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3rd Gen Subframe Install - Structural Integrity

We give a T-top third-gen Camaro some much needed stiffening and rear-suspension improvements.

Patrick Hill May 29, 2011

For superior handling, chassis stiffness and stability are important factors. If the front wheels are moving/shifting around at different angles to the rear wheels, a car's handling will be inconsistent and you'll be giving up performance and grip.

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Full-frame cars don't have the stiffness issues that subframe cars do thanks to the full-frame chassis. Add T-tops and an F-body and it will have chassis flex like a Twizzler under heavy cornering, engine torque, and similar autocross/open track scenarios. While the second-gen T-top Camaros aren't as bad, their third gen siblings are well known for structural weakness.

Using a modified example of what our friend Brent Vandervort of Fatman Fabrications tells everyone, take a shoe box with the lid on it and try to twist it. It doesn't move a lot. Now, cut out a generous part of the lid in the shape of a T-top roof, then start twisting again. Notice the difference? Same thing for a T-top versus non-T-top third-gen (and even fourth-gen) Camaro.

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This '92 Camaro is destined for autocross and dragstrip fun, so one of the first things that needs to be upgraded is the chassis for extra rigidity. Along with that, the copious amounts of torque our GM Performance Parts crate engine puts out will be pushing things to the limit, far beyond what the original 305 was capable of.

A quick call to UMI Performance (www.umiperformance.com) in Bigler, Pennsylvania, got us the first batch of goodies necessary to stiffen up this Camaro better than any dose of vehicular Viagra. UMI's been in business since 2003 designing and making its own line of suspension pieces for GM guys and those blue oval lunatics we get into bench racing sessions with.

UMI sent us its '82-92 Camaro subframe connectors, tubular rear control arms, on-the-car adjustable panhard bar, and torque arm relocation kit with a beefy adjustable tubular torque arm. Together these parts will give the '92 the strength to handle the hardest maneuvering at the track and on the street. What's better are the adjustable aspects of the panhard bar and torque arm, which will allow us to tune the rear suspension for whatever scenario we're dealing with. We'll cover suspension adjustments in a later story.

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While the subframe connectors require some welding, the rest of the parts we're installing don't and can be installed either on a lift, or in your driveway using jack stands.

Follow along as we show you how.


Lincoln Electric
Cleveland, OH 44117
UMI Performance
Snap-On Tools



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