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If changing the front sway bar wasn't such a royal PITA I'd have done it already on Big Red. Sways are the best bang for the buck improvement you can make to the suspension. That said, they are not awful on stock bars. On Red I may eventually go with Koni adjustables and leave it at that. Those too are a great mod that has few compromises due to their adjustability. But the strut mounts on this car aren't even showing a hint of collapse yet so I'm not in a hurry to get into suspension stuff. Headers, better mids and the FAST 102 install are top of the list now since I'm about 70% of the way there regarding parts.
the handling is only decent with stock sway bars.

some of the complaints about the GTO's handling from people who actually took it around corners to compete is the body roll, lack of steering responsiveness, really sluggish performance during transitions, and the understeer. sways definitely help with tuning all of those. i wouldn't want to auto-x or road race with the stock sways.

the front sway spring rate is atrociously small despite it being an enourmous hunk of metal because of all the stupid twists and the length the arms in comparison with the part that actually undergoes torsion. the rear sway is literally a twig.
 

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Actually, just upgrading the rear bar shows a ton of improvement. I wonder what the car would be like with an upgraded rear bar and Koni adjustables and then setting the Konis a little stiffer than normal up front? When I did the sways on the Punkin I did the rear first and did the front a week later when I could borrow a lift from a friend. It drove a LOT better with just the rear on but did tend to lean toward oversteer more of course, that's why I'd do the Konis and make them a little stiffer up front.
i would upgrade the front and rear and play with the settings until it handled the way you wanted.
 

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nah, dey crap.
What context? Tracking the car? Sure. General public road driving? They are perfectly fine and not “crap”. Add coil-overs and it’s a hell of an awesome balanced ride. Add a good strut/spring combo and they are fine for street driving too.

Not necessarily pertaining to this conversation, but the blanket “change all the things, poly is life, upgrade, upgrade, upgrade” statements on various forums are tiring, ignorant, and ridiculous. You need to change things based upon how you plan to drive your vehicle, the condition of your parts, and what you want as far as comfort.

I’ve no desire to ever change my stock sway bars out as the combination of them and my Xa’s are a perfectly balanced ride that handle extremely well for spirited driving on public roads. The ride quality is nearly spot on with the Scat Packs too, which are amazingly fun to drive and handle really well.

YMMV based upon what YOU want out of your car, but a general statement that parts are “crap” is not fair.
 

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What context? Tracking the car? Sure. General public road driving? They are perfectly fine and not “crap”. Add coil-overs and it’s a hell of an awesome balanced ride. Add a good strut/spring combo and they are fine for street driving too.

Not necessarily pertaining to this conversation, but the blanket “change all the things, poly is life, upgrade, upgrade, upgrade” statements on various forums are tiring, ignorant, and ridiculous. You need to change things based upon how you plan to drive your vehicle, the condition of your parts, and what you want as far as comfort.

I’ve no desire to ever change my stock sway bars out as the combination of them and my Xa’s are a perfectly balanced ride that handle extremely well for spirited driving on public roads. The ride quality is nearly spot on with the Scat Packs too, which are amazingly fun to drive and handle really well.

YMMV based upon what YOU want out of your car, but a general statement that parts are “crap” is not fair.
shoot, lovells and kyb's are a nice ride. why bother with coilovers?













































































...and dem stock sways are crap!
 

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You have to ask yourself a couple of questions:
1. Would you even use the height adjustability of coilovers?
2. Are you willing to deal with the stiffness of coil overs?

Also, adjusting stiffness at the corners to control body roll is vastly different than doing the same with larger sway bars. Making the corners so stiff so as to control body roll with smaller sway bars will make it ride so stiff that it would be unpleasant on normal far-from-perfect roads. Liveable spring stiffness with larger sway bars to control body roll is much better compromise to get good handling while not making it ride like a dump truck on normal public roads. Handling on bumpy roads is actually better with somewhat softer springs and larger sway bars as this combo does a better job keeping the wheels in contact with the road (instead of lifting the car instead of compressing the springs).
Well, it wasn't just going to be the coilovers that I was getting. I was looking at getting the whole XA kit from Pedders with the sway bars and links too. The whole thing is going for about 1600, and I just got a 3700 insurance payout for my old truck. So I will still have money left to get a cheap daily beater.

Anyways, A stiffer ride is not a big problem for me so long as it holds the road better. If the coilovers are a bit overkill... well, I'll just be honest: I want to be able to brag bit, too. If they're not too stiff to hold onto bumps when adjusted soft, then that's fine with me. I said I baby the car, but that's less about comfort and more about being careful with the single most valuable and cherished thing I own.
 

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Well, it wasn't just going to be the coilovers that I was getting. I was looking at getting the whole XA kit from Pedders with the sway bars and links too. The whole thing is going for about 1600, and I just got a 3700 insurance payout for my old truck. So I will still have money left to get a cheap daily beater.

Anyways, A stiffer ride is not a big problem for me so long as it holds the road better. If the coilovers are a bit overkill... well, I'll just be honest: I want to be able to brag bit, too. If they're not too stiff to hold onto bumps when adjusted soft, then that's fine with me. I said I baby the car, but that's less about comfort and more about being careful with the single most valuable and cherished thing I own.
as rich said, stiffer spring rates aren't always better. you can actually have less grip with too stiff a spring, as well as introduce handling characteristics you don't want. depending on the car, yes it can be better, but people throwing 1000 lb springs on is fairly unneeded many times. their cars don't produce the amount of downforce needed to necessitate such spring rates or aren't low enough to need to limit travel that much. your car will feel like crap, won't maintain constant contact with the road unless it is utterly smooth, and may have to deal with tuning out unwanted oversteer or understeer.

lowering your car is also another myth. lower the ride height, and yes, the center of gravity is now lower. but it also changes your suspension geometry and potentially the length of your roll moment arm. you may reduce, but also potentially introduce more body roll by changing your ride height, since your CoG and roll centers positions can change in relation to each other. Added to the fact, that with GTO's, lowering presents it's own set of problems with rear camber correction. IMHO it's best to leave GTO's at stock ride height unless you know WTF you are doing.

similar things could be said about adjusting damper valving or haphazardly changing swaybar stiffness.

it's honestly best to do the math. or, rely on a pre-designed package that includes everything and has the ride height, damper valving, sway bar rates, and spring rates already set.

and if you're a real beginner, screw suspension modding at first unless something is worn out. the bushings in this car suck so you probably have to replace them with poly anyhow at some point... but, just get really good tires and learn the car.

yes, i am harping on stock sways, because, for any serious handling car they DO suck (the entire GTO suspension sucks for this, honestly), but my 04 has stock sways and lovells with kyb's up front. i only run dual adjustable shocks and bags in the rear to help me stiffen compression so i can handle squat under power. i purposely decided to try to maintain the handling very close to what the car should be doing stock.

if i were to change anything on a GTO to help it handle better, apart from getting an entire package, it wouldn't be coilovers, or stiff AF springs, or lowering. i would get some sticky AF tires and do sway bars, then play with the tuning until it was as balanced as i could get it. you do lose grip with sways (yes, LOSE) but the benefits can far outweigh the loss of grip. but, that's just me, and assuming the stock springs and dampers aren't anywhere close to being shot, because they probably will be. even then i would just recommend springs that are close, perhaps a tad bit stiffer than stock. like... lovells. too bad kyb doesn't make struts for us anymore. we are stuck with crappy monroes or pedders.

randomly screwing with suspension stuff is bad. just having coilovers or any other suspension part doesn't mean your car will handle well.
 

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unfortunately, it seems pedders doesn't offer any kits for the GTO except for coilover kits. at least you get sways with it and they pick the spring rate.

i seem to remember they offered a series of kits in varying levels of extremes for what you wanted. would be nice if someone still did that.
 

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This has given me a lot more to think about. Just when I thought I had it all figured out, turns out I still know nothing. But I don't really care about lowering the car.
screw suspension modding at first unless something is worn out
I actually just had the left rear strut give out. Ive had the car for 5 years and figured since I'm going to replace stuff, I might as well upgrade, too. The guy before me has already done many upgrades to the engine and I don't know all of them since it was bought from an auction.
 

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I put a lot of thought into the suspension on the Punkin and to some extent I got lucky too. My suspension is poly throughout except for Pedders high durometer strut top bushings. I went with Lovells 20mm drop springs, Koni adjustable shocks and Pedders adjustable sway bars. This turned out to be an excellent combination. With long tubes, it really is pretty low but not problematic. If I were to change anything at all it would be to put stock height Lovells springs in it. For no more than I've spent, it handles really well for a 4000lb pig.

But one thing mentioned in posts above always seems to be an afterthought and really should be front and center: Tires. Really good tires can even make an average (or stock) suspension function so much better. Lighter wheels can be a boon too, but that's a smaller thing on heavier cars like these. Another aspect of great handling along with really good tires is a really good alignment. Don't just get it straight, put as much negative camber in up front as you can (you can't get much on stock struts) and it will pay dividends. My guy got -1 to -1.1 negative camber up front and it really made a noticeable difference in turn in and lessening understeer.

Now, on Red the suspension is basically stock (poly in the rear cradle because a bushing was torn) but its has slightly oversize tires and the tires are fantastic Summer only Michelins (Pilot Super Sports which are no longer available but were replaced with the equally great Pilot Sport 4S which is what is on the Punkin) and it handles really well for stock. The upside is it is a more pleasant ride from a comfort perspective. Not that the Punkin is punishing, it is just more firm. Side note, the Punkin got a smoother ride AND better handling when I recently put on Pilot Sport 4S tires to replace the aging Potenza RE-11s. Anyway, my point is, even with just really good tires you can greatly improve the handling. You can do all the fancy suspension mods you want but if you put on crap tires it will still not handle as well as it should.
 

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yeah do not poly all the things. I road coursed my cars and only polyed a few things. that front RR bush is crap that - seriously. Diff insert - was great if you didn't have crazy torque. crazy torques get the harrop cover.

I still say coil overs are too much and don't do anything for you that a quality matched spring and strut can't do. The stock springs are indeed too weak - front and rear. any aftermarket spring appears to fix this. I went lovells after alot of research and loved them.

BUT - sorry if you are going to press the car to the cornering limits - the stock sways are too weak - but this can be fixed 2 ways. one stiffer main springs (this was the predominat pedders answer circa 2004-8) or moderate springs and an adjustable sway. moderate springs give a good ride quality all around, no jounce, no slop. and the sways help with planting the weight in the corners - but again. How hard is too hard. and the adjustable sways are far easier to play with than adjusting coilover spring preload.

so DD life I used one set of settings and track life I used another. and honestly that has alot to do with the pavement quality and the tire choice. DOT R tires like the RE-11's I used to run could tollerate full stif on the sways and it would track so hard into a corner you'd think it was a different car. (well till you drive a properly setup vette with the pfaff (sp) setup).

I can't stress that enough. tires make all the difference - best 800 dollars I ever spent on the car was buying the first set of RE-01's back in the dizzay. But that is not a road driving setup. and yes I'm the guy that broke 2 hotchkis rear sways. Still say that design needs some work but the first one broke on the road about a week after a track day. I think from lack of grease in the attachment bush. The second broke because I'm not sure - but I wonder if there were materiel defects. I could see the rings in the fracture of that one. the first one shattered.
 

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I put a lot of thought into the suspension on the Punkin and to some extent I got lucky too. My suspension is poly throughout except for Pedders high durometer strut top bushings. I went with Lovells 20mm drop springs, Koni adjustable shocks and Pedders adjustable sway bars. This turned out to be an excellent combination. With long tubes, it really is pretty low but not problematic. If I were to change anything at all it would be to put stock height Lovells springs in it. For no more than I've spent, it handles really well for a 4000lb pig.

But one thing mentioned in posts above always seems to be an afterthought and really should be front and center: Tires. Really good tires can even make an average (or stock) suspension function so much better. Lighter wheels can be a boon too, but that's a smaller thing on heavier cars like these. Another aspect of great handling along with really good tires is a really good alignment. Don't just get it straight, put as much negative camber in up front as you can (you can't get much on stock struts) and it will pay dividends. My guy got -1 to -1.1 negative camber up front and it really made a noticeable difference in turn in and lessening understeer.

Now, on Red the suspension is basically stock (poly in the rear cradle because a bushing was torn) but its has slightly oversize tires and the tires are fantastic Summer only Michelins (Pilot Super Sports which are no longer available but were replaced with the equally great Pilot Sport 4S which is what is on the Punkin) and it handles really well for stock. The upside is it is a more pleasant ride from a comfort perspective. Not that the Punkin is punishing, it is just more firm. Side note, the Punkin got a smoother ride AND better handling when I recently put on Pilot Sport 4S tires to replace the aging Potenza RE-11s. Anyway, my point is, even with just really good tires you can greatly improve the handling. You can do all the fancy suspension mods you want but if you put on crap tires it will still not handle as well as it should.
yaaaaaaaas
 

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yeah do not poly all the things. I road coursed my cars and only polyed a few things. that front RR bush is crap that - seriously. Diff insert - was great if you didn't have crazy torque. crazy torques get the harrop cover.

I still say coil overs are too much and don't do anything for you that a quality matched spring and strut can't do. The stock springs are indeed too weak - front and rear. any aftermarket spring appears to fix this. I went lovells after alot of research and loved them.

BUT - sorry if you are going to press the car to the cornering limits - the stock sways are too weak - but this can be fixed 2 ways. one stiffer main springs (this was the predominat pedders answer circa 2004-8) or moderate springs and an adjustable sway. moderate springs give a good ride quality all around, no jounce, no slop. and the sways help with planting the weight in the corners - but again. How hard is too hard. and the adjustable sways are far easier to play with than adjusting coilover spring preload.

so DD life I used one set of settings and track life I used another. and honestly that has alot to do with the pavement quality and the tire choice. DOT R tires like the RE-11's I used to run could tollerate full stif on the sways and it would track so hard into a corner you'd think it was a different car. (well till you drive a properly setup vette with the pfaff (sp) setup).

I can't stress that enough. tires make all the difference - best 800 dollars I ever spent on the car was buying the first set of RE-01's back in the dizzay. But that is not a road driving setup. and yes I'm the guy that broke 2 hotchkis rear sways. Still say that design needs some work but the first one broke on the road about a week after a track day. I think from lack of grease in the attachment bush. The second broke because I'm not sure - but I wonder if there were materiel defects. I could see the rings in the fracture of that one. the first one shattered.
a vette is much closer to a proper road race car than a gtslow, tho.
 

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Have Bar, Will Travel
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Even the one time I got to track the G8 it was interesting the difference. The GTO as close as I could get it - was around a 55/45 distribution. even with my lard azz self sitting with the seat nearly all the way back. I even track it one time with used brake rotors in the trunk (road atlanta - figured I'd try it) as I was looking at doing a battery relocate only for track use. (yes I was going to run the lines, setup a removeable junction block and trade. why because trunk space.

anyway G8 is perfect 50/50. had the right springs, shock rates in place at day one (I had put the GXP FE3 strunts in mine). and I still wanted to do sways on the g8 one day.

also to whomever started this - get the brakes sorted too. In fact if I was doing it again I'd do that before the suspension stuff.
 
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