daily driver suspension

D

Dan M

Not-quite-so-new-guy
Jan 12, 2017
9
5
3
#1
New to the forum and need some advice. Purchased an 84 El Camino for a project to do with my 16 year old son. Looking to build a daily driver for him that goes, stops and steers like a modern day car. Planning a LS Swap as I already have an donor. Some have it completely apart, frame cleaned and ready for suspension. My question is we are not racing it, were just looking for it to handle nicely and all the suspension upgrades seem like over kill. Does anyone have an option or opinion on suspension that has corrected geometry but built to take a 30 year old car to a modern day handling car. Any help is greatly appreciated.
 
Z48LT1

Z48LT1

Greasemonkey
Supporting Member
Oct 10, 2015
156
183
43
Space Coast, Florida
#2
I'll start with the only tidbit I'm reasonably sure about and am anxious to read the rest of the advice myself.

I'm new to G-bodies myself, also with an El Camino project - putting an LT1 drivetrain in mine - and I'm pretty sure the conventional wisdom includes upgrading the steering box to a quick ratio (12.7:1) unit - available from many salvage yards from many car makes and models, but also from retailers like Rock Auto (select the one for the '88 Monte Carlo with sport suspension). You'll spend a lot of time reading all the threads on this subject if you're a glutton for punishment.

Also, most will suggest replacing the steering intermediate shaft with one from an Astro van or Jeep Cherokee in order to get rid of the rag joint and replace it with a metal - to - metal connection. These are available from time to time in the classifieds and I don't know how the prices compare with rebuilt parts form Rock Auto, for instance.

Welcome, and good luck!

Cheers - Gary
 
Last edited:
kalidromos13

kalidromos13

Master Mechanic
Oct 12, 2016
363
425
63
Palmdale, CA
#3
We can go all day about the deficiencies of the stock G-Body front suspension geometry. I'm no expert, but I've read in stock form the front suspension is oriented for positive camber. The only way to rid the car of the backwards geometry is to go with taller balljoints, upper and lower and shorter upper a-arms to pull the spindle in more for more negative camber and a flatter contact patch on the tire against the pavement. That will help with grip and allow you to pull some Gs.
With all that said, I'm sure someone with more knowledge will chime in, I would start by getting all the fender braces and a "GP" bar that will tie the frame together. They also sell a rear seat brace that will stiffen it up quite a bit. You'll want to get a quick ratio steering box.. basically everything that came with what they call an f41 suspension option.
Bigger sway bar will help etc etc..
The search function will be your best friend! I recommend you search, you'll find what you want to know!
Oh welcome to the forum! Let's see the ride!
 
UNGN

UNGN

Comic Book Super Hero
Sep 6, 2016
2,595
1,967
113
Southlake, TX
#5
With IROC or S10 Front springs, a 3rd gen hollow front sway bar, a pro touring style rear sway bar, tall ball joints, Grand Cherokee Steering shaft, a performance G-body steering box, bilstien shocks and larger wheels with good tires, a G-body will destroy most "old" muscle cars in handling (Including the ones that are supposed to handle) and even hang with a lot of modern muscle cars, until its time to brake.
 
Z48LT1

Z48LT1

Greasemonkey
Supporting Member
Oct 10, 2015
156
183
43
Space Coast, Florida
#6
Dan, UNGN speaks with some authority. He has successfully raced his 1986 Pontiac Grand Prix 2+2 for several years in Open Road Race competition developing the drivetrain and suspension over the years. He knows of which he speaks.

I hope UNGN doesn't mind my tooting his horn for him but he isn't likely to toot it himself, and it often isn't easy for newcomers to learn which forum members speak with knowledge born of experience.

Cheers - Gary
 
D

Dan M

Not-quite-so-new-guy
Jan 12, 2017
9
5
3
#7
Dan, UNGN speaks with some authority. He has successfully raced his 1986 Pontiac Grand Prix 2+2 for several years in Open Road Race competition developing the drivetrain and suspension over the years. He knows of which he speaks.

I hope UNGN doesn't mind my tooting his horn for him but he isn't likely to toot it himself, and it often isn't easy for newcomers to learn which forum members speak with knowledge born of experience.

Cheers - Gary
I really appreciate everyone advice and speedy reply. I have read quite a bit and it can really make your head spin, so its great to get some straight forward advice to get going. UNGN took care of it in one paragraph. Its exactly what I was looking for. So I'm off to the web and yards in southwest Florida ( not too many good ones) to start tracking down parts. I'll post some pics of the progress but it will be slow as we are doing a complete frame off as I'm looking for a car my son can enjoy for a lifetime.
 
mr evil

mr evil

Moderator
Moderator
Aug 4, 2009
829
399
43
Parksville, BC, Canada
#8
I'll chime in here just on experience of what I've done on a really low budget. My car had the F-41 stuff already in and the only options I've done so far are Cherokee steering shaft (big difference in my car), Moog 5660 front springs with 1/4 coil cut (again, huge difference), new front shocks (nothing fancy, just cheap) and out back I've only done cross bracing behind the rear seat-front of trunk.
These very simple mods have my car handling night and day above the stock configuration, while maintaining mostly stock parts. I fully agree with brake upgrade suggestions, particularly if you are adding power.
Caveat here is my car hasn't seen wet or winter roads so who knows, I might be unpleasantly surprised on less than perfect road conditions....
 
D

Dan M

Not-quite-so-new-guy
Jan 12, 2017
9
5
3
#9
Good Morning
Sorry for the long delay, but got sidetracked with some health issues. Looking for some dates on the parts UNGN is recommending. Particularly the Grand Cherokee steering box. Putting the frame in paint today and gathering parts this week. Any help is appreciated.
 
D

Dan M

Not-quite-so-new-guy
Jan 12, 2017
9
5
3
#10
Ok just purchased donor car, 87 Z28 with a nice 350 bored to 383 stroker kit comp cams and Brodix heads. Really purchased it foor the trans. What else is useable, meaningful parts for swap to my 84 Elcamino project? Any advise is appreciated.
 

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