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Gymkana suspension/ rear sway bar?

Sensei

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Apr 5, 2004
Messages
393
Location
Jacksonville, Fl
Corvette
'81 dark blue
I have an '81 automatic with metal leaf springs in the rear. The car has always handled particularly well, and I have read that the '81s came with fiberglass springs unless they had manual transmission or gymkana suspension. Since I have an auto trans, I assumed I had the gymkana suspension. But I also recently read that the gymkana suspension included a rear sway bar. Mine has none. The car was very unmolested when I got it, so I was wondering what the deal was.
-Did the '81 gymkana actually include rear sway bar?
Thanks and God bless, Sensei
 

Wegone

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Apr 9, 2002
Messages
516
Location
Atlanta GA.
Corvette
82,91 ZR-1,
Yes all gymkana cars had the sway bar in the rear..How many leafs does your spring have? It should also have shorter larger diameter front springs and a larger front sway bar.

If I am not mistaken the rear steel springs are 7 & 9 leaf.
 
Joined
Apr 29, 2001
Messages
2,141
Location
Rio Rancho, NM
Corvette
1981 HD Suspension; ZN1 Option
Chris,

Yes, the rear sway bar is part of the package.

Have you ever found the build-sheet for your car? If so, then look for RPO FE7 or ZN1. The trailering package included the FE7. Basically, the radiator is a larger capacity radiator. If not, and someday you find yourself needing to lower the gas tank, then on the front of the tank, you'll likely to find your build sheet.

GerryLP:cool
 

Sensei

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Joined
Apr 5, 2004
Messages
393
Location
Jacksonville, Fl
Corvette
'81 dark blue
I don't have anything to compare the coil springs to, so I don't know about them, the front bar is 1 1/8" diameter if I remember correctly. I'll check it and the number of leafs later and post what I find. God bless, Sensei
 

Wegone

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Apr 9, 2002
Messages
516
Location
Atlanta GA.
Corvette
82,91 ZR-1,
My 77 is standard and has a 9 leaf...I will look at the 82 its an FE7 but I'm fairly sure its a 7 leaf...I'll check when I get home
 

Sensei

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Apr 5, 2004
Messages
393
Location
Jacksonville, Fl
Corvette
'81 dark blue
Mine has 9 leaves. So is it a Gymkana that someone took the rear bar off of? The rear fenders show evidence of minor body work that looks like the car was rear ended at one time. I assumed this was probably a very minor fender bender, but it may have damaged the rear bar, thus explaining its absence. What do you think? God bless, Sensei
 

Wegone

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Apr 9, 2002
Messages
516
Location
Atlanta GA.
Corvette
82,91 ZR-1,
I’m fairly sure 9 leaf would be standard as this is what my 77 has, but my memory is not what it used to be…Hopefully someone else will post in and confirm. Is it an early 81?
 

Sensei

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Apr 5, 2004
Messages
393
Location
Jacksonville, Fl
Corvette
'81 dark blue
Yes. it is an early '81. Standard for '81s was a fiberglass spring.
 

Wegone

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Apr 9, 2002
Messages
516
Location
Atlanta GA.
Corvette
82,91 ZR-1,
Sensei said:
Yes. it is an early '81. Standard for '81s was a fiberglass spring.

If the build date was late 80 could be GM had to use up the old stock of steel springs first. Would be a good ? to post to other 81 owners.

Steve
 

Zohhh6

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Oct 8, 2004
Messages
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Location
N. Cal.
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'04 Z06/Z16 #1966
Wegone said:
I’m fairly sure 9 leaf would be standard as this is what my 77 has, but my memory is not what it used to be…Hopefully someone else will post in and confirm. Is it an early 81?
Yes, 9 leaf standard.
7 leaf gymkana.
 

Yoda

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Oct 12, 2000
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Amarillo, TX
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1981 UL5

Yoda

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Amarillo, TX
Corvette
1981 UL5
Wegone said:
Well this brings up another? did the 4 speed cars have steel springs?
Yup..

Bud
 

Sensei

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Joined
Apr 5, 2004
Messages
393
Location
Jacksonville, Fl
Corvette
'81 dark blue
Rare81 said:
Check out the 6th Bullet down ;)

L81 Production Facts

Bud
Well this confirms my confusion. Mine is a seemingly unmolested old factory, '81 automatic with steel springs (9 leaves if I count correctly). Things that make you go "huh?" God bless, Sensei
 

craig32

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Joined
Sep 30, 2004
Messages
482
Location
PA
Corvette
1981 repainted black coupe
Mine is a VERY late 81 (81-1/2, if you will) Fiberglass spring, and a sway bar. The previous owner made a point of showing me what he added. . .
 

black_81_vette

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Dec 1, 2002
Messages
295
Location
wisconsin
Corvette
black 81 corvette 4-speed
I have a FE7 car rear sway bar and 7 leaf spring .all autos got the plastic spring FE7 cars should have a steel spring and a rear bar .
 

Sensei

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Apr 5, 2004
Messages
393
Location
Jacksonville, Fl
Corvette
'81 dark blue
I just saw a suspension post on another forum where someone said their '81 FE7 came with 9 leaves, not 7. ????????????
 

John Ulrich

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Joined
Oct 15, 2000
Messages
134
Location
Eagan, MN, Scottsdale AZ
Corvette
1981 Two Tone Claret, 2014 CRT Roadster
It's to hot to climb into the attic and count the leafs on my FE7 spring. Best thing I ever did was replace it with a fiberglass spring and add KYB G2 shocks!
JU
 
Joined
Apr 29, 2001
Messages
2,141
Location
Rio Rancho, NM
Corvette
1981 HD Suspension; ZN1 Option
View attachment 10923

Sorry about the delay. My old scanner didn't want to work with my newer computer.

As you can see, they call it an 8-leaf spring. One can count 9 total, but the upper stubby one does not provide a function to the spring assembly. One other thing is that the 9-leaf springs for the 79's were a 1/4" more narrow.

GerryLP:cool
 

Sensei

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Joined
Apr 5, 2004
Messages
393
Location
Jacksonville, Fl
Corvette
'81 dark blue
Yes! That's what I have. 8 springs with the little stubby in the middle (I counted as 9). So it looks like my car is indeed a gymkana with the rear sway bar missing. I'll have to get one for it! Thanks everyone and God bless, Sensei
 

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