Infusing new-car tech into older Camaros is what this hobby is all about, and one upgrade that offers myriad of perks is a coilover suspension. Unlike traditional coil and shock or strut-through-coil arrangements, coilover setups let you fine-tune the ride height of your Camaro. They also shave some weight due to the smaller packaging of the coil spring. The main problem with transitioning a Camaro to coilovers is the hassle of integrating them with the car. Enter QA1. They now offer a system that makes tossing coilovers under your third- or fourth-gen Camaro virtually painless. The shocks also come in single- or double-adjustable flavors for those who want to get their handling dialed in for track use.
Shaun Dove was getting ready to install this system on his track-ready '88 Z28, so we grabbed our cameras and headed down to his shop: Evod Garage, in Escondido, California, to check out the installation action.
01. Our coilover retrofit package is actually made up of two main kits. For the front (PN HD606S-12250, $778) there's a strut kit, and for the rear (PN RCK52333, $701) there's a pair of coilover shocks. This car hits the track so we went with double-adjustable versions 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). To round out the upgrade, we added QA1 camber plates and their adjustable torque arm.
02. Like all projects where we install new parts, the first step was to remove the old stuff.
03. Some aftermarket sway bars will hit the struts and need to be trimmed (red arrow end of sway bar). QA1 is in the process of developing a third-gen front sway bar designed to clear their coilovers, but it's not yet on the market. For now we just ground down the ends of the existing bar.
04. The stock camber plates are flimsy and limit the ability to tune for maximum handling performance. The bearings also wear fast under hard use and eventually becomes sloppy.
05. As you can see, the new TIG-welded QA1 camber plate (PN CPK106, $191 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.
06. Now, you can install the QA1 camber plates without modding the strut towers, but you won't get the maximum adjustability out of them if you don't. We made this template of the plate and then marked the inner portion of the towers. Once marked, we clearanced the areas so that our plates would have their full range of adjustability available.
07. We then installed the extremely stout camber plates.
08. The heart of this coilover system are the Pro-Coil double-adjustable struts. They have independent compression and rebound adjustments, which give us 324 valving options. These USA-made struts are also rebuildable and revalveable by QA1.
09. To clear the new QA1 struts, we needed to grind away a bit of the spindle. The process was grind, test-fit, and repeat until there was adequate clearance.
10. With the camber plates installed and the spindles clearanced, we installed the new coilover struts.
11. Once the Camaro is back on the ground we can have it aligned to fully take advantage of the QA1 camber plate's increased adjustability.
12. The rear coilover conversion was even easier. First, we removed the OEM-style coil springs and then pulled the existing shocks.
13. The new coilover is attached to the factory mounts by way of an ingenious bracket that utilizes the lower factory shock mount and a second fastener (red arrow) that required a hole to be drilled.
14. To hold the top of the coilover, QA1 provided a slick mounting plate that had a stud out the top of it. We simply slid the stud through the factory shock hole and secured it using the provided hardware. A nice benefit is that we'll no longer need to access the interior of the car to pull the shock for service.
15. The double-adjustable Proma Star shocks have 18 positions of compression and 18 positions of rebound adjustment, which give us the ability to really dial in the handling of our Camaro. They also have a fully threaded body for ride height adjustability.
16. We also decided to install QA1's new adjustable torque arm (PN 5282, $276). It's a ton stronger than the stamped steel stocker and should help reduce wheelhop caused by flex under hard cornering and acceleration.
17. The torque arm is constructed from 1-inch x 0.120-inch wall tubing and features 0.75-inch spherical rod ends for easy pinion adjustment. The total install took about five hours, and the coilover system, with camber plates, set us back $1,711 from Summit Racing.