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How well can an F-body handle?

This is a discussion on How well can an F-body handle? within the Suspension and Handling forums, part of the General Help category; Well my stock TA just doesnt seem to love the corners as much as my mustangs that I have had ...

  1. #1
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    99 Z28

    How well can an F-body handle?

    Well my stock TA just doesnt seem to love the corners as much as my mustangs that I have had or the corvettes I have been in. Question how well can one be made to handle without getting to crazy into mods or money. I have been reading about the sti killer in gmhightech, but really dont wanna spend that much money on it. Bought a car to go straight and there is no interest in my car now so plan is to make it a nice, fun, great handling car. It is getting a 6spd swap and want to basically just have a nice handling car. Looking at going with UMI stuff. So for the people who have done this. What are the best places to start. Shocks and springs? But what kind? I am used to building stuff that goes straight and thats it.

  2. #2
    Junior Member Jknerr's Avatar
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    02 Trans Am WS6

    Corvettes are one of the top handling cars available. Your comparing a muscle car to sports car, that would be like me comparing the sportyness of a sedan to a minivan. They just arn't similar enough. So no, if you want your trans am to handle like a vette, then sell the TA and buy a Vette.

    That being said, my experience in road racing gives TAs the upperhand against mustangs due to the power, and overall grip. But in autocross it is usally the other way around. The mustang has a shorter wheelbase and lower COG so they tend to be more responsive, expecially at lower speeds. The larger frame of F bodies keep us more planted in the fast corners.

    From what I understand you want a little more grip, but not a harsh ride?

    if thats the case -- focus on roll bars, tires, SFC, bushings and maybe brakes.

    springs and shocks are ultimatly the way a better handling car but they cost more and you will also see you ride quality deteriorate.

    Also, the difference between a fast autocross and a school bus is often as simple as an alignment. Take your car in to have the aligment checked. If its all in order, ask them to add a little negative camber and positive castor. That will increase both response and grip in turns.
    Last edited by Jknerr; 12-23-2011 at 01:49 PM.

  3. #3
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    I have a trans am set up for auto x and road race and a vette no comparrison you want it to handle like a vette get a vette an older c5 and put new c6 take off suspension on it . As tor the f body stranoparts.com swaybars good shocks and springs and an alignment makes allllll the difference! Like a whole new car but still nowhere near the feel of the vette.

  4. #4
    Member Nowhereman's Avatar
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    Pull the rear end out of the TA and swap in a vette rear end.
    Then you'll notice a big difference.
    At the very least, strano springs, sway bars, good sticky tires, koni shocks and a good watts link and you'll have something that even vettes will have to work hard to beat.
    Oh yeah, SFCs if your real serious...

  5. #5
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    I understand it will not handle as well as a vette, I was just trying to say how bad handling I "feel" the car is and whether or not the F-body has enough potential to use as a decent platform to be used as a fun twisty road car. Im not going to autox it or take it on road coarse. I basically going to use it on cruises and back winding roads.

  6. #6
    Member Nowhereman's Avatar
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    I've done minor mods to my suspension and it corners like a scared jack rabbit.
    LIke I said, springs / shocks, sway bars and either a PHB or watts link with SFCs and you will be very happy.
    Be who you are and say what you feel 'cause people who mind don't matter, and people who matter don't mind.'
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  7. #7
    Hey Scott. Your T/A can be made to handle pretty well. The cool thing about suspension is it's additive. You can do it in stages and see your incremental improvements. I see from your signature you're in PA. We are as well. Thanks for considering UMI in your search.

    Shocks and springs are a great starting point. We recommend Strano springs because he's a good dealer of ours but mostly because his springs are awesome. You'll get the most feedback/opinions/etc about shocks and basically it comes down to "how much do you want to spend".

    UMI specializes in the hard suspension parts to support the spring and shock package. Everything we build is stronger than stock and keeps things where the car wants them to be. Subframe connectors are a good building block, a UMI Panhard will keep the rear in line, trailing arms and a-arms are more expensive platform upgrades which really make the car work great in the twisties.

    http://www.umiperformance.com/catalo...=index&cPath=7

    We have our Christmas sale going on through tomorrow.

    If you're ready to build, now is a great time. I'm available for consultation anytime.

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  8. #8
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    Yes. I am in Johnstown about 30~minutes from altoona.. Thanks guys. I guess the first purchase for me will be some subframes and springs and shocks. Is it too much to want handling and the lowered look? I hate how high my car sits.

  9. #9
    Handling and lowered go together. It's straight line, lowered and handling that are tough to achieve. We can work with a car enough to be moderately fast in a straight line but some of the components necessary to gain those last few tenths (such as drag-only shocks) can hurt cornering performance.

    A Strano springed car with good dampers (shocks) and the correct UMI components can carve corners, feel nice on the street and also go pretty well in a straight line. Here is our SFC for your reference.

    1993 - 2002 GM F-Body 3-Point Subframe Connectors- Bolt-In [2004] - $288.99 : UMI Performance, Inc.

    We'll be happy to work with you and help you achieve your goals.

    We are actually about 45 minutes from Altoona, 20 minutes off I-99.

    ramey

  10. #10
    Senior Member Carlos01SS's Avatar
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    premium shocks and swaybars are the first two components I would look at when it comes to a great handling f-body!

    If you are interested in lowering your car with aftermarket springs, then the BEST shocks you can get to go with lowered springs are Koni's.

    Period.

    now, if you don't want to spend the money on the Koni's then at LEAST go for the Bilstein's, not nearly as good as the Konis but definitely cheaper and DEFINITELY better than the Tokiko's and KYB/AGX shocks.

    if you go for lowered springs then know this: if you don't get the Koni's, whatever aftermarket shock you buy will deteriorate after about 15,000 - 25,000 miles because they are not meant to be used with lowered springs, they'll end up getting blown and your ride will be harsh and rough and not a fun ride at ALL.

    the only other shocks that are meant for great handling AND can handle lowered springs somewhat are the Stage 1 SLP Bilstein's and SLP springs that were an optional handling package for 00-02 Camaro's and Firebirds.

    but truly, for handlilng/cornering/canyon carving purposes the Koni's are the BEST shocks out there for our f-bodies, they can handle lowered springs no problem and your car will handle like a MONSTER!

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  11. #11
    Member Redrokit8's Avatar
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    I got some very accurate advice when I first joined this Forum. Start with a strong foundation and build upon it. ( I believe it was Mr. Louis on this forum who gave me that expert advice. Not sure if he's still with the WS6 or not but a good knowledgeable guy to have around).
    This means start with Sub Frame connectors and go from there. It's like putting a strong foundation on a building. You'll see from my signature that I like the UMI product and there're a sponsor on here as well. (support those who support us)
    Hopefully within the week I'll get my Strano springs and SLP Bilsteins installed to complete my suspension.
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  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Redrokit8 View Post
    I got some very accurate advice when I first joined this Forum. Start with a strong foundation and build upon it. ( I believe it was Mr. Louis on this forum who gave me that expert advice. Not sure if he's still with the WS6 or not but a good knowledgeable guy to have around).
    This means start with Sub Frame connectors and go from there. It's like putting a strong foundation on a building. You'll see from my signature that I like the UMI product and there're a sponsor on here as well. (support those who support us)
    Hopefully within the week I'll get my Strano springs and SLP Bilsteins installed to complete my suspension.
    Thanks for the shout out William.

    A strong UMI foundation with Strano springs and premium shocks is a pretty awesome combo!

    ramey

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nowhereman View Post
    Pull the rear end out of the TA and swap in a vette rear end.
    Then you'll notice a big difference.
    At the very least, strano springs, sway bars, good sticky tires, koni shocks and a good watts link and you'll have something that even vettes will have to work hard to beat.
    Oh yeah, SFCs if your real serious...
    Have you ever seen this done? Seriously unless you have some proof you sound like an idiot. You have apparently never been under a vette or do not understand how it's suspension and drivetrain are laid out.

  14. #14
    Spaz is My Mentor SMWS6TA's Avatar
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    William is right. A solid foundation is need for any car to get the full power to pavement.


    I too have a lot of UMI stuff on my car. My signature has all my current mods.


    The springs and shocks have really given me a noticeable difference in handling in turns.

    The adjustable pan hard bar, lower control arms and torque arm lets me launch straight and keeps the power to the tires.

    I know the strut tower brace is a love/hate subject here but I have notice how it ties the front suspension and makes it firmer. I had this before the springs and shocks upgrade and now with them it really handles very well. Some ppl will tell you it's not worth it, I for one will tell you it can't hurt.

    I don't have sway bars or any of the front end suspension stuff yet but they are on my list.


    OP - talk with the guys at UMI and they will set you straight and will also let you know if your plans will have issues.

    If looking for a must SFC's - 3 points are better then 2 point, but both are far better then nothing.





    One more thing... wheels and tires - these 2 things effect the handling just as much as then the suspension stuff does. 17" wheels are better then 16's" Tires I highly recommend Nitto's. I love these tires. Excellent grip!!
    Last edited by SMWS6TA; 02-08-2012 at 10:08 AM.
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