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1996 Z51 package, Stabilizer bar question??


Well-known member
Jan 27, 2001
St. Peters, MO.
1996 LT4 coupe + 2004 Z06 Z16
On 1996 model Corvette, the Z51 package was available again. It wasn't avail from 91-95.
It was not available on 1996 Convertibles, including "Grand Sport" models.

My question is, can I install Z51 stabilizer bars on a car (convertible) that came with the base suspension? Stock G.M. stabilizer bars for a Z51 is what I'm after.

Looking to lessen the roll-over or Lean in hard cornering without replacing the springs and getting too rough of a ride on the street.

Also looking into stiffer or adjustable shock absorbers to work with a larger diameter sway bar. Carrera makes a 3-way adjustable that VetteBrakes & Products carries.

I cannot use an aftermarket "adjustable" sway bar, NCCC rules prohibit thier use in autocross (must be GM )

Anybody have any experince in this area?

Anybody :confused HELP!

I know they make aftermarket "adjustable" sway bars for these cars, but I need genuine GM parts that was available on 92-96 Corvettes.

NCCC Any Corvette or aftermarket if same size, shape and type mounting.

And heim joints are allowed. We can check the OD of my bar and go from there.

Sway bars

Check your diameter, or I'll research it further, you might be on to something. It says you can mix between 1984 and 1996 cars.
VetteBrakes has a nice 32mm front and 26mm rear for my car at very reasonable prices like $129 each with bushings and end links!

Stock FE3 (base suspension) 1996 Corvettes have 26mm front and 24mm rear bars :( That just ain't cuttin' it.

One more question: What is "Hiem Jointed" ? :confused

Thanks Dave,

1984 Z51's only used 25mm solid in front and a 23mm solid in the rear. Must have made up the differnce in spring rates (rock hard).
Biggest sway bars used were 30mm solids in front and 26mm solids in the rear.
That will work for me!

I really need to swap springs. But, I think a combo of sway bars and new Bilsten Sports shocks will do wonders.
I also switched to new Bilstiens last week and it does make a differance.

Heim joints are a solid joint with a pivoting ball where the bolt goes through. They are great for corners, but you will feel the road more on a long cruise. Greg just installed a Hitchcock bar on his 00 and it leveled it out in the corners.

Later, Dave
Sway bars


If there is anyone that can give you the straight skinny on your sway bars and springs it is Dave at Gauldstrand Motorsports, one of our community sponsers.
http://www.guldstrand.com or email Dave directly at dave@guldstrand.com .

Dave is always ready to help out with suspension tuning and often you will find that you don't need to buy as many parts as someone else is more than willing to sell you.


I planted Dave at his computer so he could read your thread. I've been trying to, for the last few days.

He says to give him a call directly. Technical questions are best answered by phone. He can help you with your AutoX set-up. I'm thinking that's what you're going for here?

Ask him about the different valving available for the Bilsteins. Something funny, my 454 - 8600 lb. Suburban, had the Custom (Sears Point) valving. It out slalomed a BMW.. hehe.

Here's a link to a picture of Guldstrand - Heim Jointed End Links

Guldstrand Motorsports - 1-818-558-1499 Burbank, CA.
Call this week, or after 7/20. He'll be on vacation till then.


Thanks Shay,
I'll do that, hopefully this week yet.
First and foremost, understand that Z51 for 1996 was not the same as that for 84-90.

Z51 for 1996 was a set of slightly stiffer than stock springs, more aggreessive shocks and stiffer front lower control arm bushings. For MY96 the Z51 stabilizer bars were the same as base.

Next, understand that a C4 convertible is unsuitable for autocrossing unless it is equipped with a roll cage. The C4 conv. structure is very weak and prone to flexing. That is why Z51 was never offered in a C4 convertible. When you start to add roll stiffness in a C4 conv. the structure begins to bend as the bigger bars apply cornering loads to the chassis.

You can put big bars and stiff shocks on a convertible but the net gain in handling will be modest at best and it will come with problems with predictability.

That said, it is possible to install 88-90 Z51 bars on the car, however, Z51 coupe bars were intended to work with Z51 springs. If you put on just the bars, expect a car that understeers and that's in addition to the negative impact on handling you get with big bars on convertibles. Add stiff shocks and the problem gets worse.

Bottom line: if you want to autocross, buy a coupe.
Hib Halverson said:
Bottom line: if you want to autocross, buy a coupe.
I'll pass that on to my SCCA buddies running Mazda Miata's!

I've installed a 30mm solid bar up front, poly bushings in bar and end links, lowered it, R-D racing "Camber-Brace", and "S-T Frame Support" (essentially a roll bar, not a cage) The springs are still stock, Bilstien shocks still stock.
Car handles pretty good now, In pure STOCK form in had a pretty good PUSH, in hard cornering. Now it really is NEUTRAL, and easier to drive harder into a corner. I'm afraid to add a bigger rear sway bar since I feel it would make the car quite LOOSE!
Structural integrity of the chassis is now much stiffer than stock, very little flex, less than a stock coupe by far!

I have also altered my wheel alignment for improved cornering and possibly increased tire wear, but it's not a daily driver either.

I'd love to experiment with some 12 way adjustable HAL shocks now.

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