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1987 harsh ride -is this normal?



Last weekend I purchased my first Corvette. A bright red 1987 model. It has a few problems, but my cars are my hobby so I don't mind. I bought this car several states away from where I live and I drove it home(over 1000 miles). I felt every defect in the road! I mean, it was bone jarring rough! Since I have never ridden in a Corvette is this normal? Could this car possibly have the Z-51 or Z-52 suspension that makes it this stiff? Thanks guys and girls for any input on this subject. Jack.
Welcome To The Corvette Action Center jmooney!

We hope you find this community to your liking. :upthumbs

First off, get yourself a copy of Michael Antonick's "Black Book", that will supply you with every option and production numbers you may ever want for your new Corvette. This is a scan from the '87 page, but I'm sure you won't be able to read it that well, so it's there as a teaser to get you to go out and buy your own. ;)

You are correct in assuming that the rough ride would be attributable to the Z51 handling/performance package. You can feel everything on the road. :eek
As I recently found out, if you have the Bilstein shocks that are RPO FG3 and part of the Z51 package, you can get them re-valved for about $50 each by Bilstein for a firmer or softer ride. Might help a little, though I'm not sure what else comprises the "heavy-duty suspension" that comes as part of the package.

Yeah what Len said... I had an 84 and it handled really well but had a very rough ride. My92 rides a lot smoother. But it is a trade-off on handling. It gets a little squishy in corners where the road either has bumps or dips. Depends on what you want out of the car. As Rich said, you can get the shocks revalved so they are smoother. You'll still get a tight ride because of the bigger swaybars.
Or keep the Z51 handling and buy a sports mouth piece and kidney belt. That way you won't loose any fillings and you won't need to stop to pee every 15 minutes :L
speaking of rough rides...so is my 95. What is the definitive check when it comes to shocks? I've done the bounce test...no extra play going on there...but, lots of wheel hop when running over rough roads. Don't want to just throw money at it if there's no problem.

Don't have the maint records...dealer said there weren't any...so, not sure when/if the shocks are original or not. Would think with 90,000 miles that they wouldn't be...but, maybe they are...and that explains the rough ride??

Would appreciate feedback from you experts....
Now I really feel special

My 84 only has 71K.:D It has the rough ride yes but what a handler!
There is an article in the new Corvette Fever about how the C4 was great handling car -- better than the C5 in autocrossing. ;)

_ken :w
Thanks for the warm welcome! I see I have found a great place for Corvette information! If I must sacrifice a soft ride for the great handling, I can live with that. This car does take curves like nothing I have ever owned. This car needs some TLC because evidently the prevous owner just drove it.So, I will be asking your advice some more in the future.I am so excited about being a Corvette owner! Later...Jack.
Yeah.. why is it that some owners just... OWN... the cars. Last guy who had mine didn't even keep the tires inflated properly or do anything about the broken interior pieces.

Hope yours will serve you well.
Harsh ride!

I have an '85 and an '86 The '86 has the Z-51 suspension, also I just replaced the Bilstein shocks. It does ride like a buckboard. But it handles like a peach. Wouldn't want to follow the '86 through the twistys with the '85. The '85 does not have the Z-51 suspension and it rides apprecialbly easier. Bumps that I know about, and avoid, with the '86 are a non-problem with the '85. Which would I rather drive? The '86, of course! :)

Good luck with it...........Bob
boblx2a, did you stay with the same type and valving or go with a different one, and, if so, how did it affect the car?

jmooney, to some extent with passive suspensions you can't get that amazing handling w/o some sacrifice of ride, and the handling is indeed amazing.

... I should have added that part of the problem is the relatively short wheelbase, not just the suspension itself.
Harsh Ride

No, I installed the stock Z-51 Bilstein shocks. To tell the truth I did not notice a lot of difference after replacing the shocks. The only difference that I noticed was that I could physically pull apart the old shocks, the new ones would not budge. :) But the handling has always been hard but great! Exceptiionally responsive and much easier to control through the twistys then the '85.

Thanks, Bob. That's very helpful.
harsh ride

jmooney, Congratulations on your "new" wheels! In response to your inquiry concerning the ride quality of your Vette; I think one has to consider the road conditions that the car is being driven. I, too, live in Arkansas and having moved from NC a year ago, I can honestly say I do not enjoy the ride I get from my '93 convertible when I travel in the state. Road conditions in TX and TN are so much better and the car responds and handles as it is designed. I have replaced the rear shocks with Bilsteins, and this has helped, but as I use the car as a daily driver (most of the time), I find that the road conditions really don't help the ride. My two cents worth. "Happy Motoring"!


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