Moser 12-Bolt & BMR Suspension - Quickie 4th-Gen Upgrades

Installing A Moser 12-Bolt And BMR Suspension

Jessie Coulter Sep 29, 2005 0 Comment(s)

Many projects begin as cars that have already exceeded the budget of the average backyard mechanic. And even then, regardless of funds, you can surely expect to spend two to three times more than you'd expected--assuming you've been fortunate enough to even finish the buildup. With that in mind, our goal was to begin with a common platform well within the average user's budget, namely a Fourth-Gen '99 SS Camaro.

So far, the SS has collected the basic bolt-on items including headers, a complete exhaust, an aftermarket induction lid, and an air filter. When planning the long-term goals, we decided that it was imperative to retain near-perfect drivability, all the while eclipsing the 500hp mark and being able to dip well into the 11's with a mostly stock LS1 engine.

The first order of business was to address the well-known weak link of any '82-02 F-body. Anticipating 500 hp meant replacing the factory 10-bolt. While it did a good job in its stock configuration, it would only be a matter of time before it blew up like a hand grenade. We felt it was in our best interest to install a Moser 12-bolt unit; to help apply the power, we called upon BMR Fabrication for its full line of suspension components. Follow along as we complete the first phase of the conversion.

We have a series of changes scheduled for this car, ones that will progress from the bolt-on realm to strengthening the drivetrain, to slipping stronger internals in the engine. In the next step we'll be bumping up specific output with a remote-mount STS turbo system. In any case, we're looking forward to these initial phases with great expectation.

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This is how it looked before the upgrading began. The only modifications at this point were the Hooker long-tube headers, an off-road Y-pipe, a Hooker after-cat, 1-inch lowering springs, a Weiand aluminum intake manifold, an aftermarket lid, and 17x11 chrome ZR1 wheels.

Here's the stock torque arm and its mounting points on the factory 10-bolt axle.

This backing-plate assembly is ready for removal. These parts will be swapped onto the new axle housing before the bearings are pressed in and become the mounting point for the axle shaft.

This is what the freight man will bring to your door when you order a Moser axle. We ordered the new 12-bolt with 3.42:1 gears and a Detroit Truetrac limited-slip differential, a gear-driven unit suited for street and strip application.

We ordered the Moser axle without brakes, which meant that the axles would have to be removed in order to change over the brake backing-plate assemblies. Here, we've removed the driveshaft and proceeded to drain the fluids from center section.

It's a good idea to tie up the brake calipers to help prevent loss of fluid and damage to the lines. Once the Panhard bar and lower control arms were disconnected, we were able to remove the axle.

It's the spindly dude vs. the muscle man: the stock 10-bolt and the Moser 12-bolt. The newly cast nodular-iron housing unit is a direct replacement for its factory counterpart, featuring stout carrier caps utilizing 1/2-inch Allen bolts and an aluminum support cover.

With the expected engine output, we addressed the suspension in a serious way. BMR components replaced the stock torque arm, Panhard bar, and lower control arms. The Panhard bar and torque arm are adjustable, permitting on-the-fly adjustments at the track. The new torque arm comes with a transmission crossmember that enables the front of the torque arm to mount to the supplied polyurethane mount.

BMR's crossmember fit flawlessly and used all of our stock mounting hardware.

Installing the emergency-brake cables involved a slight modification to the brackets. The edge of the mounting bracket has to be cut in order to clear the large mounting brackets on the new rearend. A few minutes with a cut-off wheel and we were ready to go.

The nearly complete install reveals how much engineering has truly gone into these components. Precise fitment made for a trouble-free installation.

We used zip ties to hold the brake lines to the axle tubes.

In order to adjust the new Panhard bar, we kept the adjuster loose until the car was on a level surface, allowing us to center the rearend for spot-on driveshaft alignment and tire clearance.

Here's the installation with the sway bar mounted, facilitated by 3-inch exhaust clamps to complete the install. Due to the large axle tubes of the new assembly, the mounting brackets for the sway bar also required minor modifications to the bolt holes.

The BMR driveshaft loop fit perfectly and added a bit of security to our new setup.

What better way to put your name on a part than to laser-cut it? This shows the new torque arm and driveshaft loop.

All the good stuff ensures peace of mind.

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