Making a 69 convert handle like a Ferarri - Team Camaro Tech
Brakes, Suspension & Steering Conversion questions, Steering & Handling

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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old Nov 3rd, 01, 01:53 PM
stenn5
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I know its been posted before but I cant find it. I have my 69 RS/SS finished and now need to tear it down again over the winter (wife is ready to kill me) I want to make it a road car but I do not want to do anything I can undo. I had poly bushings on my Z and went with rubber on this car for a better ride. I do have the front and rear totally redone and used kyb shocks. What can I do to make it really handle but not destroy the ride so I feel every bump? Since this car is a RS/SS that is all numbers matching (motor is correct except it is from another Dec SS) so I dont want to cut or weld if I dont have to. How about sub frame connecters? They sure seem like a nessasary evil since there is no hard top to tie it together.
Thanks,
Mike
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old Nov 3rd, 01, 02:18 PM
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David Pozzi
 
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I'd put in some black stock height solid subframe bushings and would not do the subframe connectors.
Your convert is allready braced in that area for torsional rigidity. A sub connector is mainly a drag race aid for cars that do wheel stands off the line.
I'm sure they help a very high horsepower Camaro some, but lesser hp cars it probably does very little.
I asked Herb Adams if I should do them on my 67 Camaro and he said I didn't need them unless drag racing.
I'd look for front springs of 550 rate and either a 1" solid front sway bar or hotchkis hollow bar.
Use alignment specs on my suspension page below and try to use 8" wide wheels and good tires on the car.
David

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[This message has been edited by davidpozzi (edited 11-03-2001).]
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old Nov 3rd, 01, 02:35 PM
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Building your car to handle like a Ferarri will, without any doubt, alter ride quality to some degree. You just cannot get Ferarri handling with Cadillac ride quality from a First Generation Camaro.

If you are seriously wanting a pro-touring type car, stiffer suspension components (front and rear springs/ shocks) that lower the car slightly (and an oversized sway bar in front) will get you started. Lower profile, sticky tires will also help cornering agility. If you really want to get fancy an aftermarket subframe can do wonders...but that is not cheap!

Another thing to consider is that cars with softer suspensions usually give tell tale warning signals that you are pushing the limits before they lose traction. Very good handling cars often do not give much warning!

Undoing significant suspension mods can also be a pain in the a$$ if even possible. If you are concerned with originality (or planning to sell at a future date) I would just go for higher performance springs and a larger sway bar, maybe better tires too.

Hope this helps!

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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old Nov 3rd, 01, 03:14 PM
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David,

Can you do 8" wheels without doing any relocation of the shock mounts on the inside of the rear tires? And, any rubbing in front with 2" drop springs?

Lefty


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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old Nov 3rd, 01, 05:32 PM
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Ferarris ride like cr*p they are hard and ya scrape on every thing. You might just want to step down to ZO6 vet standards. The first thing I would do is sway bars front and back and poly bushings. Then go with some low profile tires they wont hook as well but they corner better. Then if ya still not happy go with new control arms in tight turns camaros have a prob running on the outer edge of the tire.
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old Nov 4th, 01, 11:48 AM
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Just an observation - the most satisfying suspension tuning is done on a car with the stiffest chassis, so you're altering how the suspension reacts without having to figure out how much its mountings and the body are flexing and how much that's contributing to the problem (and to the difficulty of the solution). Unfortunately, our half-frame 1st Gens don't rate very well for chassis torsional stiffness, so compromises are required to get handling that hurt ride quality (like poly bushings, solid subframe bushings, stiff springs, tight shocks, and stiff sway bars, etc.).

The first Penske/Donohue Camaro ran six races before the competition noticed that its roll cage was tied directly into the upper control arm brackets to gain torsional stiffness; obviously not practical for a street car, but that's how they were able to make the car respond to minor changes when the others couldn't.

When someone finds the right 1st Gen ride/handling combination short of a full cage, let's hear it!

BTW, not all Ferraris ride hard - mine has excellent ride quality, and the handling is incredible (very stiff triangulated tube chassis, doesn't need stiff suspension components); if I could duplicate that for my Z, I'd be happy .





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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old Nov 4th, 01, 02:13 PM
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He, He!! You are showing off, John. LOL. pdq67



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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old Nov 4th, 01, 02:19 PM
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He, He!! Back again.

If I was really going to get serious, I would copy "Big Red" and upgrade it to latest tech stuff and be done w/ it. And a full-house 620" standard-deck BB would have to reside between the fenders. Of course, the car would be nowhere near stock. IMHO. pdq67



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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old Nov 4th, 01, 03:23 PM
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Spring rates less than the full on kits will help the ride and if you keep the ride height high enough to keep the car off the bump stops, it should work well.
The extra wheel travel should help keep the ride sane while good shocks, sway bars and tires should help the handling.

I suspect the ratio between sprung and unsprung weight is key to getting a good ride and good handling on the rougher roads. With a large weight bouncing around it has to react against the mass of the car.
So, lighter wheels and tires for your Camaro should help the ride. Watch out that you don't go too heavy on the shocks.
I would not use the Hotchkis or Guldstrand springs at 700+ lbs rate.
If Horsepower is not too high a 380 lb Moog 6308 would be a good spring to try.

I used 8X15 wheels on my 67 but don't remember at what stage the wheelwells were. I used 1970 corvette rally wheels. There was no rim clearance problem with them. On a 69 a 225-50X15 front and 255-50X15 rear works.
A tire over 225-50 size should be on an 8" rim. 225 or smaller 7" is normally used but an 8" rim would probably be better for handling.
David

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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old Nov 4th, 01, 06:46 PM
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David,
I will not even pretend to know anywhere near as much about suspension modification of first generation camaros as you but I will make a statement based on my own experience. I have a 69 convertible that I recently had DS&E weld in subframe connectors installed in. Prior to the installation the car had a lot (and I mean a lot) of body flex. It is now solid and firm and basically feels like a different car. This was not the only suspension mod done to the car so I am sure some of the other mods made a huge difference but I would have to disagree with your statement that subframe connectors are only needed in cars that are going to be drag raceing. My feeling is that the subframe connectors tightened my car up like a coupe but I still get to enjoy the sunshine.

just my two cents worth

cheers

bob spears

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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old Nov 4th, 01, 07:17 PM
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Bob,
Thanks for your comments. The percent of stiffness the connectors add is an unknown to me too. I put solid subframe mounts on my camaro and have autocrossed it with some success. Before doing that, I could feel the sub move separately from the body by feeling the gas pedal move when I hit bumps!
I still don't have the connectors in my car but plan on adding them.
I think the biggest improvement is in the solid sub bushings. The connectors have to add something, but exactly what I don't know.
If I can I will try to measure the torsional stiffness change on my 67.
I have seen a lot of first gen Camaros vintage racing without the connectors. Even the Penske Camaros didn't have them.
I'm not saying this is right, but I believe the rules didn't allow it.
I was suprised a bit by Herb Adams answer but it reflects my hunch that the connectors are not the first thing to think about when improving a Camaro.
I have recieved comments from others that they are a BIG improvement. I just have some doubts and need to prove it to myself before going along with the crowd on it.
I'd like to hear from someone who did just the connectors alone, but HAS done the solid sub bushings.
Thanks, David

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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old Nov 5th, 01, 02:40 AM
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well, I'm not exactly the guy you are asking for... (no solid sub bushings yet), but I do run some bolt-in subframe connectors and did notice a difference in the feel of driving after doing so. I can't really explain the difference in feeling. My car is a coupe.
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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old Nov 5th, 01, 03:20 AM
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I think on the subject of subframe connectors, it is a key point on whether you are discussing a coupe or convertible. I have a convertible and in the process of installing solid bushings, I had to cut the welds on my welded in connectors. I have driven the car without rewelding and there is a stark difference. This is with Global West's solid bushings and 1 1/8" hollow front sway bar. I still have the connectors in but they are only welded at the front to the subframe and bolted to the rear spring front. The welding that I cut was where the cross brace was notched for the connector to nestle in close to the floor. I'm sure that the 'free floating' cross brace isn't helping the cause but remember that I am still running a subframe connector. Sooo, I would have to cast my vote for the benefit of installing subframe connectors, at least on covertibles. I'll report back when I get the GW front springs and control arm bushings installed. Nothing like real-world experience.

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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old Nov 5th, 01, 08:05 AM
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Guys, I spoke to the guy that did Bobs 69 with the DS&E weld in bars. While I hate to admit it because of the amount of work required to install them they seem to be the best out there so far. No ground clearance problems and if I remember right Bob lowered his car some what. The convertible X-brace was cut to allow the sub-connector to pass through, then fully welded back in. Cutting the X brace seems to be a general concensus no-no but if you think about it the X-brace stops at the driveshaft tunnel and then is tied to the opposite side by a stamped metal X pan brace. How strong is that? Alot of us put our faith in the original engineers design but if they solved the problem the first time we wouldn't be dealing with flex today would we? Somewhere there are pictures on the work done to the car in one of these forums, I just don't remember which. Check them out, Chris
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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old Nov 5th, 01, 10:30 AM
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Thanks for the comments. I've allways wondered what adding connectors would do for my 67. I've done a lot of driving without them, around 150 thousand miles. The last 50K miles included autocross with goodyear slicks.

I've had similar discussions on connectors at Pro-Touring.com.
I've had more input saying they do work or help, than any against them.
I DID bring up the idea that perhaps a simple connector is not what is best for handling. It might be that some structure with a diagonal bracing is best.
I'd have thought that Herb would have done model testing of the Camaro structure even if not first gen, he has done second gen scale modeling for structual reinforcement in his book.
Herb DID come out with braces from the firewall to subframe in the engine compartment. He didn't give the impression that adding connectors in the rear was a big deal.
I think they are so easy to add, I'm going to add them to my car and hope to do some testing for torsional rigidity to see how much they help.
It's great to get comments from those who put them on.
David

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David's Motorsports page
First Gen Suspension Page
67 RS 327
69 Camaro Vintage Racer
65 Lola T-70 Chev 350 Can-Am Vintage Racer
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