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Technical dropping the buick

Discussion in 'Traditional Customs' started by 51_special, Jan 31, 2014.

  1. 51_special
    Joined: Dec 20, 2012
    Posts: 83

    51_special
    Member

    All right fellas, I am finally getting around to start the process of lowering my 51 Buick special. I decided for now I am just going to cut my coils. the question have is there anything I need to be careful of? It is retaining the original inline 8, 3 speed trans and closed drive line. Any tips or suggestions welcomed! I have my cutoff wheel ready to go and will have my spring compressor as well.Thanks as always to all of you.
     
  2. Cabrillos
    Joined: Jan 8, 2014
    Posts: 2

    Cabrillos
    Member
    from Irvine, Ca

    I recently cut 1.5 coils out of the springs in my 54 chevy and was pretty happy with the end result. not too sure how much it dropped cuz I forgot to measure how high up it was before I started. just don't cut too much. I'd suggest cutting 1.5 out and if it's not low enough you can always cut more out later


    Posted from the TJJ App for iPhone & iPad
     
  3. Toast
    Joined: Jan 6, 2007
    Posts: 3,885

    Toast
    Member
    from Jenks, OK

    I believe they are like my pontiac with uprights and king pins. If so you can get a dropped upright from Gambino on the hamb and get 2 1/2" without cutting the coils but the steering arms will have to be bent to avoid bump steer. Chevy's are totally different.
     
  4. luke13
    Joined: Oct 25, 2013
    Posts: 381

    luke13
    Member

    why waste time cutting springs, i regreted it once i did it, makes your car not handle as well. lowering springs are cheap and way safer. cut springs are for hacks that dont know what there doin , dont be a hack.
     

  5. BRENT
    Joined: Jun 22, 2005
    Posts: 252

    BRENT
    Member

    seriously? I can see calling someone a hack for using a torch to heat and lower springs but actually cutting a coil to get a bit lower is a old as this hobby. I really don't see what is so hack about that. I understand what your saying about buying lowering springs but come on man, nothing wrong with loping off a coil. Its when you whack 2 or 3 rings off then you run into problems, but most reasonable "non hack" builders can usually tell when they crossed that line. Again nothing hack about cutting a coil!

    Brent
     
  6. 51_special
    Joined: Dec 20, 2012
    Posts: 83

    51_special
    Member

    Is there a difference between front and rears? Like pigtailed or not. If so can I still cut them or what else can be done besides lowering springs and dropped uprights which from Gambino run 400 bucks which is out of my range for awhile. And a hack is someone who knows absolutely nothing about what it is they are doing. Thanks again everyone!
     
  7. low budget
    Joined: Nov 15, 2006
    Posts: 5,564

    low budget
    Member
    from Central Ky

    So are you sayin you cut yours too short and had to buy new lowering springs:D......Kind of sounds like "lowering springs" are for hacks that dont know what they are doing:eek:...sorry,couldnt resist:D
     
  8. Geargoyle Curtis
    Joined: Nov 6, 2009
    Posts: 582

    Geargoyle Curtis
    Member

    x2!!!
     
  9. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 17,898

    gimpyshotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I have been cutting coil springs to lower cars, for over 30-years. I was taught how to cut coil springs to lower cars by a man who had been cutting coils to lower cars for almost as long as cars had coils to cut.

    Done properly, it yields excellent results. Results so excellent that people like to pay me to cut their coils for them.

    That said, if you can get, and can afford a dropped upright, or a dropped spindle (whichever is appropriate), that is the proper way to go, before considering cutting.

    As has been mentioned, look up Alex Gambino, at Gambino Kustoms, here on the board. See if he has dropped uprights for this car, and what they run.
     
  10. Inked Monkey
    Joined: Apr 19, 2011
    Posts: 1,823

    Inked Monkey
    Member

    Do it! You won't regret it. I cut 1 coil on the front of mine and it rides better than stock. The rears are pig tailed top and bottom though, so you can't really cut them.
     
  11. Inked Monkey
    Joined: Apr 19, 2011
    Posts: 1,823

    Inked Monkey
    Member

    Oh and I remember reading somewhere on here that springs from like an elcamino or something are pigtailed and will drop the rear around 3 inches? Hopefully someone knows the specifics.
     
  12. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 17,898

    gimpyshotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    1967-1972 GM A body (includes the El Camino) have rear coils that are indeed pigtailed at both ends.

    Whether or not they fit, as suggested, I don't know, but it is certainly worth looking into.
     
  13. Greaser Bob
    Joined: Mar 5, 2006
    Posts: 1,325

    Greaser Bob
    Member

    Cut my coils on my '53 Special and it worked awesome! The bottoms of the uprights come apart fast and easy so you'll enjoy that. When doing the rear keep in mind the torque tube can and will hit the floor pan if you go too low! Eventually I just bagged it-but I know you'll like the way it handles if you simply cut the coils.
    Btw, same suspension on '52 and'53:)
     
  14. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 17,898

    gimpyshotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

  15. Inked Monkey
    Joined: Apr 19, 2011
    Posts: 1,823

    Inked Monkey
    Member

  16. Greaser Bob
    Joined: Mar 5, 2006
    Posts: 1,325

    Greaser Bob
    Member

    He's right-I forgot about the pigtails. I heated my rears and worked fine!
     
  17. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 17,898

    gimpyshotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

  18. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 17,898

    gimpyshotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Naw, I was just raised to help where I am able, and to get the hell out of the way, when I can't.:D
     
  19. 51_special
    Joined: Dec 20, 2012
    Posts: 83

    51_special
    Member

    thanks for all of the great information all of you. I will keep you all posted and try to take some pics as I go and get them posted. it will be a couple weeks more than likely but I am super excited to get this going in the right direction...........low down.
     
  20. I had a 54 ford with 1 coil cut out of the front springs. Dropped it about 3 inches and still rode really nice. The best advice I've gotten from the hamb is to cut a little at a time. Half coil or one coil to start. You'd be surprised how much just one coil will drop it.


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  21. Gotzy
    Joined: May 21, 2005
    Posts: 493

    Gotzy
    Member

    I used Type 4 vw van springs in the rear of my '53 buick, can't recall how much the drop was but worth comparing height and specs to the el Camino ones to see which suits your needs the best. Get on a vw site and find someone lowering their van and pick up some very cheap or free springs. Worked for me.
     
  22. Toast
    Joined: Jan 6, 2007
    Posts: 3,885

    Toast
    Member
    from Jenks, OK

    Seriously! you should not be allowed to type. You obviously have no clue!
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2014
  23. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 17,898

    gimpyshotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Oh, and put the money down on good shocks. They make a world of difference. As a rule, I use KYB Gas-a-Just for sporty or heavier vehicles, and KYB Excel-G for lighter vehicles, or a little softer ride on a heavier vehicle. Easier on the wallet than Bilstiens, which are the top-notch, if you can swing them.
     
  24. 51_special
    Joined: Dec 20, 2012
    Posts: 83

    51_special
    Member

    so with the el camino springs am I correct in assuming it would be the ones for a v8 and not the 6 due to weight?
     
    BetsyVanDeVille likes this.
  25. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 17,898

    gimpyshotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Yes, if the rear springs are indeed different, 6 to 8. Better a touch too stiff, than too soft.
     
  26. 51_special
    Joined: Dec 20, 2012
    Posts: 83

    51_special
    Member

    Napa has 3 different ones listed. free height on them are 12.93 with load hieght of 8.2 and spring rate of 167, 14.4 load height 9 and spring rate 141, and 15.3 load height 10 with spring rate of 158. which of these have you guys used? I know I could just shoot from the hip but i would rather work off the knowledge you guys on the HAMB have. Of coarse I want her st nice and low but do not want the torque tube to hit my tunnel.
     
  27. 51_special
    Joined: Dec 20, 2012
    Posts: 83

    51_special
    Member

    Gimpy, as for shocks i still have the knee action. Do you or any of the others see a problem with me staying with these?
     
  28. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 17,898

    gimpyshotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    That's a good question, since these cannot be trimmed for final height. I am off the edge of my experience here. I hope someone will weigh-in. If it were me, I'd pick the middle one, and install some nice soft bump stops, if it hits on big bumps.
     
  29. 51_special
    Joined: Dec 20, 2012
    Posts: 83

    51_special
    Member

    That what I was thinking. Plus if I have to at that point I a could always pull them out and take them back for one of the others since they are fairly close to me.Thanks for all of the advice and input.
     
  30. 51_special
    Joined: Dec 20, 2012
    Posts: 83

    51_special
    Member

    just out of pure curiosity. How were the cars dropped originally when new or relatively new? did they just try springs from other vehicles or did the heat them. not that I will be heating them but just interesting to find out more of the way things were done then.
     

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