly.

    The car actually stops very well so the brakes are at the bottom of my list for now. Would Custom Works budget rear disc brakes and maybe a C5 front brake upgrade be sufficient?

    Any and all advice appreciated.

    Here's my ride btw:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2013
  2. scot1074

    scot1074 Veteran Member

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    Very nice car! I personally would buy a kit like the hotchkiss tvs. You'll get the most for your money. Also I was told that the coil overs were no good for the cars since where the shock mounts isn't strong enough to support the car and will flex to much so go back to a stock style spring. There are a lot of manufacturers of the tvs style systems. I just use hotchkiss for an example. Defiantly NEED a rear sway bar. If you installed a used one it would be a night and day difference. Also everyone always bags on the brakes and I think the brakes on these cars are pretty stout as they are. It's when people go rear disk is when problems start. Although not all. Idk I still want rear disks too. I love my car in the corners that's where I performs the best I think. Making a left turn, I'm the one leaning on the passenger door when the car digs in the pavement. Also tires, obviously are the biggest improvement. I would spend time on looking at what's gonna be the best choices for what your doing with the car there. I usually cheap out on tires which screws me. Cause then the tires are hard as a rock and I hit the gas and they don't sqeal or smoke but " they are a 300,000 mile tire "!! Haha
     
  3. BonzoHansen

    BonzoHansen Administrator Lifetime Gold Member

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    If you want to buy time on the rear brakes, just overhaul them. all new hardware, wheel cyl, porterfield shoes, resurface drums or replace if out of spec. Cheap, easy, effective. No m/c, prop valve or line changes needed.
     
  4. dale68z

    dale68z Veteran Member

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    Autocross, your brakes will be beautiful
    Ride harshness is typically heavy springs (which you do not have) or shock. Shocks make a tremendous difference in ride quality.
    You need a tight steering box
    You need a more effective front sway bar.
    You need an aftermarket upper control arm just so you can get more - camber.
    I run the hell out of my car and do not have a rear sway bar.
    The stickier the tire you run the more spring or bar you will need. And then you will need a shock to control those heavier springs.
     
  5. hutchenc

    hutchenc Veteran Member

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    I misspoke about the rear springs...the PO said the rear springs are Z/28 springs...and according to the receipt (this guy kept all the receipts on this car, even the original window sticker...awesome), they are RL5 springs from Classic Industries.

    I looked up that spring rate and they appear to be 143 lbs/in. How does that compare with say, the 2G springs PTFB or Custom Works sells?

    Maybe it is just the shocks giving it the harsh ride?...I have no idea what they are out back.

    The brakes are actually in great shape, but thanks for the idea on the Porterfield pads. I think I'll just leave them be for now.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2013
  6. dale68z

    dale68z Veteran Member

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    I was told hotchkis rear springs are 175# springs. I have no facts on them. I would assume most venders have nearly the same spring rate on their "GT" spring.

    I am running a 650 front spring.
    I am using PTFB's double adjustable shock. I have had all 4 dyno'd. They are repetitive and each click is about 15#. 6 clicks (there are 19 total) make a huge difference in ride quality.
    While the car is sitting, bounce on a corner. Then pull a shock off, Try again. That will give you an idea of how stiff the shock is at low speed bump and rebound. Heck try driving the car with no shocks :) At least you will know if you have some sort of a bind in the suspension.
     
  7. hutchenc

    hutchenc Veteran Member

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    Dale...are you running the Viking double adjustables then? I have those on my '56 Belair, very nice shocks.

    A 650 front spring...where did you get that? How does it ride on the street? What are you running for leaf springs out back?
     
  8. dale68z

    dale68z Veteran Member

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    hutchenc,
    Yes they are the Viking shocks. I drive on the streets at 7 rebound, 5 compression. Track, I just add 6 clicks rebound and comp.
    I used a hypercoil 5.5 X 9 spring with an afco adjustable extended bucket.
    I believe I still should go stiffer, though, thinking 800. Then I will need a rear bar to rebalance.

    [​IMG]

    Dave PTFB can get you full length springs at whatever rate you need.
     
  9. Lowend

    Lowend Administrator. .a car, a man, a maraca. Staff Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    By far the best way to upgrade the suspension on your Camaro is by stiffening the chassis.
    All of the suspension stuff in the world is useless if the chassis is flopping around under stress.

    The best way I've found to do this: Pro Touring F-Body's Chassis Combo #2
    http://www.pro-touringf-body.com/chassis_components.html

    It consists of solid subframe bushings, subframe connectors, and firewall (G) braces.
    Other companies make versions of this kit as well. But only 2 I know of make Firewall Braces (PTFB and Hotchkis)

    Stay away from "bolt-in" subframe connectors unless you plan to weld them in later.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2013
  10. Lowend

    Lowend Administrator. .a car, a man, a maraca. Staff Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    Why no G-Braces?
     

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