Pony Wars: BMR Suspension Makes The Connection On Our Camaro

No doubt if you’re a fan of Horsepower Wars: Pony Wars, you’ll know that both our 2017 Ford Mustang GT and our 2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS recently received identical supercharger race kits. With big boost comes big power, and we needed a way to put the power down on both of our pony cars safely on the drag strip and the road course as part of our testing.

BMR Suspension stepped up to the plate to help the sixth-gen Camaro hook at the drag strip, as well as eliminate some of the slop in the rear end that would make it unstable or unpredictable at the road course. BMR provided an array of suspension components which will have to play double duties at both venues – since neither car can afford to be a one-trick pony.

We have seen upwards of around 80 to 90% reduction in fore/aft and lateral cradle bushing deflection depending on the car’s modifications. – Allan Miller, BMR Suspension

In the $5K build segment, we leaned on the company’s Rear Cradle Bushing and Lockout Kit (PN BK063) as an appetizer for the rest of the components in the $15K build. For that segment, we will have stepped up our game and opted for BMR’s single adjustable upper trailing arms (PN UTCA059), single adjustable lower trailing arms (PN TCA060), and lastly its double adjustable toe rods (PN TR007); all of which feature rod ends for the most consistent transfer of power to the ground possible.

For this article, we discussed the features and benefits of our suspension upgrades with BMR’s president Allan Miller. Allan walks us through why these upgrades are most favorable for our power goals in Pony Wars.

BMR Suspension Upgrades For Our 2017 Camaro SS

  • Rear cradle lockout and bushing kit (PN BK063)
  • Upper trailing arms (single adjustable) featuring rod ends (PN UTCA059)
  • Lower trailing arms (single adjustable) featuring rod ends (PN TCA060)
  • Toe rods (double adjustable) featuring rod ends (PN TR007)
It’s no secret that one of the main benefits of performing any sort of suspension upgrade is to try and eliminate deflection as much as possible; but what exactly is deflection, and why does it need to be reduced? Allan is here to fill in the blanks for us.

“GM designed the rubber bushings in the rear cradle to be soft, therefore absorbing road noise and drivetrain noise,” he explained.

“The rubber bushings do a great job of absorbing noise, vibration and harshness [NVH], but they allow the rear suspension to move excessively with relation to the body.”

Unfortunately, the soft rubber material and the bushing voids allow extreme amounts of bushing deflection (which is the aforementioned exercise above), Allan told us. Ultimately this leads to the dreaded IRS wheel hop on the drag strip, known for breaking drivetrain parts, and it leads to unpredictable handling on the road course as the dynamic alignment becomes erratic (since these parts set the alignment).

Thankfully BMR Suspension offers a handful of options to reduce rear cradle bushing deflection and stabilize the dynamic alignment of the rear wheels. For our Camaro, we opted to install the Rear Cradle Lockout Kit we mentioned above. We chose this particular option, as it was easy to install and eliminates most of the rear cradle bushing movement. We also went with the upper trailing arms which set the camber of the rear wheels, as well as toe rods (that obviously set the toe) and the lower trailing arms for added insurance. When the OEM bushings deflect here it can dramatically effect tire grip as the alignment suddenly changes.

Our new upper single adjustable control arms pre-installation. According to Frank Steadman, who is in charge of the company’s sixth-gen Camaro dealings, the upper control arms (in conjunction with BMR’s Upper Trailing Arms PN UTCA059) are both required to adjust the camber on the rear suspension.

Comparing our new upper trailing arms to the factory counterparts begins to reveal the vast differences in the two. For starters, the factory trailing arms are mass produced pieces which are made out of stamped steel in a factory and feature soft rubber bushings to reduce NVH. The BMR version is much larger in stature, thanks to its 1.25-inch DOM steel tubing construction. The OEM soft rubber bushing has been ditched in the BMR counterpart for a 304-grade stainless steel rod end which is teflon-lined and has been zinc-plated and heat-treated. The result of the BMR design is an extremely strong, extremely durable trailing arm which will not flex under performance driving scenarios, such as on the road course or the drag strip.

Of course the party wouldn't be complete without our lower single adjustable trailing arms from BMR. The lowers feature the same material and construction benefits as the upper, but with a twist. According to Allan, the lowers take most of the brute when launching the car, so these new arms have been turned up a notch. The lowers will allow us to launch harder by reducing wheel hop and adding cornering consistency by keeping suspension articulation in check, eliminating trailing arm flex.

Allan says the parts we are using today have been tested previously on a variety of different tracks, such as Sebring International Raceway and Bradenton Motorsports Park.

“We have seen upwards of around 80 to 90% reduction in fore/aft and lateral cradle bushing deflection depending on the car’s modifications,” Allan exclaimed. “While launching our 2016 Camaro test mule at more than 7,000 rpm on drag radials, we saw an 80% reduction in bushing deflection with the rear lock out cradle kit.”

Add in the other suspension pieces and it sounds like we’ve got the recipe for success on our Camaro now.

Backed by some of the biggest names in the automotive aftermarket — including ARP BoltsBMR SuspensionCOMP CamsCovercraftDiablosportDyna-BattE3 Spark PlugsFragola Performance PartsHolley Performance ProductsMahle North AmericaMahle MotorsportsMickey Thompson Tires & WheelsProCharger SuperchargersPRWQA1 SuspensionRoyal Purple Synthetic OilSummit RacingTCI AutomotiveWeld Racing, and others — this competition is getting heated as these pony cars roar toward the final battle.

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About the author

Harrison Noble

Living in San Diego for most of his life, Harrison was exposed to a variety of cars at an early age. His passion for anything that is fast, or has a V8, brought him to Power Automedia.
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