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Old 07-18-2012, 12:14 AM   #1
76C10Stepside
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Lowering by raising leaf spring mounts

Have some questions re lowering and replacing the bed wood for y'all...

LOWERING (cheap but safe):

The rear leaf spring mounting brackets can be moved up on the frame rails by a good 2 inches in front, and an inch in back (more if I can relocate the cross piece that's right above it).
Q: Anybody out there done this before? Anything I should know about before starting?

The ride in back has gotten progressively stiffer the last couple years. It has air shocks in back with a single schrader valve. I've never added air or let any out. I tried letting air out today, but nothing happened, so I guess these shocks are probably toast. Will take them off and test them before tossing.
Q: Suggestions for affordable but good shocks? I don't do a lot of hauling, mostly engines and stuff.

REPLACING WOOD BED:

The original wood bed is totally rotten. Fell through a couple times now.
I don't have covered parking for this truck, so don't want to use wood.
I think the charcoal colored "Trex" style "engineered wood" would look great.
I'll refinish all the metal with black bed liner.
Q: Anybody out there found a suitable product that has the right dimensions and is strong enough to replace the bed wood? I've talked to sales people at Home Depot, etc., and got nowhere. One time I went there I found some nice stuff with a dull finish (like it was sandblasted). Next time, it had been replaced by stuff that as a fake woodgrain embossed into it and is shiny, didn't like that.

Thanks!
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Old 07-18-2012, 01:11 AM   #2
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Re: Lowering by raising leaf spring mounts

Longer Shackles in the rear. Easier than moving spring hangers.
I believe 2wd suburban/blazer front hangers are shorter as well.
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Old 07-18-2012, 01:57 AM   #3
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Re: Lowering by raising leaf spring mounts

Good idea, BUT, I have a stepside with a wood bed, and there is a cross-support positioned directly over the rear shackle. There's about 1-inch between the bottom of the brace and the top of the shackle.

I may be able to move this brace back an inch or two. Can't move forward, because the frame rail slopes UP just ahead of the brace. If that doesn't work...

I was hoping to do most of the lowering on the front end of the springs, where there is a lot of room. I'd have to move the mount up, no shackles on the front end. Anybody done this?
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Old 07-18-2012, 04:53 AM   #4
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Re: Lowering by raising leaf spring mounts

Not many mods cheaper than using a flip kit.
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Old 07-18-2012, 05:20 AM   #5
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Re: Lowering by raising leaf spring mounts

Keith Seymore did this. You need to move the front and the rear up roughly the same amount. IIRC he moved it up one hole, had to cut the top off one of the brackets to clear the bed. i want to say there's a picture in his 'intor from and old assembly plant guy' thread (which is worth reading anyways).

You neeed new shocks, and not Gabriels or air shocks. Buy good ones, check out Summit and Rock Auto for nice gas charged ones.

Someone on here had replaced their bed with deck material. Saw it on this board within the last few days. Want to say there is one that was also Rhino Lined over top.

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Old 07-18-2012, 07:40 AM   #6
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Re: Lowering by raising leaf spring mounts

How much lower do you want to go? If 2in is all you want, 2in drop shackles are about $40. The only thing you need to do to install them is notch the bed brace above the shackles. If you want to go 4in you still need the drop shackles and move your hangers up 4in. As far as shocks you can get a pair of Monroematics at the parts store for about $50.
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Old 07-18-2012, 07:56 AM   #7
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Re: Lowering by raising leaf spring mounts

i have done this form of drop on a long wheel base. it's much easier just to do a flip kit or shackles. you run into a problem removing the front hangers where the gas tank is. even with the bed off. i would definately go shackles for what you're seeking.
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Old 07-18-2012, 07:57 AM   #8
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Re: Lowering by raising leaf spring mounts

depending on your leaf spring measurement, mr. knight is right. it'd have to be notched, but depending on your leaf spring measurement. these trucks came with two different leaf springs. the more common ones will have to be notched.
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Old 07-19-2012, 03:55 AM   #9
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Re: Lowering by raising leaf spring mounts

OK, I read through 7 pages of Keith Seymore's thread, and he said he lowered it when new, but no explanation of HOW. Said he didn't recall the deets, but looks like 2 inches in front, 3 inches in back.

Sounds like 2-inch drop shackles in rear and 2-inch drop coils in front.
The LMC catalog says lowering front 2 inches or more requires drop shocks. Do you concur? Can I get shorter shocks (Monroematics sound good to me) from my FLAPS? LMC wants $60 a pop.

http://www.lmctruck.com/icatalog/CC/full.aspx?page=141

I have a ton of space between the top of tires and fender lips. Running 275/60-15's.
In my head, 2-inches front/rear looks like hardly anything. I'll take a side-on shot of the truck and post it for opinions. Thanks to all!
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Old 07-19-2012, 04:18 AM   #10
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Re: Lowering by raising leaf spring mounts

Found the thread for the Trex bed replacement here. Thanks!
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Old 07-19-2012, 05:18 AM   #11
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Re: Lowering by raising leaf spring mounts

SKIP LMC for parts.
Their quality is "hi or miss" at best.

Either look at our board vendors or board supporters like www.performanceonline.com.
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Old 07-19-2012, 05:36 AM   #12
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Re: Lowering by raising leaf spring mounts

coils in front.
http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...d.php?t=520806
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Old 07-20-2012, 03:32 AM   #13
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Re: Lowering by raising leaf spring mounts

Will probably just cut one coil in front.

On the vendors: Open to better price/quality! The ones I checked out so far all cost MORE than LMC. BTW, are the drop shackles and flip kits they sell at FLAPS (Autozone, O'Reilly...) the same quality as elsewhere (safe)?
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Old 07-22-2012, 06:08 AM   #14
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Re: Lowering by raising leaf spring mounts

Here's a PM I sent to a friend; let me know if you need more details -

K

Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith Seymore
There's really no trick to it, other than you have to cut all the rivets and replace them with 3/8" grade 8 bolts. Be careful to move the front hanger straight up, because any error here will cause the front spring eyes to be off location, which translates directly into the rear axle position and would cause dogtracking.

The only other thought is that as you move the rear hanger up you lose the top attaching points on the bracket. I compensate for this by running the spring shackle bolt throught the hanger and on through the frame. You'll need to make a spacer so that you can get appropriate torque.

Other than that - it's a piece o cake!

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Old 08-07-2012, 04:03 PM   #15
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Re: Lowering by raising leaf spring mounts

Thanks, Keith! I installed 2-inch lowering shackles, and I know it's lower, but sure doesn't LOOK any lower.

With the lowering shackles installed, there's 4 inches between the top of the axle and the travel limiters. I won't be hauling any more loads of gravel in this truck. How much room should I leave for travel? Looks like a flip kit would only leave me about one inch, so guess I'll be raising the front leaf spring mounts up two inches.

I noticed that in the photos you posted, the bracket is mounted with the bottom hole in the bracket. But on my truck, the bottom hole on my mounts is THREE inches down from the middle hole, and there's only enough room to move it up TWO inches. Guess I'll just drill four new holes the same distance from the top and bottom of the frame rail as the original holes.

To ensure that the mounts are in the right location horizontally, I'll scribe a line where the front "ear" on the bracket is now, since the frame rail that is straight on that side.

Question about replacing the bed wood with thicker material: The original wood was only 1/2-inch thick, and the Trex decking is 5/4-inch thick. Seems like I have two choices:

a) Mill the Trex down to 1/2-inch in all the places where there is a cross brace or other obstacle. That's a lot of extra work. Probably should also add heat shields to the dual exhaust pipes to keep it from melting, as mounting them against the plastic probably would just make it melt faster.

OR

b) Let the new bed stick up 3/4-inch higher than the original (would have to raise the L-brackets on the sides), and install a metal cover strip over the back edge of the wood. The problem with this idea is that it will stick up 3/4-inch above the tailgate when lowered.

What you would all do? Thanks!
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Old 08-07-2012, 05:03 PM   #16
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Re: Lowering by raising leaf spring mounts

Quote:
Originally Posted by 76C10Stepside View Post
What you would all do?
Flip kit.
Remove the rubber bump stop.
Remove the frame bracket for the bumpstop.

It's a 4/6 or 5/6 drop.
The rear is perfect and just requires a flip kit and shock extenders.
http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...d.php?t=537348
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Old 08-07-2012, 05:40 PM   #17
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Re: Lowering by raising leaf spring mounts

Quote:
Originally Posted by lolife99 View Post
Flip kit.
Remove the rubber bump stop.
Remove the frame bracket for the bumpstop.

It's a 4/6 or 5/6 drop.
The rear is perfect and just requires a flip kit and shock extenders.
Is that WITH or WITHOUT the 2-inch drop shackles?

Will I have to put the original shackles back on (or move to a lower mounting hole on the drop shackles)?

How much space between top of axle and frame rails when all is done?

Sorry about all the dumb questions...
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Old 08-07-2012, 06:16 PM   #18
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Re: Lowering by raising leaf spring mounts

I would contact the owner of that truck with your questions.
I linked his thread with that picture.
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Old 08-08-2012, 01:25 AM   #19
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Re: Lowering by raising leaf spring mounts

Sorry, missed the link. Just checked it out, and the first post says "I used all Western Chassis 2.5 spindles and springs in the front with a flip kit, shackles and a c-notch in the rear.". I definitely don't want to notch my frame rails or go that low.

Think I'll cut one coil off the front springs and see how it looks, then raise the front brackets 2 inches and live with it. Have one lowered car and getting ready to lower another one. Want the truck to clear the bumps!
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Old 08-08-2012, 07:15 AM   #20
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Re: Lowering by raising leaf spring mounts

hey check out me and my son's youtube site chevygearheads. we cut the hanger's in the video. on my 80 short bed frame we use a chop saw and cleaned them up with a grinder. we still have a lot of grinding and welding and cleaning up the frame.
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Old 08-08-2012, 07:47 AM   #21
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Re: Lowering by raising leaf spring mounts

Quote:
Originally Posted by 76C10Stepside View Post
Sorry, missed the link. Just checked it out, and the first post says "I used all Western Chassis 2.5 spindles and springs in the front with a flip kit, shackles and a c-notch in the rear.". I definitely don't want to notch my frame rails or go that low.

Think I'll cut one coil off the front springs and see how it looks, then raise the front brackets 2 inches and live with it. Have one lowered car and getting ready to lower another one. Want the truck to clear the bumps!
If you want a full 4in drop from the original height you will need to raise the hangers 4in, not 2in. If you move the hanger 2in it will only give you 1in of additional drop just like the 2in drop shackles that is actually 4in longer than the factory shackles. The reason for this is the axle is half way between the pivot point and the adjusted point of the leaf spring.
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Old 08-08-2012, 10:25 AM   #22
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Re: Lowering by raising leaf spring mounts

This is A VIDEO ME AND MY SON DID TO THE HANGERS ON MY '80 AND LOWERING IT...
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Old 08-08-2012, 07:06 PM   #23
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Re: Lowering by raising leaf spring mounts

Quote:
Originally Posted by J Knight View Post
If you want a full 4in drop from the original height you will need to raise the hangers 4in, not 2in. If you move the hanger 2in it will only give you 1in of additional drop just like the 2in drop shackles that is actually 4in longer than the factory shackles. The reason for this is the axle is half way between the pivot point and the adjusted point of the leaf spring.
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Yeah, I had not measured, but guessed the drop would be 3-inch total with 2-inch drop shackles and moving front hangers up 2 inches. The squared wheel openings on these 74-88 Chevys are HUGE!

I like a more level lowered look, but will have to settle for a raked stance closer to this 454-powered '74 c10 stepside that Ryan O'Neal drove in the movie "The Driver". Nevermind that it has a floor-shift in some shots and a column shift in others. I could watch the amazing stunt driving in that chase scene a hundred times:

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Old 07-15-2013, 02:18 PM   #24
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Re: Lowering by raising leaf spring mounts

This project has been shelved for awhile now due to health problems and other priorities. Am hoping to get back into it some time between now and the Fall.

So far, I've removed the bed wood and hardware, cut the rails that pass over the drop shackles, installed drop shackles and new rear shocks, and bought new stainless bed strips, rear bumper and Trex decking to replace the old wood boards. The Trex is 1-inch thick, so will stick up half-inch at the tailgate (may bevel that end, not sure yet). I plan to add new metal to the cut rails (make a box) to make them go around the shackles and reattach them to the bed. Still need to buy new, longer hardware for the thicker "wood".

I've since read about a pivoting type of shackle that smooths out the bumps when driving with no load. That sounds great, wondering if there is some way to combine the original shackles with the drop shackles (maybe cut the drops shorter?) to make my own?

With the drop shackles, the rear is still very HIGH at the fender openings. I don't have any good photos of the truck from before installing to compare before/after height. The bed certainly has dropped. The tops of the shackles now come to a little above where the bottom of the bed wood was, so will have to cut away some of the bottom of the Trex in these areas. Also need to figure make heat shields to keep the dual exhaust from melting the Trex, which is mostly plastic.

The frame rails, etcetera, have surface rust only, nothing serious.
Am debating whether to take the time and trouble to strip and paint the frame rails OR just clean them and paint with Rust Bullet (works on rust and clean metal) OR do nothing. Note that poor health, lack of money and other factors dictate that this project be a minimal "restoration" at best. I may have to sell it soon due to pending divorce. I want to at least do DIY spray-on bedliner before replacing the bed. If possible, will do a cheap DIY paint job like blitz black.

Open to any and all ideas and suggestions on this project. Please see attached photos to see what I am working with. Thanks!
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