SEMA 2017: Ridetech’s Second Chance For Second-Gen F-Body Suspension

We dropped by the Ridetech booth and talked to Steve Chryssos about the future of second-gen Camaro/Firebird suspension upgrades. According to Steve, the future is here.

“We’ve gone with a full redesign to introduce a completely new 4-link rear suspension system specifically for the 1970-1981 Camaro and Firebird platform. As we have come to expect from Ridetech, this is a bolt-on 4-link kit.

“This kit is designed to be used with coilovers or shockwaves,” Steve said. “The kit includes Uni-Cradle, adjustable upper bars with R-Joint, non-adjustable lower bars with R-Joints, all mounting brackets and hardware.”

The kit is available for pre-order with a shipping date of December 11, 2017.

Ridetech’s R-Joints.

Many of the Camaro and Firebirds from this era have rotted, damaged, or weak frame rails, along with all the GM variations covering mid-year and generation changes. Ridetech’s unique new design addresses those problems and delivers a higher performance with a minimal amount of cutting or welding.

RideTech’s innovative “unicradle” design features lateral tubes that index off of the leaf spring mounting points rather than the frame rails. A separate steel brace bolts to the inside of the rear bulkhead area (in the cockpit) behind the seat to locate the forward mounting points of the upper link bars.

The long upper link bars – with revised mounting points – allows for an improved roll center, forward bite and anti-squat characteristics. The rear bulkhead in these cars (structure between passenger compartment and trunk) exhibit excellent strength — especially where the bulkhead ties into the floorpan at the transmission tunnel.

The two “unicradle” main tubes run parallel to the frame rails as well as the upper shock crossmember and forward lower link brackets. These main tubes bolt to the fore and aft leaf spring eye mounting points. The leaf spring mounting points accurately locate the entire system to circumvent production variances that are common to the second generation F-Body platform. As these cars were produced over a 12-year period, GM made production changes to the rear of the unibody in order to accommodate emission equipment.

Here’s how it works:

The lower links and forward mounting points of the unicradle index off of the front leaf spring eyes and bolt through the floorpan. The silver tube located inside of the OEM frame rail (at bottom in this photo) accepts the shock crossmember and adds structural rigidity to the rear suspension.

Lower links mount to the front brackets and allow plenty of room for wide tires. For a 100 percent bolt-on installation, Currie Enterprises sells “crate” rear ends with RideTech brackets already welded in place. The rear, lower link points are adjustable to tune roll steer and instant center.

Tubular brace.

This tubular brace is one of the neatest parts of the design. It mounts to the rear bulkhead and trans tunnel to accept the forward upper link points. This design allows the user to retain their back seat, but Ridetech feels that it would be a shame to cover up the brace.

Adjustable upper links.

The upper links are adjustable for length to help you dial-in pinion angle. All kits include the awesome new Delrin AF (Anti-Friction) R-Joint rod ends that provide a high degree of articulation with no binding. Unlike traditional rod ends, R-joints do not rattle or seize and offer exceptionally long service life. You never have to lubricate an R-Joint. We will have a feature article on the R-Joint coming soon.

Ridetech’s self-contained design is an innovative solution that features excellent geometry and a straightforward installation process. The design offers dramatic gains with respect to both handling and ride quality.

Article Sources

About the author

Bobby Kimbrough

Bobby grew up in the heart of Illinois, becoming an avid dirt track race fan which has developed into a life long passion. Taking a break from the Midwest dirt tracks to fight evil doers in the world, he completed a full 21 year career in the Marine Corps.
Read My Articles

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