2007: More upgrades
In the continuing saga of trying to resolve the unstable steering issue, this
year's changes involved sway bar links as well as new double-adjustable shocks and
struts all the way around.
For the front units, due to the coil-over layout of the 4th gen Firebird
suspension, the job was left for a qualified shop like Zeke's in Montreal. This
included upper control arm changeout and lower control arm bushings... just in
For the rear units, I was able to perform the changeout myself. This involves
locating the upper bolts behing the rear seats. With the seats folded, a flap in the
carpet can be raised and a foam filler removed to expose the bolts.
With the bolts removed, it is easy to see the importance of having the bushing sleeve isolate
the shock shaft from the body of the vehicle as best as possible. These are heavy cars, and many of
the aftermarket bushings are short... with the vehicle moving, the shaft may come in contact with
the vehicle's body metal and the most horrendous squeaking will result. Even GM replacement shocks
will often come with bushings that are too short, as shown in this cross section.
To my dismay the Koni shock shaft was too wide to accept the longer factory GM bushing.
So the shorter Koni bushing was used, in the hopes that the little extension could be sufficiently
centralized in the chassis hole in order to provide the proper isolation.
Great care was taken to make sure whatever part of the bushing I could fit through the body
would be centered and not crushed offside, and then the whole mess was tightened in the hope of not
allowing the shock shaft to walk within the hole. So far so good.
The top slot is used along with a special knob (provided by Koni) to adjust rebound
A small jack helps in raising and lowering the rear axle to help with shock absorber
installation. On 3rd and 4th gen Firebirds, the rear axle can droop sufficiently such
that the springs will slide right out!
For future reference, some of the part numbers I've come across...