Infusing new-car tech into our older Chevrolets is what this hobby is all about, and one upgrade that offers a myriad of perks is a coilover suspension. Unlike traditional coil and shock (or strut through coil) arrangements, coilover setups let you change the ride height of your Chevy. They also shave some weight due to the smaller packaging of the coil spring. The main problem with transitioning to coilover system is the hassle of integrating them with the car.
Enter QA1, they now offer a system that makes tossing coilovers under many classic Chevys virtually painless. The shocks also come in single- or double-adjustable flavors for those that want to get their handling dialed in for track use.
For this go around we decided to try out their kit designed for third-gen Camaros. These cars have great handling potential, but are saddled with some low performance, non-adjusdtable, and typically worn out, components. They also have a stance more befitting a 4x4 truck than a high-performance muscle car.
1. Our coilover retrofit package is actually made up of two main kits. For the front (HS606S-12220, $735) there’s a strut upgrade kit and for the rear (PN RCK52331, $850) there’s a pair of coilover conversion shocks. Our Camaro is just a cruiser so we went with single-adjustable fronts and both kits included all the hardware needed for installation. To make life easier we also ordered up their spanner wrench and thrust bearing kit (PN788-110, $41) along with their camber plate kit and a set of QA1 sway bars.
2. Like all projects where we install new parts, the first step was to remove the old stuff. We started at the back of the car by pulling the interior parts to get to the top of the rear shocks.
3. With the shocks removed, we used a pole jack to lower the rear and remove the stock coil springs
4. The new coilover assembly attaches to the factory mount by way of an ingenious lower bracket that utilizes the existing lower factory shock mount hole and a second fastener that required a new hole to be drilled.
5. At the top of the rear shock we inserted QA1’s steel sleeve.
6. To hold the top of the coilover, QA1 provided a slick mounting plate that had a stud out the top of it. The mount let us use the factory shock-mounting hole.
7. We then slid the stud through the factory shock hole and secured it using the supplied hardware. And here’s what the assembly looked like installed in the Camaro.
8.. The new QA1 rear sway bar attached to the factory end-link mount brackets and came with new U-bolts and bracket plates.
9. And with that, the rear of the Camaro was done. The double-adjustable Proma Star shocks have 18 positions of compression and 18 positions of rebound adjustment, which will give us the ability to really dial in the handling of our Camaro and still maintain a nice ride. They also have a fully threaded body for ride height adjustability to help fix the awful stance stock third-gens are notorious for.
10. Moving to the front of the car, we started removing the stock struts and springs
11. The QA1 struts require the use of their camber plates. As you can see the TIG-welded QA1 camber plate (PN CPK106, $230 a pair) is a lot beefier and has added adjustability. It also incorporates a specifically engineered asymmetrical bearing that improves load distribution and will hold up to hard use without loosening up like OEM bearings.
12. The new camber plates bolted in just like the stockers.
13. We then assembled the front QA1 struts; the washers and bearing rings went on as shown.
14. And this is how the top of the strut should look once fully secured to the new camber plate.
15. Before we could bolt the strut onto the spindle, we had to grind the spindle down a bit. The process was grind, test fit, grind, and test fit until there was adequate clearance.
16. With the spindle cleared, we were able to finish installing the new strut.
17. We couldn’t dial in the ride height until the Camaro was on the ground, however, we used a tape measure to get both sides even.
18. We also decided it was time to update the outdated rolling stock on the Z28. For this we chose a set of Falken Azenis FK453 tires in 275/45/17 wrapped around CTW wheels. The Falkens have a tread wear rating of 300, making them perfect for those who want a long-lasting performance tire. The 17x9.5-inch CTW Motorsports wheels are made specifically for third-gen Camaros and will clear most big-brake kits. The wheels come in your choice of silver or satin black and tip the scales at a just over 20 pounds a piece.
19. The CTW wheels require a smaller diameter lug nut to be used due to the smaller lug pockets. We opted for these 12x1.5mm Monster Lugs. These are constructed out of forged steel, so they’ll hold up to any abuse we can throw at it. The Monster Lugs also come in a range of colors, but we chose basic black.
20. With everything installed, we rolled the Camaro over to Don Lee’s alignment rack and got the specs in check before taking our new combination on the road.
21. In addition to providing enhanced performance, the CTW/Falken combo really improved the looks of the Camaro. We saw a huge aesthetic benefit from being able to lower the ride height. Better performance and better looks, we would call that a day well spent!