Upgrading A Sixth-Gen Camaro’s Suspension With BMR

BMRSixthGenLowered

For performance automotive enthusiasts, lowering your car to improve the looks and handling is one of the first things most people do. The same holds true for 2016 Camaro owners, but until recently, there have been no lowering spring or suspension options available for the sixth iteration of Chevrolet’s Camaro.

Enter BMR Suspension. The Seffner, Florida suspension manufacturer has been hard at work developing performance parts to improve the newly redesigned Camaro.

The 2016 Camaro looks great with a lower, more aggressive stance! The suspension components from BMR Suspension really make a difference in the looks and handling of the Sixth Gen Camaro.

The 2016 Camaro looks great with a lower, more aggressive stance! The suspension components from BMR Suspension really make a difference in the looks and handling of this sixth-gen Camaro.

Chris Vander Galien of Riverview, Florida is an avid automotive enthusiast and 2016 Camaro owner. He recently traded in his modded 2013 Camaro for the lighter, more refined sixth-gen as soon as it was available. Vander Galien picked up a highly optioned 2SS version, and like many, has been patiently waiting for performance parts to hit the market.

Chris Vander Galien wanted to upgrade his 2016 Camaro with some new suspension components, so he turned to BMR Suspension. He added the company's SP041 Street Performance lowering springs and BK063 Rear Cradle Bushing Lockout Kit.

Vander Galien also added a set of BMR SB052 Adjustable Sway Bars and ELK015 Adjustable Sway Bar End Links. This will help control body roll, keeping the car flat and level in the turns.

Over the past few weeks, BMR has released a slew of new parts for the 2016 Camaro chassis and rear suspension, listing more than 25 new part numbers for its products. The company also tells us it has between 10 and 20 more that should be available soon.

When Vander Galien offered us the opportunity to follow along as he started upgrading his Camaro, we jumped at the chance. The first thing he wanted was a lower, more aggressive stance, and BMR Suspension’s Street Performance lowering springs (PN SP041) fit the bill perfectly. This set of springs drops the front end 3/4 inch and the rearend one inch. This not only lowers the car, it levels it as well, giving it even and aggressive wheels gaps. The springs also have a higher spring rate, which reduces body roll in the turns.

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The installation began with the removal of the stock springs.

The factory front springs have a 140 lb/in spring rate, while the BMR fronts check in at 175 lb/in. BMR’s rear springs are a dual-rate design and feature a 380 lb/in and 640 lb/in rate. The softer rate allows for the shorter spring to stay seated while the heavier rate is the working rate of the spring and supports the vehicle.

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On the front, the strut assembly is unbolted and removed from the car. In the rear, the lower control arm is unbolted and pulled down to allow for the spring to be removed.

With the front strut removed from the car, the factory spring can be compressed and removed. The free height of the BMR springs is less than the factory spring, but the increase in spring rate keeps the body supported at the new, lower ride height. The strut is reassembled with the BMR spring, and reinstalled in the car.

The rear springs are also shorter in free height. The dual-rate design allows the rear of the car to be lowered while keeping the spring seated. The factory spring idolaters are reinstalled and the spring goes back into the lower control arm.

I love the way my car looks now. It turns a lot of heads! – Chris Vander Galien

The factory sway bars were also pulled in favor of a set of adjustable BMR units. While the stock pieces do a good job of controlling body roll, BMR designs its sway bars around the rates of the lowering springs. The adjustable sway bars (PN SB052) feature three positions, allowing you to use them for any form of performance driving. The adjustability on the front and rear sway bars also allows owners to change the positions and rates to balance the under and oversteer of the car. The bars are cold formed from 1.25-inch, 0.188-inch wall tubing.

The bars are cold formed from 1.25-inch, 0.188-inch wall tubing. This super-strong material adds a considerable amount of rigidity over the factory units. The bar’s stiffness is adjustable by selecting one of three mounting positions at the end of the lever arms (the furthest in being the most rigid, and the furthest out being the most compliant). The front bar features 596 in-lb, 702 in-lb, and 840 in-lb, providing 150, 177, and 212 percent increases in stiffness over the factory 397 in-lb sway bar rate. The rear bar features 300, 342, and 395 in-lb rates, providing a 178, 202, and 234 percent increase over the factory 169 in-lb sway bar rate.

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BMR’s heavy wall design and multiple mounting holes give you the ability to fine-tune the suspension setup for the perfect over/understeer balance.

“BMR designed its lowering spring and sway bars to work well together for the performance enthusiast who primarily drives his Camaro on the street,” explains Brett Rockey, product design manager at BMR Suspension. “These will also work well for the occasional trip to the road course or autocross, but are not intended to be a dedicated handling spring. The springs and sway bars will lower the car’s center of gravity and reduce body roll, improving handling.”

BMR's heavy wall design and multiple mounting holes give you the ability to fine-tune the suspension setup for the perfect over/understeer balance.

The BMR sway bars are also complemented by a set of adjustable sway bar end links. BMR’s link kit for the 2016 Camaro (PN ELK015) gives you both front and rear adjustable components. These offer huge improvements over the factory pieces. The front set is CNC-machined from 6061-T6 billet aluminum and feature ball-joint style tie rod ends to offer more articulation than rod ends, and are greasable for a long, quiet, trouble-free life. The rear links are built from heavy-wall DOM steel tubing with Chrome-moly tube adapters and feature greasable 95-durometer polyurethane bushings. This ensures long life and flawless operation, and they make less noise than rod ends.

The new sway bar installs in place of the factory bar. The 95-durometer polyurethane bushings on the BMR sway bar are greasable for quiet operation.

The ball joints attach to the sway bar with 12 mm studs and attach to the end link tubes with ½-inch studs. This combination of components gives you a huge increase in strength over stock endlinks. Both the front and rear pieces are adjustable, allowing you to correct the sway bar geometry when the vehicle is lowered, or if you run adjustable sway bars. You can also add preload for race applications, but that’s overkill for most street performance enthusiasts.

BMR's ELK015 Sway Bar Ends Links are significantly stronger than the factory end links, and you can tell just by looking at them. They are also adjustable, which allows you to correct the sway bar geometry when the car is lowered.

Both the front and rear endlinks are adjusted to factory length prior to being installed. Once the installation is completed, the endlinks can be adjusted to keep the sway bars in the correct location on the car.

With body roll addressed, the last piece of the puzzle was a rear cradle bushing upgrade. BMR Suspension has a few options, but Vander Galien was looking for something that would reduce cradle deflection without adding large amounts of NVH (noise, vibration and harshness). BMR’s Rear Cradle Lockout Kit (PN BK063) was the perfect solution. It includes six CNC-machined Delrin bushing inserts, four laser-cut stainless steel washers, eight aluminum bushing inserts, and two inner sleeve spacers. This kit fills the voids in the factory rubber bushings and captures the top and bottom of the bushing inner sleeves, limiting fore, aft, and vertical movement.

The BMR BK063 Cradle Bushing Lockout Kit is fairly straightforward and easy to install. First, the front portion of the cradle is lowered. The inner sleeve spacers are installed. These reduce movement between the centering stud and the bushing inner sleeve. Next, the upper Delrin bushing inserts slide into the top of the factory bushings. With the cradle lifted back up, the lower Delrin bushing inserts and stainless steel washers are put in place and the factory hardware is reused.

This dramatically improves driver feel, inspiring more confidence in the car. -Brett Rockey, Product Design Manager at BMR Suspension

This reduction in deflection allows more power to be transferred to the tires instead of being absorbed into the chassis. The end result is a more connected feel and less wheelhop. Another great benefit to this kit is that it is 100 percent bolt-on, does not damage or alter the factory cradle bushings, and can be removed if needed.

“The Rear Cradle Lockout Kit is designed to reduce rear cradle bushing deflection without dramatically increases NVH,” adds Rockey. “The kit limits bushing deflection by filling the voids in the bushings. This dramatically improves driver feel, inspiring more confidence in the car.”

The rear portion of the installation is very similar to the front. The cradle gets lowered and the upper Delrin bushing insert is installed. Next, four aluminum inserts get pressed into the voids in the factory bushings. Be sure to use plenty of synthetic lube for this. The installation is completed with the lower stainless steel washers that capture the bushing, reducing deflections.

“Turns are sharper and the steering feels more responsive than it did before the upgrades,” explains Vander Galien. “The car is more rigid and there is a bit more noise in the cabin, but the improved handling and stability make it well worth it. The noise changes with the speed you drive, but it doesn’t get too loud. You can still hear the radio and Bluetooth phone calls, even on low volume. I love the way my car looks now. It turns a lot of heads!”

The new lowered stance looks great! The drop gives it an aggressive look, but it isn't so low it isn't driveable. Vander Galien tells us the car handles much better and the difference was instantly apparent.

Combine all of these things and you have a much-improved 2016 Camaro that efficiently gets more power to the ground with less wheelhop and body roll. The driver has a confidence-inspiring feel that will allow you push the car harder on the street and track.

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About the author

Pete Epple

Pete Epple has been an automotive enthusiast for the better part of 30 years, and a racer for nearly as long. He's been writing about cars for nearly 10 years.
Read My Articles

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