I wanted to give you all a "short" report on the results of my 10-month mechanical (and front subframe cosmetic) rehab of my ’68 Camaro to offer hope that there is fun at the end of the tunnel.
I got the car sorted out enough to take it out for a drive this morning on the Angeles Crest Highway here in SoCal. (The Angeles Crest Highway is a road near Los Angeles that is famous in motorcycling circles as one of the best and most fun mountain roads anywhere. At the bottom of the road there’s one of those curvy arrow signs indicating curves ahead with the notation below “Next 55 Miles.”) I wanted to see if the suspension work I’d done was going to pay off. Bottom line: the car handles better than I ever imagined it could.
My setup is: UCA mounting points cut off and moved back about ½ inch and lower as per the Guldstrand modification (all as suggested on David Pozzi’s page); DSE Delrin upper and lower front control arm bushings; Global West solid aluminum body mount bushings; Global West 1” drop front coil springs and Hotchkis 1.5” drop rear springs with their bushings; adjustable Koni front and rear shocks both set on the softest rebound; 1.125” hollow Hotchkis front sway bar; new Moog upper and lower ball joints, tie rod ends, pitman arm, idler arm and “problem solver” cross shafts; DSE tie rod adjusters; stock power steering box modified for about three turns lock-to-lock; C5 8.5x17” wheels (with 2” bolt-on wheel adapters) and 245-45-17tires on the front and 9.5x18” rear wheels (with 1.75” bolt-on wheel adapters) and 275-35-18 tires on the rear. Alignment specs were: Caster: 4 degrees positive, Camber: 0 degrees, Toe-in: 1/16 inch. The alignment shop got the alignment dead on, but had to use lots of shims on both the front and rear bolts, which probably could have been eliminated by flipping the cross shafts over. I do not have SFC’s on the car.
The ride is firm, but not as firm or busy as my wife’s ’94 Corvette and overall pretty comfortable. Going up the Crest the car felt like it was on rails. I didn’t push it too hard (no lower than 50, not much higher than 65 through the curves), but it felt very firm, tracked great and didn’t scare me once. When I tightened my line in a curve, the car just sort of hunkered down and followed the new line - no drama, just good tracking. I’m amazed at what bolt-ons and a UCA relocation have done to the car.
I didn’t play with the brakes, but the manual S-10 MC (another Pozzi suggestion) feels like it’s going to be good. (I couldn’t get it bled enough myself to get a decent pedal, but had it bled by the shop that did the alignment and it’s been firm and high since.) I’m using 13” C5 front disks, with LS1 calipers and Brian’s ([email protected]
) brackets on modified drum brake spindles and 10.5 inch rear disks with Cadillac calipers and Ebay brackets on the rear. The proportioning valve is set for minimal reduction in rear braking force, but again, I haven’t tried to sort out the brakes yet. Earls braided steel brake lines for a ’69 Camaro bolted right on both front and rear.
After the ride, I have a few things to correct or improve:
1. I had the stock front bucket seats redone with new foam and new repro covers. The seats suck. There is no side-to-side support as you go through the twisties. They’ll be giving way to something more modern as soon as I can swing it.
2. The front end sits about an inch or so higher then the rear, not surprising when the initial drop in front was ½” less than in the rear. I’ll install the hood, put some more miles on it and then start trimming the coils.
3. There’s a slight polishing by the driver’s side rear tire on the inboard side of the rear wheel well. It looks like some gentle massaging with the delicate adjustment tool should take care of it.
4. I’ll get the front end re-aligned once I trim the coils and see if I either need to flip the offset shafts, or go to straight shafts.
5. The car is a total gas hog! I’m going to try a 600 Edelbrock I’ve got with vacuum secondaries (replacing a 650 Demon with mechanical secondaries) to see if I can crack 10 mpg!
6. The Flowmaster 50 series mufflers have to go! I could have gone faster, but for the roar echoing off the hills. I could just imagine every CHP within miles suddenly looking up and searching for my car.
7. I’m not happy with the rear rotors. Only the outer 1.5” or so is being swept by the calipers. It looks like I should be able to go with at least 11.5 inch disks without any trouble.
Finally, I’ve learned about virtually everything I’ve done to my car on this site and David Pozzi’s pages. I thank all of you and David Pozzi for so generously sharing your knowledge, experience and ideas. If anyone has any questions about any of the stuff I’ve done, I’d be happy to share my experiences with my car.