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Suspension Upgrades - Turbo Buick Basics, Part 10

Part 10 of our series.

Dan Foley Sep 7, 2012
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In our last episode (April 2012), we strip-tested our buddy Tim Cairone's Turbo Buick in its latest state of tune (365 rwhp, 554 lb-ft at 18 psi). With all that torque, we knew it needed help getting the power to the pavement. So we ordered Air Lift airbags from G Body Parts and a Lift Bar Set-Up (lower control arms with relocation brackets) from UMI Performance. Each component was installed and individually tested at Atco Dragway on different track days.

First we tested the airbags, which allowed us to dial in the rear for some preload; added bite resulted. Then we went back with the UMI Lift Bars to gain great hook with an 8-psi boost launch, when before we couldn't launch at more than 5 psi without wheelspin. The airbags teamed with the lift bars helped us achieve our best 60-foot (1.55) and quarter-mile e.t. of 11.41 at 117.94 mph. Still, with today's ever expanding technology, there are more upgrades available for making improvements.

We knew better e.t.'s were possible if we could launch at more than 8 psi without brake creep. To have higher boost launches (10-12 psi) we needed a special brake kit with more holding power, available through G Body Parts. With the expected higher boost launches, additional beefing up of the rear suspension for more strength and traction would be beneficial towards better short times in Tim's Buick.

Once again we looked to the experts at UMI Performance for adjustable upper control arms and frame braces to complete the rear suspension setup. Added insurance in traction and road-holding would come from adjustable QA1 shocks for all four corners. When the QA1s are adjusted for drag racing, the front end will rise easier, to transfer the weight to the rear and plant the rear tires to the pavement.

Installation of the special brake package, control arms, frame braces, and shocks was handled at the GN owner's shop, Shore Wheels (Tuckerton, New Jersey). Some street bashing made sure the rear brake shoes were seated, then they were readjusted and the brakes bled properly. The aforementioned was necessary so the GN would be ready when back at our favorite testing grounds, Atco Raceway. The new G Body Parts special brake package enabled higher boost launches.

Working with the UMI and QA1 suspension components, the Turbo Buick was hookin' and bookin'. The launch (front-end rise and rear tires planting) never felt better, and road-holding was much improved. Now the Buick is ready to safely go into the 10s if we feel the need for more speed.

Check out our latest suspension upgrades and how they benefited the Turbo G-body to become a better all around package.


Stock, 13 psi 208 @ 4000 256 @ 3000 2.10 14.25 95.53
Chip, 17 psi 210 @ 4000 320 @ 3000
Valvesprings, fuel pump, hotwire 238 @ 4100 358 @ 3000
42-lb injectors, chip, 19 psi 240 @ 4000 405 @ 3000 2.10 13.63 100.55
High-flow exhaust 276 @ 4000 440 @ 3000
58mm turbo, 20 psi 303 @ 4500 440 @ 3500 2.31 13.50 104.68
3-in. downpipe, boost controller 303 @ 4500 450 @ 3000
ADPP, ported throttle body 325 @ 4500 446 @ 3000
Trans Failure, No Strip Test
Rebuilt trans, 2800 stall converter 289 @ 4500 465 @ 3100 1.65 12.28 108.11
Roller cam, ported heads, headers, 17 psi 339 @ 4000 465 @ 3800
62mm turbo, hi-flo intercooler end, 20 psi 372 @ 4800 515 @ 3500 1.97 12.28 112.34
Chip, port turbo, w/g puck, tune, 18 psi 365 @ 4700 554 @ 3400
Air bags, lower control arms 365 @ 4700 554 @ 3400 1.55 11.41 117.94
Adjustable UCAs, braces, shocks & Brakes 365 @ 4700 554 @ 3400 1.51 11.38 117.95


G Body Parts
Bethel, NC 27812
UMI Performance
Lakeville, MN 5504
Atco Raceway
Atco, NJ

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