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QA1 and Eaton Detroit Spring First-Gen Camaro Suspension Upgrade

QA1 and Eaton Detroit Spring offer affordable suspension upgrades for first-gen Camaros

Jim Smart Dec 5, 2018
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It seems most of us want lots of power from our first-generation Camaros. While power can be somewhat easy to come by these days, knowing how to manage it wisely is another matter entirely. We put the cart before the horse and infuse a lot of power into our rides without enough attention paid to the suspension and brakes. When you have a lot of power coupled with poor brakes and suspension and a small tire contact patch it becomes downright dangerous.

QA1 and Eaton Detroit Spring want to make the drive safer and more enjoyable for 1967-’69 Camaros, with plenty more on tap for other generations of Camaros to follow. Few things compare to a classic Camaro with its hooves solid on the ground in a hard corner with the right suspension system. QA1 sports a generous line of high-tech adjustable shocks, including Custom Mount Shocks, Stocker Star Non-Coilovers, Front Stock Mount Struts, Front Pro Coil Shock Systems, Front Pro Coil Struts, and finally, Rear Pro Coil Shocks for classic and late-model Camaros alike.

If you have a stock vehicle that has not had any significant alterations to the original suspension design, QA1 offers stock mount options (both coilover and non coilover) that bolt in place of your original shocks. If you have altered or modified the suspension, such as a four-link, ladder bar, or independent suspension, then a Custom Mount Shock is what you want.

Coilover or Non Coilover?
If you’re looking for adjustable ride height, QA1 has a variety of different coilover options for many makes and models that allow for easy ride height adjustment for either stock appearance or slammed. If you’re comfortable with your car’s ride height and don’t need to adjust down or up, QA1 has non coilover units as well.

All QA1 high-performance shocks and struts are built with a three-step sealing system, which features a hard anodized aluminum sealing gland, a buffer O-ring, an advanced aerospace double lip seal, and low-drag wiper seals. This approach eliminates seal drag and dirt intrusion, and keeps the oil inside.

QA1 offers a wide variety of adjustable and non-adjustable shocks. Single-adjustable shocks offer you simultaneous compression and rebound adjustment on one knob for performance street driving, autocrossing, or for drag racing in the rear. Double-adjustables give you truly independent compression and rebound adjustment. Non-adjustables give you no-brainer fixed compression and rebound valving without external adjustability. There’s nothing to think about but driving.

QA1 offers three levels of suspension kits for classic Camaros, from a very basic budget Level 1 to the full complement Level 3 where you get the works. If you don’t want to make the full investment in your Camaro right away you can build your suspension in stages using the QA1 parts list as a road map to get to the level of performance you want at that particular time.

Eaton Detroit Spring brings up the rear with factory blueprint leaf- and coil spring packages for all Chevrolet car lines. Because Eaton Detroit Spring has been manufacturing springs for 81 years in the heart of downtown Detroit, you get OEM-style quality, stance, and ride.

With QA1 working hand-in-hand with Eaton Detroit Spring, you get ride and handling like never before. And because the Nova and Camaro share the same platform, everything we’re showing you here applies to the timeless 1968-’74 Nova, as well.

Marlon Mitchell of Marlo’s Frame & Alignment aligned the front end and took the Camaro out for a little canyon cutting. “The car handles very well. It hugs the corners roaring through the Santa Susana Pass just above the San Fernando Valley. I am very impressed with it and I am sure the customer will be, too.” CHP

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1. The QA1 complete suspension kits include upper and lower control arms, sway bar, and all hardware. There are three levels of suspension kits. Depending upon budget, it’s all in what you want to spend and what you need.

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2. Here’s the rest of the Level 3 kit with everything you’re going to need to completely outfit a 1967-’69 Camaro or 1968-’74 Nova. Different spring rates are designed to maximize performance while maintaining a smooth, comfortable ride. QA1 gears the spring rates toward average weight small-block and LS-powered Camaros. QA1’s Level 3 handling kits offer stiffer springs to get the best cornering performance.

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3. The outer tie-rod ends are the first items busted loose to gain access to the brakes and control arms. Whacking the steering knuckle with a 5-pound sledge typically gets the tie-rod end loose.

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4. The caliper bolts are removed next to free up the caliper and then the brake hose is disconnected to get them out of the way.

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5. The top shock mount has been removed using a 9/16-inch deep well socket. Two fine-thread bolts at the bottom have been removed with a 9/16-inch socket as well. The shock drops out through a hole in the bottom of the control arm.

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6. The coil spring is secured with a retainer tool to keep it contained and safe during removal. The upper and lower ball joint castle nuts have been loosened. We’re using a pickle fork to separate the ball joints and spindles.

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7. The coil spring is carefully removed from the lower control arm. Caution is mandatory with coil springs because, if suddenly released, they can maim and kill.

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8. The upper control arms use shims to adjust the frontend alignment. Shims are added or subtracted fore and aft to adjust the caster and camber.

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9. The upper control arms are secured to the subframe via two large bolts. Mark and secure any shims so they can be reinstalled the same locations.

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10. The lower control arms, which are considerably larger than the uppers, are secured to the subframe with large pivot bolts. Once the pivot bolts are out, the lower control arms come free.

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11. The QA1 coilover shocks are fitted with their springs and positioned in the coil spring pocket. The top mount is fitted with new polyurethane bushings and tightened with a deep socket.

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12. QA1 provides a spanner wrench to adjust spring pressure and ride height. Marlon Mitchell of Marlo’s Frame & Alignment, holds the mount and tightens the spring mount. You will want to use an antiseize lubricant on the threads and spring seat to ease installation.

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13. QA1’s 1 1/4-inch front sway bar is manufactured from lightweight hollow-core 4130 chromoly steel and is CNC-formed to ensure a precise fit. We’re lubing the polyurethane bushings with silicone for quiet operation. Wear Latex gloves when you apply this lube. You do not want it on your skin.

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14. The lower control arms get a bottom shock mount bracket, which bolts to the arm with four bolts.

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15. The lower control arms are installed first, which makes for easier access. The bushings have been lubricated, which makes the installation easier and the bushings quieter.

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16. The sway bar endlinks are installed next as shown with the bolt head on top. Securing the endlinks is not easy because the bushings are so stiff.

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17. The QA1 upper control arms are seated and fitted with the shims set aside when the old control arms were removed. This gets alignment close to what it was with the factory arms.

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18. The upper control arms are mounted to the inside of the framerail. The shims are stacked at the bolts as shown here. The shims control the angle of the upper control arms, which affects caster and camber. Camber is adjusted with a uniform number of shims fore and aft. Caster is affected by having a greater or lesser number of shims fore and aft.

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19. Our QA1 Level 3 front suspension system is complete and ready for a professional alignment performed by Marlon Mitchell by Marlo’s Frame & Alignment.

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20. Eaton Detroit Spring manufactures its 5160 steel leaf springs from the original factory blueprints, which gives you correct ride height and quality. What’s more, these leaf springs are manufactured right here in the USA.

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21. With the rear axle properly supported, the leaf springs are replaced one side at a time. The axle bracket is removed first to free up the leaf spring.

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22. The forward leaf spring attachment bracket is connected to the framerail with three bolts. Drop the leaf in front and in back at the shackle and the spring comes free. The rear shackles can be very challenging to remove because room is very tight at the fuel tank.

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23. With the rear shackle and forward leaf pivot bracket disconnected, the leaf spring is removed.

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24. The new shackle bushings have been lubricated for ease of installation. The top stud goes from the outside in, with the locknut on the inside at the fuel tank.

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25. The bottom shackle stud installs from the inside out with the locknut on the outside.

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26. This is a typical GM axle flange with T-bolts on the inside and U-bolts on the outside. Seat the leaf spring in the axle flange using the provided urethane insulators. Although the insulators look like they will never fit, they compress into place when the spring bracket is installed and tightened. Do not tighten this bracket until the full weight of the vehicle is on the ground.

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27. The last items on the install list are the adjustable QA1 rear shock absorbers, which have a stud mount on top, which is accessible from inside the trunk area using a 9/16-inch socket.

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28. The bottom shock mounts should look something like this, with the dual controls located toward the outside and the brake. These double-adjustable shocks call for road testing to determine what’s suitable for your driving habits, ride, and comfort.

Photos by Jim Smart

Sources

Eaton Detroit Spring
(313) 963-3839
www.eatonsprings.com
QA1
Lakeville, MN 55044
800-721-7761
http://www.qa1.net
Marlo's Frame & Alignment
818-341-0940
www.fly-ford.com

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