Chevy Tri-Five Suspension Bolt-ons - How It Works

Leading suspension manufacturers explain how to take the handling of Tri-Five Chevys to the next level with a few simple bolt-ons

Stephen Kim Jan 26, 2011 0 Comment(s)
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Body Mounts

Craig Morrison: Body mounts are a point where the chassis and body can flex in a full-frame car. Depending on the height of the body mount, this can become a point to look at for improvement. The problem can become worse with older, worn-out body mounts. Thankfully, the OE body mount design isn’t that tall on a Tri-Five, so the replacement rubber mounts work just fine. There are companies out there that do offer a more rigid polyurethane body mount that helps unitize the chassis and body just a bit better. While we do have aluminum body mounts for some of our other applications where we have decreased the distance from chassis to body, or are looking to increase the rigidity in body mounting, we felt that it wouldn’t be a significant area for improvement.

Control Arms

Aaron Strietzel: If you’ve already rebuilt the frontend of your Tri-Five, the next logical upgrade is a set of tubular control arms. CPP’s control arms are built from 1.25 inches with thick 1.5-inch pivot barrels to eliminate distortion. Their billet 4140 cross-shafts are zinc, and designed to carry both fore-and-aft loads. One of the biggest benefits of these control arms is that they add 5 degrees of positive caster for improved straight-line stability. Additionally, they have a revised camber curve that keeps a larger contact patch on the ground as the suspension compresses.

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Springs

Craig Morrison: A set of 60-year-old springs aren’t going to cut it in a performance car, and AME offers both coil springs and air springs for Tri-Five Chevys. With coil springs, you usually know exactly what the spring rate is, and most have a linear rate. During the setup of the chassis, you can set ride height or scale the car, but that’s about it. You might have to readjust the car setup when the springs settle in or if you are fine-tuning for track day events. If your vehicle load varies quite a bit, then there will be some sag. With air springs, you can instantly adjust this on the fly, and you can also get to shows and dump the air out to get your vehicle to sit very low. Air springs are a progressive rate, so they can be trickier to fine-tune, and air springs with integrated shocks generally have a reduced amount of shock travel. Furthermore, an air spring system with the tanks, solenoids, and control unit can often be many times more expensive than a quality set of coilovers.

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Rear Clips

Craig Morrison: The factory Tri-Five leaf-spring rear suspension isn’t well suited for high-performance handling. AME sells both a complete rear clip assembly with a triangulated four-bar suspension as well as and the individual components necessary to graft the suspension pieces onto the chassis. The biggest improvements of our four-bar setup over the stock leaf springs are the stability of the roll center and the suspension’s ability to plant the tire and accelerate quickly. We also offer Strange Engineering adjustable coilovers with this package, so a customer can fine-tune the level of performance desired. Also, we have just recently gone to an adjustable sway bar that will give the customer another level of adjustment to dial their car in for their style of driving. The ride quality is going to be dramatically improved as well. By going to the triangulated four-bar, you eliminate the inter-leaf friction that affects the ride quality. This increases lateral stability since there is no track locator on the original setup.

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Steering

Aaron Strietzel: One of the most popular upgrades for Tri-Five Chevys is our 500-series steering box. Suspension upgrades won’t do much good if a car doesn’t go where you point it. The 500-series box features a 14.0:1 ratio, and a unique one-piece housing. It’s a direct replacement for the factory 605-style box, and offers vastly improved steering feel and response. Included in the kit are a power steering hose and a mounting bracket. Compared to stock, the 500-series box eliminates the sloppy feeling of a factory box, and it makes a Tri-Five drive like modern car.

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