Replace coil and leaf springs or not? - Team Camaro Tech
Brakes, Suspension & Steering Conversion questions, Steering & Handling

 
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old Nov 24th, 01, 04:05 AM Thread Starter
 
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I have an all original 67 convertible with 87,000 miles. I am replacing suspension parts and cannot decide if new springs are necessary. The car is nice and level, I figure shocks, etc will prevent bottoming out, and bushings and ball joints should tighten it up. Do I need to bother with new springs? I am the second owner and want to keep the car all original.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old Nov 24th, 01, 05:01 AM
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If you want to keep the car all original, then don't do it! Because it won't be original anymore. But if you want to be able to drive it more aggressively then stock, then by all means do a search here and get all the info that you care to read up on. pdq67



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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old Nov 24th, 01, 05:02 AM
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I would do the springs. You have it all apart and springs are pretty inexpensive. I am doing my front end right now and I am doing EVERYTHING so that I don't have to do it again. Just my opinion....

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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old Nov 24th, 01, 09:06 AM
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if you can buy new "stock" springs it would basically still be original, but if you replace the rear monos with multi's and stuff like that, then it isnt.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old Nov 24th, 01, 10:35 AM
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Sorry, but don't think you can buy new mono's and the aftermarket ones are not duplicates! Does anybody know of a place to get NOS mono's??

By th way, I have went completely through my '67SS/RS b/c it was in dire shape. A restification thing and not a restoration thing!!

Poly everywhere, front, middle and rear. About 500#+ coils and new three leaf mono replacements that I'm prob. going to add a couple of leafs to so they better match the front. 1" and 3/4" sway-bars, I may not need the rear bar?

Front bolt-on spindle extenders. Bolt-on subframe connectors and finally, a power steering and a Cheap Big (disc) Brake conversion as well as MODERN rubber and wheels, 225 and 255/45-17's. I am also keeping my old homemade "slapper-bars" for stop-light duty!

I used to get so sick of my car not handling AND stopping like the newer cars did as I got newer cars! And I think I finally fixed all of it's stock short-comings. One thing it always did very well was RUN!! And my 496 will make it run better, He, He!!

But, it is by no stretch of the imagination, still stock! But it looks stock if you don't look tooo close.

Hope this helps b/c it's what you want and not anybody else wants for your car that matters. pdq67



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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old Nov 24th, 01, 10:53 AM
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I would have your front springs checked to see what rate they are at and compare to new. I would suspect that they are weak if original. I bet your rear springs are weak also.

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69 Camaro Z28 "clone" - 327 AT
"461" camel back heads,
edelbrock, hooker, ultradyne,
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old Nov 24th, 01, 02:25 PM
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rkelly
If the car has not sagged excessively and ride height is OK, you won't need new springs unless they are badly corroded.
Springs won't loose rate, but may sag and lose ride height, and free length.

Many replacement springs are not exactly the same as what came stock.
You may have some ride height problems and rate differences if you replace them.
David

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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old Nov 24th, 01, 05:31 PM
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I think if you want your car to handle like a modern car, buy a modern car..I like the 1st gen camaros for what they were and are. I just can't see putting so much effort and money into susp. mods to try to "keep up" with modern stuff..It's an old car..let it be old.My opinion.Don't compare Apples to Oranges
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old Nov 25th, 01, 06:20 AM
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I can almost gaurantee that your springs are sagging to some extent by now. I didn't think mine were, but when I put in the new "stock replacement" springs, the car stood up almost 2'' higher than it had before. If you get something like the Hotchkis lowering springs, you will probably maintain your current ride height, unless by some fluke your springs aren't sagging.

Oh, the stock replacements I got were from Rick's First Gen and they are made by Landrum spring. Just in case you were considering these, they did lift my car a little. Check it out at www.geocities.com/boodlefoof
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old Nov 26th, 01, 05:47 AM
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If your 30 yr old springs aren't sagging, I'd question if they were original...unless the car has spent many years on blocks. My guess is the car is 2 inches lower on all four corners than when it was driven off the showroom floor.

So as far as originality, you can have the original ride height, or keep the original springs, but not both on a 30 yr old car. I usually purchase leafs and coils for all four corners as a matter of course. I've had good luck with Eaton Detroit Spring (I think you can contact them at www.eatondetroit.com). This company made a lot of the first gen springs in the 60's anyway, so you'll be getting close to original parts anyway. They'll ask many question about how your car is optioned before sending you a set. Reasonably priced. You may perhaps have the spring codes still on labels attached to the springs...i.e. in 69 theres a blue tag attached to the coil that has a two letter code...something like "ED". Tell Eaton that code and they make a spring to the exact specs.

Plus, you'll have a car that rides like new.

My opinion.
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old Nov 26th, 01, 07:21 AM
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Sleepy-69 and all. When you replace the original springs with exact copies from Detroit Eaton or whoever, how big a difference in ride and cornering does it make? I kept my original coil springs and had the original monos rearched and the car sits very nicely (I do not want it lowered). If you think it makes a world of difference in the way the car drives, I would go back and make this a winter project. Also, what about shocks? I have new Monroes but maybe a KYB, Bilstien or Koni would make a significant difference??
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old Nov 27th, 01, 05:13 AM
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By going the route I suggested, your first gen will corner just like it did in 67...which will be much improved over the 35 yr old stuff that's currently rattling around your car now.

Obviously the General has made many improvements in suspensions in 30 years (in fact GM put their best folks and a lot of money on this front in recent years), so your 67 with OE type springs won't scare off any 4-gen owners at the Grand Prix. You mentioned you wanted "original". If you want to advance your suspension to ride and handle like a car of the 90's get out your credit card and get after it. Many do. Just depends what you want with your car. I'm an old man who likes to keep the original feel of the car. Others prefer to modernize their rigs. You?

Good luck!
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old Nov 27th, 01, 10:17 AM
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the new springs will make the car somewhat better as far as handling, but if replacing old springs with new springs with the same spring rate as the old ones you may not feel a huge difference. When I switched from monoleafs to multi, my rear stiffened up quite a bit. However, that could also be attributed to my shocks.

I run KYB shocks and they are good, but if you want a plush, cushy, ride... don't get them! They are very stiff and make little bumps very noticible. I have heard good things about bilstein shocks giving a firm ride, but also absorbing bumps very well... of course, they cost somehting like $50 a piece more than the KYBs.
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old Nov 27th, 01, 12:58 PM
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If your car is level, don't change your springs! Many of us are just striving to keep our cars from sagging on the drivers rear side. Be fortunate your car rides level. The front geometry of the subframe and a-arms on a 1st Gen. car is poor, and "bump steer" is a big problem. So, springs aren't the only problem. However, putting in a one inch diameter sway bar cannot hurt.

Here is my conclusion of swapping front springs this summer. If you put in stiffer front coil springs, you will have better handling on your 67 IF and let me repeat the word "if" the front end is signficantly higher than the rear end. Case in point. I put some 370# rate springs in the front that made the front 1" higher than original. My 67 handled tremendously better during cornering. It was like driving a 3rd generation Camaro. Well the increased height made the car look weird, plus I couldn't see diddly out the rear view mirror. So, then I cut one coil off the 370# springs. The height profile look a little lower than my stock springs, but I bottomed out on the rubber A-arm bumpers a lot and I noticed that rear end once again started to rise again during sharp cornering. Okay, back to square one. So, I put in some Hotchkis 600# springs in the front. Boy did the profile appearance improve dramatically My car looked like it was ready for a pictorial in Super Chevy from about 20 feet away where you couldn't see the lousy paint job. The front end was low, sexy and sleek looking. Handling was still better than stock, but to my discerning butt handling was not better than the 500# springs. If anything, it was worse because the rear end returned to the same propensity of rising above the center of gravity during harsh cornering. In other words, if you put high rate lowering springs in the front to get maximum cornering benefit, you are going to have to put high rate lower leaves in the back to keep the rear from passing you on harsh cornering. Oh by the way, once you do both front and back high rate springs get use to the fact your will feel ever defect in the pavement like you are riding on a skateboard. After I put the Hotchkis springs in the front, my lower a-arm sat 1 1/2" away from the subframe mounted triangular rubber bumper. That should tell you how much lower, stiffer, and how many more road imperfections you will feel. And then there are hazards like bone jarring speed bumps and high spots in steep driveways you will be scraping your subframe on.
I'll repeat myself, if your car is level, don't change your springs, just add a thicker sway bar with polyurethane endlinks!



[This message has been edited by bonecrusher67conv (edited 11-27-2001).]
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old Nov 28th, 01, 04:46 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the advice everyone - I am happy to have my 67 ride and handle like a 67. If I want a new ride I'll buy a new Camaro (I really should have a 67 AND a 2002 - the first and last!) The car is level with the existing springs but seems a little low - a 2 inch raise might be just right. My big concern about changing springs was that I would have trouble making the car level or that I would have trouble finding new single leafs for the rear. I like the idea of having the rate and travel tested to see how far from original they have become in 30 years. I'll probably end up trying new springs ..... but I worry when I hear the "don't change the springs if its level" advice. I'll be checking out the parts sources that are listed here. Thanks all.
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