Uncertain feeling... - Chevy Impala SS Forum
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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-13-2003, 12:53 PM
94lt1Caprice
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Hey guys,

I have noticed that my 1994 Caprice has an uncertain feeling when it comes to road manners. It is factory equipped with the B4U handling package, and I have added the stock Impala SS wheels with BFG KDWS 255/50ZR17's. The car only has 43K miles, so I can't imagine that the suspension pieces are excessively worn. With the new tires I have noticed that it wants to follow bumps and ruts in the road, but even without that behavior considered, the car has a very vague feeling to it. When I was in college I worked for a used car lot that handled a lot of BMW's. Needless to say, I fell in love with the way they handled. My experience was limited to 3 and 5 series cars, and I never had the opportunity to drive an "M" car, but the feedback from the cars was amazing. Is there anything we can do to our cars to give us a more "sure-footed" feel? I realize that those BMW's were smaller cars, but BMW also makes the 7 series which are very similar in weight to our B-bodies.

Thanks,
Chris
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-13-2003, 01:26 PM
2Fasst
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Check your idler arm.
Joe
post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-13-2003, 03:43 PM
scot august
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So the standard is BMW? High bar, but ,start with the body bushing modification. A search will give you all the details. BMW's perception of precision comes from a stiff chassis useing a moderatly sprung/aggressively dampened suspension philosophy, so to come close you may want to consider a stiff Bilstein set revalved for even more rebound and compression. You will have to talk to them to see how far they would recommend, but first you will have to chose which springs you want to use and what ride height. With your tires you'll also want to explore sway bar/ spring sets.Just to start.
 
post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-14-2003, 12:32 PM
94lt1Caprice
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Thanks - I had planned to replace the idler arm with a Moog unit when I get my next alignment - I guess it's time!

scot - you mention new sway bars. It seems that the popular choices in this group are the HA/HO setup, or the 2nd gen F-body/HO setup. These are supposed to make the car extremely neutral - to the point of being affected by uneven loading, etc. Will these bars make the car really prone to "spinning out" if the throttle is released while going around a corner (excessive over-steer)? I consider myself to be a novice driver, but I am safe, and have a fair amount of common sense. I guess the bottom line is: I want a car that will handle well, but still be safe if my wife takes it to the grocery store with the kids.

Thanks,
Chris
post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-14-2003, 12:52 PM
kevm14
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Quote:
Originally posted by 94lt1Caprice:
Will these bars make the car really prone to "spinning out" if the throttle is released while going around a corner (excessive over-steer)?
Depends how fast you are going in the corner. During normal driving, or even "spirited" driving (normal person's definition), you won't have any problems. Now if you drive like a maniac (like me), you won't have any problem inducing oversteer by any one of the available methods.
post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-14-2003, 04:49 PM
2Fasst
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Chris,
If you want to check out how a car feels with the HO rear F-body front, shoot me an e-mail and we can meet up one of these weekends. You can drive one of my SS's to see if it is to your liking.
Joe
post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-15-2003, 12:01 PM
scot august
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Somewhat closer to neutral would be the hotchkis set, which will leave some body roll, or the HO front 1 3/8 and rear 1 1/2. Any 1 1/4 front with that 1 1/2 rear will incline to oversteer.
post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-16-2003, 06:50 AM
94lt1Caprice
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So, the front (HO) bar being a little thicker helps to lessen the tendency to oversteer?

What is the real controlling factor for swaybars, and finding the right combination? Is it simply the camparative thickness of the two bars that makes the difference in behavior? Does the vehicle's weight have an effect? Why are the front and rear different diameters?

Also, the Hotchkis system really does appeal to me, but mostly because it is, in fact, a system. You call them up and then all the matching components arrive on your door step. No guessing, no experimenting. But I also know from reading the comments on this forum, that it is not necessarily the best.

If anyone reading this has the Hotchkis set, please chime in and give your opinion.

Thanks!

Chris
post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-16-2003, 06:17 PM
scot august
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Yes, the HO 1 3/8 front bar is far better choice for any use with the 1 1/2 rear bar if you are leaning toward understeer as a final bias. Springs will affect the outcome greatly as well. Up to a point stiffer front springs=more understeer; stiffer rear springs=more oversteer. gets tricky though when really stiff bars are added to even moderately stiff springs.Too stiff and you have vastly reduced adhesion as soon as the road get bumpy. Body bushing mod reduces understeer, raising the rear also reduces understeer. HO bars, relatively soft, full range of motion, springs, aggressive damping would be the closest approximation of the M series BMW feel.Hotchkis bars, with all else staying the same, would incline more toward underteer with more body motion and roll, little closer to standard 3 or 5 series car.
post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-16-2003, 06:25 PM
DARKWAV
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Very interesting. When I bought my car I would say that “vague” would be an excellent way to describe how it tracked. After having Hotchkis springs and Bilstein shocks installed and the car aligned, the suspension felt stiffer, but tracking remained vague. Oh, did I mention that it also grabbed cracks and ruts? A couple months ago, I had my BFG KDWS replaced with RE750’s. After that, the car tracked very well, and it no longer grabbed and pulled with every crack, rut, and expansion joints on the road. In my particular case, the KDWS proved to be the problem.

BFG KDWS and SoCal freeways are a bad combo. Very uncomfortable feeling when a crack or rut makes a bid at pulling you into another car or a freeway divider.
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