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Dropped Lower Control Arms for 1963 Chevy Truck C-10

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by customcory, Mar 14, 2011.

  1. customcory
    Joined: Apr 25, 2007
    Posts: 1,832

    customcory
    Member

    I thought I would show how I made my dropped lower control arms for my soon to be daily driver. Through much meditation I came up with the combo of 3 in. dropped springs and 2 in. dropped arms. Why didn't I use dropped spindles? Because the dropped spindles are all set up for disc brakes which I love to death, but I'm keeping the drums. I'm use to them. While I'm at it I will conservatively move the ball joint mount foward 1/8th of a inch to give me about 3 degrees more caster. At the same time I will shorten the arm 1/8th in. Probably shoud shorten it a little more , but don't want it so short that I can't line up my front end.

    Anyway, let me show you the finished jig I made to do this with first.

    DSC05258.jpg

    I made this from scraps. I used 1 1/2x3 in rectangular tube 12 in. long, 3 pieces. 2 in. square about 18 in. long. I found a 2 in. washer to go into the ball joint hole and it fit snug enough to tighten against, which will make sense later. And some 2 in. angle. The pic helps to understand this simple layout. I mounted the arm where the bottom at the front rested square on the 2 in. tube.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. customcory
    Joined: Apr 25, 2007
    Posts: 1,832

    customcory
    Member

    First I found the center of the arm and found the area on the arm right where it kicks up on the end , mark it because thats where you cut the end off. I use a centerpunch to mark my centerlines on both sides of the cut , so after the blasting and cleaning, your marks are still there.

    DSC05254.jpg

    At this time also you can set up the piece that holds the cut off tip in place. I didn't have to do any fancy measuring, just clamped it to the top of the arm and made my brackets from there.

    DSC05243.jpg
     
  3. customcory
    Joined: Apr 25, 2007
    Posts: 1,832

    customcory
    Member

    After I got my angles right and a center pivoting point, I moved my measurements up 2 in. The center bolt is so I can lean the tip for right and left applications.

    DSC05256.jpg

    After I was satisfied with that, I proceeded to cut off the ends of the arms and drill out the spot welds for the bump stop mount. I will replace this with a bumpstop 1 1/2 in. long, calculated to keep the tire off the inner fender by a 1/2 in. under extreme conditions with my 28 in tall tires.

    DSC05263.jpg DSC05264.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2011
  4. customcory
    Joined: Apr 25, 2007
    Posts: 1,832

    customcory
    Member

    Now I can move the end up with the jig, and bolt it down tight.

    DSC05265.jpg

    After that comes fun time with paper and scissors to make templates for my brackets.

    DSC05267.jpg DSC05268.jpg DSC05270.jpg

    This is a good time to clip the rolled edges on the ends also.
     
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  5. customcory
    Joined: Apr 25, 2007
    Posts: 1,832

    customcory
    Member

    Before I move on I will show you a couple more pics of the jig and how the control shaft gets bolted up.

    DSC05251.jpg DSC05259.jpg DSC05261.jpg
     
  6. customcory
    Joined: Apr 25, 2007
    Posts: 1,832

    customcory
    Member

    Now take your patterns and cut them out, I used 3/16 in. plate.

    DSC05271.jpg DSC05273.jpg
     
  7. customcory
    Joined: Apr 25, 2007
    Posts: 1,832

    customcory
    Member

    Now fit up your plates ....

    DSC05275.jpg DSC05276.jpg DSC05278.jpg
     
  8. Watch'n your thread closely. I thought of this concept but in the reverse to raise the front end on Tri Five Chevys. How are you going to adress to upper a-arms as they will be pointing upward and affect camber and most importantly how the camber movement of tire as the suspention travels.
     
  9. customcory
    Joined: Apr 25, 2007
    Posts: 1,832

    customcory
    Member

    Then tack it together and take a deep breath .

    DSC05279.jpg DSC05280.jpg DSC05281.jpg

    I realize this a much simplified version of this procedure. But the same principles apply to any arm like this. Once I get them welded up, and put on the truck, thats when I'll update this thread. I have been thrashing on it for a few weeks now. :D
     
  10. customcory
    Joined: Apr 25, 2007
    Posts: 1,832

    customcory
    Member

    Johnny Gee, since I just have the three in lowering springs, the top a arms arent at to radical of a angle. I was going to change the angle of the end of the top a arm expecting a big geomentry change, but I think I can get away with with the stock angles.I put a little extra camber in it to help line it up. I had a 67 truck years before that i did this to, and the alignment never was 100 percent because I couldn't adjust enough caster in it.
     
  11. The brackets on the outer edges are going to prevent the spindles from turning properly. Check before doing your final welding.
     
  12. Hold that answer. Do the B.J. point up or down I may have spoken to soon.
     
  13. customcory
    Joined: Apr 25, 2007
    Posts: 1,832

    customcory
    Member

    The spindles will be fine because they are 2 in. higher, the steering arms don't hit anything, The ball joint on the upper arm points down, the lower one up.
     
  14. Russco
    Joined: Nov 27, 2005
    Posts: 4,119

    Russco
    Member
    from Central IL

    I lowered my 51 ford this way it worked fine.
     
  15. DREW148BHP
    Joined: Oct 31, 2006
    Posts: 252

    DREW148BHP
    Member

    They look kool, I will have to try this on a project.
     
  16. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 10,021

    Atwater Mike
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Heinrichs in San Jose used to do this alteration in '56. Many cars done this way, but earlier Fords ('49-'53) used trunion joints, so the method was like a couple of 'shackles' welded onto leading and trailing edges of lower control arms. 2" was the nominal amount...The operation was called "A-Framing".

    I was in the '55-'57 Chevy tube axle biz in '61, so I had Heinrichs 'A-Frame' my black '56 Coupe DeVille. I blocked the back, and flattened the springs...but the front I had Heinrichs do. ($64 to drop it, $36 to align it.)
    I picked it up at 6:00 P.M., and by 6:30 I had driven it into an open manhole in front of Spivey's restaurant. Cleaned off the whole left suspension. (sob!)
    Ironic part was one of my "Gasser" buds had swiped the manhole cover for 'trunk ballast' to get into "C" Gas...
    Took Heinrichs a week to fix it!
     
  17. customcory
    Joined: Apr 25, 2007
    Posts: 1,832

    customcory
    Member

    That reminds me , when you drop a arms always watch your scrubline. Make sure your arms arent lower than the rim of your wheels, or you will be hitting the road. So much aftermarket stuff is available nowadays that dropping arms kinda gets forgot about, and it isn't for every car, but works good on Chevy trucks. The first set I made , I copied out of a Drop Shoppe catalog, they did arms for trucks a long time ago. I will try to find the catalog.:D
     
  18. realkustom51
    Joined: Nov 14, 2005
    Posts: 664

    realkustom51
    Member

    You've made it look easy. Is the jig for rent?
     
  19. big_jae
    Joined: Apr 22, 2010
    Posts: 53

    big_jae
    Member


    X2!! lol have a 65 i need to get lower to the ground and dont want to go after market.
     
  20. Imperial Kustom
    Joined: Dec 20, 2007
    Posts: 269

    Imperial Kustom
    Member

    I've built a ton of these! They work great but bumpsteer can be an issue. Usually on stuff with severe drops. I ran a set for almost ten years and loved the way they worked when combined with some 1" longer uppers I made that also rolled the caster forward to 7 degrees. Something else lowered chevy's benefit from.
     
  21. Imperial Kustom
    Joined: Dec 20, 2007
    Posts: 269

    Imperial Kustom
    Member

    Oh yeah, you lose the steering stops when you remove the bumpstop bracket and the wheels will hit the dropped arms in tight turned, but it'll turn on a dime!
     
  22. angelbaby65
    Joined: Dec 26, 2011
    Posts: 7

    angelbaby65
    Member

  23. thats cool, to see it how it works
     
  24. 64C20CrewCab
    Joined: Sep 7, 2009
    Posts: 42

    64C20CrewCab
    Member

    Great write up! Saw a couple of trucks that has "Z'd" the lower arms yesterday at NorCal Knockout. Not sure if it was like this. But could be. Thanks the info!
     
  25. VNTGE41
    Joined: Mar 4, 2007
    Posts: 737

    VNTGE41
    Member
    from l.a.

    I wanna see more!
     
  26. customcory
    Joined: Apr 25, 2007
    Posts: 1,832

    customcory
    Member

  27. customcory
    Joined: Apr 25, 2007
    Posts: 1,832

    customcory
    Member

    I will admit after its been on the road, and I put a little negative caster on the bottom control arm, that I have a tad to much caster, its a little hard to steer sitting still, parking. It does have manual steering. But it does align up with no shims on the top control arms! I need to reduce some of the caster a couple of degrees by shimming the top control arms foward, but it does all right until I get that done. This truck is off the road becauce the cam went out, but I almost ready to drive again. I also remember not to go until it stops when I turn all the way , as it tends to get into a bind, which could be dangerous, something I have to remedy. I have to keep that in the back of my mind until it gets fixed.:D
     
  28. NEWFISHER
    Joined: Dec 16, 2011
    Posts: 591

    NEWFISHER
    Member
    from Oregon

    Any updates? Got them for sale yet?
     

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