Front end lowering: drop spindles or lowering springs

Old June 1st, 2016, 05:15 PM
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Front end lowering: drop spindles or lowering springs

Fellow members, during my rebuild I used a complete front end kit from PST with polyurethane bushings and all new front end components. The kit price was a great way to get everything at once for the best price. New tie rods, all bushings, ball joints, center link, idler arm etc. At the time I also bought new front and rear coil springs as they offered a great deal when you packaged everything.

The car was also upgraded with a right stuff front disc brake conversion. I went with stock height spindles up front. I know my new springs will take a "set" but I want to lower the front end a bit. The car sits "nose high" at the moment even with engine/trans installed.

I'm thinking on changing to 2" drop spindles, or possibly 2" drop springs. BMR makes 1 or 2" drop springs. I think retaining the spring rate is better than cutting coils on the existing ones.

Thoughts on spindles vs springs? Which is the better way to go? Which will retain the best geometry/caster/camber etc?

Thanks for any insight.
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Old June 1st, 2016, 07:14 PM
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I would do a drop spring, and a tall lower ball joint as well. The lowering spring will put you in a better spot in the camber curve, and the tall lower ball joint will also help with the camber curve, and give you another .5" drop or so.
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Old June 2nd, 2016, 08:00 AM
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What's your actual right height now? Measure from the ground to the top of the wheel well arch on the fender on each corner.

Some argue that lowering spindles actually aggravate the existing suspension issues with the A-body. Outside of road race / pro touring it may not actually matter. They do significantly change the relationship between the wheel inner rim and the ball joints which can cause interference with some combinations. YMMV.

You may not be able to get acceptable alignment settings when using stock-style arms with a tall lower ball joint. But, the tall lower does many good things for the A-body. If you want to go down the rabbit hole, check out SC&C Suspension. His book is a pretty good read as well.

I had hoped someone in Chevelle land had collected information about the various spring kits and real-world install heights, but haven't found anything. I have an SPC kit that appears not to be sold any more where the front sits 3.5" lower than the rear. It's a bit of a rake.

One approach is to go for the max drop springs, then use correct spring spacers to raise it back up as necessary. As long as everything engages properly and overall travel is good then it works well.

OR, lop up to one coil off your current front springs.

OR, if you like where the front sits now, you can raise the rear. There are spacers that look kind of like top hats. Very simple, very cheap, and the results are more predictable and operation more reliable than front spring spacers.
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Old June 2nd, 2016, 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Mr Nick View Post
I would do a drop spring, and a tall lower ball joint as well. The lowering spring will put you in a better spot in the camber curve, and the tall lower ball joint will also help with the camber curve, and give you another .5" drop or so.
^^ Do this! ^^

The taller lower ball joint will also help correct the bump-steer inherent in the factory suspension geometry, but may cause interference problems with 14" rims. Should be ok with 15" or larger rims.
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Old June 2nd, 2016, 03:04 PM
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Unhappy

Mr Nick, CDRod, Oddball

I appreciate your replies and information. The rear of the car has a set of tubular upper/lower control arms, new KYB shocks, new rear springs. I have mounted 17" rims, stock rebuilt drums in the rear. As it sits now I am not quite happy with the height out back, a bit too high. Today I actually jacked the car, loosened all the suspension bolts out back and set it on the ground. Jounced it a bit and snugged things up with weight on the car. That helped some. I will still make some four corner ride height meaurements as you suggest.

In the front the nose is high with too much daylight between the top of the tire and the wheel well lip. Again, new suspension and springs but of course nothing has been worn in yet and I assume it will take a little bit of a set once I use the car. Not quite there yet

I think at a minimum I will look into the front lowering springs. Never even heard of a "tall" lower ball joint...will have to investigate that. As you folks suggest that may be the ticket.
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Old June 2nd, 2016, 03:59 PM
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Ball Joints

The ball joints are made by Howe Racing and can be purchased directly from Howe or from Summit Racing. You order 2 parts: the housing & the stud come as separate pieces. The studs are available in Std/0", +.1", +.2", +.3", +.4" & +.5" lengths.
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Old June 2nd, 2016, 05:07 PM
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Excellent, I had never seen or heard of those before. Nice to have additional options, I will have to see what works to get me the combination I am looking for. So it seems that most agree the lowering springs are better choice than lowering spindles.
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Old June 8th, 2016, 01:36 PM
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Well the new front 2" drop BMR springs have arrived....when I will find the time to install them I just don't know....
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Old June 8th, 2016, 07:27 PM
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mailbru keep us updated, did you lower the rear? If so what did you do? My 64 with stock height Hotchkis rear springs is setting higher than I want, an issues to be resolved later.
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Old June 8th, 2016, 08:40 PM
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Robski, no I haven't lowered the rear yet. I have new stock springs in the rear but I may end up cutting half or one coil on those. I want to lower the front first and keep a slight rake to it. As it sits now the nose is sky high and I never liked the look of these cars that way.
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Old June 9th, 2016, 07:13 AM
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I don't think you can lower the rear by cutting them only the front.
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Old June 14th, 2016, 05:09 PM
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I haven't really looked at it yet. You may be right, In talking to other members here some recommended cutting the springs. I'm not sure either really if that will work!
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Old June 15th, 2016, 07:33 AM
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You can't cut the rear springs - they have a pigtail on both ends of the spring that fits into the spring perches to keep them in place. You can have custom springs made by Eaton Spring. I did this on my Toyota 4Runner (which came from the factory with it's *** ridiculously high). Eaton made me a set of factory springs 1" lower, which made the truck much more stable and predictable to drive.

If you have a known "good" spring but want a lower installed height, Eaton can look up the Moog number and make a custom spring 1" or 2" shorter with the same spring rate. I think my Toyota springs were about $180 for the pair.

Rodney
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Old July 6th, 2016, 01:44 PM
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Look up Detroit Speed- great stuff



Drop spindles / coil over adjustable shocks F&B / along with heavy sway set up

The coil overs allow height adjustments
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Old July 6th, 2016, 01:49 PM
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I had enough issues bottoming out the front cross member with stock suspension (albeit worn out, but still) on a 1970 Cutlass S that I just can't fathom wanting to drop one of these at all.
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Old July 6th, 2016, 07:15 PM
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If you want a lower front, you could put the originals back in. :-D
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Old July 9th, 2016, 05:01 PM
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Ok so notes for anyone considering a 2" drop spring, with my combination a 235/50R17 I went from a 3" gap (stock springs) top of tire to fender, and once the springs were in and I jounced the front end.....the rubber hit the fender

Ok so that doesn't work.

Back to the new, original coils and dropped 1 1/4 coils and that got it right. I've taken a few rides and slow rolls while turning, down driveway etc and barely get a tire rub. Which I've traced to the lower inner lip of the fender at front of tire. I'll massage that area a bit.

So in hindsight, If you decide to run a 17" rim and tire combo I would opt for a 1" drop spring and try that first. It looks like that would about equal what I accomplished with cutting the stock coil.

I have no idea why a 2" drop ended up more like 3". My front springs were correctly installed in the pockets too, I looked before I removed them.
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