Four Link Suspension Install - First-Gen Camaro - Backside Bolt-On

Heidt's First-Gen Camaro Rear Four-Link

Dakota Wentz Jan 31, 2007 0 Comment(s)

No longer can you mask your ride with flashy paint and chrome. Nope, if you're going to build a wickedly awesome street car or g-machine, it better be the whole package from front to back, top to bottom, inside and out. Today's machines must look, drive, handle, brake, and be all-around state-of-the-art if you want to leave an impression. Of course, a lot of that comes from pure imagination and creativity, but on the other hand, combining the right cold, hard parts is key.

Whether it's a pulley or brake job, parts truly make a car. New aftermarket parts not only look cool once installed, but they also serve a purpose. They bring these vintage straight-line rockets to a halt or help them go around a corner, and they bump up safety and drivability. Hot rod guru Gary Heidt has been applying his touch of suspension innovation to tons of cars throughout the years, and his latest Chevrolet concoction is sure to make eyes pop and mouths drool, all the while serving a purpose.

If you remember back a few months ago in Super Chevy, we took a stock orange '69 Camaro and added Heidt's Hot Rod Shop front control arms and new drop spindles, along with a few other suspension components, and it made a world of difference. In fact, that was the best handling Camaro we have yet to test here at Super Chevy! Trying to take things to the next level, we're going to round out the back of the Camaro. In this day and age, performance starts in the front and ends in the rear, or vice versa. Granted, you can post incredible numbers by just concentrating on one aspect of the car, but in order to reach the full potential of the car's capabilities, it's a must to do the complete package.

Subframed cars are notorious for flexing, bending, twisting and who knows what else. In past years, aftermarket companies, including Heidt's, have solved this problem on First-Gen Novas with the addition of front clips, and even more recently with rear clips to tie the car together. First Gen Camaros have a unibody with a front subframe, which means they have the same characteristic as all subframed cars. Although Heidt's doesn't make a complete front clip for Camaros, it does offer an assortment of parts for the front. In the back, however, it's a different story. Heidt's has designed a rear clip that not only improves handling, but more or less puts a full frame underneath the car.

Heidt's Hot Rod Shop has designed, engineered, and made available its Camaro parallel four-link rear clip, which allows for maximum performance from the rear of a First-Gen Camaro. The kit includes chassis and axle brackets, adjustable links, full upper coilover crossmember, Panhard bar, adjustable Heidt's coilovers, subframe connectors, hardware, and adjustable link mounts that allow suspension tuning. The kit is also a fully bolt-in system with no cutting or modifications to the floor.

The components are fabricated from mild steel, meticulously welded together, and then powdercoated gloss-black for an eye-appealing finish.

When buying a rear kit, Heidt's also offers up a few choices. A buyer can purchase an installation-ready Currie 9-inch with the brackets welded to the housing, and even opt to have Heidt's send a third member and Wilwood disc brakes. If for some reason you don't want to run a 9-inch, Heidt's also sells the brackets for the kit, but in this instance you would have to weld all the brackets to your own axle housing. Heidt's also has several coilover upgrades over the stock finished coilovers that come in the basic kit. One other upgrade Heidt's offers is a fully chromed setup with a chrome spring and shock. The other is a billet coilover setup.

Installing the kit is way easy. In fact, we did the install like most of you would do it at home: on the ground, on jackstands, on our backs, because the kit is a fully bolt-in kit with no modifications, and all that's necessary is to rip out the existing suspension and replace it with the supplied parts from Heidt's. Once we had the kit installed, even our stock driveshaft was the correct length.

We did run into a few problems regarding U-joint clamps, but they were an easy fix, and on top of that we'll dive into those issues next month, when we finish up the install and hit the track to get our numbers.

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Here's a look at the lineup for the Heidt's rear kit with all the items accounted for. As you can see, Heidt's provides chassis and axle brackets, adjustable links, full upper coilover crossmember, Panhard bar, adjustable Heidt's coilovers, subframe connectors, hardware and adjustable link mounts that allow suspension tuning. For our kit we went with the chromed coilovers and the Currie 9-inch with the brackets already welded in place.

To make a long process short, yank the OEM suspension completely out, the rearend, the leaf springs, the shocks and even the bumpstop; it all has to go.

Toward the back of the Heidt's crossmember is a predrilled hole. By using a half-inch drill bit we drilled a hole through the body and finished bolting the crossmember in using the provided hardware. Heidt's used every existing mounting point on the frame, but there are still nearly 15 holes that need to be drilled in order to install the complete setup.

Along the underside of the body is a thin structure that is more or less a built-in frame. This is what the upper coilover crossmember bolts to. The two OEM bumpstop mounting holes are what the Heidt's crossmember uses to bolt in place.

The next thing to be installed is the Heidt's upper four-link bracket. The bracket rests against the backside of the floorboard right where the back seats mount. By placing the bracket in its position and then bolting the elongated arm on the bracket to the coilover crossmember, the bracket is held in position for the next step.

On the backside of the bolts just installed, the smallest Heidt's reinforcement plate needs to be slid over the bolts and fastened down.

As for the back of the seat, there's no need for it to be removed; just straighten out the bent-over clips at the two bottom corners and remove the bolts in the middle of each half of the seat. This will enable you to pull the seat up and get the room needed.

With the bolts protruding through the floorboard, place the larger Heidt's reinforcement plate over the bolts on the inside of the floorboard. Bolting the bracket to the floor and reinforcement plate will ensure a sturdy install and keep the four-link bar from swiveling back and forth.

There are three holes on the bracket that need to be bolted along the built-in frame. By drilling three holes into the frame, the bolts can be slid through the bracket, and then through the frame.

Besides the four-link setup, another big advantage to the Heidt's setup over the stock suspension is that Heidt's uses subframe connectors to tie the front subframe in with the rear structure of the car. The main bolt holding the rear of the front subframe needs to be removed, and that allows the Heidt's subframe to slide into the subframe. Then bolt the subframe connector to the subframe using the OEM bolt that was removed. In the rear the subframe mounts to the body where the front leaf spring pocket mounts.

The rest of the upper four-link bracket bolts to the floorboard. Before we drilled the holes into the floorboard, we removed the back seat. In order to remove the back seat, push the bottom seat toward the rear of the car and pull up. This will release the seat from the brackets on the floorboard.

With the seats taken care of, drill out the four holes on the upper four-link mount plate. Then push the bolts up into the floorboard.

The rear of the subframe mounts to the body where the front leaf spring pocket mounts. From the bottom one bolt goes up into the body, and then on the side of the connector a hole needs to drilled so a nut and bolt can fasten the connector in place.

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