1968 Camaro Suspension Upgrade - Back To The Future II

Drop, Stop, And Roll

Dakota Wentz Apr 6, 2006 0 Comment(s)
Sucp_0604_01_z 1968_chevy_camaro Slalom_test 1/29

It's not too often that we get to guinea pig an all-stock Camaro; that's what makes this story all the more exciting. It's a knock-'em-dead '68 Camaro sporting all of its stock suspension (minus the polyglass tires) and the latest and greatest technology from the engineering experts at Heidt's Hot Rod Shop; a match made in heaven really, a beautiful First-Gen Camaro that needs to move forward in time and the modern technology to do it.

Sucp_0604_02_z 1968_chevy_camaro Heidts_spindle 2/29

The "Tall Spindle" raises the upper ball joint a designated amount. This new, higher position of the outer pivot of the upper control arm changes the arc that it swings in, which actually pulls the top of the tire in a designed amount, thus the "positive" camber change. Positive camber change tilts the top of the tire inward during compression and cornering. Since the car itself usually tilts outward slightly during cornering, the inward tilt of the tire will offset that and keep the tire perpendicular and the tire patch evenly planted on the pavement. Combine this revelation with Heidt's new tubular control arms-a much stronger, higher-performance design, and you've got an awesome handling combination.

Heidt's came up with a new, improved camber 2-inch drop "Tall" steel spindle that not only lowers First-Gen Camaros by a full 2 inches, but also lowers the center of gravity of the car for better handling, as well. For maximum performance, Heidt's decided it would be best if the upper ball joint was raised to the optimum amount-1 1/2 inches-to fully correct camber action during suspension travel. Complementing the new drop spindles is Heidt's tubular '67-'81 control arms. Heidt's Hot Rod Shop Camaro control arms come in standard width or narrowed. The narrowed control arms are narrowed 1 inch per side, allowing the tire to be pulled in, and ultimately means that the user can run a bigger wheel/tire combo up front. The upper control arms are constructed from a 1 1/4-inch-diameter tube and include offset cross-shafts for ease of alignment, which permits experimentation with caster settings that will allow better straight-line tracking, as well as better feel in the corners. As for the lower 1 1/2-inch-diameter tube control arms, Heidt's offers two different styles. One arm is designed to work with stock springs and shocks, and the other is designed to work with coilover shocks. Heidt's offers a full line of QA1 fully adjustable billet aluminum coilovers with an assortment of springs. All arms come complete with ball joints, urethane bushings to tighten up the suspension, and allow no deflection under cornering loads for absolutely solid positive handling, and are powdercoated for durability.

With the handling factor out of the way, it's time to talk brakes. Although there were different brake combinations on '67-'69 Camaros, not a one can compare to a newer designed system. Wilwood Engineering, which works in correlation with Heidt's, is a braking company that has had success on and off the track. The people at Wilwood have taken what they've learned through years of experience and incorporated it into several early-Camaro disc brake system options, one being the Dynalite Big Brake Front Hub Kits. Included in the kit are forged billet Dynalite four-piston calipers manufactured from stress-flow forged billet bodies. The calipers generate high clamping force without deflection from four stainless steel pistons, and the square faced O-rings provide long service and positive piston retraction on release. The calipers also feature Wilwood's SRS stainless steel bridge plates. The spring-loaded action of the SRS plates eliminates pad rattle, and dampens the vibration harmonics that can contribute to pad squeal. The hub and rotor is a two-piece set. The aluminum hubs are forged into shape under high heat and pressure, and then CNC-machined for a precise fit. Aluminum hats or backside mount plates are supplied for solid rotor mounting directly to the hub. The hubs are shipped complete with bearing races installed, new bearings, grease seals, screw-on billet aluminum hubcaps, and 1/2-20 RH Grade 8 wheel lug studs. The second part of the assembly is an SRP or HP Series 12.19-inch vented iron rotor. The 12.19-inch vented iron rotors are manufactured from premium grade, long-grain carbon iron to provide long wear with high thermal stability and resistance to distortion. The kit also comes with PolyMatrix 7112 "T" compound pads, CNC-machined brackets, and Grade 8 hardware. However, fitting and flex lines must be ordered separately.

Before we started taking her apart, however, it was time to get some test numbers from this Camaro. It was run through the 420-foot slalom, skidpad, and 60-0 brakes test. After we got some basic numbers of what this car can do in it's stock form, it was time to get rid of the old stuff and add the new stuff. Follow along with us.

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