After some researching, measuring, and theory crafting, I’ve put together what I think is a nice budget suspension set up for the Chevrolet Chevette. I’m not sure If it will work for all the variations of the T-Body but it should be applicable to them all. Upon tearing it apart, I found that my car had cut springs(and a set of blown shocks). After installing the set up, it was the same height as it was before. I would say it would lower a stock Chevette maybe 1.5″ to 2″. Do note this is a budget set up. You can always improve/get better parts than what I have. anyways..
Front Set up:
Shocks: Bilstein AK5555F – W/ proper lower bushing installed.
Seems like these shocks had the most reasonable valving of the “AK” series of shocks from Bilstein and their sizes matched my set up. Length can be an issue without lowering ball joints. Stock:15″ Bilstein: 13″
Springs: Monza front Springs Moog #CS-6490 w/ 2 coils cut (estimated spring rate: 7 kg/mm)
Rodney Dickman Fiero 1″ lowering ball joints – These allowed me to use the Bilstein shocks because it pushed the upper control arms up by one more inch. Stock Shock :15″ // Bilstein + Lowering Ball Joints: 14″ Plus, without the lowering ball joint my front height would be too high for the rear so another coil would have to be cut or a different spring would have to be used.
Slotted upper ball joints – For camber. – Gives camber adjustment to correct the suspension from the lowering ball joints. Modifications could be made for more static camber.
Prothane Fiero front urethane bushing kit. (not installed) – It looked like it would fit.
Rear set up:
Shocks: 1976 Ford Thunderbird rear KYB Gas adjust. KYB #KG5519
Springs: Chevette front springs. 2 coils cut. (estimated rate: 5 kg/mm) – a better spring could easily be used.
S10 19mm sway bar.
UMI Monza adjustable rear panhandle par. (Not installed. It’s 3 inches too long)
Total: Roughly $350 in parts.
Notes: An additional coil can be cut from the front and proper springs + camaro agx or qa1 shocks in the rear would give you another .5″ or so but can get you into the F: 8 kg/mm R: 6kg/mm range.
Front shock mounts need to be changed and springs need caressing to fit properly. Upper control arms need to be modified for more camber out of the slotted ball joints. Lower control arm, where the ball joint is, needed to be ground down to clear the brake disk during suspension movement. GM ball joint separator tool highly recommended.
Rear sway bar mounted like the camaro. Sway bar link mounts were fabricated and nissan quest front sway bar links were used. The difference was huge. Sway bar, however, may be too large. Thunderbird Rear shocks fit on the stock cantilevers on the axle axle.
Overall the set up was phenomenally good compared to the cut spring/blown shock set up in the car before. The suspension inspired a lot more confidence during braking, and initiating turns.
Stay tuned for a August 16th Reno drift event update. The suspension was definitely tested there :)