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Suspension Upgrades & Comments 2002 WS6

This is a discussion on Suspension Upgrades & Comments 2002 WS6 within the Firebird / WS6 forums, part of the Vehicle Specific category; I just today finished installing my initial UMI suspension parts and wanted to share my experiences and opinions of their ...

  1. #1
    Member Redrokit8's Avatar
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    Suspension Upgrades & Comments 2002 WS6

    I just today finished installing my initial UMI suspension parts and wanted to share my experiences and opinions of their products. I was curious as to how each piece of suspension, when added one at a time, would make a difference. So I would test drive after each install and see if I could tell a difference as I added on piece by piece.

    * First item was their Shock Tower Brace. I've read a lot of comments on this forum that the STB's are really just window dressing when looking under the hood. My personal opinion is that it adds a certain tighter front end feeling when you are driving over washboard or uneven surfaces.

    *Second item is their 22mm rear sway bar & end links. This made an immediate big difference. No longer did it feel like "the tail was wagging the dog". Immediate input and greatly reduced rear end sway when making quick corrections in steering.
    Note that I also used their super heavy duty sway bar axle mounts with chrome moly u-bolts. At first I thought it was extreme overkill but once installed they allow the bar to hang a little lower and add the rigidity of a Caterpillar tractor. I mounted these just on the inside of the original factory tabs on the axle housing.

    *Third item is their replacement Panhard Rod with single end adjustability. This really complemented the Sway Bar install. Now the rear end felt dramatically more in control and much less tendency to skip or stutter across rough surfaces especially on cornering.

    *Fourth item is their massively built ''1- 3/8'' front Sway Bar that I could swear must weigh 20 lbs. This really put the icing on the cake. The front now feels more planted on the road and I don't experience any light squirrely sensations through the steering wheel.
    One thing I would like to mention is UMI recommends that you have a buddy helping with the install due to the weight of the bar. Naturally I wanted to install it immediately and all I did was balance it and then duct tape it to my floor jack (Mickey Mouse) and carefully raise it to the point where I could attach it to the middle bushings. That was a little iffy but it got the job done. Real professional.
    All of this was accomplished on my back in the home garage using a combination of floor jack, two floor stands and a pair of Race Ramps. Man, what I wouldn't give for a lift.
    On my wish list is a pair of lower control arms from UMI. I'm doing a little research on the feasibility of another "on my back install". Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

    In addition to the improved handling the car now feels tremendously more solid and stable. Like they say, you have to drive it to believe it. The only drawback now is my right side T-Top has developed an interesting rattle as a consequence of having a more competent suspension. Piece of cake.

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    All good stuff. Have you installed subframe connectors yet?

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    Member Redrokit8's Avatar
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    Not yet. My next install is going to be lower control arms. ( easy installation )
    What I'm trying to find out is how difficult the install is for the "bolt on "LCA's" ? So far I've been able to install all of the suspension mods but I don't have a lift. Once I get everything in place I figure I should go for an alignment check ? I did do the "plumb bob" check on the rear wheel centers, after the panhard rod install, and that came out perfect.

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    Slow'er'Ass Mr. Luos's Avatar
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    I would recommend SFC's before anything you installed.
    Not saying what you put on doesn't help, but the foundation should be solid before building the house.


    LCA's are a butter install. 4 bolts total. Getting old bolts out is easy, sometimes getting the new ones in can be a bitch.
    Car lowered? Would see even more handling ability with Koni's and Strano springs.

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    Member Nowhereman's Avatar
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    I can relate to your comments on being on your back and ad hocking a rig set up to help you do suspension installs.
    It's rough but, you sure feel good when it's done and you get immediate positive feedback from your car.
    Be who you are and say what you feel 'cause people who mind don't matter, and people who matter don't mind.'
    -Nowhereman

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    Member Redrokit8's Avatar
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    I agree that the SFC's are one of the biggest improvements. I can understand your point but I figured when I put them on everything will fall into place.( hopefully not fall off ) If I am to install the standard bolt in I guessed that that would be no problem with the previously installed equipment. If I'm wrong on this point I sure would like to hear about it. I'm new to the cars as I've always been a motorcycle maniac, but at 66 I'm hedging my bets for longevity in a car. I'm open to all suggestions and If I screwed up a little, that's ok, tell me how to fix it and "I'm on it".

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    Member Redrokit8's Avatar
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    I didn't fully answer the previous post.
    I do plan on addressing the shocks and springs. I made them one of my lesser priorities due to the fact the car now has only 9000 miles and even though the factory parts aren't great, they're still in great shape for what they are. What is it they say, "in great shape for the shape they're in" or something like that. ,
    Oh yeah, one more thing, there's a small obstacle that's called MONEY.

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    Member Redrokit8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Luos View Post
    I would recommend SFC's before anything you installed.
    Not saying what you put on doesn't help, but the foundation should be solid before building the house.


    LCA's are a butter install. 4 bolts total. Getting old bolts out is easy, sometimes getting the new ones in can be a bitch.
    Car lowered? Would see even more handling ability with Koni's and Strano springs.
    Ok, I took Mr. Luos constructive comments seriously. Today I installed UMI Lower Control Arms and Two Point Bolt On Sub Frame Connectors. To say the vehicle feels solid and tight would be an understatement. The SFC's made the biggest difference of all the components I installed. So now the house has a foundation !
    Summary-all UMI components:
    Front S/B
    Rear S/B
    Panhard Rod
    LCA's
    Two point SFC's
    I'm not too crazy about lowering. I think the suspension feels just about right the way it is. I feel that the lowering springs would make the ride even harsher ? The next item will be good quality shocks. The originals only have 9000 miles but I'm told that they were not the greatest the day they left the factory. The Koni's are expensive. I was going to look into Bilsteins.

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    Spaz is My Mentor SMWS6TA's Avatar
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    Now you need to get a full length T/A with the relocate kit to finish it off. I've got all that you've put on but not the sway bars. I chose to get the T/A off the tranny before getting the sway bars. Those are my next purchase, hopefully my wife gets the hints I've been leaving around the house of the sway bars with the web site and parts numbers from UMI web site.

    Shocks - Koni's are pricey and consider the best. I wouldn't recommend them unless you are seriously into tract or autox. Bilsteins are very good and highly recommend, just not a house payment in cost. They are one also on my list of things to get.


    I also have Hotchkis 1" drop springs and to be honest I ended up gaining an inch in the rear over the stock springs. Don't ask me how, I don't know. But as far as it being lower it drives like a go cart. Only thing that sucks is the occasional speed bump hitting the ORY.
    Last edited by SMWS6TA; 11-08-2011 at 11:56 AM.

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    Member Redrokit8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SMWS6TA View Post
    Now you need to get a full length T/A with the relocate kit to finish it off. I've got all that you've put on but not the sway bars. I chose to get the T/A off the tranny before getting the sway bars. Those are my next purchase, hopefully my wife gets the hints I've been leaving around the house of the sway bars with the web site and parts numbers from UMI web site.

    Shocks - Koni's are pricey and consider the best. I wouldn't recommend them unless you are seriously into tract or autox. Bilsteins are very good and highly recommend, just not a house payment in cost. They are one also on my list of things to get.


    I also have Hotchkis 1" drop springs and to be honest I ended up gaining an inch in the rear over the stock springs. Don't ask me how, I don't know. But as far as it being lower it drives like a go cart. Only thing that sucks is the occasional speed bump hitting the ORY.
    Thanks Buddy. Sound advice. Where did you get the T/A ? All my mods are UMI. Very helpful people and of course a Forum sponsor.
    I'm still amazed how I was able to correctly install the parts in my garage with RaceRamps, floor jack and 3 ton stands.

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    Slow'er'Ass Mr. Luos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redrokit8 View Post
    Ok, I took Mr. Luos constructive comments seriously. Today I installed UMI Lower Control Arms and Two Point Bolt On Sub Frame Connectors. To say the vehicle feels solid and tight would be an understatement. The SFC's made the biggest difference of all the components I installed. So now the house has a foundation !
    Amazing difference aren't they?
    They were one of my favorite mods on my old T/A.

    I am sure your car handles great. I know you aren't sold on lowering, but Strano's don't go too low and ride damn near stock. Lower center of gravity also assists with handling. Strano and Koni shocks is GREAT for spirited driving. LOVED mine.

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    Spaz is My Mentor SMWS6TA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redrokit8 View Post
    Thanks Buddy. Sound advice. Where did you get the T/A ? All my mods are UMI. Very helpful people and of course a Forum sponsor.
    I'm still amazed how I was able to correctly install the parts in my garage with RaceRamps, floor jack and 3 ton stands.

    All my stuff is UMI.

    Same here on the ease of install.

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    Member Redrokit8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Luos View Post
    Amazing difference aren't they?
    They were one of my favorite mods on my old T/A.

    I am sure your car handles great. I know you aren't sold on lowering, but Strano's don't go too low and ride damn near stock. Lower center of gravity also assists with handling. Strano and Koni shocks is GREAT for spirited driving. LOVED mine.
    I'm going for the UMI T/A and relocation bracket. I'm surfing tonight for install instructions. You guys have to give me a chance to catch my breath ! I'm resigned to doing the slightly lower springs when I do the shocks. This is one job I don 't think I'm equipped to do. I have an excellent installer nearby and need to save some coin for that one.

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    Member Redrokit8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SMWS6TA View Post
    All my stuff is UMI.

    Same here on the ease of install.
    Hey Scott, you're lucky you live a fair distance from NJ or I'd convince you to come over and share the cement floor !
    I would like to accomplish the T/A and relo bracket before our winter weather settles in. At that time she goes into hibernation until March/April.

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