Fifth-Gen Camaro Suspension - Suspension 101

A beginners guide to fifth-generation suspension tech: How it works and what you can change

Justin Cesler Jun 9, 2011 0 Comment(s)
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Whether you are a long time aficionado or a first time Camaro owner, driving the fifth-generation Camaro is a breath of fresh air. Developed by General Motors atop the Global Rear Wheel Drive platform (now referred to as Zeta II) specifically to compete with the best road cars in the world, the Camaro features a unique fully independent multi-link strut front suspension and a first-in-class 4.5-link independent rear suspension (IRS) out back. This suspension system was derived from the Holden-built G8's and GTO's, but is unique to the Camaro for 2010. Now, we understand that the idea of an independent rear end may not be comforting to everyone, but it is hard to argue with the enhanced feel, increased control and fantastic ride that the IRS offers. Of course, like anything in our hobby, what came stock from General Motors can always be modified to work better depending on your driving preferences. On the following pages we have set out to explain how each piece of the puzzle works and what, if anything, can be changed to help you perfect the new Camaro. As we step through each piece, with the help of BMR Fabrication, we encourage you to explore your own driving style and goals to see if a particular upgrade, or set of upgrades, would be beneficial.

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Chassis Stiffening
Before you make large changes to the actual suspension of a vehicle, it is important to build a solid and safe foundation. On the fifth-gen Camaro, even with its sophisticated chassis, there are some areas that can be greatly reinforced, which helps all of the components function properly once out on the road. First and foremost, we recommend reinforcing your foundation with a triangulated subframe connector like this one from BMR Fabrication. By tying the front subframe, the carrier bearing location and the rear subframe together, you will reinforce the Camaro's chassis, helping solidify the handling and increasing response. To further stiffen the chassis, the stock driveshaft tunnel brace can be upgraded, removing the stamped factory piece for a boxed steel unit. Like the Camaros of every generation, these simple bolt-on modifications will immediately increase your driving experience while reducing rattles and flex.

Bushings
If there is one area on the Camaro that can stand the most improvement, it is the factory rubber bushings. Designed by GM to minimize body motions and dampen road imperfections, the factory bushings' only job is to soak up most of the ride, transforming the cabin into a plush piloting experience. While that detached road feel is certainly pleasurable to most of the motoring public, as enthusiasts, we require an enhanced level of feedback from the chassis, something cheap rubber bushings were never designed to do. Fortunately, many (if not all) of the factory subframe, differential and suspension bushings can be changed out for aftermarket polyurethane or solid components. Replacing these will net the driver the most "bang for the buck" in suspension feel and quality. Many of the issues that plague the Camaro including wheel hop, vague input/feedback and cornering instability can be traced back to deflection within the factory bushings and many can never be eliminated without addressing these areas first.

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