Good afternoon Mike,
I recently purchased a 1971 Chevy Camaro with a 350 which someone had installed air shocks and what appears to be a new set of leaf springs, 4 possibly 5 leaf on it.
I replaced the air shock with a set of standard premium gas charged ones.
Unfortunately the back end of the car only came down about a 1/2″ if that, and with these spring there is very little give in them, as the car still rides like a tank.
Keep in mind that the car sits ever so slightly higher in the back than the front, so the car is not jacked up to ridiculous proportions.
These Camaros normally sat a little low in the back on standard models but the sport models had better suspension and usually sat level / even.
I also thought the factory normally used springs with 3 leafs, but I could be wrong. And everyone out there selling replacement springs has no clue.
I can live with the height in the back, no problem. But the stiffness of these springs and or lack of up and down movement on the back end of the car makes it intolerable.
Do they make a softer spring?
Can a leaf or two be removed from the current spring to soften the ride?
Vehicle being used for street application, mild high performance.
Your thoughts and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
The 1971 Camaros with the 350 and 396 had an interesting rear suspension, for Air Conditioned cars used a different rear spring than non-A/C cars.
The A/C cars use a 5 leaf spring with a spring rate of 89 Lbs., while the non-A/C cars use a 4 leaf spring with rate of 88 Lbs.
Air conditioning makes no difference on the rear springs of any other ’71 Camaro.
The only 3 leaf spring GM used on the Camaro was the ’79-’81 Z28 and these were rare setups.
The 3 leaf spring was a popular replacement for the original mono leaf spring, which was only used by the factory in ’67 & ’68.
We still produce the mono leaf.
As for ride height, stock cars had the slightly up hill look.
To check yours, measure back from the center of the front wheel 36″, then measure from the ground to the bottom of the rocker panel. Stock is 5.83″.
For the rear, measure forward from the center of the rear wheel 16″, then from the ground to the bottom of the rocker panel. Stock is 8.07″. The factory allowed a variance of +/- 3/8 of an Inch.
Based upon what you say about ride quality and ride height, I would bet the car has the “one size fits all” type 5 leaf spring.
Installing the correct spring and going back to hydraulic shocks will improve the ride immensely.