The Sub Way

Installing Early-Camaro Subframe Connectors

Jeff Smith Nov 1, 2001 0 Comment(s)

Step By Step

The Global West subframe connectors are specifically designed to work on early Camaros for either coupes or convertibles. The connector is welded in the rear, and bolts in place in the front to allow removing the front subframe.

One key to making a subframe connector work is to use Global West’s interlocking aluminum body bushings for the front subframe. This mount eliminates chassis movement to allow the connector to really work. Global makes both stock-height and 1/2-inch–drop interlocking bushings to slightly lower the ride height.

Loosen all the bolts and then remove and replace one rubber bushing at a time by prying the subframe down with a large prybar. For the rear bushings, install just the upper portion of the bushing.

Test-fit the subframe connector in the chassis and mark the rear frame portion. Then use an angle grinder to remove rust and paint from the rear subframe where the rear portion will rest. This ensures excellent weld adhesion.

Install the front portion of the subframe connector in between the subframe and the floor.

Then support the rear portion tightly against the rear subframe with a jackstand and a piece of wood. Now install the lower portion of the interlocking body bushing up through the subframe and torque the bolt to 120 lb-ft. Remember to add spray lubricant to the bolts before tightening them

Keep the rear portion of the connector tight to the subframe and tack it in place. Double-check the fit and then weld the connector to the subframe. You may want to have a professional welder perform this operation.

Be sure to weld around the entire circumference of the subframe connector. This will ensure a solid fit. Global West recommends TIG-welding the connector to reduce heat concentration and warpage.

The front portion of the subframe connector includes a large hole that should be used as a guide to drill a horizontal 1/2-inch hole through the front subframe.

Install the supplied 1/2-inch bolt through the subframe connector and torque the fastener to 70 lb-ft. Since the connector plates are 3/16-inch thick, there’s no danger of collapsing the subframe.

With the black powdercoated subframes in place, this ’67 convertible Camaro is ready to go out and tear up the pavement. Owner John Kiewicz reports the convertible is now much tighter and more responsive.

Perhaps the most sought-after car in the Chevy musclecar lineup is the early Camaro. While this model is extremely popular, as a performance platform it leaves much to be desired. The problems start when you add extra power. All that newfound torque tries to twist the unibody just aft of where the front subframe bolts to the body.

Early Camaros are built on a unibody design that uses a welded-in rear subframe to attach the rear suspension along with a bolt-in front subframe that mounts the front suspension. The two subframes are linked only by the thin sheetmetal of the Camaro floor, door frames, and top structure. If you are lucky enough to own an early Camaro convertible, there’s even less structure to tie the car together.

While rollbars and rollcages do an excellent job of creating structure, not everyone wants to put a ’cage in their street car. This is why subframe connectors are a great option. The idea is to use heavy-duty round tubing to link the front and rear subframes together.

A properly designed subframe connector will tie the front and rear chassis pieces together without hanging down below the rocker panels. The result is a stiffer chassis, a better-handling Camaro, and fewer squeaks and rattles.

Global West Suspension Components has been building suspension and chassis parts for early Camaros for over 20 years, and owner Doug Norrdin knows how to >> improve the early models. This particular ’67 RS Camaro convertible needed some help to allow the rest of the suspension pieces to perform up to expectations. The installation is relatively easy. Let’s take a look at what it takes.

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