1998 Chevy Camaro Suspension Upgrade - Part 1

Get It Under Control

Harley Camilleri Jan 16, 2014 0 Comment(s)
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It's true that modern muscle cars handle better than their predecessors. As each new generation Camaro has been released, its handling and braking prowess certainly outclassed the dated brother it replaced. That's not to say that GM has built anything perfect, but they have been getting very close. As technology and testing march forward, we can sit back and hope for continued progress in the near future.

To improve the performance of previous generation Camaros, we can turn to aftermarket companies like BMR Suspension to fill in the gaps GM left behind as it moved on to newer models. With a full gamut of parts available to fit all five generations of the Camaro, you are certain to locate the right parts, whether you want to run wheels-up in the quarter-mile or pull some high g's in the twisties on that secret backroad. After perusing their catalog, we felt like a kid at Christmas and checked off nearly every part on the BMR order form that fits our latest project: a '98 Camaro.

Dressed in Sport Gold Metallic, our first-year LS1 car was certainly a sight. Fully optioned as a Z28, it sat languishing away in a Southern California beach town, calling out to us for attention. As most of our loyal readers already know, we have a soft spot for these cars, so Project Goldmaro was born.

With the information we have ascertained for the '98 model year, Chevrolet built just 97 Z28 coupes in Sport Gold Metallic with the six-speed manual transmission. Being that our Z28 is a T-top car, the numbers would break down even further, but we couldn't find those numbers. To be sure, a Camaro in this color and with these options is not one you'd see on a regular basis, and the ones we have seen gave us mixed feelings about the color. But with our plans for Goldmaro to be less than subtle once it's completed, the color works for us.


Bmr Suspension Kit 2/20

01. Looking something like an oversized jigsaw puzzle, our BMR Suspension components were chosen to address every weakness under Goldmaro. The BMR parts will save weight and add strength. The adjustable front and rear arms will bring tunability to world-class levels compared to stock.

Power Steering 3/20

02. Installing the BMR front suspension system required dropping the engine, transmission, and K-member as a single unit, which is a story in itself. To save the A/C system, we kept the lines connected and simply hung the compressor from the framerail.

Removed Drivetrain And Front 4/20

03. After draining the coolant, disconnecting the entire wiring harness, unbolting all of the brake lines, releasing the steering shaft, and removing the driveshaft and torque arm, Goldmaro was lifted into the air, leaving the drivetrain and front suspension safely on the ground.

Moving Engine And 5/20

04. Using some furniture dollies from Harbor Freight Tools allowed us to easily maneuver the engine and transmission out from under the car and to the awaiting engine hoist for removal from the stock K-member.

Removing Stock 6/20

05. On the GM assembly line, the steering rack was installed before the engine, and as such, this bolt was inserted from the top. With the engine in place, it's normally impossible to remove this bolt because the oil pan sits just millimeters above it.

Mounting Steering Rack Tobmr K 7/20

06. To ensure ease of serviceability down the road, the steering rack was mounted onto BMR's slick K-member with the driver-side bolt placed from the bottom up.

Bmr K 8/20

07. BMR offers its K-member with a number of engine mounting options to suit every flavor of available GM power offerings. We went with factory LS1 mounts to allow our engine to drop right into its new home.

Aligning New 9/20

08. Those same Harbor Freight dollies made it easy to align everything as we lowered the Goldmaro back down to meet its new parts.

Installing Bmr K 10/20

09. Factory mounting locations and hardware made the installation of the BMR K-member a snap. Access in and around the new K-member was incredible thanks to the tubular design.

Bmr Transmission 11/20

10. BMR replaces the bulky stock transmission crossmember with this sleek tubular counterpart. This crossmember has an integrated, adjustable torque arm mount to take the load off the transmission tailshaft.

Control Arm 12/20

11. Side by side, the stock Camaro lower control arm is completely outclassed. We chose BMR's 1-inch lowering arms not only to save weight, but they offer additional strength and they'll keep Goldmaro's profile as low as possible.

Installing Lower Control 13/20

12. The lower control arm's adjustable rod end gives the arm free and fluid movement throughout the suspension cycle without the binding associated with the original rubber-encased steel bushing.

Koni Sport 14/20

13. Up front, Goldmaro will be riding on Koni single-adjustable Sport Shocks with the lower spring seat set to stock height. BMR 550 lb/in springs will lower the ride height an additional 1 1⁄4 inches. Should it prove to be too low, BMR supplied us with spacers to raise the ride height back up.

Bmr Tubular Upper 15/20

14. Matching the lower arms are these BMR tubular upper arms. To improve the alignment on lowered cars, 3 degrees of added ball joint angle were built in. For superior camber and caster tuning, we went with the optional adjustable rod ends.

Adjusting New 16/20

15. As a base starting point, we adjusted the rod ends to the same measurements as the stock arm and set the hat and control arm assembly onto the new performance strut.

Installing 17/20

16. In fourth-gen Camaros, the whole ensemble gets installed as a complete unit. We left the strut spacers out to see how the deep lowering would affect the car.

Bmr Sway 18/20

16. In fourth-gen Camaros, the whole ensemble gets installed as a complete unit. We left the strut spacers out to see how the deep lowering would affect the car.

Endlink 19/20

18. Polyurethane endlink bushings matched the mounting bushings and were the crowning touch to replace Goldmaro's petrified rubber bushings.

Completed Bmr Front 20/20

19. Our completed BMR front suspension install looked ready to race. You'll have to wait until the next issue to check out how BMR's rear system goes together. Stay tuned!

Sources

BMR Suspension
Thonotosassa, FL 33592
813-986-9302
http://www.bmrsuspension.com
Harbor Freight Tools
800-423-2567
www.HarborFreight.com
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