In the first installment of this story in the June '02 issue, we gave you the recipe to convert a run-of-the-mill, garden-variety Third-Generation Camaro to include the superior handling and braking capabilities of the special-edition 1LE. In this segment we are going to go through some of the steps that are necessary to make the conversion. Because there is at least one important part that must be obtained, we will provide you with a source for that part. There are a few other parts that may be necessary and we are going to specify those, as well. Then, in an upcoming segment, we will give you the details on installation.
Our mule for this work is an '85 Sport coupe. The car has over 94,000 miles on it. Although this is low mileage for the year of the vehicle, the suspension could definitely use some freshening up, and it needs new brakes.
If you can do this work yourself, you are going to save a bundle. For such individuals, it is strongly recommended that you have, at a minimum, the appropriate shop manual for this work, since the basic information in a shop manual will not be repeated. If you are having the work done for you, it is recommended that you have the appropriate amount of money. However, either way, we have several warnings:
1. This work will probably take longer than you think.
2.This work is probably more difficult than you think.
3.You will have to buy parts in addition to what Chevrolet specified.
Some of those additional parts may be optional, while others are not. We will provide the part numbers for the additional parts that are needed. We should also point out that an automotive hoist and certain specialized tools, including an air-powered die grinder and reference material with the proper torque values for the various parts, will also make this job easier. In other words, a fully equipped automotive shop with an experienced technician will make this work a lot easier, although not without aggravation.
For that reason we enlisted the assistance of ace technician Don Lorentzen who has a shop in Orange County, California. We have two very good reasons for this. First, at our age, lying on cold, hard concrete and getting filthy dirty isn't nearly as much fun as it used to be. Second, Don has all of the tools that are necessary to do this kind of work. Keep in mind that some of the work that needs to be done (particularly to the spindles) borders on custom fabrication.
Now that you've spent a bundle on parts, let's assume that you are going to have the work done. How are you going to justify all of this expense to the wife/girlfriend/significant other? Those of you who are real men, the captain of your own ship, the alpha male, don't need to worry about it and can skip the next paragraph. For the rest of us, here is one of the best excuses (maybe we should call it an "explanation") that we've heard so far: