Late Model Feel ? - Team Camaro Tech
Brakes, Suspension & Steering Conversion questions, Steering & Handling

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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old Jun 16th, 08, 02:36 PM Thread Starter
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Late Model Feel ?

Is it at all possible to get the same ride out of my 69 as my wifes 02 Trans Am? I have been reading the suspension forum for days trying to decide which way to go with this. My car currently handles great when cornering, im running 45 series 17" tires.

The preveious onwer did some stuff to the car but nothing I can identify, The car flat out rides very hard over any bumps, I have been considering just trying a nice set of front shocks, im leaning toward varishocks. But i know the front Ca buchings are worn so im gonna do that also, and since i have the IROC steering box im gonna do that at the same time.

But is there a complete packge such as the TVS that will give me a ride quality near a late model F body? I took her car on a long trip this weekend and I gotta say, the dam thing handles incredible, yet it has a soft feeling over rough pavement and bumps.

In the rear I fully intend to do the GBar rear setup at some point. At this point im putting off my A/C upgrade to fix the ride quality cuz i just cant take it anymore. And since im tearing the front apart I may as well do it all.

Id prefer not to change control arms unless its a must. And from all I have read there is no reason to change lowers, and with a Guild mod no reason to change uppers.

Please advise.

Hatya

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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old Jun 16th, 08, 07:19 PM
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Re: Late Model Feel ?

I do not know how rough is too rough for you, but I think the Hotchkis TVS kit with their specially valved Bilstein shocks are amazing and not too rough.
You might need to find someone who lives nearby and go for a ride with them, because each person, defines rough ride differently.

Oh, and yes do the third gen swap its amazing. While you are upgrading the handling, look into the g-mod. If you are ok with drilling some new holes is the subframe and some grinding, go for it, also well worth the effort.

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old Jun 16th, 08, 07:23 PM
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Re: Late Model Feel ?

I don't think you will get both the ride AND the handling of a late model car.

I've done a lot to mine. A lot. The only stock things left are the spindles and steering arms, and a live rear axle with leaf springs. My car handles very well (always considering what it started out to be) and the ride is not too bad unless the road is very bumpy.

She can't hold a candle to my other car, a 93 vette.

There are just some things you learn to live with to drive a firstgen camaro.





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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old Jun 17th, 08, 01:06 PM
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Re: Late Model Feel ?

Your 02 TA has the 1LE suspension, - springs and antiroll bars. This is a soft spring/stiff bar package that works very well on the street. Herb Adams pioneered this type of tuning, the 1LE springs are stiffer than an SS camaro or Z/28 or std Firebird.

The only downside of this type of tuning is when the car has a super low ride height, or lots of horsepower. The body can nose dive or squat too much, causing bottoming out.

Systems like The Hotchkis TVS are twice as stiff as stock and great for someone who will really run the car hard like carving corners on a back road, Autocross, or road course. Their shock package (Bilstein) is tuned for these springs, and makes the ride pretty stiff but you don't really notice discomfort until rough roads are encountered, then the actual stiffness really shows up.

If you want similar tuning to the TA, use Bilstein shocks, a Moog 6308 front coil, and stock multi leaf rear springs. The 6308 is 380 lbs/inch rate and will work well if you don't cut the coils further. My only concern is if the 6308 is tall enough for the convertable. A 6320 may be better.

Add some good antiroll bars to the car and you should be in good shape. If your horsepower level requires traction bars, consider getting the Hotchkis rear leaf springs.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old Jun 17th, 08, 06:09 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Late Model Feel ?

Jim - You live to close to me, sometime this summer we should meet up. I'd love to see you car.

David - my 69 is not a vert, thats my 67. Im refering to my 69 coupe in this post. Let me say one more time that the car handles winding roads great!! fabulous handling, but it unbearable on rough pavement. I assume it handles great because its set up so stiff. So i need to find a middle ground. THis is a daily driver so i need something more tolerable, even somonewhat soft.

I had a good day of poker today so i can splurge and get a set of varishocks, Once i try this if i still have issues I will try the springs David Pozzi Reccomends.

Hatya

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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old Jun 17th, 08, 10:39 PM
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Re: Late Model Feel ?

Thanks for clearing that up.
Shocks have a tremendous influence on ride quality, it's smart to start there.

I'd do the Gbar and soften up the front, you may have good enough anti roll bars already if you have a front and rear bar on there.

The thing a soft setup needs is adequate ride height.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old Jun 18th, 08, 10:23 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Late Model Feel ?

Thanks David,

Currently I am 15" from center if rim to fender lip, so its not low. Im gonna start with shocks, then springs if i have to. The springs seems to be a bit soft, i notice when i go over a fairly good hump or dip in the road, that front tires will scrape on the fender molding due to spring compression, im hoping that i can use the shock adjustment to stop this also.

Ill post results. I found a dealer very close that has QA1's in stock, ive heard some good and bad things on these. But this is a daily driver not a race car so im thinking id abuse them less then others.

Hatya

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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old Jun 18th, 08, 11:22 AM
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Re: Late Model Feel ?

I've way more better comments on the varishocks then the QA1s, FWIW.

Scott from NJ. Stay thirsty, my friends


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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old Jun 18th, 08, 11:33 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Late Model Feel ?

OK OK thats it, im getting the varishocks, its not the money. It was the fact i could get the QA1's locally. But I will get the varishocks.

Thanks guys

Hatya

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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old Jun 18th, 08, 11:53 AM
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Re: Late Model Feel ?

I installed the QA1 adj. shocks in rear and their coil-overs in front. HUGE improvement over standard shocks and springs. The car is not a tight road course racer now (which isn't what I'm going after) but it handles extemely well on the street and also feels very comfortable. I couldn't be happier. No fussing w/ride height - put it right precisely where I want it and can change it later if need to. I also like the adjustability to fine tune to my personal preference. I've seen some slamming of the QAs but perceive a lot is coming directly/indirectly from competition or those that installed with incompatible parts so would encourage you to do your own homework. I do think varishocks are also worth looking at. As I understand the QAs don't work well with those that use drop spindles so that has also caused some issues along the way. One thing that people don't like about the QAs (varishock's lower mounting looks to be the same design) is how they mount to the lower A-arm. Lots of force being applied to an area that appears not up for the challenge. QA-1 insists that the only time they've seen an issue is with cars doing high wheel stands and slamming down on the front susp. (which can cause havoc on stock susp as well) All that said, my personal enginnering evaluation was that it needed more reinforcement on the stock lower arm so I fabbed a 2-piece plate that goes on top and welded it in and drilled though the stock holes through the plate so is stronger than ever. This also served to strenghthen the entire arm's stuture. While I was at it I also fabbed some gussets and reenforced the weaker areas of the stock Arm underside around the ball joint and as it tapers wider out (I've heard a few stories of stock arms breaking near the ball joint which was the inspiration). With the mods I have absolutely no conerns. Others bolted them in as they were intended/designed on the stock arm and haven't had issue either that I've ever seen discussed here or other sites. I'm one of those that like to over-engineer a little to a lot though. I'm no "pro" but just a wknd. hobby mechanic who likes to figure this stuff out in the garage vs. watching TV. That's my thoughts on the QA-1s. I'd be happy to send some pics of the A-arm mods if anyone is intersested.
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old Jun 19th, 08, 01:25 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Late Model Feel ?

Bill, Id love to see those pics

Hatya

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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old Jun 20th, 08, 09:32 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Late Model Feel ?

Thanks for the pics Bill

I ordered all new ball joints and CA bushings today. I found the best price at Rock Auto. They killed my local parts store even with shipping.

I hope to have this done next week, ill post results.

Hatya

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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old Jun 20th, 08, 11:05 AM
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Re: Late Model Feel ?

Hey Chris - I'm a bit late to the conversation but I had a '96 SSZ28 with the "Bilstein Lev II" suspension. Edmunds used the term "race car suspension in a street car" when they described in in a road test article they did on the car. I have to say my '96 handled like a slotcar and road like one too... I don't know how that compares to your '02 Trans-Am but you make it sound like it rides rather nice. I have ridden in 1LE suspension Camaros and they are just like my '96 on rough roads, best check your fillings is the best way to describe it...

On to the 1st gen... Because of funding I was forced to do my cars suspension a piece at a time but there was a benefit that I was able to draw from this. When I got the car it had 15" rallies with 235/60 BFG's, New stock style replacement springs (5 leaf in the rear) and Koni Classic adjustable shocks set on the firmest setting. The ride was rough and the car handled a bit better than stock and nothing rubbed.

The first thing I did was swap out the bfg's for some GT Qualifers, came down to 215/60 in front and 245/60 out back looking for a bit of a rake to the stance, the tires were inexpensive and I had heard the ride quality of the GT Qualifyer was better than the BFGs. Wow what a difference, now the car was almost comfortible as far as ride quality goes.

Next I still didn't have the stance I wanted so I swapped front springs to Hotchkis 2" lowering springs with plans to add a spacer if they dropped the front too much. In doing this my friend Chris suggested adjusting the Koni's to the lightest dampening, OMG what a ride difference and the handling improved a bit with the spring swap. The drop springs gave the car a bit of the old school stance without being really jacked up so I was happy at the time.

Wheels and tires came next, I put 45 series tires on high quality Budnik 17" wheels 17x8 up front 17x9.5 out back and all I can say is WOW! This made the biggest improvement in handling of everything and to my surprise the car rode even better than with the 15" 60 series tires. Even with the stiffer short sidewalls the alum wheels provided a better ride quality than the steel wheels.

With the wheel and tire change I was quick to add new Pro-thane body bushings and Hotchkis drop springs in the back. I installed them without the upper pad to gain back about 1/4" of the drop which left the stance where it is today. This really rounded out the handling of my ragtop, I have since added subframe connectors and to my surprise they didn't really kill the ride quality like I thought they would. They do seem to have given the car an all around solid feel and diving into a corner the suspension seems to be allowed to do it's job as the car itself doesn't flex as much as it use to.

My '69 ragtop's ride quality is far better than the '96 SSZ28 I had and on the typical rough winding back roads I think the '69 would hold it's own since the tires stay planted where the stiff Bilstein LevII in the '96 would leave it floating almost like it was hydro-plaining. Don't take that wrong though, I think on a real race track the '96 would leave the '69 behind in the corners... That's something a lot of guys overlook and tend to build there street cars to race car spec's.

...Dennis

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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old Jun 20th, 08, 12:17 PM
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Re: Late Model Feel ?

For my fellow vert friends reading this post, I have the 6308 front springs on my 68 convertible with stock spindles and love the ride height. It is slightly lower than stock, looks and handles great.

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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old Jun 24th, 08, 01:32 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Late Model Feel ?

Thanks for the info Dennis.

Well after much debate I went with the QA1 shocks. I also installed the Moog 6308 springs per David Pozzi. The springs i took out where nearly 2 inches longer then the 6308's. I honestly dont know how they got them dam things in there, it wasnt fun getting them out. I only drove it once with the shocks at the softest setting. At this point i am very happy with the results, it still has some stiffness but takes rough roads much better. I can still feel that the rear is very stiff, so thats next on the list.

I notice that the front end has some bounce to it so i need to try a stiffer adjustment on the shocks. Overall im much happier with the ride quality. The ride height is a touch on the hiegh side for me atm. Althought its only 15 1/4" from center of the wheel to the fender lip. It looks higher to me, and i know this is the same as the old ride height (/boggle)

Im hoping after some driving the front comes down a bit.

Thanks everyone for your input on the. Next i need to go win $2k at the boats so i can buy the G Bar rear set up !!

Hatya

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