With the skyrocketing prices of first-gen Camaros, second-gens have started to become the “go to” platform for those wanting to get their classic Camaro groove on. This spike in popularity hasn’t gone unnoticed by the aftermarket either, as they’ve been busy engineering all sorts of products for the second-gen crowd.
This is especially true in terms of suspension systems. At one time, second-gen owners were forced to make do while the first-gen owners were given all the R&D resources. But now, second-gen owners don’t have to settle. A great example of this is Heidts’ new bolt-in four-link kit. Yep, you read it right; all the tuning benefits of a modern four-link system without the hassles of cutting and welding—just a slew of wrenches, a drill, and a few bits are all you’ll need to get this system up and under your second-gen Camaro.
We headed over to D & Z Customs in Kewaskum, Wisconsin, to get the kit installed into a 1971 Camaro.
01 Our first step was to remove the stock rear and leaf-spring suspension arrangement. It’s not rocket science, but it’s heavy, so bribe a friend to help you out.
02 Heidts will sell you a bracket kit so you can reuse your existing rearend, but a much simpler solution is to order their housing with the brackets already stitched in place (PN RC-130-60-H, $675).
03 This is the main suspension cradle, and the first part we needed to install.
04 Before installing the cradle, we removed the factory bumpstops. Not only are they in the way, but the three holes are used to lock down the cradle in the right location.
05 With the stops removed, D & Z Customs owner, Randy Johnson slid the cradle into position.
06 It was then held in place using two of the three (per side) holes from the bumpstop bracket.
07 The cradle was further secured using two bolts at the center point. This did require Randy to pull the rear seat of the Camaro so the nuts could be installed.
08 The next parts to go in were the two brackets that hold the cross gusseting bar as well as the Panhard rod.
09 The longer bracket was installed on the passenger-side ’rail. It’s positioned using a tab that aligned with one of the holes on the cradle brace.
10 Next to go in was the driver-side bracket. Here you can see the tab that keys off the rearmost bumpstop bracket hole. This method makes for a foolproof way to ensure that everything ends up in just the right spot.
11 Once aligned, the third bolt was installed.
12 The next step was to drill out all the rest of the holes and fully secure the brackets with the supplied hardware.
13 We could then install the crossbar brace. This piece is critical to ensuring that the system doesn’t bend or tweak under the load experienced during aggressive handling maneuvers.
14 The driver side of the crossbar brace mated to the rearward bracket close to the Camaro’s framerail.
15 The passenger side mounted as shown. Note the slot in the bracket to allow for wrench access to the nuts.
16 The third brace location was then bolted to the bracket just above the mounting holes for the Panhard rod.
17 With all the brackets in place, it was time to install the links. The first step was drilling out the leaf-spring pockets with a ¾-inch drill bit.
18 Randy then mated the lower links to the pockets. There’s a large spacer used, which went to the outside edge.
19 The link/pocket assembly was then bolted under the Camaro in the factory location. Again, using factory pickup points, Heidts ensures that all the parts end up in the right spot.
20 The other end of the lower link was then secured. The Heidts system offers three positions for suspension tuning, we decided to start on the lowest hole.
21 The upper links were then installed. Like the lower link, Heidts provides multiple mounting points for suspension tuning flexibility. We went with the lower ones.
22 With all the links in place, Randy then installed the adjustable Panhard rod. Each end had four mounting options, but Heidts recommended to start with the lowest points.
23 He then installed the non-adjustable coilover shocks. Heidts offers an option to upgrade to double-adjustable versions if you’re interested.
24 For brakes, we went with a simple, yet effective, four-piston Wilwood setup that incorporated an integral parking brake and 12-inch drilled/slotted rotors (PN DR-005-P-D-B, $897).
25 We opted to pick up one of Heidts optional sway bar kits.
26 First up was sliding on the stops and bushings as shown.
27 The bar then slid into the large, reinforced hole on the bracket. Once in place and centered, the locking rings were tightened down.
28 Randy then rotated the arms up and secured them to the cradle using the supplied turnbuckles. There are three mounting points, so he chose the softest setting to start off with. The adjustable turnbuckles also allow for preloading the sway bar if you so desire.
29 And voila! The system is in and we didn’t have to go near a plasma cutter, cutoff wheel, or welder. The base bolt-in four-link kit set us back $1,495, and we added the sway bar option (PN SB-170, $163) and the pre-fab rearend housing mentioned earlier.