Building a street/strip front suspension setup for a 68 Camaro - Team Camaro Tech
Brakes, Suspension & Steering Conversion questions, Steering & Handling

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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old Jul 11th, 19, 10:50 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Perth, Australia
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Building a street/strip front suspension setup for a 68 Camaro

I am currently in the process of gathering information and creating a list of parts I'll need to purchase for the complete subframe refresh on my 68 Camaro street/strip build. I've been looking at all the different parts and options on the market, researching the downfalls of the first-gen front suspension and what would be applicable to a street/strip build and have come up with a list I feel would be a good start.

To give some background information on the car:
  • 68 Camaro - full steel, full interior, currently on a rotissiere getting a full rebuild.
  • 540 Big block, a little over 700HP but it's likely more engine work will happen before the motor goes into the car
  • TH400. Converter somewhere over 4500RPM, maybe around 5000RPM, to be confirmed.
  • Somewhere in the range of 3.9 - 4.11 rear gears, 9" diff
  • Standard tub, hoping to fit a 275/60/15 M/T ET Street S/S
  • Plan for rear suspension is a shortened 9", caltracs, split mono leaf

Parts list for the front suspension so far consists of:

Factory UCA/LCA
Delrin bushings from Ridetech
Standard size ball joints

Upgraded sway bar
Ridetech or DSE

Ridetech steering kit
Inner/Outer tie rod ends
Billet tie rod adjusters
Pitman arm
Idler arm

CP500/400 steering box
Weld-in chassis connectors and solid body mounts - considering types at the moment
Standard spindles
Viking coilovers A224-450TK (w/ double adjustable shock)
Wilwood front discs

Upper/lower bump stops for control arms
Full front suspension hardware kit (subframe has been apart before and most of the hardware is missing or wrong)

Ultimately, my goal for the car is to be able to drive to the track, run a 9 second pass and drive home (about a 120KM round-trip). I also want to be able to cruise this car on the streets a few times a month. My tolerance to a slightly harsher ride is probably higher than most (I have other cars that are lowered and have stiffer suspension setups that I don't mind), I'm not expecting superb corner carving ability through 3.5" front runners and I'm not expecting a super comfortable ride from a car designed to do this.

So with all of this in mind, is there any recommendations that people can make on my current parts list; where I can make changes to help with the goal of the car, ride quality, etc? Hopefully we get some good information in this thread that can help others with first-gen street/strip builds and their front suspension choices. There seems to be a lot of pro-touring info but no where near as much for those who want to get fast in a straight line. Additionally, some specific questions:
  • Should I consider going to a taller ball joint? As I understand it, more negative camber but at the downfall of more bump steer. Bump steer can then be brought back to normal levels with additional parts
  • I've been advised in discussions with Viking that their coilover setup works with stock control arms. Has anyone got experience with this?
  • Sway bar; does anyone have experiences with Ridetech compared to DSE?
  • Does anyone have experiences with CP steering boxes? I am looking to gain a better ratio in a more compact box as I'll need the header clearance.
  • Guldstrand mod; worth doing for a street/strip build?
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old Jul 14th, 19, 09:44 PM
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Re: Building a street/strip front suspension setup for a 68 Camaro

Stiff front suspension is not what you need for a 9 second car. I drive my car all over on the street and so far it's run 9.50's. My front suspension is simple: polyurethane control arm bushings, Trick drag springs and Competition Engineering 3 way shocks. Everything else is stock, and no swaybar. Also has a 10 point cage and weld in subframe connectors. My car ran 1.38 sixty foot times when it ran low 10's high 9's. I bumped the power up and didn't adjust anything when the car ran a 9.56. It spun and only did a 1.46 sixty foot. I should have stiffened the rear shocks and/or ramped the nitrous in over a half a second. No back up runs because the car is not certified and I don't have a competition license.

You want the front suspension to move easily. Delrin bushings should work fine.

'69 Camaro - 429 SBC Dart Iron Eagle 9.325" block, Crower crank, Crower 6" billet rods, Ross pistons (10:1), Total Seal rings, AFR 245 heads, T&D steel body shaft rockers, Cloyes Timing set, custom ground 4-7 swap solid roller 274/286 @ .050" with .704" lift, Dart single plane, Holley Dominator EFI on E85, Injector Dynamics ID2000 Injectors, Stef's #1705R oil pan, F2 Procharger, Lemons 2" primary 4" collector, ATI 9" blower converter
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old Jul 15th, 19, 09:50 AM
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Re: Building a street/strip front suspension setup for a 68 Camaro

Guldstrand mod; worth doing?

Not really because tubular control arms correct the issue with a lot less effort and the process is easily reversible. Tubular control arms are heavier , but stronger than open stamped steel factory control arms. Taller ball joints (or better yet a taller steering knuckle off of a full size Chevy) would be a better choice to correct front steering geometry.

As pointed out by Steve the strip that comes to most people is the drag strip which has no turns. As such you want the lightest components (stock front end minus the sway bar). This illustrates my effort to point out that there is no such thing as a street strip car the two driving requirements are mutually exclusive.

It you build a street strip car the guy who builds a dedicated trailered race car is going to steal your lunch money every time. You will never be competitive. As such you need to redefine your goals; or you will never be happy with the car. Biggest negative that can be addressed with an old classic car is shocks. Springs hold the car up, Shocks controls the ride and handling, and sway bars keeps the tire in contact with the pavement in corners. If you are never going to turn a corner you don't need a sway bar on the front (in the back they compensate for engine torque on a drag car to keep both tires planted, which helps keeping the car going straight).

Speaking of which with a 540 it will overwhelm a stock rear suspension. As such you will need to back half the car to install a four link. A four link works better on the street than a split mono-leaf and Cal-Tracs, and definitely works better on the track. It is not easily reversible though so it takes a dedication to acceleration and handling that most can not commit to.

A nine inch is expensive and weak compared to a Dana 60, The Dana 60 has zero gauge parasitic drag compared to the nine inch which will turn three percent of your horsepower into heat because that wasted energy has to go somewhere. The nine inches you see on the back of pro drag cars are actually eleven inches, not a nine inch. Strange took the nine inch Ford design and super sized everything. A Dana 60 offers bigger axles, bigger bearings, and bigger brakes if you want them, than a nine inch and it cost a bit less as well as being lighter unless you opt for rear disc brakes and an aluminum center section.

Now back to shocks. They have to be adjustable for both compression and rebound. If you buy a coil over shock you can change your spring rate as easily as a shock, and adjust one corner up or down in ride height about three quarter of a an inch (one and a half inches of adjustability). Modern shocks are rebuildable (allowing you to modify valving) and efficient (they even come with separate gas reservoirs and heat exchangers if you want to go road racing).

Big Dave
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old Jul 15th, 19, 04:38 PM
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Re: Building a street/strip front suspension setup for a 68 Camaro

Stock suspension
3-way comp shocks set at 90/10
CalTracs, w/ Rancho 5-way adjustables (on full stiff, 5, at the strip with good prep)
15X8 wheels with 275/60/15 MT DR's out back
4.10's in a 35 spline and spooled 12-bolt
15x5 fronts with 205/65/15

Just a lil' LS with a cam.....just add 150 shot and upper 9's territory is "possible" in mine.

Nothing "trick" or "special" really.

68 Camaro~LSx ~all motor
1.54 60'--6.95 @ 98.45 660'--10.96 @ 121.53

Last edited by DOUG G; Jul 15th, 19 at 04:49 PM.
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