The GM G body was, and still is, one of the hottest and most beloved vehicle platforms, and countless examples are still on the roads today.
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Some examples of GM G body vehicles that you may be familiar with include some of the most famous hot rods of all time: the Monte Carlo, El Camino, Cutlass, and the Grand National. One of the best things about GM and their vision of the GM G body is that there was something for everyone.
With the surging popularity of LS engine versatility and a general rekindling of interest in the late model body types, the G body has begun to rise in demand. The G body beauties are great project builds for anything!
They are great for cruising unnamed roads in the country, to wherever pro-touring takes you, or even straight drag racing on the track or off. This has led to another hot topic: the suspension needs of the G bodies.
Some people prefer full kits, where you have all matching parts from the same manufacturer, along with matching finishes and probably a sticker for the window. Others like to build their own “kit” from the exact parts they want for the car they’re building.
These are both valid options because, of course, your build is your own. Here is everything you will need or should be given in your suspension kit.
Suspension kits aren’t complicated. However, failing to upgrade one component can easily lead others to premature failure. This is important to remember if you are building your own kit since many people aren’t inclined to pay for parts that they don’t think they need.
This might be healthier for your suspension budget initially, but it can cause big problems down the road.
We mentioned being sure to upgrade all of your components at once, and this should start by doing a thorough inspection of the existing suspension components.
If your suspension is still original equipment, you will not only need to replace and upgrade all of the components. But, you should take care to inspect all of the anchor points and mounting areas to ensure that the frame and axle are in good enough shape to handle the new equipment.
If you are able to, get the car on a lift so you can really get underneath it. Then, grab ball joints, lower control arms, lowering springs, and all the necessary hardware. After, shake it around to check for looseness or unwanted movement.
Not only should you check the structural and suspension components, but also any bushings that are likely to be cracked or rotted and potentially damaging to your new equipment.
Here are some things you can expect as you go.
One of the first things you will need for your suspension kit are shocks and coil springs. The shocks and springs are one of the most important components when it comes to the quality of your G body’s ride. They are easy to overlook since many people don’t replace them often, but they will have a drastic effect on how the car handles during starting, stopping, turning, and even just driving straight down a smooth or rough road.
There are many options for replacing the coil-over shocks. They start with simple replacements for the original equipment and range all the way to high-performance touring or track shocks. There are even shocks that will let you adjust the ride quality and shock stiffness on the go, letting you tailor your ride to the situation at hand.
Another component in your G body suspension kit will be the sway bars, which were originally put on the G bodies to help them maintain a straight and smooth course while driving down the road. They were never really intended to be highly-maneuverable and were most often seen traveling in a straight line. Many didn’t come with front and rear sway bars as original equipment and most models only had one or the other.
The strongest sway bars will be made with tubular stock. They will help augment the G body handling and keep the body flat when cornering at speed. Poly bushings will help reduce any remaining flexing in the sway bar.
A set of tubular control arms will be in many high-quality suspension kits and they will help control and improve the handling geometry of your car. They may not be tubular in some kits and might be a square tube or a solid bar.
The original equipment on many G body models had a high rate of failure at the point where the ball joint is fused to the arm. This caused many suppliers of aftermarket control arms to address the issue and compensate for it. These newer control arms will give your G body geometry that is similar to current technology.
These rear control arms are an important component of the rear suspension in G body vehicles. The trailing arms allow the suspension to go through articulation without letting the tires leave the ground as well as helping to prevent binding.
The improved range of motion for the suspension helps the car sit down while you take off. If you compare upper a arms to stock arms, there is a noticeable difference.
This is one of the final things to consider, since everything you are upgrading will need to either attach to an axle or to the frame. The frame supports in many suspension kits are simple to install and generally don’t require any welding or machining.
There are countless G body suspension kit options out there. When researching about your suspension kit, there may be many right answers for your build. However, be sure you know what is in the kits and how those components affect the overall handling. Then, you will be prepared to choose the best parts for your kit or to buy the kit you need with confidence!