How to build an awesome handling suspension?

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How to build an awesome handling suspension?

Post by driveit on Thu Jul 04, 2013 1:14 pm

Daydreaming and thinking of how to build my suspension. I was thinking, where do you start? From the tires up what do you look for what do you need to may a g3 handle like a new sports car on the highway?

Tips, tricks, part numbers, opinions and pics. Send em my way!
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Re: How to build an awesome handling suspension?

Post by dynchel on Thu Jul 04, 2013 4:07 pm

The cheapest way to get started would be get some good sway bars.  I like getting used stuff when I can.  My front bar was a off a '73 montecarlo we parted out years ago. It measures 1" (compaired to the factory 7/8").  I mounted it using urethane mounts and end links available at auto zone.   My car didn't have a rear bar at all so I followed the reccomendations I read here and scored a '95 impala SS bar off eBay for $40.00.  I have aftermarket rear arms but even replacing the bushings on the stock arms will help.  My original arms had energy suspension bushings installed (available at summit racing for around $60.00).


Last edited by dynchel on Wed Oct 16, 2013 1:39 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : correction)
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Re: How to build an awesome handling suspension?

Post by driveit on Fri Jul 05, 2013 10:14 am

Going around a curve my car feels like it might flip over. Is this what the sway bars help?
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Re: How to build an awesome handling suspension?

Post by dynchel on Fri Jul 05, 2013 10:25 am

Stability mostly, like taking a freeway exit ramp at 45 mph instead of 25 mph. You probably need new springs also. Here's a tip find a part number (rock auto / summit racing) and check on amazon. I got new Moog springs (rear) for $60.00 around last Christmas.
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Re: How to build an awesome handling suspension?

Post by JB2wheeler on Fri Jul 05, 2013 10:42 am

driveit wrote:Going around a curve my car feels like it might flip over.  Is this what the sway bars help?
Yes, it does. One time, in my wild and wooley days, a friend was driving a 1953 Chevy and took a neighborhood 45 degree left turn wide open and I swear I could have reached out the window and touched the ground. It scared the ... out of me. JB
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Re: How to build an awesome handling suspension?

Post by driveit on Fri Jul 05, 2013 12:05 pm

I know that I need new shocks and springs in the front.

If I had the money I think I would go with these.

Front Sway Bar - RideTech MUSCLEbar Part #: 11249100 $500


Rear Sway Bar - RideTech MUSCLEbar Part #. 11229102


Front and rear shocks - QA1 Pro Coil-Over Systems GS401-10500C Summit $439.97/Free Ship
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Re: How to build an awesome handling suspension?

Post by LSANTI76 on Fri Jul 05, 2013 3:32 pm

I did the same approach as dynchel mentioned including a spring & shock change. Since I had it all apart anyway I replaced all of the ball joints & steering linkage. It made a huge difference! Not a canyon carver....but for a heavy car it stays well planted & firm while greatly reducing body roll. My 295/50r15's have too much sidewall to canyon carve. If you do change springs my opinion is that your spring selection as far as spring rates / ride heights will be home base in how you want to set up your ride/handling qualities. Keep in mind if you are wanting canyon carver handling...you will need to run a larger diameter wheel with less tire sidewall (much less sidewall flex). I wouldn't waste money on highend control arms & other fancy trickout steering/suspension items unless you are planning on running very low profile tire to carry out a stiff performance suspension build.
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Re: How to build an awesome handling suspension?

Post by Cale11 on Fri Jul 05, 2013 4:20 pm

As a former circle track racer who mutilated so many of these wonderful cars, I can tell you it doesnt take much at all to make one handle nice! You can buy coil springs for the front and rear in any spring weight and height for cheap from a racing supply place, and racing shocks as well, sway bars would help but they arent the cure all, your springs and shocks and ride height and tires are the biggest reason it drives like a top heavy POS. It has been almost 20 years since I raced, but im sure not much has changed, so id look into springs and shocks and tires before anything else. And I agree with the above guy, you should be able to get off cheap if you dont get crazy with aftermarket control arms and stuff, it would all be about a waste. Go to your local paved circle track and ask your street stock/sportsman feature winner what he is running for spring rates lol! If you want to get off real cheap, Front Springs will make the biggest difference in stopping your body roll, I believe I ran like 800 or 900LB springs in the LF, and 1000LB in the RF, and trust me when I say it made a world of difference.
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Re: How to build an awesome handling suspension?

Post by driveit on Fri Jul 05, 2013 4:57 pm

Do you think the products above are overkill? Would a factory unit be just as good as far as the sway bars?
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Re: How to build an awesome handling suspension?

Post by dynchel on Fri Jul 05, 2013 5:46 pm

If your planning to run road courses, the aftermarket stuff is probably better. For street use the OE stuff works fine.
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Re: How to build an awesome handling suspension?

Post by driveit on Fri Jul 05, 2013 6:08 pm

Mostly street at least for now. Thanks for the tips.
Talk to everyone 2morro!
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Re: How to build an awesome handling suspension?

Post by Cale11 on Sat Jul 06, 2013 3:58 pm

The only negative about using racing springs and shocks is you will have a stiffer ride and feel more bumps, but the car will basically feel just like an old IROC Z or something when you drive it. OE stuff sucks in my opinion, if you want it to ride like a boat and float around the road surface, use any form of OE springs and shocks and you will see zero improvement in your handling.
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Re: How to build an awesome handling suspension?

Post by Limey SE on Sat Jul 06, 2013 11:00 pm

driveit wrote:Do you think the products above are overkill?  Would a factory unit be just as good as far as the sway bars?
Z/28 front bar and Impala SS rear bar and Box the stock control arms, and get some tubular arms for a Second gen Camaro and do the shocks and tires as discussed you will be more than pleased you don't need hotckiss Name on the bar to make it work GM had some nice offerings that work just as nice for 1/4 of the price but hey its your money if you wanna throw it away
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Re: How to build an awesome handling suspension?

Post by driveit on Sun Jul 07, 2013 3:21 pm

Thanks for the tips. On the hunt for some Chevy bars now. If I ever get enough money just to throw away I might consider the aftermarket ones.
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Re: How to build an awesome handling suspension?

Post by pila on Sun Jul 07, 2013 6:58 pm

I'll likely use a bigger diameter bar on the front at least. Something like a 1 1/4 inch diameter should help. I had a stock rear stab bar on the Elco project, but I didn't like the way it hung down, under the 9 inch rear end, so I removed it. Not sure what to do about that yet....

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Re: How to build an awesome handling suspension?

Post by DoctorLarry on Mon Jul 08, 2013 7:30 am

If you want a simple and inexpensive route to make it drive better, the factory spent a lot of money developing suspension parts. As stated, you can find 1-1/4 inch front bars pretty easily, from El Caminos, Caprices, or 70-81 Trans Ams. Keep in mind that the 94-96 Impala SS cars for the most part have the same frame architecture as the G3 cars. 9C1 Caprice (police package) and Impala SS had larger rear bars, usually 1 inch. If you want lowering springs and shocks, then the Impala SS market has you covered. Energy Suspension has poly bushing kits for both front and rear control arms.  If you look at the stabilizer bar mounts on the rear, they have a metal mount that bolts into the lower arms.  These can be welded in and the arms boxed for strength. Fast ratio steering boxes are now produced that are direct bolt ins for these cars or you can do what I did: find a mid 80's Monte Carlo SS box. That swap has been covered in countless magazine articles and it is a no-brainer. You can go the full Detroit Speed version if you have the jingle, but a few salvage yard trips and you can create a good handler on the cheap. KYB and Monroe make good gas shocks that are inexpensive and this will complete the package.

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Re: How to build an awesome handling suspension?

Post by Bruisr on Mon Jul 08, 2013 12:20 pm

I did the same thing you are wanting to do to my 74 chevelle. I used a front sway bar from a 1-1/4" 79 firebird, rear sway bar from a G3 monte,(I plan to get one from an Impala soon). Poly bushings all around. Metco upper adjustable and aluminum lower arms for the rear, KYB gas-adjust shocks and I cut 1 coil out of the front springs. Also used the steering box form the same firebird mentioned earlier. The handling now feels a lot better and more responsive. I liked it so much, I'm ready to do the same thing to my elco.
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Re: How to build an awesome handling suspension?

Post by driveit on Mon Jul 08, 2013 4:22 pm

Thanks again everyone. Anyone have any bars to give away or for on the cheap? Smile
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Re: How to build an awesome handling suspension?

Post by driveit on Wed Oct 16, 2013 10:21 am

I found out that I do actually have a front bar, but no rear bar. I am going to puck up the bushing and such for the front one this week or next. It is supposed to be raining tomorrow so I may not get started until Friday, but hope to get the front suspension all done. New bushings for everything, new Gabriel Ultra Shocks, new Laguna springs and the two inch drop spindles. I hope its not too low. Anyone have a video or pics of changing any of this out or know where I can find one? Wish it was Friday. Do excited to see how things will turn out.
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Re: How to build an awesome handling suspension?

Post by 74Malibu383 on Wed Oct 16, 2013 12:11 pm

I went the aftermarket route.
- Helwig front sway bar
- DSE rear sway bar
- PSE solid billet rear lower trailing arms
- PSE billet adjustable rear upper trailing arms
- Global West Tubular upper and lower front control arms
- QA-1 double adjustable coil-overs on all 4 corners
- 315/35/20 rears
- 275/35/19 fronts

I can honestly say I can take a 40mph 90 degree turn and have no issues. Unless something is loose in the trunk!

Here is a video from an event in California. You can see the how well it handles through the slalom. I know going through those cones was at about 45-50mph
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npduJY8vXRc
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Re: How to build an awesome handling suspension?

Post by driveit on Wed Oct 16, 2013 1:34 pm

Awesome! I need someone to give me a 20,000$ I know where every penny would go. Anyone out there feeling real generous?

Donations now being accepted for Chris's Chevelle Fund!
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Re: How to build an awesome handling suspension?

Post by dynchel on Wed Oct 16, 2013 8:34 pm

While I've never driven a car with a full aftermarket suspension, I can attest that my setup handles pretty damn good, with minimal cash out lay. I guess it depends what your plans for the car are, I like to take a fast corner around town. I've never auto crossed (and don't plan to) but if that is what you want then go for it! Oe stuff will never match a modern aftermarket setup.
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Re: How to build an awesome handling suspension?

Post by driveit on Thu Oct 17, 2013 8:01 am

I think I will be happy with what I have got as long as it is not too low. I thought the rear would be a little more stiff than it is. The springs were supposed to be 1 inch lowering ones from belltech. I was told that they would be a vast improvement from stock. Maybe I will just have to wait to know for sure after the front has been finished as well.
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Re: How to build an awesome handling suspension?

Post by driveit on Thu Oct 17, 2013 8:02 am

74Malibu383, Do you have any other videos of your car?
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Re: How to build an awesome handling suspension?

Post by 74Malibu383 on Fri Oct 18, 2013 11:59 am

There's quite a few on YouTube. Just go back to that link and search for other videos with my username.
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