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Pontiac LeMans Project Suspension

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Pontiac LeMans Project Suspension

Postby CarSick » Wed Aug 08, 2012 5:59 pm

I finally got to the point where I could take the car down to the custom alignment shop. He was able to get the car to zero camber, but it wasn't easy as it started at more than +1.5. I'd really like to see -1.0 to -2.0 camber. I have the SAAB front springs and struts with 1.5 coils cut off just so the car almost sits level. It's still high a bit in the front. I had him set the toe at 0, but I haven't gone down and driven it yet.

Is there a longer lower arm available?
Other suggestions?

I suspect the front springs are too stiff, but I'm planning on taking it to the track to see if I can find the next adjustment point.
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Re: Pontiac LeMans Project Suspension

Postby CarSick » Sat Aug 11, 2012 9:22 pm

The car is feeling better now that the alignment has been done. I had installed new tie rod ends and lower ball joints. He couldn't get any negative camber out of the combo, so it's at 0 camber right now. It was very positive to start with. I still need to get negative camber out of it somehow. It's set 0 toe, but could use 1/16the toe out as it's still slow to turn in.

I'm hoping that the SAAB front lower control arms will work and that they are longer, but I don't know.
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Re: Pontiac LeMans Project Suspension

Postby CarSick » Mon Sep 24, 2012 2:35 am

I'm looking into cutting the strut towers to move the strut back for caster and in for negative camber. Longer arms would have probably resulted in the half shafts being too short.
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Re: Pontiac LeMans Project Suspension

Postby PrecisionBoost » Fri Sep 28, 2012 6:02 am

There have been people who have made adjustable plates for camber/caster over in the UK but I never did find anyone retailing the components.

The odd thing is the Lemans ( aka Vauxhall Astra MK2 ) had a very significant history of racing, so I was surprised that there was not that much in the way of adjustable suspensions components over in the UK.

One thing is for sure, the Lemans sure likes to tripod going around corners at medium/fast speeds.
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Re: Pontiac LeMans Project Suspension

Postby PrecisionBoost » Fri Sep 28, 2012 6:27 am

CarSick wrote:The car is feeling better now that the alignment has been done. I had installed new tie rod ends and lower ball joints. He couldn't get any negative camber out of the combo, so it's at 0 camber right now. It was very positive to start with. I still need to get negative camber out of it somehow. It's set 0 toe, but could use 1/16the toe out as it's still slow to turn in.

I'm hoping that the SAAB front lower control arms will work and that they are longer, but I don't know.


I wonder if the SAAB shafts work with the Lemans gearbox, I know the SAAB components were made to work with the Astra MK2, I do believe they were converting over to the 5 lug hubs ( Vectra / Saab ) so that they could use the larger rotors/calipers.

Like I said before, I know Saab components will work based upon others work, I just don't know the exact combination required to make everything line up.
1994 Opel Calibra 4X4 turbo ( C20LET 2.0L 16V Turbo )
2002 Daewoo Lanos
2011 Mitsubishi Lancer Raliart --- SOLD! :)
1989 Passport Optima GSi (Astra MK2 ) --- SOLD! :(
1990 Passport Optima GSi (Astra MK2 ) ---SCRAP! :(
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Re: Pontiac LeMans Project Suspension

Postby CarSick » Sat Oct 06, 2012 1:14 am

The SAAB half-shafts are currently on the car and work fine, but I noticed recently that I pushed the camber a little too far. When I corner hard on a cambered right-hander, there is a loud vibration until I slow down. My guess is that the half-shaft is separating at the CV joint. If it pulled from the transmission, I think there would be a mess. At any rate, I'll need to dial it back to positive camber, which is a step backwards.

Someone local here noticed that the strut holes I drilled in the tower could be optimized to yield another 1/2 degree of negative camber by reclocking the strut mount/holes. That would probably get me safely back to 0 degrees camber and get me some free caster.

It really looks like the only way to get negetive from here is to go with a coil-over and/or modifying the strut towers. Simply making some CC plates is not going to do it because of the larger SAAB spring/strut-top.

What I was thinking about doing was cutting the rear and side of the strut tower and then moving the strut back and in towards the cabin at a 45 degree angle.

Since I can't spend much money on the coil overs or violate the class rules, I think I'll have to weld them up from some used parts.
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Re: Pontiac LeMans Project Suspension

Postby gse_turbo » Tue Nov 13, 2012 4:48 am

It's interesting that you've had these issues with this swap. I've had this setup in my Lanos for a while now, the installation and everything was very straight forward. I still need to get mine in for an alignment because my toe is off but the camber looks great. I'll schedule an alignment and post what I find out.

I have an 02 Lanos with 98 Saab 900 brakes and suspension on all four corners. I have the Saab strut assembly with H&R sport springs for the Lanos and the Lanos upper spring mount.
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