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Generation V6 FAQ: Suspension, Brakes & Tires
|Can I add traction control?
springs should I use?
What about Z28 springs?
What shocks to choose for improved handling?
What is the best way to improve overall handling?
What is a good way to upgrade the suspension gradually?
I want new tires, what tires to get?
Tires, what size should I get?
rims affect the ABS system?
Can I replace my drums
with disc brakes?
I want to improve braking performance, what
to do? (Low budget)
I want to improve braking
performance, and I have some spare $$, what to do?
What replacement brake pads to choose?
Cross drilled, dimpled, slotted?
Can I add traction control?
No, it is impossible. The traction control systems in service manuals take
up more than a hundred pages by itself. It's extremely complicated and will
require 2 ABS/ASR sensors for both rear wheels (1 for each rear wheel), wiring,
V8 or '99 V6 PCM, etc.
Note: The 99 V6
F-body's have Traction control (ASR) as an option.
What lowering springs
should I use?
Several brands have lowering springs suited for
the 4th Generation F-Bodies. The most used and favorite kit is the Eibach pro
kit, it's a high quality product, they lower the car about 1.5 inches (very
noticeable) and they have excellent handling capabilities !
F-body is for most people a real must, as the factory springs make the car look
like a 4wd at times. Be sure to get the Eibach PRO kit dedicated for the V6
since there is a difference between the V6 and V-8 kit ! For those who want to
go even lower I would advise looking into the Eibach Sport line as this
kit lowers the car about a good 2.0 inches!
What about Z28
These springs are calculated for the Z28's weight and
they are a bit stiffer. Dedicated V6 springs will lower the car and make it
stiffer while improving handling. Z28 take off springs will probably stiffen
the ride even more, but that doesn't always guarantee better handling. Lowering
with Z28 springs might also affect the appearance as the car might 'sit' a bit
higher due to the stiffer spring. I wouldn't recommend these springs.
What shocks to
choose for improved handling?
There are many choices, the
favorite brands are Billstein, and Koni. With any of these shocks you can't go
The Fx-5 adjustable shocks are very good too according to owners
feedback, they are adjustable from the inside of the car! No more messy trips
underneath the fenders to adjust the gas adjustable shocks. A good set of
shocks will run you about $500, consider doing this together with the
springs to save installation costs. The installation of the rear shocks is
fairly simple, however the front needs special tools and is best to be done by
A compressed spring can be extremely dangerous when it
||FX-5 Adjustable Shocks
||FX-5 Compressor Kit
||FX-5 Front Replacement Shocks
||FX-5 Rear Replacement Shocks
||FX-5 Adjustable Shock Set (4 shocks
What is the best
way to improve overall handling?
There are several ways to
improve handling, but a 'Bang for the Buck' method is replacing those rubber
bushings by polyurethane bushings made by for instance Energy Suspension. For
instance, replacing the front sway bushings will only set you back $18 and it
will be noticeable. Installation is easy and no special tools are needed.
Changing the end links is also inexpensive and helps quite a bit. A rear sway
bar from a a Z28 is also inexpensive at $10 a piece (yes TEN dollars), these
are take off's and SLP used to sell them. So, for about $100 you can replace
the bushings (Sways, Endlinks, etc.) and have a thicker rear sway bar.
Note: The front V6 sway bar is the same as found in the
What is a good
way to upgrade the suspension gradually?
Just like the engine
modifications, you can do this in stages. The Stage system below is just how I
feel about upgrading in stages and keeping a budget in mind. If you have a
thick wallet you can, of course, do it all at once and use any brand you
||- Replace rubber bushings in favor of
poly bushings (Including end links)
||- Replace stock springs with Eibach
'Pro Kit' springs
||- Replace rear 17 mm sway bar with a
19 mm SLP takeoff Z28 sway bar
||- Replace stock shocks with
performance shocks (Koni's, FX-5, Billstein, etc.)
||- Add a Strut tower brace
||- Replace tires with Z rated tires,
changing to 17 inch rims is also very effective
||- Add GM 1LE sway bars (31 mm front
& 21 mm rear)
||- Replace trailing arms with
||- Replace pan hard rod with an
||- Add sub frame connectors
Convertible owners might want to add the sub frame connectors in an earlier
stage as their car is a lot more flexible than a coupe. T-tops owners might
also consider this.
I want new tires,
what tires to get?
Any F-body owner will agree that the stock
V6 tires (Eagle GA) are far from perfect. So usually when they are worn they
will be replaced. But what tire to get? There are many tires that are perfect
for the car, but when you look at value for money only a few tires
The following tires are very popular among the f-bodies owners:
When you look at tire tests results the best bang
for the buck is the Firestone Fire hawk SZ-50. This tire beats the competition
in traction (especially on wet surfaces), noise level, cornering, and braking.
And, for about $150 a tire, the price is more than right. But, you can't make a
bad choice with any of the above tires, and since they are Z-rated you can
finally drive safely at high speed.
- Good Year Eagle GS-C
- Firestone Firehawk SZ-50 (not so popular
- BF Goodrich Comp T/A ZR
- Pirelli P-7000 ZR
Tires, What size
should I get?
Stock (16"X8"): Ideal tire size is
17" Upgrade: Ideal tire size is 275/40/17
Click here for a link where you
can calculate the tire size for your application.
Will new rims affect
the ABS system?
NO, unless the rims differ much in size, for
instance two 17 inch rims in the back while having two 15 inch rims rims in the
front. You can, of course, have, for instance, 17 inch on the front and 18 in
the rear, but this requires specific front & rear tire sizes to make up for
the actual difference.
You can replace the Stock rims with any set of 16,
17 or even 18 inch rims. Be sure to get rims with the correct offset.
Can I replace my
drums with disc brakes?
Yes you can, there are 2
1- Get a Complete Baer Racing conversion kit, including 2 12"
ventilated Baer Racing rotors, PBR calipers with pads, Teflon braided lines,
and ALL other hardware needed to perform the swap ! The kit costs about $675
and is available at RKSport
the parts needed to perform the swap from your local F-body wrecker yard. This
is cheaper, but be sure you get good parts.
I want to
improve braking performance, what to do? (Low budget)
several ways to achieve this, for instance:
- Replace OEM pads with Performance friction pads.
These pads are made of a special compound and they improve braking. They also
tend to produce less brake dust and that's also a real benefit, especially for
those with white or polished rims.
- Construct a brake ducting system as cooling the
rotors is always a good thing to do. Hot rotors will fade at a certain point
and are then rendered useless, cooling the rotors with cold air will help
against fading, especially at high speeds stops.
Installation will be online soon.
- Replace the OEM brake fluid lines with Teflon
braided ones, these will give a much better (linear) brake pedal feeling.
- Replace the brake fluid with a better fluid, for
instance the Ford Heavy Duty brake oil (Best bang for the buck !!) or the
extremely expensive Castrol SRF brake fluid.
- Use Z-rated tires, they have a shorter braking
distance when compared to the factory GA's.
I want to
improve braking performance, and I have some spare $$, what to do?
There are several Kits available that will replace the OEM rotors, Calipers
and lines. They often don't come cheap, but you get what you pay for! The Best
money can buy is the German Move' it Kit
which consists of the Porsche 911
Twin Turbo brakes (front) ! They can fit the F-body and the kit consists of
two Red (4 piston) Porsche calipers, two 12.7 Porsche cross drilled rotors, and
special lines. The Kit costs about $2400 in the US, but it can be purchased in
Germany also for about DM 3990 ($1850)
A Good alternative for the money is
the Baer Racing 13 inch brake kit, which replaces the front rotors with 13 inch
rotors and new PBR calipers, The kit costs about $800 and provides quite an
improvement for the money.
The keyword for improved braking is: BIG. Bigger
rotors can handle heat better as there simply is more braking area that's
acting like a 'heat sink', so there is less chance of warping them. NOTE: Most
kits that have those big rotors (12.5" and larger) normally require 17 inch
rims to fit properly.
brake pads to choose?
The pads from Performance Friction are a
good replacement for the OEM pads, they improve braking performance also.
Unless you are going just for looks I advise
you to stay away from cross
drilled rotors. Why ? Well, unless the you have the mega $$ Porsche rotors
you will find yourself with cracked rotors one day. They tend to crack from
hole to hole, when this crack goes to the rotor edge you will have a serious
Dimpled rotors are just a hype, they look good and they are
better than the OEM rotors (not hard to accomplish), but they simply don't
justify the high cost ! They have the same size and actually less braking area
because of the dimples. The dimples will NOT allow braking gasses to escape ! A
few high speed brake events are needed to simply warp them.
If you want
to have looks and functional rotors I suggest getting
rotors. These rotors have grooves that allow the brake pad gas (created at
high temps.) to escape. The only drawback here is that the brake pads will wear
a bit faster (same as with dimpled and Cross drilled rotors).
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