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Camaro Z28: Beyond Power

by Kyle Tomita on Mon, Dec 28th, 2009 | Client Vehicles, Suspension

Most people have a tendency to overlook the full potential of their vehicles by just adding power.  Having a lot of power is nice, but the ability to control that power will ultimately increase the enjoyment of driving.  If you are able to increase the efficiency of power transfer, you are able to get more out of your vehicle and the power adders.  Upgrading the suspension on vehicles will improve the performance and make them more enjoyable to drive.  This is especially true for unibody vehicles like this Z28 Camaro.


This 2000 Z28 Camaro comes stock with an LS1, with a rating of 305-315 hp.  This particular Camaro has SLP intake, exhaust, and long tube headers.  These performance adders help to boost the power output of the LS1 to an estimated 350 whp.  The power gets to the ground via a set of Hankook 315/30/R18 tires in the rear and 275/40/R17 tires up front mounted on C5 rims.  This Camaro has already had the brakes upgraded to C5 Corvette units.



With a few performance adders on this LS1, the owner turned to the suspension and chassis to increase performance.  He understood that by improving handling and reducing chassis flex the vehicles performance would be greatly increased.  He opted for suspension and chassis upgrade components from UMI Performance.


We started by installing a shock tower brace to connect the shock towers.  Connecting the shock towers helps firm handling and improve steering response.


We then installed a set of front and rear sway bars to increase the suspension's roll stiffness.  The bars are 35mm in the front and 22mm in the rear.  This is accomplished by connecting the opposite wheels together.  Sway bars can also be used to tune the handling balance of a car.



A tunnel brace mounted torque arm and front drive shaft loop were installed.  The drive shaft loop is a NHRA requirement and this loop is NHRA legal.  The tunnel brace mounted torque arm eliminates flex.  The torque arm mounting location is moved from the transmission tail shaft, which protects the transmission.  This eliminates wheel hop and traction problems.  It also reduces front end nose dive during braking to improve handling.


3-point subframe connectors were welded in to increase chassis stiffness.  The connectors tie the front and rear subframes together, while cross-bracing adds strength and protects the underside of the car.  Alex Laventure tig welded the subframe connectors in.  These connectors reduce dash rattles and quarter panel flexing.  They also allow better weight transfer for improved traction and straighter launches.


Another suspension upgrade for increased performance is lower control arm relocation bracket and adjustable lower control arm.  The lower control arm mounting point is relocated to reduce rearward angle of the lower control arm.  It also repositions the instant center for improved traction.  The brackets are welded in and lower the rear control arm by up to 3".  This Camaro has been lowered so the relocation also corrects the lost suspension geometry.  Wheel hop is reduced for better handling.  The angle also allows more force to be applied to the rear tires.

Along with the relocation bracket, the lower control arms were upgraded to an adjustable set with polyurethane bushings.  The heavy duty tubular setup provides additional support of the stock setup.  These lower control arms allow for easy on-car adjustments.  They provide additional clearance for large tires.  The polyurethane bushings help to improve ride comfort.

The steel drive shaft was replaced with a aluminum one because of the weight savings.  There is less power loss with the lighter drive shaft.

This Camaro came in to the shop with BMR springs with Koni shocks, therefore an upgrade was not needed at this time.

The owner of this Camaro was able to increase the performance by improving handling.