Building A Tunable C5 Suspension

Tailor The Ride Of You Car By Simply Turning A Knob Located On Each Shock Body

Andy Bolig Aug 1, 2001 0 Comment(s)

Step By Step

To begin the front-end installation, first jack up the car and remove the wheels.

Loosen the top nut and the two lower bolts that hold the original shocks in place.

Once they’re removed, you can see that the HAL shocks are a bolt-in upgrade.

We installed the jounce bumper from the original shocks by simply removing the hog-ring clip and sliding it over the shaft. We also used the cover from the original shocks to protect the new shocks as well.

Installing the new shocks is simple—one nut on the top and the two bolts on the bottom shaft.

You’ll need to use a jack under the lower control arm to get the two bottom bolts started.

Remove the sway-bar connector from the lower control arm.

Remove the four bolts that hold the sway bar to the chassis...

...and remove the sway bar.

To better resist body roll, the diameter of the new sway bar is larger. The kit includes all necessary hardware and spacers to complete the installation.

Installing the new sway bar is simply a reverse of removing the original.

The rear sway bar is removed just like the front. Simply unbolt the end links and the four bolts to the chassis to remove the sway bar.

Remove the rear shocks by loosening the two upper nuts and the one large bolt on the bottom. The shocks are gas-charged, so pushing the shock up to clear the lower control arm is tough, but it can be done.

Also, the job is much easier if you disconnect the outer tie-rod ends so the shocks will come out.

Reuse the upper mount and bushings from the original shocks.

You can see the 12-position dial at the base of the HAL shock. Simply turning this dial will adjust your Corvette’s suspension anywhere from Cadillac Cushy to Racecar Rough. You decide.

Once the shocks are installed, tighten up the outer tie-rod ends in three passes to 15 lb-ft, 160 degrees, and 33 lb-ft, and tighten the lower shock bolt to 162 lb-ft.

There are some differences other than size with the new Hotchkis Performance bar.

The new rear bar has an aluminum clamp that goes on each inside chassis mount. This keeps the bar from sliding under heavy use.

Use the original straps to hold the new bar in position. Do not tighten them until you have the outer links fastened and the bar is centered.

Once you have the bar centered, tighten them to 41 lb-ft upper, and 70 lb-ft lower.

The last step in installing the rear sway bar is to tighten the aluminum clamps that keep the bar from moving sideways. Just make them tight. You don’t have to clamp them until the gap between the two halves goes away. Clamping them that hard will damage them.

We removed the brake calipers and caliper mount so we could...

...install the new slotted/dimpled rotors from Whisper Performance.

The new rotors come painted and zinc-coated, and they look great. And they’re cryogenically treated to resist warping.

Due to time restraints, we painted another set of rear calipers red to replace the originals. You can clean and repaint the original calipers just as easily, if you have the time to let them dry properly. Use thread-lock on the bolts for the caliper.

With the wheels installed, the new rotors and painted calipers look great. On to the front brakes!

We performed the same process on the front, replacing the caliper and rotor.

Once the brakes were installed, we bled the system using a vacuum pump to suck the air out of the system. Make sure the fluid level is adequate before you take the car out for a testdrive.

When building the C5 Corvette, GM engineers had to consider the broad range of future owners. A compromise between ride and handling was necessary to please as many as possible. Now, with a set of HAL shocks, a C5 owner can tailor the ride of his car by simply turning a knob located on each shock body. Follow along as Mike Norris of Norris Motorsports installs a highly tunable suspension that you can tune to handle almost any situation.

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