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Detroit Speed Inc. Third-gen Camaro Suspension Upgrade

Build a (Third-Gen) Camaro Handler! - Part 2: Detroit Speed brings up the rear with a complete coilover conversion with the added benefit of four-link and track bar control

Jim Smart Oct 11, 2017
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In Part 1 of our 1987 Camaro suspension upgrade, Detroit Speed Inc. rolled out its complete front suspension system for the third-gen (1982-’92) Camaro and showed us how to complete the installation. When you examine the Detroit Speed suspension system for the third-gen F-body, there’s not much that equals what this suspension package does for handling. If you thought these slippery, wide-track, road-hugging Camaros were awesome from the factory 35 years ago, you’re in for the genuine 21st century Detroit Speed experience. You get improved front-end geometry and handling like never before.

We’re going to wrap up our Detroit Speed suspension installation with high-tech JRi coilover shocks, Swivel-Links, and a track bar in the rear. This system will give your third-gen Camaro renewed confidence and a driving experience like that first trip to Coldstone or Starbucks. You’re never going to forget it and you’re always going to want to go back.

Once you’ve installed both front and rear Detroit Speed suspension systems everything old becomes new again in what is now a classic Camaro. Your third-gen will take on a new life of its own. Remember, once you have completed your suspension installation, consult with an alignment/chassis-tuning professional to get a proper four-wheel alignment.

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1. Detroit Speed Inc. takes advanced-for-its-time technology of the third-gen Camaro and puts it on steroids with the latest in coilover spring/shock technology, which brings your classic Camaro’s handling and ride into the 21st century with “Detroit Tuned” valving. The base coilover package offers extensive ride height adjustability and is optimized around a 2-inch drop from stock. Installation requires only minor drilling on the existing axle bracket. The optional single- (rebound only) and double-adjustable (low-speed and high-speed rebound) JRi coilovers offer additional adjustability. The ultimate package is Detroit Speed’s monotube remote reservoir coilover set, which offers separate fluid canisters for optimum adjustability and improved heat dissipation.

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2. The QUADRALink from Detroit Speed delivers strength and improved suspension geometry. These control arm mounts have been rosette-welded to the Camaro’s unit body, which gives true four-link suspension. It’s simply better than OEM. Shown here is the passenger side.

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3. Here’s the QUADRALink support box on the driver’s side, which has been rosette-welded in place.

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4. The QUADRALink mounts are welded in, complete, and we’re ready for installation. Just seeing this makes this writer want a third-gen Camaro!

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5. The rear coilover shocks are installed and tightened inside the vehicle above the rear axle.

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6. The fully adjustable Detroit Speed Swivel-Links are installed next and are bolted on from inside the vehicle as shown here.

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7. The Detroit Speed Swivel-Links are choice bulletproof pieces engineered for full-scale tuning and alignment.

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8. The adjustable lower Swivel-Links bolt to the factory lower link pocket. Once this process is complete, we’re ready to install the rear axle.

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9. Going under the Camaro is a bulletproof Ford 9-inch rear axlehousing that is legendary for its brute strength, which is available from DSE. Other rearend options are the factory 10-bolt and the 12-bolt, even though the 12-bolt was not a factory option.

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10. The true strength of the 9-inch comes from the removable centersection, which offers you an array of options ranging from the basic “WAR” waffle-shaped case to the improved C7AW case to the brute “N” case. And that’s just stock offerings. The aftermarket offers a wealth of 9-inch differential choices depending upon how much power you intend to make. You also have a choice of at least three axleshafts, ranging from 28- and 31-spline all the way up to 35-spline.

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11. The complete 9-inch rear axle custom-made for the third-gen Camaro is positioned and raised to the Swivel-Links. Installation is easy thanks to Detroit Speed’s close attention to engineering. You can perform a four-wheel alignment and adjust pinion angle and it’s easy.

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12. The rear axle is positioned and ready for tie-down. Note the special Detroit Speed fluid reservoir for optimum adjustability and heat dissipation. There’s a fluid reservoir for each coilover shock.

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13. The lower Swivel-Links are attached here at the axle bracket and secured. Begin adjustment at this center hole and adjust from there. Most of the time the center hole works best. Give your Camaro a shakedown spin and see what adjustments need to be made. The pinion angle must be checked and properly adjusted before you go anywhere.

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14. The completed coilover shock and lower Swivel-Link installation should look like this.

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15. The Detroit Speed suspension and rear axle installation goes exceedingly smooth when you follow the instructions to the letter. Now it’s time to tackle the track bar and sway bar.

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16. The track bar, also known as a Panhard rod, keeps the rear axle centered. The Detroit Speed track bar is fully adjustable. It may be necessary to adjust the track bar to center the rearend. The lower the ride height, the lower the hole you should use. For safety reasons, be sure there is no more than 2 inches of exposed threads on the end link, not including the jam nut. If more than 2 inches are exposed use a hole lower on the bracket. Be sure to recheck the centering of the rearend and the length of the exposed threads after switching holes.

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17. The track bar is also a convenient place to mount the remote fluid reservoirs.

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18. Next up was installing the adjustable rear sway bar. Detroit Speed makes sure you can keep these bushings lubed and quiet thanks to the addition of zerk fittings in the brackets.

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19. The sway bar endlinks are next with hard urethane bushings engineered to keep things stable. There are two mounting points in the sway bar. Detroit Speed recommends starting with the rearward hole, and then adjusting if necessary.

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20. Here is a close look at the right-hand side of our Detroit Speed rear suspension system. Before you is a fully adjustable suspension system that enables you to tune for any driving condition. You want a smooth ride for the cruise; Detroit Speed can get you there. Ready for the fun/ugly nature of a challenging road course or canyon twisty? That’s what this system was designed for. True adjustability makes for versatility in your driving.

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21. The completed Detroit Speed QUADRALink coilover suspension system is ready for action. The track bar, Swivel-Links, and coilovers require adjustment when you’re ready to hit the road. You’re going to want the talents of a polished chassis alignment professional along with a good four-wheel alignment. Your alignment geometry depends upon the type of driving you will do most of the time.

Photos by Alex Stivaletti

Sources

Detroit Speed
Mooresville, NC 28115
704-662-3272
www.detroitspeed.com
JRI Shocks
704-660-8346
www.jrishocks.com

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