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I have a 1991 2WD Sonoma. The suspension is currently soft and worn, and I looking to improve the handling. From what I understand, better handling comes from lowering the car/truck.
What ways are there to improve the handling without lowering (I'm not a big fan of how it looks, at least on my truck.) During some brainstorming, I came up with the following combo: drop spindles and lift springs. or drop spindles with a body lift.

Will this do the trick or will the two negate each other? Best of both worlds or a waste of money?

Should I spend my money on sway bars, shocks, and urethane bushings instead?

Thanks for humoring me!
McKenzie
 

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[email][email protected][/email] said:
...From what I understand, better handling comes from lowering the car/truck.

What ways are there to improve the handling without lowering (I'm not a big fan of how it looks, at least on my truck.) During some brainstorming, I came up with the following combo: drop spindles and lift springs. or drop spindles with a body lift.

Will this do the trick or will the two negate each other? Best of both worlds or a waste of money?

Should I spend my money on sway bars, shocks, and urethane bushings instead?

Thanks for humoring me!
McKenzie
The better handling from lowering is mostly from a lower CG... the mods you mention would not achieve this. They would probably make the problem worse.

Shocks, bushings, and sway bars will help but it will still be a truck with a high CG. Stiffer will corner better but ride rougher.
 

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I'm not overly familiar with the Sonoma/S10 rear spring layout, but take a look at the rear leaf spring mounting points. If the rear of the spring is higher than the front, lowering the rear spring eye via a extended shackle until the front and rear spring eyes are level should lower your rear roll center, reducing roll steer and provide a more stable-feeling rear suspension. Unfortunately, it will also raise the rear of the truck, so you will probably want to lower the rear via a de-arched leaf-spring (I don't like the idea of using lowering blocks for this as they tend to increase spring wrap and wheel hop). Also, if the new rear hanger is too long, it will be seen hanging down under the truck, which looks terrible. Measure pinion angle before and after, as this would most likely change it.

If your seriously wanting to improve handling, I would suggest picking up a book on the subject. "How to Make Your Car Handle" is published through HPBooks and is pretty good at explaining simple changes to make to stock suspensions. Some of the info is a little dated (the tire and wheel section is completely useless) but it is a pretty good start.

HTH
 

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The front suspension has MANY problems from a handling perspective. The biggest ones are:

-Roll center below ground
-Tire gains positive camber in bump (outside tire leans out of the turn)

But it also has some bump steer and questionable brakes.

The front suspension on s10's is exactly the same as a G-body except for the center link in the steering being shorter on the s10 (because s10's are narrower). Because of this you can look at all the things the g-body guys have been doing (for years!) to help their front suspensions. www.montecarloss.com has a bunch of good info. Look up "Marcus" in the vender forum as well as the rolling chassis forum there. He really knows his stuff.

To fix the roll center and camber curve is done in the same way (they are really one in the same problem). The spindle is too short. You can fix this buy getting some custom "tall" ball joints or by doing what I did swapping in some b-body spindles (with 12" brakes and new upper control arms to match).

Going with the tall ball joints will help the bump steer where the B-body spindles will create some more (I'm still not sure I can notice it but I still haven't replaced my warn idler arm so who knows).

Whichever way you go raising the roll center in the front will be just like adding a stiffer ARB (anti-roll bar)...but you won't feel the road so much.

I haven't yet added an ARB to the rear...but I plan on using a s10 Blazer one because you can't get much cheeper then j/y.

If you do go with poly bushings make sure you put a grease zerk on them so you can grease them...without grease they will bind and squeek.
 
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