Improve ride on 69 Camaro Convertible - Team Camaro Tech
Brakes, Suspension & Steering Conversion questions, Steering & Handling

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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old Jun 14th, 08, 02:34 PM Thread Starter
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Improve ride on 69 Camaro Convertible

I am disappointed if the quality of the ride of by Pace car 69; I don't know if I am expecting too much.
I know it is hard to get the ride of the later series camaros.
I have installed new front coil springs. (ordered from Classic the std convertible)
I have redone the front brakes and ball joints and shocks. Also had front end realigned.
I am looking at changing the upper and lower control arms. I have the stock one now.
also steering link and the steering arms that lots of you recommend; I also will change the steering to the later style for tighting and more feel. I am getting a "clunk" when steering to the right and hitting a dip....

Are there any thing else to help the ride? better shocks? I Only want a dependable street driver.

1969 Camaro Z-11 Pace Car
350cu/300HP -
Convertible RS/SS- Muncie M20 - posi 3.31, 12 bolt
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old Jun 14th, 08, 03:13 PM
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Re: Improve ride on 69 Camaro Convertible

Quote:
Originally Posted by llpainter View Post
I am disappointed if the quality of the ride of by Pace car 69; I don't know if I am expecting too much.
I know it is hard to get the ride of the later series camaros.
I have installed new front coil springs. (ordered from Classic the std convertible)
I have redone the front brakes and ball joints and shocks. Also had front end realigned.
I am looking at changing the upper and lower control arms. I have the stock one now.
also steering link and the steering arms that lots of you recommend; I also will change the steering to the later style for tighting and more feel. I am getting a "clunk" when steering to the right and hitting a dip....

Are there any thing else to help the ride? better shocks? I Only want a dependable street driver.
you may want to "upgrade" your allignment specs......what specs dd you use? see below.....David's Specs


Stock factory alignment specs:
Caster +1/2 deg
Camber + 1/4 to 1/2 deg
Toe-in 1/8" to 1/4" (Radial tires need less toe-in, use 1/8" or less for them)


.....David's Specs......

Caster 5 deg positive, or as much positive as you can achieve up to 5 deg, can use .5 deg more positive on the passenger side to compensate for road crown.
Camber -.25 degee for mostly freeway driving, -.5 for street and occasional hard cornering, -1 deg for street, Autocross, and Open Track. you can use even more if tire temps show outside edge of tread is hotter than inside. If the inner edges of tread show excessive wear, use less neg camber. If you have not done the Guldstrand mod, you can add .25 to .5 deg to the above camber settings.
Toe in, 1/16" per side.


IN ALL POWER STEERING EQUIPPED CASES, USE AS MUCH POSITIVE CASTER AS YOU CAN ACHIEVE UP TO 5.5 DEGREES POSITIVE MAXIMUM. MORE CASTER HELPS TILT THE WHEEL INWARD WHEN CORNERING, HELPS REDUCE BUMPSTEER BY LOWERING THE TIE ROD ENDS. MANUAL STEER CARS WILL REQUIRE MORE EFFORT AT HIGH CASTER SETTINGS, YOU MAY HAVE TO USE LESS.

Remember,I'm not making this stuff up!

1969 rs/ss 396 350hp/4spd conv a/c,pw,ps,foldown
1968 Z/28 crossram- j/l8 conv pw,ps,foldown
1963 nova ss 350/4spd conv a/c,ps,pt
1963 nova 400 4dr 6cyl/700r4 a/c
2006 GT/5spd mustang conv
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old Jun 14th, 08, 03:30 PM
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Re: Improve ride on 69 Camaro Convertible

Quote:
Originally Posted by llpainter View Post
I am disappointed if the quality of the ride of by Pace car 69; I don't know if I am expecting too much.
I know it is hard to get the ride of the later series camaros.
I have installed new front coil springs. (ordered from Classic the std convertible)
I have redone the front brakes and ball joints and shocks. Also had front end realigned.
I am looking at changing the upper and lower control arms. I have the stock one now.
also steering link and the steering arms that lots of you recommend; I also will change the steering to the later style for tighting and more feel. I am getting a "clunk" when steering to the right and hitting a dip....

Are there any thing else to help the ride? better shocks? I Only want a dependable street driver.
What kind of shocks did you put in it? Lots of people have commented that the KYB's that all the repop houses sell are way too stiff and ride like crap. I have the KYBs in mine, but they've been in there so long I don't know any different.

What kind of shape are your control arm and subframe bushing in?


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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old Jun 14th, 08, 09:56 PM
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Re: Improve ride on 69 Camaro Convertible

I'd put some Bilstein shocks on it.
New A arms won't affect the ride at all, but tubular upper arms from Detroit Speed, Global West, or Speed Tech will allow you to get proper positive caster which helps cornering.
The fast ratio stiff feel boxes are great.
Lighter weight wheels help. A stock wheel and tire can weight 50 lbs.
David

Check my web page for First Gen Camaro suspension info:
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Last edited by davidpozzi; Jun 15th, 08 at 09:30 AM.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old Jun 15th, 08, 01:46 AM
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Re: Improve ride on 69 Camaro Convertible

What exactly do you want to improve on your suspension?
Is it too rough? Too soft? Steering sloppy? Leans too much?

All I can say is that if you replaced everything with stock parts (sounds like you did), you should expect a ride nothing like a modern car.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old Jun 15th, 08, 07:39 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Improve ride on 69 Camaro Convertible

Thanks for the quick response,
I set the specs for the relignment about a year ago with Davids specs. (took the printed specs to the shop). With the stock arms, he might not have got the specs to max.
Shocks were put on a few years ago I went to parts house for std shocks.
Ride is too soft and has a loose feel; Steering is real easy, like you could steer with one finger, no feel. I had put a new box on a couple of years ago, standard rebuilt box.
I get a small vibration at 40 mph and then it smooths out. I have put new wheels, tires, brakes, as well as relignment. The mechanic at the alignment shop improved it a little but still has some.
I have no front shakers on the car, would that help? I have bought the thru E Bay but have not had time to mount them. (It is hard to figure where they will fit)

1969 Camaro Z-11 Pace Car
350cu/300HP -
Convertible RS/SS- Muncie M20 - posi 3.31, 12 bolt
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old Jun 15th, 08, 02:40 PM
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Re: Improve ride on 69 Camaro Convertible

yeah, that was just about exactly how my bird felt before I started to upgrade and improve the suspension.

here is a quick list of what I did or would recommend:
Get some good lowering springs all the way around, I like the hotchkis TVS kit and bilstein shocks from hotchkis also
A larger front bar (and maybe a rear bar too) included in the TVS kit
subframe connectors and solid body bushings
"3rd gen" steering upgrade- will take the loosey goosey power steering and make it firmer and give it more road feel (this would be one of the options for a stiffer box David Pozzi was referring to)
new bushings on the control arms and replace worn steering linkage and rag joint
g-mod (use the search function here, it is well worth the time and it is free)
modern tires with grip

there are a ton of different ways of getting there but improving the handling is well worth it and made my car much more fun to drive
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old Jun 15th, 08, 03:08 PM
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Re: Improve ride on 69 Camaro Convertible

make sure your car has the bolt on brace underneath, some times it's removed to clear custom exhaust, but it weakens the unibody.
David

Check my web page for First Gen Camaro suspension info:
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old Jun 15th, 08, 04:08 PM
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Re: Improve ride on 69 Camaro Convertible

Quote:
Originally Posted by 400bird View Post
yeah, that was just about exactly how my bird felt before I started to upgrade and improve the suspension.

here is a quick list of what I did or would recommend:
Get some good lowering springs all the way around, I like the hotchkis TVS kit and bilstein shocks from hotchkis also
A larger front bar (and maybe a rear bar too) included in the TVS kit
subframe connectors and solid body bushings
"3rd gen" steering upgrade- will take the loosey goosey power steering and make it firmer and give it more road feel (this would be one of the options for a stiffer box David Pozzi was referring to)
new bushings on the control arms and replace worn steering linkage and rag joint
g-mod (use the search function here, it is well worth the time and it is free)
modern tires with grip

there are a ton of different ways of getting there but improving the handling is well worth it and made my car much more fun to drive
Agree 100% with all of this, as well as with David on the floor brace.

Putting the shakers on will probably kill that vibration.

It sounds like you have achieved the ride and handling of a new early Camaro. OK by '60's standards, nothing like cars today.

The thirdgen box will give you firmer steering with more feel, see the sticky at the top of the suspension forum.

The Guldstrand mod is free, and will vastly improve how the car feels cornering. It will turn in solidly and hold, and won't feel like the tail is wagging the dog thru the corner. See Davids site for details.
Note: This is one that REALLY REALLY works. You can feel the difference even with big old soft 15" tires on there.

Bigger sway bar will help even out the body rolls, addco is good and ius cheap, hotchkiss is good, but not cheap.

Rolling Stock. The ONLY way to truly achieve modern handling in a forty year old car is with modrern rubber. 16 or 17", 40, 45, or 50 series performance tires. These cars like a lil more rubber on the back than the front/





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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old Jun 15th, 08, 04:36 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Improve ride on 69 Camaro Convertible

Thanks again,
What are you referring to when you say "lowering springs''? a good lowering rate?
About the frame ties, is the bolt on OK for normal street use...

David, on the bolt on braces, are you referring to the "X brace"? or a bolt on transmission?
I have the Factory assembly instruction manual, and it refers to a transmission brace for conv only, on page 121.

Also on the steering box, what brand and part number is the best" and pitman arm?

1969 Camaro Z-11 Pace Car
350cu/300HP -
Convertible RS/SS- Muncie M20 - posi 3.31, 12 bolt
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old Jun 15th, 08, 05:59 PM
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Re: Improve ride on 69 Camaro Convertible

Yes, your convertable should have the X brace underneath, often it is missing and it's needed to tie the car together and add stiffness. The "cocktail shakers" are needed too.

The easiest box to install is the AGR 12 to 1 ratio from Summit. Your current hoses and rag joint will fit with no adapters. You can swap over whatever pitman arm you have now. The long pitman will increase steering speed and responsiveness but it's sometimes too fast for some members, others love it. With the 12 to 1 box, even the short pitman is plenty fast. There are long and short outer arms on the spindles that affect steering ratio too. I have info on them on my web page below.
David

Check my web page for First Gen Camaro suspension info:
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old Jun 15th, 08, 10:50 PM
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Re: Improve ride on 69 Camaro Convertible

the AGR box is probably amazing, but you could get a remanufactured box from a local auto parts store or rockauto.com
check the sticky at the top of the forum list, I believe it is a 87-91 Iroc box

and yes, bolt on connectors are fine, welded are better
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old Jun 16th, 08, 01:22 PM
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Re: Improve ride on 69 Camaro Convertible

Since you mentioned this is a daily driver I would think you can get away without the Subframe connectors for now. I would think all of the above mentioned items will help a ton on thier own. The only issue i have with weld in subframe connetors is that they are permenant for the most part, but bolt ins dont do the same job the weld in ones do. And for a vert im sure any subframe connectors will help alot.

Hatya

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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old Jun 16th, 08, 02:28 PM
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Re: Improve ride on 69 Camaro Convertible

I used to think I could get away without SFC's, in fact used to brag about hor strong my old convertible was...

Then one day a couple years ago I jacked the car up and put stands under the "level" part of the subframe. She bowed so bad I couldn't get the doors open!

Shortly after, I welded in a set of hotchkiss convertible SFC's. Welded solid to the subframe, the rear frame rail by the front spring perches, and 2 places on each side into the floor bracing. She don't bend anymore, ever. She don't rattle anymore either. Don't even shake her cowl at a hundred plus....





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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old Jun 16th, 08, 02:41 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Improve ride on 69 Camaro Convertible

I have just about decided what I want to do on most things.

On the front springs or shocks; what is the best way to get the best ride?
I have near new stock springs that were ordered via Classic as Stock Convertible springs.
Are the spring over shocks going to improve the ride on a street driver?

If I keep the stock springs, I will surely replace the shocks to the Bilsteins.

I will change the body mounting bushings, I know there is a lot of suggestions about the types of material; aluminum, rubber, or poly. What is the best for my application?
type and brand?

Is the G-mod the best way to get the added adjustments to the alignments? taller ball joints as found in some of the suggestions? I really don't want to drill into the frame.
I have no figured out where the drilling would be. Does any one have any pictures?

1969 Camaro Z-11 Pace Car
350cu/300HP -
Convertible RS/SS- Muncie M20 - posi 3.31, 12 bolt
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