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Old 02-20-2005, 07:27 AM
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Lowering rear end

I hope some one can help.
I have a '54 chevy half ton with a Camaro front clip. I want to lower the rear end about 6". I currently have leaf springs on the rear and I'm wondering if I can move them in board a little and create new mounts that place them 6" higher, or should I switch to coils. I can't block the leaf springs too much (maybe 2") because the bottom of the spring brackets/shock mounts will be getting too close to the ground. If I switch to coils, any suggestions about what I could use? Please note, I am on a tight budget and so if there is something I could get from the bone yard that would work, that would help. I am going to install a Ford 9" rear end in the truck, which is completely clean of any brackets, so I can weld on whatever I need.

Thanks,
Scott

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Old 04-08-2005, 07:42 AM
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I would stick with the leaf springs unless you want to show off a trick suspension. Easiest way to lower leaf springs, next to lowering blocks which you already said won't work in your case, is to have the springs de-arched. Take the springs off, disassemble and clean them and take them to a spring shop (most medium size cities have springs shops to mainly service the heavy truck industry) and have then flatten the arch of the leaves. Also, the stock springs in those trucks are WAY too stiff for modern high speed cruising so remove two or three of the shortest leaves which will not affect carrying capacity that much but will give a much smoother ride. You can go as low as your frame will allow. Notch the frame and you can go even lower than it will allow! As a final step before reassembly and re-installation, have the leaves powder coated. This is inexpensive, protects them from corrosion, their biggest enemy, and acts like the old Teflon spring liners, further smoothing out the ride.
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Old 04-09-2005, 10:51 AM
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An easier way than having the springs de arched is mounting them under the axel. This will lower your car without sacrificing your leaf springs. You will most likely have to swap the mounting pads, and use different shims, but this is a better way than dearching. the only thing with coil springs is that upper and lower mounts have to be made to attach the springs.
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Old 04-09-2005, 05:08 PM
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I was presuming the springs were already below the axle as they are on my '53. I think that is what almega is describing when he says "I can't block the leaf springs too much (maybe 2") because the bottom of the spring brackets/shock mounts will be getting too close to the ground." By all means, if the axle is below the springs, you will gain a quick ~5" drop just by repositioning the springs mounting pads to the bottom of the axle tubes and moving the axle on top. Then riser blocks will give a bunch more drop.
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Old 04-10-2005, 05:10 PM
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Oh wait it did say that. Well then disregard my post. Go with a coil spring swap and use drop coils. This keeps the axel at the same height, but might be a problem with rough bottoming out at the rear which might result in tire rub on the fenderwell.
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Old 04-13-2005, 10:54 AM
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I have a similar situation with my 92 Chevy 1500 short bed. The truck has been lowered all around. The rear leafs are mounted below the axle housing. The shackles are set up with the spring connection located above the frame connection, so I cannot shorten them without causing the spring to bind on the frame. I have a set of air bags mounted directly between the frame and the leaf springs to adjust the ride when the truck is heavily loaded. If I totally deflate the bags, the axle will bottom out. If I inflate the bags to level the truck, the ride becomes very hard.
My Question: If I re-arch the springs to increase the lift will the springs hold the arch over time?. Or should I expect the springs to revert back to the original arch over time?
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Old 04-13-2005, 11:07 AM
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They will settle a little but they will stay re-arched for the most part. That is assuming there are enough leaves to start with but that isn't a problem in pickups.
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Old 04-13-2005, 12:27 PM
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Thanks Willis. I have used your advice in the past with great success. It did not occur to me until today that re-arching may be my best option. I'll give it a shot.
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Old 04-13-2005, 01:35 PM
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I think that those springs are too old to be reused. If they are sagging now, I would opt for a replacement set, then use them and rearch if needed. An air bag suspension should be a soft ride! Not stiff! Something's wrong there.
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Old 04-13-2005, 01:42 PM
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Does anyone know what the cost is of dearching springs is?.....Don
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Old 04-13-2005, 02:25 PM
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Call your local spring shop.
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Old 04-13-2005, 07:17 PM
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There are no local spring shops......Don
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Old 04-13-2005, 11:45 PM
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Call a remote spring shop! Most medium size and all large towns have them to service truckers. Plus, if you don't have a spring shop, why do you need to know the cost?
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Old 04-14-2005, 11:19 AM
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I give up trying to get a answer...you win.I was only asking a simple question.
Dr Meyer

Last edited by Don Meyer; 04-14-2005 at 11:29 AM.
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Old 04-14-2005, 11:36 AM
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Not a matter of winning or losing, it is just that your question on pricing is not generally answerable. Way too many variables to give one meaningful $$ value. Depends on your local labor market, whether you remove the springs from the car or they do, what size the leaves are, how many leaves each spring has, whether there are spring clamps involved, etc, etc, etc. As I recall, re-arching the small springs on the front of my Willys was in the neighborhood of $45 each whereas the longer rear springs were about $55 each. That was 15 years ago so who knows what the cost would be today. Only way to know for sure is ask the guy!!
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