The goal is to lower the car as much as
possible. This should be easy to attain from either the $50 RKSport
Lowering Kit or the $1,750 Mallett Lowering
Kit. The Mallett kit cost more because it includes Penske Shocks which Mallett claims are
needed because: "The stock shocks in the Corvette are too long after lowering
the vehicle more than about 3/4". They will bottom and eventually break the
These kits include longer bolts to lower the rear
spring. In the front they rely on the factory adjustable jounce bumper bolts
which are between the spring and A-arms. It should be possible to lower the
front more by putting in thin plastic shims in place of the bolts .
issue to consider with lowering the C5 was how it will look lowered. Some people
consider the wheel well to not fill out correctly when the car is completely
lowered. I created a mockup image to see how it looks.
I think it
looks great! I completely removed the bolt to see how low the rear would
As Low As Lift Goes - Lower Than The Lift Goes -
I removed the rubber jounce
bumper in front to see how low it would go. (the metal front adjuster was still
in at this point, so it may go lower. also, maybe the spring could be raised
which would lower the car even more. to do this the insulators would probably
have to be altered.)
can be lowered, but there is also the issue of how it will ride when
lowered. Some people say it will cause:
poor tire wear
inconsistent steering effort induced by trough wander
less handling performance on wet roads -- i think these can be fixed with
uncomfortable head-toss because of high roll stiffness -- shorter shocks
would reduce the distance between the bump stops so they dont hit. True that
removing the jounce bumper will increase stiffness, but isnt this why we have a
Raising the C5?
More details about how to lower the car will
follow, but first I spent a lot of time trying to figure out if the car could be
raised when it comes to speed bumps or steep driveways. There are four main ways
to raise a vehicle: hydraulics, air bags, air shocks and air cylinders. Some
initial concerns i had were:
As little trunk space can be used as possible. I wanted to avoid using extra
batteries. The CD player could be relocated to make more room.
What will the damping characteristics be like if i replace the stock shocks?
The suspension needs to remain firm and respond like a sports car.
The suspension should not be hacked up. It should be able to return to the
stock state. I could relocate the brake lines or buy new lower
Hydraulics were out of the question because CCE told me that i need at least 2 batteries
per pump. That would take up too much trunk space. I wanted to be able to run
the system off the car's existing electricity.
Air is easier to work with
and needs less maintenance than hydraulics, but air bags are way too big for the
C5 suspension and not suited to a sports car. I investigated air cylinders which
i also found to be too wide. The C5 shocks are only 2" wide and there isn't much
more room than that. CCE's cylinders are 3" and may fit, but their style does
not have shocks built in. If there was a tubular upper A-arm available for the
C5 then it might allow more room for air cylinders. Detroit Speed does not plan to make one.
Global West has one for the 2000
Camaro, but i don't know if it would fit the C5. Pratt-Miller has an A-arm but i don't
know if it's tubular.
Air shocks could go right in place of the stock
shocks, so i looked then at using air shocks. I was told by AIM as well as other people that air shocks
will not be able to lift the 3,000 lb C5 even though the weight distribution is
I tried air shocks anyway, because i read about people using them,
and i found Monroe air shocks which fit the
front for $80. For the rear i found discontinued Delco shocks that were short
enough after the car was lowered. Shock
Shop sold them to me for $100. C5 shocks have stud tops, a tab mount bottom
in the front and a clevis bottom in the rear. The Monroe shocks have a loop
bottom in the front so i needed to find a tab mount (from Penske) to convert the mounting type. In
the rear i used a stem bottom and added a clevis (from Penske). The Penske
hardware is expensive ($300) but i found no other suitable mounting hardware. I
considered using mounts off a cheap shock for another car, but couldnt find
which car's to use.
The front shocks did fit, but they hit the upper
control arm when the car was on the lift because the air shocks are wider. This
didn't appear to be too big of a problem. I had to use a die to cut threads into
the lower stem of the rear air shocks. The stem is threaded by Delco, but not
all the way down to the base. I needed the clevis installed at the base, so i
needed to thread the stem.
The shocks did raise the car
about 3" from its lowered height and they did it in just seconds. The ride
quality seemed okay, but i finally decided not to use air shocks because the
valving (damping characteristcs) would not be as good as C5 shocks. If anybody
wants these shocks to try this they are
for sale from me.
I was going to
get the air lift setup from Easy Street
because their website is very informative. Their 2-path system drawing helped me
a lot. The Air Setup costs $600. The compressor would fit in the trunk in one of
the side wells and the tank would fit in the center well (The CD player would be
moved to the other side well). Air Ride
Tech sells a digital air gauge for $175. This would be easier to install in
the cockpit because wires are easier to route than hose.