Project Camaro Part 1 – Improving Handling with KW Suspension & Whiteline with some Help from Wheel Warehouse!

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Our array of Whiteline products for the Camaro featured front and rear adjustable sway bars, adjustable sway bar end links and every suspension bushing imaginable.  The front and rear sway bars were both 27 mm in diameter versus 22 mm for the stock Camaro bars. The Whiteline bars feature three attachment holes on each end for adjustability of the end link connection point.  The effective stiffness for the rear bar is not as high as you might think even with the bars short arms because the bar is mounted far inboard on the lower control arm.  Still, adjusting the bar should make a big overall difference in adjusting the car's balance, great for tuning things in at the track.  We are a strong believer in adjustable bars.  When you are at the track, most of us can do a bar change but unless you have a large crew, you are not going to change springs to tune the car's balance!
                

 

When making changes to components that control ride height and suspension alignment it is desirable to utilize adjustable sway bar end links as well. The adjustable links provide the range to properly set up the new sway bars around all the other suspension component changes.  Length adjustable endlinks are important so you can remove preload from the suspension when corner weighting the car.  Adjustable links also allow you to adjust the bar stiffness with minimal angularity and bind.  The Whiteline part uses non compliant ball joints instead of squishy rubber like the stock parts do.  This sharpens up response and improves turn in feel by allowing the bars to come into action early in the turn.

 

A view of the Whiteline front lower control arm bushing kit shows how much rubber compliance is built into the 5th generation Camaro’s suspension design. Stiffening up the bushings at the pivot points of the moving suspension arms allows for a more predictable arc of arm travel. Therefore, the control arm bushing changes will introduce more control over camber curves, wheel toe changes, etc.  Sometimes too stiff of a bushing is no good because they can cause bind in parts that need 3 degrees of freedom in movement.  Whiteline parts have engineered voids so they can be stiff in the direction needed yet flex in the directions needed to reduce binding.  You can see this in the windows in the bushing that only go part way through the bushing.  This makes the bushing stiff in the radial direction while still having some give in the axial direction.  Cool stuff!

 

The late model Camaro has ridiculously compliant, huge mushy rubber bushings.  For any sort of performance use we have to reduce this. All the suspension upgrades under the sun could still lead to a disappointing end result if dynamic issues at the connection points between the suspension components and the chassis were not addressed. We made sure to include the Whiteline cross-member bushings in our Camaro’s upgrade list as we felt all our other efforts would be too muted without them.  We anticipate that the bushings will make a huge difference in the car's overall handling!

 

Another bushing kit in the Whiteline lineup is for the rear differential mount. This upgrade is a key to reducing slop in the driveline.  You can see the engineered compliance, NVH reducing holes in these parts as well.

 

When it comes to making changes to suspension and other component bushings arguments abound in the aftermarket industry. There are bushing insert kits and there are complete bushing replacement kits. Bushing inserts are typically much easier to install than complete bushing replacement kits and are thus a cheaper option. Certain folks will argue that a complete bushing replacement is a significant alteration to the tested and proven OEM vehicle design. They say that directing more of the vibrations and loads through the solid components could lead to premature and unexpected component failures. While, there is truth to the concern, it is something that could be said for almost any change that is made in a vehicle. To avoid the risk, completely avoid modifications. Some of the main drivers for bushing design at the vehicle manufacturer are details like ergonomic forces of assembly, passenger comfort and noise transfer. The decision for installing complete bushing replacement kits should be based on the benefits of the changes in handling versus additional noise and ride harness being transferred to the cabin. 

 

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