How well could a g-body actually handle? What's the limit?

Streetbu

Know it all, that doesn't
Supporting Member
May 22, 2011
3,292
113
Central NY
You really NEED tall upper balljoints. Changes the geometry of front suspension. Immensely improved camber curve.
 
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bs009

Greasemonkey
Thread starter
Jul 26, 2008
119
43
Smashville
You really NEED tall upper balljoints. Changes the geometry of front suspension. Immensely improved camber curve.
Thanks, will definitely do that for sure then, would you go with 0.5" taller or 1" taller on a stock control arm lowered car?
 
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Built6spdMCSS

Royal Smart Person
Jun 15, 2012
1,825
113
Florida Beach
You really NEED tall upper balljoints. Changes the geometry of front suspension. Immensely improved camber curve.
That and the upper control arm relocation seems to help a good bit.
 

Bill Rhodes

Not-quite-so-new-guy
Jun 25, 2022
5
3
Central texad
I bought a new 79 grandam because of the handling. I up sized both front and rear sway bars, urethane bushing, went to nitrogen charged shocks and 8” ta 6.6 flakes with 245-60 tires. If you change front wheels try to keep the original offset as the front tire contact patch in relation to the steering pivot axis needs to stay close to stock. It’s easy to introduce bump steet if you get too far from stock. All these helped but I don’t have any hard data to share. I failed to mention the 71 gto engine.
 
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64nailhead

Goat Herder
Supporting Member
Dec 1, 2014
4,846
113
Upstate NY
Just catching up on this thread. Everyone has mentioned shocks, improved front geometry with arm relocation or tall ball joints.

Two additional add 'ons' to previous comments, if using stock arms in the front or rear, the bushings need to in excellent condition or poly - they CANNOT be sloppy if you expect consistent performance and adjustability. 2nd - tires - low sidewall is important and width as well. Something like a 245 or 255 / 35 or 45R18 up front and a minimum of a 275/40-50R18 out back. A 305 or 295 in the rear will help.


Looking at your list and comments - your rear sway bar is way too small diameter, and get the biggest production bar for the front at a minimum (1.125" I believe). Cutting coils for ride height works for ride height, but not good for handling. If you plan to stick with standard shocks for a bit, then get a set of Bilstein B6's. They are double the price of stock replacements, but about 8 times the performance - I swear by them.

And no matter what you end up with, it will need a proper alignment by someone that knows what you're after. The front end specs from the factory need to be thrown out if you expect it to handle.


My previous experience with this is on only one car. Stock front arms with new bushings. New tall ball joints upper and lower. Rear UMI upper and lower bars with the UMI rear sway bar. The F41 front bar. Homemade stiffeners on the both ends of frame. Rear seat support panel (doubled as a firewall). Factory joust bars and a proper alignment. It was waaaay better with these parts. When the 18" tires that I described above were put on, holy bejesus - it out handled my wife's 2016 Fusion Sport. But still not at the point of a C6 or higher Vette or most any BMW, Audi, etc. But it made it pleasurable to drive - and it didn't cost half of $6000.
 
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scoti

Royal Smart Person
Supporting Member
Sep 5, 2019
1,599
113
Texas
I bought a new 79 grandam because of the handling. I up sized both front and rear sway bars, urethane bushing, went to nitrogen charged shocks and 8” ta 6.6 flakes with 245-60 tires. If you change front wheels try to keep the original offset as the front tire contact patch in relation to the steering pivot axis needs to stay close to stock. It’s easy to introduce bump steer if you get too far from stock. All these helped but I don’t have any hard data to share. I failed to mention the 71 gto engine.
Introduce?? Increase is probably the more accurate descriptive when talking about G-body front suspension geometry.
 

bs009

Greasemonkey
Thread starter
Jul 26, 2008
119
43
Smashville
Just catching up on this thread. Everyone has mentioned shocks, improved front geometry with arm relocation or tall ball joints.

Two additional add 'ons' to previous comments, if using stock arms in the front or rear, the bushings need to in excellent condition or poly - they CANNOT be sloppy if you expect consistent performance and adjustability. 2nd - tires - low sidewall is important and width as well. Something like a 245 or 255 / 35 or 45R18 up front and a minimum of a 275/40-50R18 out back. A 305 or 295 in the rear will help.


Looking at your list and comments - your rear sway bar is way too small diameter, and get the biggest production bar for the front at a minimum (1.125" I believe). Cutting coils for ride height works for ride height, but not good for handling. If you plan to stick with standard shocks for a bit, then get a set of Bilstein B6's. They are double the price of stock replacements, but about 8 times the performance - I swear by them.

And no matter what you end up with, it will need a proper alignment by someone that knows what you're after. The front end specs from the factory need to be thrown out if you expect it to handle.


My previous experience with this is on only one car. Stock front arms with new bushings. New tall ball joints upper and lower. Rear UMI upper and lower bars with the UMI rear sway bar. The F41 front bar. Homemade stiffeners on the both ends of frame. Rear seat support panel (doubled as a firewall). Factory joust bars and a proper alignment. It was waaaay better with these parts. When the 18" tires that I described above were put on, holy bejesus - it out handled my wife's 2016 Fusion Sport. But still not at the point of a C6 or higher Vette or most any BMW, Audi, etc. But it made it pleasurable to drive - and it didn't half of $6000.
The rear sway bar is a Hellwig adjustable pro-touring bar on the loosest setting right now. When I was looking at rear bars some of the g-body handling guides were even saying not to run one in the rear but I'd have to dig again to find that info. I can tighten it up but I'm already getting some pretty good oversteer coming out of corners if I get into it too fast.
Rear is 3/4" and front is ~ 1 3/8" on the sway bars.

I must have been looking at QA1 prices for the $6,000 number. Looking at UMI parts the costs would run:
front upper and lower control arms with coilovers: $2200
rear upper and lower control arms: $400
rear coilovers: $1000

So really going to be $4,000 to go all out with bolt ons

Sounds like coilovers, a tall ball joint in the front and maybe an aftermarket upper could be a big improvement, but the coilover cost is hard to justify without really understanding what the gain is. Coilovers alone are going to run close to $2,000 for a set of viking double adjustables
 

64nailhead

Goat Herder
Supporting Member
Dec 1, 2014
4,846
113
Upstate NY
A sway bar is not going to make it push. It's going to resolved with the alignment (and the parts needed to get proper castor and camber), tires and weight distribution.

Edit - regarding the price - the car I referenced was on stock front a-arms and Bilsteins - no coilovers. Coilovers and front a-arms are salty.
 
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