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Bolt-On Suspension Parts & Brake Upgrades on a 1965 Chevrolet El Camino - Bolt-On Performance Suspension Parts

Don't Be Happy With Cornering Slop. Tighten It Up With Some . . .

In the rear, the G-plus package does a couple of important things. The adjustable upper control arms allow you to set or reset your pinion angle without removing the arm from the car. Drag racers know that the pinion angle is key to getting the car out of the hole at the dragstrip, and the same is true for getting it out of a corner. The uppers also control the lateral movement of the differential that blows out the stock bushings. The adjustable uppers use a spherical bearing that allows the rearend to move without binding. The lowers use a Del-a-lum bushing on the differential side to control lateral movement and a spherical bearing on the frame side, so there is no bind as the bars travel through their arc. There is also a set of rear frame supports that ties the control arm to the factory crossmember to stabilize the upper mounts and prevent them from being broken when you nail the gas pedal. All these things add up to a rearend that doesn't bind or wander. Stability here correlates to a controllable car in the corners.

The last two bits of the puzzle are the springs and the shocks that control them. Forget cutting or heating your stock springs, when a pair of good springs is about $150. Factory springs are designed to give you a cushy ride. The downside is a lot of body roll as the springs compress in a corner. Performance springs that are too aggressive give you little or no body roll and a stiff, jarring ride. The springs we used have 120-pound rates that lower the car 1 inch in the front and 11/4 inches in the rear. They retain a bit of the street feel without the harshness of an overly aggressive road race spring. These springs work well with a 11/8-inch sway bar.

We didn't install shocks on the car in this story because of the large role they play in the tuning of the suspension and the number of manufacturers that supply them. Norrdin advised us to buy either a single- or double-adjustable shock. His reasoning suggests that installing a good suspension and then not having a way to adjust how it performs doesn't make sense. We agree. You don't have to get the ultradollar double-adjustable shocks if you aren't going to do any fine-tuning or serious road racing, but at least go for the single-adjustable type. If you are going to do more than just try to look cool, get the good shocks.

The parts and prices can be fine-tuned for each individual user and discounted as a kit. Therefore, the parts and prices for this story might be different for you, as will the experience.

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