Installing a Granatelli 1g Suspension Package Into a 5G Camaro

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For the first time since the late 1970s, the Chevy Camaro is the best selling pony car on the market – outselling the Mustang and Dodge Challenger combined. With that kind of popularity, there’s no wonder we continue to see more and more modified examples at every street corner in America. 

There are no shortage of aftermarket components that you can buy for your 2010-2013 Camaro – superchargers, turbo kits, and more engine parts that you can shake a stick at. But the mod bug doesn’t stop there. If you want a Camaro that turns and stops as well as it goes, help is available in those departments as well.

Granatelli Motorsports 5th Gen Chevrolet Camaro 1G Suspension Bracing Package Contents:

  • Subframe Connector Kit (PN 500071)
  • Camaro K-Member Support Bracket (PN 500072)
  • Butterfly Subframe Connector Kit (PN 500073)
  • Rear Subframe Connector Kit (PN 500074)
  • G-Load Brace (PN 500075)

 

Additional Components:

  • Camaro Rear Lower Control Arms (PN 500058)
  • Front Sway Bar End Links (PN 500065-F)
  • Rear Sway Bar End Links (PN 500065)

With a lot of dragstrips closing all over the country these days, many enthusiasts have moved on from drag racing to pursue autocross and road racing, and the key to making a 5th gen Camaro dance is taking the flex out of the unibody chassis. There are many companies to choose from, but Granatelli Motorsports is one of the few that make a complete chassis cross brace kit for the ever-so-popular modern day Camaro.

The 1G Suspension Bracing Package and Lower Control Arms

The Granatelli 1G Suspension is designed to stiffen up the chassis by essentially connecting all of car’s subframes, increasing rigidity. It takes Granatelli’s already proven components, and puts them all together for one complete package.

It includes the Front Subframe Connector Kit, a K-member support bracket, the “Butterfly” Subframe Connector Kit, Rear Subframe Connector Kit, and the G-Load Brace. All of these components are available individually, and if you want to piece the kit together a la carte, you can, but Granatelli decided they would put the whole package together to provide enthusiasts with the ultimate in chassis stiffness.

The Granatelli Rear Lower Control Arms are sold separately from the 1G kit, but we’ve included them in this story since anyone could benefit from a set of them. The OEM arms are adequate for a stock daily driver that sees zero racing action, but show a stock or modified Camaro with IRS a hard launch on the street or the drag strip, and you will be quickly schooled in something called “wheel hop.”

The rear lower control arms replace the cheap OEM stamped steel pieces that aren’t able to provide the kind of solid traction that a serious performance car requires. They’re a quick and easy mod that pretty much anyone can do with a jack, a set of jackstands, and simple hand tools.

All of Granatelli's components are made of high-quality materials, and the components that make up the 1G Bracing Kit are no different.

Granatelli tells us that the kit components are all done in DOM carbon steel and TIG welded for strength and durability. All the parts were developed in-house, and per JR Granatelli, “Based on the success of our Gen 4 line dating all the way back to 1993, and my experience in World Challenge racing from 1984 through 1995, we knew exactly where to focus. We took a clean sheet approach and simply started from the center’s weakest point and moved forward and rearward from there.”

The Subject Camaro 

Undergoing the 1G Suspension Bracing Package upgrade is this 2010 Camaro RS/SS, and under the hood is an L99 backed by the 6-speed auto. It’s mostly stock, save for some ZL1 cosmetics, an exhaust, a camshaft upgrade, and a few other bolt-ons – including long-tube headers. It belongs to Blake Adams, and despite the fact that Adams is a regular on the road racing circuits around Southern California, incredibly, his suspension remains completely stock – even the coil springs.

Granatelli 5G 1G-6

Once at Cunningham Motorsports, we promptly put the Camaro on the lift and set to work.

Because of this, Adams’ Camaro was perfect for the installation. Evidently our timing was perfect too, because Adams was in the market for some aftermarket sway bars to improve the overall handling from a stocker. But JR Granatelli, owner and operator of Granatelli Motorsports, told us that the 1G Suspension was so precisely engineered and tightened up the Zeta chassis of the Camaro so well, that larger sway bars are not necessary with this kit.

In fact, he went on to say that larger sway bars would stiffen the car up too much – ultimately having a negative effect on not only the handling, but the ride of the car as well. If your 5th-Gen Camaro is a street car, it’s something that you might seriously have to consider. Improved handling is one thing, but frequent trips to the chiropractor are something that all of us can do without.

What was really unique for this install, was that Granatelli was literally on hand during the 1G install at Cunningham Motorsports. He even turned a few wrenches on the Camaro himself while at CMS.

We should take a moment to point out that the 1G Chassis Bracing does not include your very own JR Granatelli to install the parts for you, in case this kit is indeed what you are looking for. So keep that in mind when placing your order.

Installation

Eager to get started, we put Adams’ Camaro on the lift as soon as he arrived at Cunningham Motorsports. Once up in the air, we took a quick look under the Camaro to see what we would be up against. Almost immediately, we discovered an issue. As cool as the long-tube headers looked on the Camaro underneath, they provided us with an obstruction to the installation of the 1G Chassis Brace. 

After some consultation with Granatelli, “Tex” at CMS fabricated up a pair of adapters that would allow us to install the brace. We took some measurements and walked away knowing that we needed something about 2 1/4-inches tall that would bridge the gap between the Granatelli brace and the underside of the car.  Since each car and header installation is a little bit different, we recommend taking the time to do this yourself if your 5th-Gen Camaro has long-tube headers.

After we had our adapters made, we were able to install the 1G Chassis Bracing Package. Remember, this was only because Adams' Camaro had a set of long-tube headers that hung down much lower than the OEM manifolds/exhaust system.

We designed the kit to bolt together easily, for fast installation and the ability for easy removal when necessary.  -J.R. Granatelli

With the 2 1/4-inch adapters fabricated and painted (to help prevent potential rust later), we installed the brace that connects the chassis rails together. After the bolts had been loosely installed to allow for adjustment for final fitment, we proceeded to install the rest of the package – starting from the front and working our way back.

While we were installing this kit, Granatelli told us, “We designed the kit to bolt together easily, for fast installation and the ability for removal when necessary. So if you ever needed to drop the engine or transmission, or any other hard part, you don’t have to worry about breaking out a welder.”

This is important, as the Front Wishbone Subframe Connector Kit is what holds the rest of the 1G chassis bracing together. After you install this section, the rest of it connects to it, and parts of the car’s subframe – essentially constructing a tube-style secondary chassis that ties it all in together.

Everything in the kit bolted right up as if GM had designed it themselves.

Since Granatelli was on hand while we were installing the components into Adams’ Camaro, he told us that every part they sell was created by their own staff, and that Granatelli Motorsports puts countless hours of R&D into every product that they sell – testing on their own vehicles before selling them to the public.

“We design all of our parts in-house, on our own cars, to guarantee a perfect fit on a customer’s car. Not only that, but we apply everything we build to our race cars, as well as our street vehicles,” Granatelli tells us.

There was even a huge difference between the OEM front and and rear sway bar end links when compared to the Granatelli pieces.

We design all of our parts in-house, on our own cars, to guarantee a perfect fit on a customer’s car. – JR Granatelli

The rear lower control arms were just as straightforward as the 1G package. Actually, installing them was easier, as they only required the removal of the four bolts (two on each side), and the factory LCA’s (obviously). Since they were designed to fit so snugly, we did have to use a bit of bushing lubricant and elbow grease to squeeze them in.

After completing the final piece of this suspension package upgrade, we made sure everything was tightened and torqued down, and took the car for a drive to see if there were any squeaks or rattles. Thanks to the excellent design of the Granatelli chassis bracing, and the crew at Cunningham Motorsports taking their time to install everything correctly, we’re happy to report that there weren’t any.

Installing the Granatelli Lower Control Arms was simple enough. It consisted simply of removing the two bolts from each arm, and replacing it with the arms from Granatelli - making for a true bolt-in component.

Here’s what the completed package looked like underneath Adams’ Camaro. It literally ties every angle of the chassis together to stiffen up the whole car to improve rigidity and handling.

Testing/Results

Adams has run his Camaro previously on various California road courses, including the Roval layout at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana and Buttonwillow, in the San Joaquin Valley. He tells us that the car feels tighter and more rigid than ever before, and has since shaved off 8.3 seconds off of his previous time at Buttonwillow. Per Adams, “The 1G Chassis Bracing really helped stiffen up my car – it feels tighter than ever before, and I’ve seen real improvements on the road course.”

The 1G Chassis Bracing really helped stiffen up my car – it feels tighter than ever before, and I’ve seen real improvements on the road course. -Blake Adams, car owner

He even managed to take the Camaro to a local dragstrip, and he tells us that the launch was much more manageable and consistent than ever before, with 8.1’s in the eighth-mile, citing the tires as his only problem area. We’ll continue to keep in touch with Blake Adams and his 2010 Camaro SS, to see what progress is made and keep you posted.

If improved handling and rigidity is what you’re looking for, than this kit is for you. Some ground clearance is sacrificed in the name of extra bracing, but the good news is that ride height doesn’t need to be slammed down into the weeds to reduce body roll and help grip thanks to the way this kit lets your Camaro’s suspension work the way it was designed to. Whether you’re a hardcore road racer or just somebody who wants to make his street Camaro perform to its utmost ability, Granatelli has you covered.

Article Sources

About the author

Rick Seitz

Being into cars at a very early age, Rick has always preferred GM performance cars, and today's LS series engines just sealed the deal. When he's not busy running errands around town in his CTS-V, you can find him in the garage wrenching on his WS6 Trans Am, or at the local cruise spots in his Grand National.
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