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Old 09-15-2012, 10:32 PM  
VIR Specialist

JusticePete's Avatar
Drives: Camaro Justice
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Virginia
Posts: 20,246
Trouble Free, OEM Quiet V6 Lowering

Trouble Free, OEM Quiet V6 Lowering

220032 / 220033

220032 / 220035

Today we had the pleasure of working with two Camaro5 and SATX community members. Both are V6 owners. They got The LOOK today. We can see that. The questions are:
  1. Did they get any front end coil pop or any other new noises?
  2. Are the coils secure in the perches for trouble free motoring?
  3. Did they sacrifice ride quality to get the look?
  4. The most important question of all are they pleased with the overall result?

The answers are:
  1. No
  2. Yes
  3. No
  4. Yes

Most companies market lowering coils as 1" drop. That has become the frame in which lowering coils are discussed. If we discuss drop in terms of ride height it is easy for a Camaro owner to determine what their new ride height will be. We measure ride height from the bottom of the wheel rim lip, up through the wheel center to the painted edge of the fender. The vehicle should be on a level surface, the wheels straight, 1/4 tank of fuel and as empty as it was new.

The average ride heights for a Camaro are Front 690mm Rear 700mm

220032 - Pedders 6/8 Front Lowering Coils 657mm with 20" Wheels or 1.3 Drop
220033 - Pedders 6/8 Rear Lowering Coils 660mm with 20" Wheels or 1.5 Drop
220035 - Pedders 6/8 Rear Lowering Coils 675mm with 20" Wheels or 1 Drop

Our Camaros today started with these ride heights.

LF 692mm RF 690mm
LR 706mm RR 703mm

LF 688mm RF 687mm
LR 686mm RR 683mm

They finished the day at these ride heights.

220032 / 220033
LF 664mm RF 663mm Drop 27.5mm / 1.08 Pedders Stated Height 657mm Difference 6.5mm
LR 665mm RR 664mm Drop 40mm / 1.57 Pedders Stated Height 660mm Difference 4.5mm

220032 / 220035
LF664mm RF 664mm Drop 23.5mm / .925 Pedders Stated Height 657mm Difference 7mm
LR 669mm RR 664mm Drop 18mm / .708 Pedders Stated Height 675mm Difference 8.5mm

Pedders Average Deviation Today 6.6mm
Chevrolet Average Deviation Today 5.9mm

We would have preferred to beat GM at this game, but today GM beat us. Well maybe they did.

V6 vs V8
Fuel Load

We could improve our accuracy for ride height by separating the OEM average ride height into 6 and 8 cylinder groups as well as our finished ride heights. It may well be this is more important to us than to our clients. We have been in the 5th Gen Camaro market from the beginning and have yet to get a client compliant that their finished ride height was 5mm off. We did not check the alignments before we took the cars apart. After writing this post we should have. Both cars had different fuel levels. Both cars were not empty as new. Both cars had aftermarket exhaust changing the rear weight. Both car had more than 20K.

Let's get down to business. In these two images you can see the OEM upper coil is securely trapped in place against the upper perch.

We used a strut compressor to break down the OEM strut and to Re-assemble the OEM strut with new Pedders coils.

In this series of pictures you can see that the new Pedders coil is well trapped even though the threaded strut top is NOT yet exposed.

When the threads are exposed and the nuts made tight the new Pedders lowering coils are securely trapped in place.

Stacker coils are used to make certain a coil stays in the spring seats when the suspension is at full droop. The black wrap on the coil is there to protect against coil pop or coil ping. When the weight of the car is on the wheels, the upper coils lay one on top of the other. While it is possible to balance one basketball on top of another, it requires extraordinary precision. Stacking coils is not all that different. Using a coil wrap prevents coil pop, just in case the lower spring perch, lower insulator, coil, upper insulator, upper spring perch, silver washer, spring plate bush, gold washer, threaded strut and other variables I am sure I forgot to mention are not all perfect.

These rear coils are under load from the weight of the car. You can see where they touch, but have to imagine where they touch as you drive through a parking lot or down the road.

Pedders does not use multiple stacker coils in the front Camaro struts. Let's go back to basketball stacking, a very difficult task when everything is perfectly still. How hard would it be to keep those basketballs stacked if you were moving left to right and up and down The front struts turn in the Camaro much like the basketballs creating to many opportunities for noise. Pedders front Camaro lowering coils do NOT use stacker coils.

With the OEM struts and Pedders lowering coils installed, we move to bush timing. The rubber bushes in the control arms are bonded to steel ferules. When the suspension arms move up and down, the rubber in the bush twists. It is part of the OEM spring rate calculation. When ride height is changed, the bushes must be timed or relaxed to the new ride height. Timing prevents premature bush wear and allows for even load in the rubber twist as the arms move up and down. In the rear the toe, trailing arm, strut, RLCA, and upper inner bushes need to be relaxed. To do so we loosen the bolts that hold them.

The inner two bolts on both arms.

The toe bolts.

Trailing Arm and Toe Bolts

Upper Inner Bolts

The front virtual pivot suspension has only four total bushes. The LCA inners and the Radius bush outer. Sorry, I don't have a picture of the front LCA inner bolts.

Front Radius / Tension arm Bolts.

The next step is to drive the car with the slightly loose bolts to allow everything to settle and then drive on the alignment rack for the final steps: Tighten everything with the weight of the car on the wheels and alignment.

How did we do?

Pedders Tight Spec Alignment

Caster LF 6.0 RF 6.0
Camber LF -0.7 RF -0.7
Toe LF 0.00 RF -0.1

Camber LR -0.5 RR -0.5
Toe LR 0.13 RR 0.11

Caster LF 6.6 RF 6.6
Camber LF -0.7 RF -0.7
Toe LF 0.00 RF -0.00

Camber LR -0.7 RR -0.8
Toe LR 0.13 RR 0.12

How tight are these alignments? When the wind blew, not a big wind, into the shop the readings would drift. When I say they were perfect just before or after we printed the page our two Camaro owners can verify my statement. The purpose of the day was to demonstrate that V6 Camaros can be lowered without coil noise, coil trap issues or any other issues and not kill trees printing the perfect alignment. We would like to have set the rear cambers to ZERO, but you cannot get from here to there with the OEM alignment bolts. The OEM Rear Camber Eccentrics were literally maxed out. While this will vary from Camaro to Camaro I have yet to see a lowered Camaro get to ZERO rear camber with OE eccentrics.

Front camber is adjusted with a camber screw (bolt) in the knuckle.

There should be a 10mm 1.5 pitch Camber Adjusting Screw in the empty holes above. The Camaro does not ship with them and to my knowledge they are not available as a part. This is a great time to dispel a few myths about Camaro front camber adjustment. The strut clevis bracket is slotted for camber adjustment from the factory. You can see the upper hole is slotted in this picture.

Do NOT use camber adjusting offset bolts on the Camaro

If you want to put them on your Honda or Subie it is up to you. They are not as strong as the OEM clevis bolts and are absolutely necessary on a 5th Gen Camaro. It is in the

This is the correct way to adjust front camber on the 5th Gen. One the alignment machine with the clevis bolts loose turning the camber screw tighter (Righty Tighty, Lefty Loosy) will push the knuckle away from the strut. Loosening the camber screw allows the knuckle to fall in toward the strut.

Your alignment shop may have a T.O.M.C.A.T. Air-Assisted Multiple Camber Adjustment Tool air bag. It fits between the wheel and the strut and works in the same way as the camber screw. Inflate (Righty Tighty) the bag to push the knuckle away from the strut or deflate (lefty Loosy) the bag to allow the knuckle to fall into the strut.

Anyone that tells you different, have them call me

Both Camaros we lowered today are daily drivers. Tire wear is important to both owners. The alignments they left with drive great. Ask them. The alignments we gave them are an excellent balance of tire wear and handling. Alignments should be done at least once a year. Compared to new tires alignments are cheap.

Both Camaros drive great! The owners described the ride as more firm, but smoother. When asked about noises after the test drives both said there were none. Both also were very clear about the improvements in drive quality with the tight spec alignments. Typing about there feelings doesn't say as much as a couple of pictures.

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