Ready For A 5th Gen Camaro Suspension Upgrade?
So, your recently-purchased 5th generation Camaro no longer smells of new car. It doesn’t even smell certified pre-owned. The honeymoon is winding down and the onset of familiarity is unmistakable. You are now entering a phase familiar to many a modern gearhead, and it almost always begins shortly before the warranty ends. Now is the time for modifications, or mods, to use the popular term.
Most of us have been to shows, cruise-ins, and casual stoplight encounters, and experienced the question, “What have you done to it?" All too often, the answer starts with “I installed a new intake, bolted on a louder exhaust..." and ends by trailing off "um" and "uh" sounds, in the hope that the conversation will move on.
If that answer seems incomplete, that’s because it is an incomplete answer. In fact, “intake” and “exhaust” is not even a complete Otto cycle. The engineers that designed your Camaro in the first place didn’t stop there, and neither should you.
You might be tempted to find an aftermarket hood or ground effects. You may have your eye on a new set of wheels. You may be thinking about some more intense engine upgrades, like a new camshaft, or even forced induction. However, most of us hesitate to fix what isn’t broken.
If you want a simple upgrade that yields instant results, replace your suspension rubber with polyurethane. Your bushings may not be damaged or even particularly worn, but they have a problem: they're soft, and have been that way since it left the factory. Soft rubber is designed to absorb vibrations and harshness and smooth out the ride for the motoring masses. However, as our friends at GM High Tech Performance astutely pointed out, what most consumers would describe as “harshness,” enthusiasts refer to as chassis feedback. Since many complaints about the 5th gen Camaro suspension can be traced to deflection within the rubber bushings, they are prime targets for replacement.
Upgrading to polyurethane virtually eliminates deflection, substantially reducing wheel hop, eliminating vague input and feedback, and increasing cornering stability. It's a relatively inexpensive upgrade that should come before taking your suspension to higher levels of performance.
As a bonus, polyurethane will outlast the original rubber by a huge margin.