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Old 07-16-2008, 09:49 AM
 
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Lowering my 54 Bel Air... the best way?

just bought this car https://www.hotrodders.com/forum/hell...tml#post996578 (the chevy) and want to lower it 4" all round. what are my options?

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Last edited by RoadHouse Tim; 07-16-2008 at 10:44 AM.
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Old 07-16-2008, 11:41 AM
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54 Chevrolets have a enclosed driveshaft. That can limit the amount of lowering in the rear. For the rear, the most popular way is lowering blocks. They install in between the axle perch and the spring. They cab be purchased or made ( I like to make stuff when I can ). I suggest solid bar not tubing.

The front can be lowered by using other front springs ( best ) or cutting the original springs. The second way ... while the less expensive ... affects the ride and they ride rough IMHO.



Some folks use air bags and BAG THEM ... but I have not been involved with any of that. The same for hydraulics.
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Old 07-17-2008, 04:37 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deuce
54 Chevrolets have a enclosed driveshaft. That can limit the amount of lowering in the rear. For the rear, the most popular way is lowering blocks. They install in between the axle perch and the spring. They cab be purchased or made ( I like to make stuff when I can ). I suggest solid bar not tubing.

The front can be lowered by using other front springs ( best ) or cutting the original springs. The second way ... while the less expensive ... affects the ride and they ride rough IMHO.



Some folks use air bags and BAG THEM ... but I have not been involved with any of that. The same for hydraulics.
So what do you think i can drop at the back? are 4" blocks a bit excessive and would that cause problems wi the drive shaft?

Also do you think 4" is possible at the front just on shorter springs? i'd rather buy them off the shelf so the rating is right and the ride is not too harsh... mind you saying that with the price of petrol over here i wont be doing a great deal of mileage...

I was looking at this set up for the front, what's your opinion on it? http://www.rodandcustommagazine.com/...603/index.html

i can slam an old VW bus on the floor and still get it to drive real nice, i have done over 30 but i'm pretty wet behind the ears when it comes to American cars so excuse my novice questions.

I have fitted Air on a couple of VW's too, i really don't rate it as they are not heavy enough to ride nicely on the bags. i guess it's a different story on a 2ton plus car but i would rather stick to springs if possible...
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Old 07-17-2008, 04:40 AM
 
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My friend had a play on photoshop, i'd love it looking just like this but guess it's not going to be possible without serious modifications...

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Old 07-17-2008, 06:07 AM
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Let me put in this little disclaimer ... I have never owned a 53 or 54 Chevrolet. Lots of 55 to 57 Chevrolets but no 53 or 54's.

Chassis Engineering makes good equipment and pieces. I have used their stuff in pre 49 Fords a lot and never once was I dissatisfied. I would imagine that the kit you are interested in would be of the same well thought out, good quality that all the Ford kits I have used have been. They make a open driveline kit to change the rear end also. Then I believe the photoshop version of your 54 would be possible ...

I do understand that being in the UK would limit your access to Chevrolet donor vehicles for rear ends ... but a lot of the fellows over here have gone to the S-10 Blazer rear ends under the 53/54 Chevrolet.

There is another company that a few of my friends have been using. Walton Fabrication ... here is their web page

http://www.waltonfabrication.com/

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Old 07-17-2008, 03:57 PM
 
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Thanks Duece

i called up Walton fabrications and they were very helpful and reasonably priced. the rear end is the only sticking point but i'll have to take more drastic action there at a later date...
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Old 07-17-2008, 10:27 PM
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I'm putting one together for my daughter right now. Four inch blocks are a bit much on these cars especially on the skinny 2" springs, and you'll probably be hitting the frame on bumps, some say don't do it, others say it's not that bad if you drive carefully. You can buy dropped uprights for the front but they're $380 plus you need dropped arms $180, a little to spendy for me. In fact, I hate to say it, but if you start needing anything in that old front end, you probably ought to start looking at a MII kit, some actually just bolt in like your original does. Then you're lower, got good handling and disc brakes. (but your pockets are empty)
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Old 07-18-2008, 02:18 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roddinron
I'm putting one together for my daughter right now. Four inch blocks are a bit much on these cars especially on the skinny 2" springs, and you'll probably be hitting the frame on bumps, some say don't do it, others say it's not that bad if you drive carefully. You can buy dropped uprights for the front but they're $380 plus you need dropped arms $180, a little to spendy for me. In fact, I hate to say it, but if you start needing anything in that old front end, you probably ought to start looking at a MII kit, some actually just bolt in like your original does. Then you're lower, got good handling and disc brakes. (but your pockets are empty)
Thanks for that advice, i think i'm going to go with 3" blocks at the rear for now then completely rework the rear end, axle, gearbox etc when i can afford too. I am definately going to go for the MII setup from Walton on the front end, everything currently is a bit worn out and i like the idea of disc brakes and better handling. It's $1675 for the whole setup but with the English exchange rate that's really not that bad...
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Old 07-18-2008, 12:29 PM
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Lots of lowering block kits already available here in the states. Not a lot of $$$ either.

They come in sizes ranging from 1", 2", 3" and 4"

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Old 07-18-2008, 06:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deuce


Lots of lowering block kits already available here in the states. Not a lot of $$$ either.

They come in sizes ranging from 1", 2", 3" and 4"

Those kits WILL NOT work on a 54 chevy. The blocks are too wide for the 2" spring, and a 54 chevy has offset pins. The u bolts are also too wide unless you make a new plate to go under the spring and put the bolts around the axle instead of using the current arrangement where they go over the axle pad. Easier and better to get someone to make you new u bolts probably.

I think it's chassis engineering that make the bolt in MII, and I know someone else does as well. I'm using a bolt in made by Jim Meyers racing, this one - http://www.jimmeyerracing.com/ifs9a.html
it's a really nice front end, mine was for a corvette but a purist took it out and a friend had it and i got it for about 1/3 the cost of a new one otherwise I'd have gone with something else, they're pretty pricey.
Bolt in is the way to go I think, it's how the original is in, so it's really just a matter of unbolting the old one and bolting in the new one, that's one advantage to a 54 chevy.
You might want to consider manual steering though, it's a pain to make the brackets to add a power steering pump to the 235, but in the end it will be nice to have power i guess.

Last edited by roddinron; 07-18-2008 at 06:17 PM.
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Old 07-21-2008, 05:05 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roddinron
Those kits WILL NOT work on a 54 chevy. The blocks are too wide for the 2" spring, and a 54 chevy has offset pins. The u bolts are also too wide unless you make a new plate to go under the spring and put the bolts around the axle instead of using the current arrangement where they go over the axle pad. Easier and better to get someone to make you new u bolts probably.

I think it's chassis engineering that make the bolt in MII, and I know someone else does as well. I'm using a bolt in made by Jim Meyers racing, this one - http://www.jimmeyerracing.com/ifs9a.html
it's a really nice front end, mine was for a corvette but a purist took it out and a friend had it and i got it for about 1/3 the cost of a new one otherwise I'd have gone with something else, they're pretty pricey.
Bolt in is the way to go I think, it's how the original is in, so it's really just a matter of unbolting the old one and bolting in the new one, that's one advantage to a 54 chevy.
You might want to consider manual steering though, it's a pain to make the brackets to add a power steering pump to the 235, but in the end it will be nice to have power i guess.
Ok i reckon i'll look into making some blocks and getting some bolts made.

That Jim Meyer set up is pretty damn impressive! i called them up and yeah it's pricey but looks like it has quite a few advantages than some others i looked at with all the adjustment etc plus the general build quality. just work out if i can really justify and afford to spend that kind of money on it... i do always like to buy the best i can though.

Not really bothered about power steering, sure it'd be fine when rolling and i don't mind working it when parking up.
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Old 11-17-2008, 02:38 AM
 
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Can anyone tell me if there is a 3 speed manual box that will bolt in and work with my original column shift but doesn't have an enclosed prop shaft setup so i can go proper low?

Thanks

Tim.
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