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Suspension Rebuild/Upgrade & Lowering Questions

Discussion in 'Lowered & Street Systems' started by Merlin3e9, Dec 30, 2018.

  1. Merlin3e9

    Merlin3e9 Full Access Member

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    Evening everyone,

    I'm about to pull the trigger on some parts to rebuild/upgrade the suspension & lower my 87 R10 and I've got a few questions.

    I am looking at wanting to improve the handling of my truck, replace worn out parts and lower the truck roughly 2 1/2 - 3" up front & 4" in the rear. I like the slight racked look over a leveled look.

    I've tossed around the idea of piecing parts together for the front end like new UCA's, all new polyurethane bushings, LCA bushings & ball joints etc..from Rock Auto or another source or buying an entire front end kit from Performance Online:

    https://www.performanceonline.com/1...k-Tubular-Control-Arm-Suspension-Kit-Stage-3/

    In trying to cost compare, the tubular control arm kit is a few hundred dollars more expensive, but I'd save time and labor since everything is already put together and no bushings will need to be removed or pressed in. Also, everything is already matched up and made to work together. Installation should be quick and painless.

    My question for my front end is this... I was looking at going with their 3 inch coil lowering for the front end. Is this too much? I've read that you can have clearance issues from lowering more than 2- 2 1/2 inches up front with stock UCA's and stock 15" rally wheels. Is this the same with aftermarket tubular control arms? My plan for right now is to keep my original 15" rally wheels. My current tire size front & rear is 255/60-15. I might go to a slightly shorter and narrower tire up front and wider tire in back. (235/70-15 front & 275/60-15 in back) These sizes are the same height. I could do a 255/60-15 in front, but this is 1 inch shorter than the 275's.

    I also have a factory sway bar. Will I need to replace the sway bar with aftermarket tubular control arms? If it'll bolt to the new control arms, then all I should need is new bushings right? Will a new sway bar make my truck handle better than the stock sway bar? I was also looking at a rear sway bar too. Here is a combo kit from performance online:

    https://www.performanceonline.com/1...Sway-Bar-Kit-High-Performance-Front-and-Rear/

    For the rear suspension, I want to do install lowered leaf springs for the rear versus shackles & hangers. I know shackles & hangers are cheaper, but I don't really want to cut my bed support in order to install longer shackles. Besides, I think my original leaf springs are sagging a bit. The drivers side is about 3/4 inch lower than the passenger. Could this be a bad shock? Do leaf springs go bad and sag over time? This truck has seen little to no duty as an actual truck, so I don't think they're worn out from excessive use. I don't think I have the HD suspension. I have 4+1 leaf springs in the back.

    Here are the rear leaf springs I am thinking of getting:

    https://www.performanceonline.com/1973-87-Chevy-C10-Truck-Multi-Leaf-Spring-Set-Rear-52-Long/

    Of course matching lowered shocks would be installed on the rear as well.

    Is their anything else I'm missing or should go ahead and replace? What about tie rod ends? I priced them from Rock Auto and they were less than $10 each for AC Delco.

    My height measurements from the body crease line are:
    DF: 37"
    PF: 38 1/4"
    DR: 39 1/2"
    PR: 40"

    Apologize for the long post.

    Any advice or suggestions are appreciated.
    Jason
     
  2. Merlin3e9

    Merlin3e9 Full Access Member

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    Well, I went ahead and purchased a complete suspension package for my truck. Should be here in a few days...

    Hopefully installation will go smooth
     
  3. morrow07

    morrow07 Full Access Member

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    What did you order? I have CPP upper and lowers, with Belltech spindles, and Belltech 2" coils. The truck rides great. I used the Belltech sway bar and made my own mounts, as the CPP lowers won't accept the bell tech mounting set up. I also used Pro-forged for my rebuild components.

    Not sure about POL's suspension stuff, but it looks good. I have their blackout booster master cylinder setup which is awesome. Really nice stuff.
     
  4. smoothandlow84

    smoothandlow84 I'd rather be draggin' frame

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    Upgrade to polyurethene bushings. Polyurethane will stifen the ride and tighten up the sloppy feel with the rubber bushings....and....the polyurethane will last....pretty much forever.


    Yes...leaf springs with excessive loads and age will flatten out. You can have them re-arched, or in your case you can also remove the overload spring in the packs and soften/lower the rear an additional 1- 2 inches.

    Sometimes, like in my case, the body mounts where badly squashed and in need of replacement as well. Originally I assumed the rear suspension was worn out, but it ended up being a over worked body mount. I would suggest when replacing steeing and suspension components to replace all of them at one time...ball joints, tie rods, pitman arm, shocks, bushings etc. Replacing these wear items will also help maintain the alignment as well as the handling. The rear leaf spring bushings are also often overlooked and may also lead to sagging or binding.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2019
  5. Merlin3e9

    Merlin3e9 Full Access Member

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    I went ahead and ordered a complete front suspension package from Performance Online.
    For the front: Upper and lower tubular control arms, 1 inch drop coils, 2 1/2 inch spindles and lowered shocks. I also bought new polyurethane bushings for my stock sway bar.
    For the rear: 4 inch lowered leaf springs, lowered shocks and new polyurethane bushings for the shackle itself.

    I'll see how the truck handles with this setup. If needed, I could upgrade the front sway bar and add a rear sway bar.

    Overall, it'll be 3 1/2 inches in the front and 4 inches in the rear. This will still give me about 1 inch of rake.

    Hopefully tires & wheels won't be an issue. Currently running 255/60-15 with factory rallies.

    Hopefully I'll start receiving the parts this week, then plan the install.
     
  6. Merlin3e9

    Merlin3e9 Full Access Member

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    Thanks for the advice. I never considered body mounts. Guess it's worth an inspection. Are they difficult to change?

    The suspension kit I bought comes with all new bushings and ball joints, so that's good. The other componants im getting all have new bushings, and i bought new sway bar and rear shackle bushings. All this should make drastic improvements.

    I'm seriously considering new tie rod ends, pitman arm and idler arm. My originals look fine, but i notice some excess movement in my steering wheel before the tires start turning. I have AC Delco Professional parts in my Amazon wish list, ready to buy.

    Jason
     
  7. smoothandlow84

    smoothandlow84 I'd rather be draggin' frame

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    Replacng body mounts is fairly straightforward. Years of rust can make removing the oem harware tricky and often times the bolts have to be broken off or cut. Plan ahead to replace some if not all of the mounting hardware. I replaced mine with srainless steel....although more expensive, I won't have to worry about rust. I wouls also reccomend using anti-seize lubricant on the threads and consider using nylock nuts as well.
     
  8. Merlin3e9

    Merlin3e9 Full Access Member

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    Okay, thanks.. I'll definitely look into that once I get all the suspension parts installed
     
  9. eskimomann209

    eskimomann209 Full Access Member

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    While gorgeous
    I wouldnt trust stainless with anything short of holding a price of trim on
    Any area thatvsees movement will work harden and snap stainless.
    They’re too brittle
    I have seen MANY break
    But must admit I am uncertain how much movement the cab bolts will actually see... but it seems like a bit to me

    If it’s decided to be used any way anti seize isn’t optional it’s mandatory
    AlSo wouldn’t use any form of impact gun on them
    They gall super easy when exposed to the heat created by the friction of tightening
    Over tightened and they will snap
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2019
  10. Merlin3e9

    Merlin3e9 Full Access Member

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    Evening everyone,

    Well I finally installed my suspension upgrade and I think my tires are too tall. I'm rubbing at the top of the tire.

    Current setup is 255/60-15 on stock 15x8 rally wheels.

    Thinking a 26" tire up front would work, maybe a 235/60-15.

    Out back I wanted to go with 275/60-15, but that would cause nearly a 2" size difference. What about 295/50-15? I've read on here that people have run that size on stock 8" wheels. Thoughts? With 295/50 & 235/60, size difference would only be 1/2 inch. I like the slight raked look, so I wouldn't mind.

    So far the stock wheels aren't rubbing, but I still need aligning. I think I might need sticky weights versus hammer weights.

    Drop consisted of 2 1/2 spindles and 1" drop coils (3 1/2") and rear consisted of 4" drop leaf springs. I also replaced the upper and lower control arms with tubular arms. The spindles and coils are Western Chassis, the rest are POL's in-house brand. All parts are very well made.

    Overall, my main question is two fold...

    Recommended tire size for front/rear that'll allow me to keep "meaty" looking tires.

    Should I have to worry about wheel rubbing given the amount of drop and backspacing on the stock wheels?

    Thanks everyone, Jason

    IMG_0327.jpg

    IMG_0328.jpg
     
  11. Merlin3e9

    Merlin3e9 Full Access Member

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    Any thoughts?
     
  12. Merlin3e9

    Merlin3e9 Full Access Member

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    **UPDATE**

    Here's how the truck looks after my new tires installed on stock 8" rally wheels.

    235/60-15 up front (26.1")
    295/50-15 out back (26.6")

    My only complaint is that I think the front is lower than I expected. It was only supposed to be 3 1/2" up front, but it seems lower. I know for sure that my drivers side is 3/4" lower than the passenger front. Guess I have the notorious "Chevy Lean".

    I might try to find a spacer or something to go below the spring coil. I called Belltech, but they only make spring spacers for S-10's and newer GMT-400 trucks. I've checked my body bushings and they appear to be okay. Some cracking, but still have normal shape and size. Definitely not flattened out.

    I'm taking the truck into the mechanic this week to have new Hedman mid length headers installed, so I might have them see if they can figure out why I have the Chevy Lean and fix it.

    Jason

    471.JPG 469.JPG 470.JPG
     
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  13. Big Chip

    Big Chip Full Access Member

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    Nice looking truck!
     
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  14. Merlin3e9

    Merlin3e9 Full Access Member

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    Thank you sir. I think it's turning out very nice.
     
  15. Paint guy

    Paint guy Junior Member

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    Great information on this post. I have just picked up an 87 R10 as well and have been looking for which way to go with things. Very informative with what you have done. I was thinking the same 3.5/4 drop. But looking at your last picture post wonder if the front is too low as compared to the back? I am a hot rodder that loves a good rake as well, but in the picture of the profile makes it definitely appear far lower in the front then I want mine.
     

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