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Customs Bad Engineering To get the LOOK on a Custom

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by BJR, Sep 2, 2021.

  1. BJR
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 7,457


    At the collection I work at we have been going through the cars which have been sitting for years, and fixing brakes and checking gas tanks. We just got into the custom cars, and so far 2 lowered cars required the rear shocks to be unbolted and a bar put into the rear shackle to bend the spring enough so the rear wheels can be removed. The 2 cars were a 51 Ford, and a 55 Ford. My question is, was this common practice back in the day with really lowered cars? There is no way you could change a flat tire on the side of the road. This seems like really stupid engineering to me, just to get "the look". What other things have you run into that fall into the bad engineering to get the look category?
    VANDENPLAS likes this.
  2. adam401
    Joined: Dec 27, 2007
    Posts: 2,755


    I have run stacked lowering blocks, cut coils, had cars that you had to drive onto blocks of wood to get a jack under and no way to remove the tire without undoing u bolts. Cars with parts hanging way below scrub line, cut coils, coils removed entirely. All of those things were 20+ years ago, and I wouldnt do them now, but Im one of the offenders.
  3. flamedabone
    Joined: Aug 3, 2001
    Posts: 5,031


    It was kind of a production on the rear of the Merc. Jack the frame as high as possible, let the rear end drop to the length of the shock and let the air out of the tire.


  4. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 9,988

    anthony myrick

    The side panels bolt on my bus. I’d didn’t rivet them back in so I could change tires on the side of the road if necessary. That’s not bad engineering. That’s just how it is.
    If you drive low, you gotta think low.
    Blocks of wood, the correct style jack, unbolt a shock or shackle if necessary.
    keep a blanket so ya can lay on the ground.
    No big deal.
    At home I have a lift so that solves any issues there. Same at work. Keep 2x8s to get em off the lift.
    And yep, I’m still building them as low as possible
    I’ll do a test run to figure out what will be needed to change a tire on the road.
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2021
    BJR, Dos Cincos, VANDENPLAS and 2 others like this.

  5. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 30,812


    Back years ago a buddy had a much lowered 55 Ford that we had to unbolt the rear shock and then after the car was raised with a jack under the frame in front of the rear wheel we had to stick a small bottle jack between the axle and the frame to push it down far enough to get the tire to clear.
    My old 51 Merc was just about as bad when I bought it in 1963 as it had 7.10 15 tires on the back with lowering blocks and I had to let the air out of the tire to put it on and then air it up.
    Letting air out of wide tires to get them on the car and then airing them up was real common in the 70's when guys ran deep reverse rims and what were wide tires then. They usually carried the stock size spare on the stock wheel and if they had a flat they could manage to get the wide tire off the car and the stock size tire on.
    BJR, VANDENPLAS and Jim Bouchard like this.
  6. Yep, all of the above.... A lot of the 'traditionally lowered' cars from that era were deathtraps because of some lowering methods used. California's enforcement of the applicable laws birthed the invention of aftermarket hydraulic suspension, the poor ride quality of that eventually led to airbags.
    BJR, Special Ed, VANDENPLAS and 3 others like this.
  7. Sky Six
    Joined: Mar 15, 2018
    Posts: 2,067

    Sky Six
    from Arizona

    Nearly six decades ago, I wanted the "look" and I admit I have heated springs, cut springs, reversed shackles, and only God knows what else I had to do to achieve that goal. My early cars were what I wanted. At sixteen, I had no idea what bad engineering was. Safety was also not really high on my list.
    Sorta like when I removed the door handles and had to leave the wind wing open so I could get in.
  8. hotrodjack33
    Joined: Aug 19, 2019
    Posts: 3,447


    LMAO:D. Oh yeah, I'm one of those offenders too. When you're young, fearless and think you are invincible, safety was sometimes only a minor concern:eek:. I was the "go to guy" among my buddies for an instant "California rake" ...heating and collapsing coil springs...(which was a lot faster/easier than taking the coils out and cutting them):eek:;).
    BJR, VANDENPLAS, catdad49 and 3 others like this.
  9. Got the "look" on my '47 Chevy before I had my license. Simply removed the front springs. My Mom nearly killed herself driving the thing. Didn't realize she had to slow down for bumps. That was the end of the "look".
    BJR, clem and VANDENPLAS like this.
  10. 302GMC
    Joined: Dec 15, 2005
    Posts: 7,146

    from Idaho

    Man, those were the days .... The '46 Chev el cheapo 2 door I had at 14 got the coils torched. Then our buddy Dick took the front coils out of his '39 Buick, so I had to do it, too. Due to no money, I had a bald 5.50 - 16 on the left & a really nice 6.40 - 15 Royal Master on the right. It ate both tires in 3 hours ...
    BJR and VANDENPLAS like this.
  11. stanlow69
    Joined: Feb 21, 2010
    Posts: 6,186


    There weren`t to many after market parts houses that sold custom suspension parts like in todays world.
    Sum54ford, BJR, Sancho and 1 other person like this.
  12. Guilty as charged when I was younger!

    All the suspension hacks, holes drilled in muffled for “ the sound” etc.

    had one car that was so low couldn’t even smoke a cigarette when driving it bounced and jiggled do much !

    I can’t be bothered with that crap now.

    also growing up in the late 80’s/90’s every 1500 dollars shitter had a 5 grand boom boom stereo !!
    BJR likes this.
  13. Dave Downs
    Joined: Oct 25, 2005
    Posts: 912

    Dave Downs
    from S.E. Penna

    Still happening today in the ‘tuner’ culture. Saw a way off-topic import the other day, front end way down, top of the front tires tilted in about 20 degrees. I can’t imagine how it managed to corner and tire wear must have been impressive.
    VANDENPLAS and BJR like this.
  14. 37gas
    Joined: May 25, 2013
    Posts: 104


    I had a 41 ford that sat like that when I got it,and what I did was pull the rear end that was in it and replaced it with a ford bronco rear. It was about four inches narrower than the one that was in it. I used some old reversed wheels to bring the tire out to the center of the wheel well . The narrower rear gave me about two inches more clearance between the brake drums and the wheel lip on the fender. Worked well and is still running to this day like that
    BJR likes this.
  15. MCjim
    Joined: Jun 4, 2006
    Posts: 447

    from soCal

    Let's be honest here, "form follows function" is not a high priority in so-called traditional rods and customs.
    VANDENPLAS, BJR and williebill like this.
  16. dreracecar
    Joined: Aug 27, 2009
    Posts: 3,256

    from so-cal

    Reading the back story on the "HIROHATA" Merc, it was really a hack job underneath by todays standards, and it would have folded up if it had ever been tapped in the rear,
    BJR and Tman like this.
  17. BJR
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 7,457


    But how about the current builds, has anyone run into this? Or drive a car like this now?
  18. puller
    Joined: Nov 15, 2007
    Posts: 26

    from arkansas

    My '55 Chevy has air shocks to push the rear end down a little further than gravity will let it hang. I place jack under rear end, go up high as possible, place jack stands under the frame in front of leaf springs and lower the jack. Then add air to shocks to push rear end down just enough to get tire between brake drum and fender lip.
  19. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 9,988

    anthony myrick

    An OT where I worked that was built very low, you unbolted the strut and drag link, then jacked up the car to get enough clearance to remove the wheel.
    unbolting parts to change tires is common. It’s not bad engenering when those parts are designed to be easily unbolted.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2021
    BJR likes this.
  20. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 30,812


    When I was about 13 and living on Bainbridge Island wa my neighbor who was a high school Sr had a slammed to the ground 49 Plymouth ragtop that was painted baby doll blue and had Hung tu Lo painted on the quarter as it's name. That car had no noticeable suspension movement and while I only rode from the bus stop down to in front of his house with him once or twice it was one rough riding rig even on a fairly smooth paved road. My 13 year old brain thought it was the coolest car around though.
  21. Slightly OT, but my '60 Plymouth Sonoramic required removing front tires to get at some of the spark plugs.
    williebill and anthony myrick like this.
  22. Dangerousdan
    Joined: Apr 12, 2018
    Posts: 286

    from Arizona

    This remines me of some of the stuff I use to desine. I had a six-dropped axle on a pick-up and I found out what Bump Steer was, going down the road at 65 MPH.
  23. RJP
    Joined: Oct 5, 2005
    Posts: 2,119

    from PNW

    10" dropped axle on a T Bucket. Can you say, 'scrub line'?

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