Parts

Upgrading 2nd-Gen Camaro with Aldan Suspension Kits

(Image/Aldan American)

Editor’s Note: The following tech story and product profile from Aldan American was previously published on Aldan’s website, and is being shared here with permission.

The second-generation Chevrolet Camaro was produced from 1970-1981 and was General Motors’ encore to the highly successful first-gen Camaro produced from 1967-1969.

Everything from four-speed Muncie transmissions, 350 cubic-inch and 396 c.i.d. V8 engines, split bumpers and RS/SS, RS, SS and a multiple array of trim packages made the second-gen Camaro one of the most popular muscle cars of the era.

Benefits of Installing a Suspension Kit on a 2nd Gen Camaro

Chevy Camaros from 1967-1981 were a uni-body design with a front suspension that included shocks with traditional coil springs. For the rear suspension, GM outfitted the 2nd gen Camaro with leaf springs and non-adjustable shock absorbers.

For how highly capable these suspensions were, there was still tons of room for improvements found in aftermarket.

(Image/Aldan American)

Today, second-gen Camaro and F-body owners have suspension lowering kits built for their specific needs. New technology like coilover suspension, high-tensile coil springs, sway bars, and tubular control arms are just a few suspension mods that can make a classic Camaro ride like a Cadillac and handle like a supercar.

Setting Up a New Suspension

There are several ways to set up your 2nd-gen Camaro’s suspension for success. Based on your budget and skill set, here are a few ways you can lower your Camaro, improving handling and drivability.

(Image/Aldan American)

1. Buying a full custom Camaro chassis.

This is one way to add new control arms, spindles, coilovers or airbags, as well as a 4-link suspension with aftermarket disc brakes.

This would be a stage-five option. Depending on which manufacturer you go with, you’re looking at spending $10,000 to $30,000 on the chassis and labor if you’re having a shop do the install/swap.

2. Adding IFS (Independent Front Suspension) to your Camaro.

This option adds a front crossmember with tubular control arms, rack & pinion steering, coilovers or airbags, spindles, and disc brakes.

This suspension solution for the front Camaro suspension will set you back $3,000 to $7,000 (plus labor for the swap) for a quality IFS depending on which options you select. Several manufacturers offer bolt-on as well as weld-on IFS or front-clip solutions (Front clips are a complete front sub-frame that you can weld or bolt onto your 2nd gen Camaro).

3. Bolt-on or weld-on rear 4-link kit.

If you’re looking to have a race-ready rear suspension and are looking to replace your factory, rear leaf springs with coilover shocks or airbags, you’re going to need to convert to a link-type suspension. There are several bolt-on and weld in 4-link suspension kits available for the 2nd gen Camaro. A good kit will typically run $2,000 to $5,000 based on which options you select (plus labor).

(Image/Aldan American)

4. Second-gen Camaro suspension kits that are fully bolt-on and can be used with factory or aftermarket control arms.

These kits are a highly effective and economical way to get adjustable front suspension to improve ride quality and on-road comfort. A high quality, bolt-on front coilover kit for the 2nd-gen Camaro typically runs between $500-$700, and includes everything you need to convert your front suspension to coilovers.

(Image/Aldan American)

5. Adjustable shocks for the rear suspension.

These are a good way to go if you’re looking for a smoother, more consistent ride while keeping or upgrading to a factory leaf spring-style spring. A good set of adjustable rear shocks will run $100-$300 per shock.

Springs

If you have an early Camaro, one of the most economical ways to lower your car is to swap the springs for a lowering spring. This is a great option.

The downside to lowering springs is that once installed, you’re set at that ride height indefinitely (you won’t be able to adjust up or down) so make sure you measure and account for spindle drop as well as any additional drop that may come from upgrading to tubular control arms.

Sway Bars

Another benefit of the 2nd-gen Camaro platform is on these cars you have a ton of options for high-quality, aftermarket sway bars (aka anti-roll bars).

Upgrading your sway bar on the front and rear of your Camaro will allow you to reduce body roll as well as improve understeer or oversteer on your vehicle.

Sway bars control the side movement of the vehicle and connect the left and ride side of the vehicle so they are pushing and pulling together in one fluid motion. You can use sway bars to further tune your car’s suspension and cornering abilities.

Aftermarket sway bars are great for street use and autocross road racing applications.

Bushings

Updating any and all bushings on a classic muscle car is always a good idea.

When converting to coilovers or adding new shocks to your Camaro, one of the major benefits is these 2nd gen Camaro suspension kits include new polyurethane bushings. If you ever wear out bushings on a quality set of coilovers or shocks, you can always replace them.

Polyurethane is going to offer a quieter, smoother ride when cruising or at the track. A worn bushing is bad and we always recommend inspecting bushings on a routine basis to make sure everything on your car’s suspension is traveling and operating as it should.

Chassis bushings, sway arm end link bushings as well as control arm bushings are all things to go through and inspect.

Hardware

When upgrading your suspension, use grade 5 or grade 8 hardware wherever possible.

With our 2nd gen Camaro suspension kits we offer grade 8 bolts to for lower factory control arms. The higher the grade of bolt, the greater the tensile strength which means it’s going to take a lot more force for that bolt to bend or break.

Updating and upgrading hardware is always a good idea. When you’re ordering new suspension parts, ask if new hardware is included and check the grade and spec to make sure this will hold up to how you plan on using your car.

Getting the Correct Height

For muscle car owners, it’s all about that stance. When selecting the perfect suspension lowering kit you’ve got to ask yourself, “Is this going to look right with the wheels, tires and additional suspension equipment I’m running?” ( i.e. control arms, drop spindles, 18”, 20”+ wheels, and anything else that may effect the suspension height and geometry).

Measure twice, order once. The benefit of coilovers vs. a static spring and shock setup is with coilovers you gain the benefit of being able to raise and lower your stance which will allow you to get your ride-height exactly where you want it to be.

Closing up fender gap and still having enough clearance to clear larger wheels & tires and eliminating any rubbing or contact that may come with a replacement spring and shock combination. Having adjustability is one way to get the stance on your 2nd gen dialed in perfectly.

(Image/Aldan American)

If you have a classic 2nd-gen Camaro, you’ve got one of the most iconic muscle cars ever made.

Updating the suspension is one way to bring your car’s handling and performance into the 21st century.

Tags: , , ,

One Comment

  1. Pingback: Upgrading 2nd-Gen Camaro with Aldan Suspension Kits

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.