FE3 upgrading????? - Chevy Impala SS Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-09-2002, 07:08 PM
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what can i do to my FE3 caprice,i gotta relace alot of parts off the front end so i might as well do some mods to the suspention,i have the FE3 what can i do to make it better than it is?what makes the FE3 is it just the springs,shocks,and sway bar or is more than that? [img].gif[/img]
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-10-2002, 11:21 AM
Navy Lifer
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Historically, GM's RPO codes tell the tale of what a car has built into it in the various areas, and in this case, any code starting with the letter F has to do with suspension. Years ago, F41 was THE factory's "hot setup", but that has been refined over the years--and one unique exception of the letter designation did exist for police cars.
During the time the 91-96 B-body was built, there eventually were a total of 7 different suspension codes employed, depending on how the order form was marked and when the car was built. These are the codes:

FE1 Suspension, Soft Ride

FE2 Suspension, Ride & Handling

FE3 Suspension, Sport

FE4 Suspension, Special Ride & Handling

F40 Suspension, Front & Rear HD

F41 Suspension, Firn Ride, Handling

7B3 Suspension System, Special Handling

Not all of these options were available in every year from 91-96. For example, FE4 is unique to the Impala SS (and I assume Caprice SS). 7B3 is the 9C1 police package's unique set of components. Some of the codes might be wagon only as opposed to sedan only, but I'm not sure which is which at this point. I'd have to spend quite a bit of time poring over the production parts list to figure out what worked with what.

Still, here are some (most?) of the variables that will be part of the difference in each suspension variant:

--sedan or wagon

--spring rate & height

--shock absorber type/calibration

--control arm bushing durometer

--sway bar size(s)

--presence/lack of rear sway bar

--front sway bar end link material

--body mounts

--designated wheel & tire

--frame material thickness

There are other related items that are unique to a particular suspension code--for example, FE4 and 7B3 cars also had 4-wheel disc brakes exclusively--and things like axle size (7.625 or 8.5) & ratio varied by year and other selected equipment. Most of these variables will not appear on the SPIL (Service Parts Identification Label) on the trunk lid, but have to be searched out in the parts book--of those I've listed above, the spring ID and wheel/tire info does appear on the SPIL.

The other lone item that will be on the SPIL in this category is 8X3 for the SEO Bilstein shocks--all other shocks are shown only in the suspension option "F" code, even though they have code labels on them (for example on the DeCarbon shocks used on the Impala) that don't translate to the SPIL code list itself.

The standard mods most of us are doing on an Impala or 9C1 will work on any other B-body, no matter the suspension F-code built into the car in production. Some mods may not work as well as others, but the parts bin design gives you the opportunity to pick and choose those you desire or need to restore original performance or to improve it.
post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-10-2002, 11:34 AM
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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Navy Lifer:

--frame material thickness

You mean the frames are different among the B-Body cars?
post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-10-2002, 12:05 PM
Navy Lifer
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Yes....someone knows the numbers, but I don't have that information handy. It is not published in the FSM

Here's what the FSM does say about frames:

"Several different frames are used to meet various vehicle size and function requirements.... Differences between frames in a give line exist only in metal gage, part size and numbers of parts necessary to meet the particular structural requirements...."
post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-10-2002, 04:16 PM
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The Impala SS and the 9c1 got frames with slightly thicker gauge metal
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