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Help me out please

This is a discussion on Help me out please within the Suspension and Handling forums, part of the General Help category; Here is the deal I have been through the stickies and looked at threads on here to educate myself a ...

  1. #1
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    1998 Pontiac Formula

    Help me out please

    Here is the deal I have been through the stickies and looked at threads on here to educate myself a bit and to help form a foggy idea of what I want. I would like some input from the forum members and hopefully from members that have been there done that with suspension setup for street handling. First off I want to state I have ZERO desire or intentions to take this car down a drag strip of any sort. I am building this car to be my daily driver so close to stock power will be what I am dealing with. I just want the car to handle better compared to how it did the day it rolled out off the assembly line. Its been 15 years I am sure there are some great parts out there to help me achieve this goal. I don't have a lot of cash to purchase everything at once so I am trying to get and idea of the stages to do this in and what parts would fit best.

    I do not want to have a setup that makes a lot of noise or will require to be rebuilt after X amount of miles. I also am not expecting the car to ride like a Cadillac either but I don't want it to feel like I am rolling down the road in a haywagon. I just want something that I can deal with on a daily basis and not dread getting in the car.

    Currently the car has Eibach pro kit lowering springs front and rear, Bilstein HD shocks, UMI adjustable panhard. All parts have 3-4K miles max on them. I am running American Racing Torq Thrust M 17 inch wheels. Tires are Sumitomo HTR-Z 275s up front and 315s rear. ( I know there is room to upgrade here with the tires).

    I am leaning right now towards the Strano Parts hollow sway bar set as my next step in upgrading my suspension. Anything I should consider doing before this? Being that I am lowered LCA relocation brackets have crossed my mind as well accompanied with a set of LCAs. Still undecided if I need adjustable or if I will be alright with nonadjustable parts.

    Any advice would be great. I appreciate any input and suggestions also let me know if I need to consider changing any of the parts I currently have installed.

  2. #2
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    You should start with a set of subframe connectors. I have installed both the two-point and three-point SFC's from UMI on our car (started with the 2's and then upgraded later to 3's). They look and fit great and really tighten things up.

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    Moderator 35th-ANV-SS's Avatar
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    Did you notice a difference in driving the car and its harshness after installing those springs? Just curious.
    It's on jackstands.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 35th-ANV-SS View Post
    Did you notice a difference in driving the car and its harshness after installing those springs? Just curious.
    They were installed while I was deployed so I couldn't say. It rides fine now though the way it currently sits nothing harsh. Better than my old 99 Z28 with BMR springs and used KYB adjustables.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pajeff02 View Post
    You should start with a set of subframe connectors. I have installed both the two-point and three-point SFC's from UMI on our car (started with the 2's and then upgraded later to 3's). They look and fit great and really tighten things up.
    Was there much of a benefit from going to the three point over the two point SFC's?

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    Just adds additional bracing and tightens things up even more. The 3 pts. tie into the tunnel brace so you essentially add an "X" brace under the car in addition to tying the front and rear subframes together. Our car does not see a lot of miles so I can't tell you that I felt a difference as I did not drive it with the 2 points, swap to the 3 points and then immediately drive it again.

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    Here are some pics of the 2 and 3 point UMI SFC's:








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    So you went bolt in both times? I was leaning towards bolt in being that I don't push my car hard and it wont see track duty. Those three points look pretty good. Are you at stock height? I am worried about losing clearance with the addition of SFCs

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    Stock ride height thanks to our wonderful northern Pennsylvania roads. I went with bolt in both times. If I ever wanted to these could easily be welded in place. The side bars tuck up behind the rockers and the center piece is really not much lower than the stock tunnel brace. No worries - I have never scraped it.

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    Senior Member Naaman's Avatar
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    I will throw in my two cents and concur with Jeff. SFCs were my first mod (I bought my car with shocks and LCAs already installed, though), and they made a noticeable difference. At the time, they did not make 3-points for the convertibles, so I got 2-points. Now they have 3-points, but I will not worry about "upgrading" until I run out of other stuff to do.

    If I had your car right now, I'd do the following, in this order:

    Subframe connectors
    Strano hollow sway bars
    Roto-joint LCAs (I'd get adjustable if you have the cash for it... might come in handy later)
    Torque arm relocation bracket
    K-member (the "big one" which is expensive to buy and to install, unless you're doing it yourself)

    To give you an idea of what I have:
    2-point SFCs (made a huge differnce)
    Strut tower brace (not sure it does anything)
    Rod-end adjustable LCAs (Noisey... considering switching to UMI roto-joints)
    Strano Springs (Love 'em!!!)
    Strano Hollow Sway Bars (Love 'em!!!)
    Koni Shocks (front)
    Bilstien Shocks (rear)
    Adjustable Panhard Bar (not sure what it does for the handling/ride... installed at the same time as the springs)

    Overall, the suspension absorbs bumps adequately, not too harsh for my preferences, but the cornering is pretty flat, especially with the springs I recently had installed. I REALLY like the way my car drives with the set up on there now. A K-member and a tunnel brace are the last things on my list to finish out the chassis/suspension.

    Since I've had the car, all the parts that have gone on it are Strano or UMI.
    Last edited by Naaman; 03-06-2014 at 03:19 AM.

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    Thanks for the input everyone.

    I am pretty sure I am going to go with a set of SFCs now and some Strano hollow sway bars front and rear. I will also replace my current lowering springs with some Strano springs. When the day comes that I have some spare cash I will swap the Bilstein HDs for Koni Sports on all four corners.

  12. #12
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    For a DD car I concur with SFC's and LCA's. On the LCA's get singular adjustable. Main reason is you're lowered already and this will help align the wheels. Roto-joint if you can.

    An adjustable Torque arm and the relocate brace for the transmission is a nice upgrade but not necessary for a DD car. Again because you've stated you're lowered.

    K-member I wouldn't bother on a DD car. Yes it will lighten up the front, make it stronger, but not needed for DD.


    Other then getting poly bushings for the rest of the car and sway bars that's it.


    Also in regards to the Tower Strut Brace - for drag strip use = totally useless, adds no benefit. HOWEVER for cornering and hard banking I feel it's help tighten up the front suspension. At the worse it doesn't hurt to have and if it's just in my head then all I've done is wasted $100.
    Last edited by SMWS6TA; 03-06-2014 at 09:16 AM.

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    But the tubular K-member just looks so cool, Scott! Actually allows for better undercar access as well.

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    Spaz is My Mentor SMWS6TA's Avatar
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    Oh I know Jeff. I was just going off of what the OP outlined in his first post. Strong DD not a track car.
    First off I want to state I have ZERO desire or intentions to take this car down a drag strip of any sort.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Naaman's Avatar
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    That's why I put K-member last. I just want one mainly for the reasons Jeff mentioned... plus I like weight reduction... especially up front.

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    Maybe some of you know this, maybe some of you do not, but the weight ratio on our cars from front to back is pretty even...something like 55/45, or even closer.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Naaman's Avatar
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    My understanding is that for the "best" handling, the ideal weight distribution is something like 40/60, so that under braking, the weight transfer to the front brings the car close to a "dynamic" 50/50 during corner entry. I believe this is why mid-engined cars work so well in this regard.

    No?

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    From a while ago: On the scales

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    Thanks for the input and advice. Yall went above and beyond. I think I will wait to do front suspension replacements until I get started on my second Fbody car. That one will just be made to run not worried about DD duties. So the tubular K member, manual steering, etc will go on that car.

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