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Would like better handling

This is a discussion on Would like better handling within the Suspension and Handling forums, part of the General Help category; I currently have a 2002 Trans Am with the stock suspension. This works fine as my daily driver and the ...

  1. #1
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    Would like better handling

    I currently have a 2002 Trans Am with the stock suspension.
    This works fine as my daily driver and the ride is nice and comfortable (even at speed).

    What I am looking for is a better performance when driving through twisty , winding, canyon roads. Currently, the car dips to the outside of the corners. The rear end also sits down quite a bit when under hard acceleration.

    Can I get the better handling results by just changing the shocks? I don't have the money to go with the a full suspension overhaul that using the Eibach Prokit would require.

    So basically can I get the better handling with more robust shocks and not sacrifice the ride comfort too much (I know, I want have my cake and eat it too)? If so, which shock would be the best to go with?

    Thanks for any input on this.

    Jim

  2. #2
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    Shocks would be the most beneficial piece in improving handling and ride comfort. You can get a set of Bilstein HD shocks [all four] for around $350. They will significantly increase handling and improve on ride comfort over the stock junk DeCarbon shocks. But you can only use the HD's with the stock springs.

  3. #3
    Crazy Canuck ! Eugenio_SS's Avatar
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    Bilstein HD is a great budget oriented setup. I strongly suggest you give www.stranoparts.com a call and discuss with them... they are great.
    Sam Jr will help you for sure.
    Another approach, is go with Koni SA in the front and Bilstein HD in the back.
    This allows for lowering the car 3/4" due to 2-perch locations... but the pricing is higher.

    imho, going w/ Bilstein HD is the best budget oriented, and if you have some more $, get a bigger front swaybar... this will stiffen the front (same as getting stiffer springs) only during cornering, while keeping the same behaviour in straight line.
    This increases handling performance, while keeping the ride confortable.
    Actually, with those shocks, you'll gain both in confort and handling (IT IS possible).
    Eugenio_SS
    almost stock triple-black 2000 SS convertible with 17x11s on all 4 w/ 315s at the track or on the street with 18x10.5s on all 4 w/ 315s: (1), (2)

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    Thanks for the info.

    Eugenio, for the front sway bar, any reccomendations as to what size to get?
    Also, I've seen something called a shock tower brace. Are these worth it to get?

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    I would get a 1LE [32mm] frontsway bar. You can usually find them on ebay for around $30 or so. You don't really a need a rear one, it would be overkill. I would get subframe connectors before you get a shock tower brace. Actually, get the subframe connectors and shocks first.

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    Crazy Canuck ! Eugenio_SS's Avatar
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    I would recommend a 35mm front sway bar... car loves them.
    as for the STB, it doesn't do anything to handling... but is a nice piece in the engine bay... save your $. the bars go for a bit over $100 new... but I'm sure you can find some used, if budget is really tight... 1st, measure the one you have to see if you have the 30mm or the 32mm one.

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    Senior Member 02z28ls1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eugenio_SS
    I would recommend a 35mm front sway bar... car loves them.
    as for the STB, it doesn't do anything to handling... but is a nice piece in the engine bay... save your $. the bars go for a bit over $100 new... but I'm sure you can find some used, if budget is really tight... 1st, measure the one you have to see if you have the 30mm or the 32mm one.
    Not to diss what's being said here-but if you put in the shock tower brace you can feel the stiffer front body in the corners.I've got one that connects to the cowling-it's alot harder to install than the other type,but maybe that's what makes it work better.

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    Thank you for all the good info.

    Money is tight so I will probably only go with the shocks and maybe the front swaybar for now.

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    Crazy Canuck ! Eugenio_SS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 02z28ls1

    Not to diss what's being said here-but if you put in the shock tower brace you can feel the stiffer front body in the corners.I've got one that connects to the cowling-it's alot harder to install than the other type,but maybe that's what makes it work better.
    Ironically, myself and other people have tried going around the track with sticky tires and comparing w/ and w/out the STB... no difference in the times.
    So I don't see where any gains are. I still keep my piece and find it nice, good for support when working in engine bay, but no handling improvements from it... that's for sure.
    btw, I didn't really find any stiffness difference when installed mine and I have a vert. SFCs do make a hell of a difference, though.

  10. #10
    Senior Member 02z28ls1's Avatar
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    I believe the convertable cars are built with reinforcement in the cowl area already-to combat the dreaded cowl shake so common to all convertibles.The subframe connecters are gonna make an even bigger difference in the droptop cars due to a lack of a top structure.I put on my S.T.C. and drove down the street and we have this weird curb at the top of this little rise and then turn onto this other street where the car is subjected to a twisting effect.Right off the bat I could feel the extra stiffness in the front of the car.The S.T.C.s that triangulate to the cowl area are gonna stiffen up a hardtop car in a noticable way.Now is this gonna give lower track times-not unless you change the chassis tuning to take advantage of this-way beyond the hobby guy like us.If you wanted the best F-body for auto-X the no T-top car has the stiffest body-the convert has the least stiff (thru the mid section).As I understand it the rollcage gives the best stiffening for the buck-costs about the same as the sub-frame connector.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Carlos01SS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Black Dragon
    Thank you for all the good info.

    Money is tight so I will probably only go with the shocks and maybe the front swaybar for now.

    You won't regret it, if you do get the Bilstein HD's you'll feel a world of difference compared to your stock shocks.
    The Black 2001 SS #5697
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    Senior Member 02z28ls1's Avatar
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    Carlos-that is one funny avator-lol

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    You can buy the 1LE front swaybar from this website http://www.gyrhead.com/ You won't need the rear swaybar, it's overkill.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Carlos01SS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 02z28ls1
    Carlos-that is one funny avator-lol

    I just read this I do love this avatar, makes me chuckle everytime I see it.

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