Suspension technology has come a long way in the nearly 42 years that have passed since the '70 Camaro first hit showroom floors. Spring and shock developments, tire advancements, improved brake technology, and overall design progression have brought factory handling to an all-time high. While the Z28 was top dog for handling then, a V-6 2011 Camaro today could easily out-maneuver any of its ancestors.
Thanks to the aftermarket though, those classic Camaros don't have to be left in the dust by the factory behemoths rolling off the assembly line in Canada.
Back in the May 2009 issue of Super Chevy, we covered the install of BMR's torque-arm/Watt's-link suspension system for first-generation Camaros. Now with the design proven on road courses and dragstrips, BMR has adapted it to help improve the rear suspension and handling of the second-generation F-body.
While leaf springs aren't bad performers by any means, they do have wheelhop problems under hard launches and suspension binding that occurs during hard cornering. A torque-arm suspension eliminates these problems. The main arm that goes from the rearend up to the transmission features a slider on the transmission end that allows the arm to slide fore and aft along with rotating as the suspension goes through its range of motion. This allows the car's handling to be controlled more by the coilover shocks, tires, and in this design's case, the Watt's-link bars. A Watt's-link system controls the lateral movement of the car's rear while also allowing for the side-to-side adjustment/position of the rear for better handling depending on the track and conditions. Overall, the BMR design keeps the rear stable but allows for independent articulation of each rear wheel, as opposed to a four-link design, which keeps the rear wheels articulating together.
Here are some of the adjustability features of our subject BMR torque-arm/Watt's-link kit:
- Pinion angle adjustability: 4 degrees of pinion adjustment to provide ideal driveline angles at any ride height.
- Control-arm length adjustability: Allows for adjusting the wheel position in the wheelwell for proper tracking and ideal front-to-rear tire clearances.
- Three-position, rear anti-squat adjustability: Allows the car owner to fine-tune the instantaneous center for ideal weight transfer at various ride heights.
- Three-position ride-height adjustability plus coilover adjustability: Ride height should never be adjusted with the coilover itself, according to BMR. Contrary to popular belief, the spring collar on a coilover is designed to adjust spring preload, not ride height. BMR torque-arm kits have three coilover mounting positions spaced 1 inch apart for adjusting ride height.
- Five-position roll-center height adjustability on the GM 10/12-bolt kits and seven-position roll-center height adjustability on the 9-inch kit: The roll center is the axis of rotation for the car when the body rotates left to right. Front and rear roll centers are typically not adjustable. By providing an adjustable rear roll-center height, the user can fine-tune the vehicle's roll axis for optimal handling characteristics.
Lateral Watt's-link adjustability: The Watt's linkages are adjustable in length to allow fine-tuning of the lateral rearend position in the chassis.
Now that you know the basics, follow along as we show you how easy it is to install this system in a second-generation Camaro.