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Old 12-15-2011, 06:51 AM
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Stepping a Frame... How Much?

I have a 1935 Chevrolet coupe street rod on a 1936 Chevrolet frame. It's fenderless and has a straight axle front end. I'm thinking I need to step the frame front and rear to get the car lower and to get the racy body rake I'm looking for. My question is what kind of minimum frame height should I have so I don't have to worry about speed bumps, railroad crossings, etc. This car will be a driver so even though I want a certain attitude and stance, it still has to be functional.
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Old 12-15-2011, 08:49 AM
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I used to use a couple of pieces of 4 x 4 lumber to scoot around under the car as I built it. 4" of ground clearance is what most Corvettes are that I have measured, so the Chevrolet engineers must have figured that 4" is just about as close as they want.
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Old 12-15-2011, 08:59 AM
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You can step the frame or just lower everything as far as you wish.

Keep it high enough so that nothing (frame, suspension, oil pan, steering, etc.) will be touching the ground if the vehicle were to be sitting on just the bare rims. That will keep you within some state (California) laws as to ground clearance and provide enough clearance for most driving on the street. As a word of caution, many driveway entrance ramps to gas stations, convenience stores, homes, etc. are steep enough to cause you to bottom out. If you have a fairly long wheelbase or a long body/bumper section behind the rear axle, you will also experience bottoming out or tail dragging.

Another thing to consider is when your vehicle is lowered to the extreme you will not be able to drive on many lifts for maintenance and/or repair and will have a problem even getting a jack underneath to change the tires.

An adjustable air or hydraulic suspension may be more to your liking to get the look you want and still be able to raise the vehicle for clearance when needed.
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Old 12-15-2011, 10:04 PM
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Thanks !!!

Thanks for all of your comments, guys. My car currently has a straight axle/leaf spring setup on the front and I haven't seen any air bag or hydraulic systems for this type of front end. I am considering air bags for the rear though. Any recommendations for a quality setup there?
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Old 12-17-2011, 09:29 AM
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Stepping the frame will be quite a project and may require extensive floor and firewall work.

I'd take a second look at your plans... unless you have the tools and experience (or tons of patience and time) most of these projects get abandoned when the builder gets overwhelmed with the task at hand. This is a BIG job.

Why not do a more conventional build and use a dropped front axle and a c-notched rear to accomplish the drop? Much easier and faster and you will be driving the car in months not years.
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Old 12-18-2011, 10:47 AM
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You could use this on the front...

http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/s...d.php?t=620279
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