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Technical How low can i go?

Discussion in 'Traditional Customs' started by BLUSHU, Sep 27, 2016.

  1. I recently acquired a 1950 Ford Custom Coupe. Totally stock throughout.
    My plan is to lower it all the way around with the rear end being lower than the front. Taildragger-ish
    My question is how low can I go with the rear suspension before I run into clearance problems?
    This car is pretty cherry & I don't want to clearance or cut anything.
    Thanks in advance.
    Blushu
     
    F&J likes this.
  2. You can go until it is sitting on the bump stops in the rear without cutting anything by removing leaf springs, but it won't ride worth a shit. Otherwise you are going to have to look into reverse eye springs (good for 2 to 3" drop), or reversing the shackles (if there is room).

    I never did it, but supposedly, you can use '51 to '56 shackles on a '49 or '50 for a quick 1" drop.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2016
  3. 302GMC
    Joined: Dec 15, 2005
    Posts: 6,506

    302GMC
    Member
    from Idaho

    Your age, driving skill, local road conditions, law enforcement, & weather all have something to do with how low you can go ...
     
  4. Gman0046
    Joined: Jul 24, 2005
    Posts: 6,260

    Gman0046
    Member

    Just read on another site about someone with a 63 Chevy that hit an obstruction in the road and messed up his front end. You'll know when its too low.

    Gary
     

  5. Slopok
    Joined: Jan 30, 2012
    Posts: 2,608

    Slopok
    Member

    Aerostar springs in the front and 3 inch lowering blocks is about the easiest and cheapest way to still have a decent ride.
     
  6. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 16,272

    alchemy
    Member

    On my old Chevelle we used to be able to roll a pop bottle down the street with the front crossmember. I had developed the skill to brake and turn when obstructions came up in the road. But once when my little brother was driving it a tall manhole jumped out in front of him and he smacked it. Bent the bottom of the crossmember (and they are massive cross members) and tweeked the whole front clip up a bit. Required some time on the frame table. You probably don't want yours that low.
     
    need louvers ?, Special Ed and czuch like this.
  7. flatheadpete
    Joined: Oct 29, 2003
    Posts: 10,037

    flatheadpete
    Member
    from Burton, MI

    My '50 has Aerostar coils with a coil cut off and 3" blocks. Had to 'massage' the driveshaft tunnel a little and the front rides like crap but it sits nice.
    [​IMG]
     
    302GMC likes this.
  8. SLAMIT
    Joined: Sep 9, 2002
    Posts: 930

    SLAMIT
    Member

    Retaining travel is the key to ride success. Lowering is fine as long as there is clearance. I havae driven properly and improperly lowered cars. the proper ones drive nice because the spring rates are correct and there is clearance for everything in the suspension to go through its motions without obstruction.

    stiffer is not always bad. honestly a majority of the vehicle that we enjoy had pretty light spring rates making them soft and plush riding at stock height. simply cutting coils on many models of old vehicles if done properly and conservatively will actually enhance the ride by increasing the spring rate a bit and "tightening" up the suspension feel. a great set of shocks goes a long way in my book and is a worthwhile investment that I think is often overlooked.

    To go real low on a shoebox there are many ways to accomplish this and Im sure have been well documented here on the H.A.M.B. a mild c notch is almost a must in the rear to allow the axle to have a nice range of travel while after lowering blocks and dearched springs are used. of course there are much wilder versions as well.

    Back to shocks: I have had great luck with the new ridetech shocks that are made by Fox Socks. I feel like they are a great improvement over what has been previously available for these old cars. I am not sure that they make a specific shock for the Shoebox as of yet though I am sure a quick call to Ridetech will get you something you can use.

    as far as bump stops go. You need them however they can be shaved a bit for clearance purposes. I also recommend researching the many great threads here about suspensions as well as a google search of scrub lines to really understand how to make a low car safe and fun.

    good luck and lets see some pics!!!
     
    Special Ed likes this.
  9. nwbhotrod
    Joined: Oct 13, 2009
    Posts: 1,243

    nwbhotrod
    Member
    from wash state

    If you don't rub a little your not low enough
     
  10. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 25,788

    Jalopy Joker
    Member

    if you are going for looks only, do the above changes mentioned, as long as you learn to drive very defensively slowing for every little bump, driveway entrances, etc. some have even just heated the springs front & rear with a torch so that it is rock solid and ends up cracking the frame. majority of really Cool rides that sit very low have modified the frame, installed air ride, etc
     
  11. I plan to use this car as my fair weather daily driver. I also want to use it for poker runs & out of town car shows, so ride is important.
    I really love these cars down on the ground but I have to be practical, being able to lay frame costs lots of $!
    I want to achieve a happy medium. something I can do without breaking the bank.
    I have read on here & other forums about Aerostar springs & lowering blocks & shorter shocks.
    The question is does this work, will this destroy the ride quality?
    I have a friend that just cut the original coils & he says it rides pretty rough. I think he said he cut off 2-1/2 coils.
    I'm just not a fan of the stock nose bleed height.
    Thanks for everybody's input.
     
  12. oh yeah, flatheadpete, that is one fine looking c-dan.
    rides like crap, too bad, that is just the right height!
    what front shocks did you use?
     
  13. texasred
    Joined: Dec 3, 2008
    Posts: 1,084

    texasred
    Member
    from Houston

    Lay your girl friend, not your frame
     
  14. woodiewagon46
    Joined: Mar 14, 2013
    Posts: 1,762

    woodiewagon46
    Member
    from New York

    Well, a kid around the block lowered his brand spanking new VW Golf to about 3" off the ground. A raised manhole cover took half of the bottom of the car off, including the cast aluminum oil pan. Don't get too crazy!
     
    czuch likes this.
  15. My pal Rene's coupe is pretty low. HRP

    IMG_0014Medium-1.jpg
     
    dana barlow likes this.
  16. JeffB2
    Joined: Dec 18, 2006
    Posts: 8,675

    JeffB2
    Member
    from Phoenix,AZ

  17. JeffB2
    Joined: Dec 18, 2006
    Posts: 8,675

    JeffB2
    Member
    from Phoenix,AZ

    jhammer likes this.
  18. flatheadpete
    Joined: Oct 29, 2003
    Posts: 10,037

    flatheadpete
    Member
    from Burton, MI

    If I remember correctly, I used V8 Monza shocks. It really does sit nice but It's getting un-cut Aerostar coils this winter.
     
  19. 57JoeFoMoPar
    Joined: Sep 14, 2004
    Posts: 4,832

    57JoeFoMoPar
    Member

    When I lowered this Merc I wanted to be ultra-badass and extra-extra-traditional, so I lowered it more than anyone else. Notice how low I got the car relative to some random child that just happened to be there, admiring how much of a true badass I was.
    [​IMG]

    Seriously though, make the car low and make it look right, but putting the rockers on the ground isn't all it's cracked up to be
     
    i.rant, lewk, Surfcityrocker and 3 others like this.
  20. Hey guys thanks for all the input.
    Jeffb2, are these parts you have used yourself? If so how does it ride? I really like low but I also like comfort.
    HRP, can you find out what your pal used to get to that height & if he likes the ride. Nice looking coupe!
    .
    My wife probably wouldn't be good with that.
    57joe, damn that is low, probably rides like shit. Love the patina! Nice interior, real earthy.
    I read an article lately with a parts list attached. it goes like this,Aerostar coils Moog #cc850, Monroe shocks #5821 &
    Energy Suspension bump stop #9.9103r. the article states that the bottom of the front bumper will be 10.25" above the ground. if its true that will be way better than stock.
    Thanks again guys!
     
  21. JeffB2
    Joined: Dec 18, 2006
    Posts: 8,675

    JeffB2
    Member
    from Phoenix,AZ

    I founded the 1952-59 Ford Group here in May of 2009 I could not even begin to count the number of guys using that combo the ride and handling has always been bragged about over stock setups,you will be happy.
    . Here's more: http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/...coil-springs-49-thru-59-ford-and-merc.260795/
     
  22. P1020507.JPG Thanks again Jeffb2, I will get those parts on order.
    Since I do not have a heated garage & the forecast around here is for snow over the next few days, there is a good chance I won't be able to install until spring.
    i'll send a before shot now, check out the altitude.
     
  23. justabeater37
    Joined: Jan 1, 2009
    Posts: 1,319

    justabeater37
    Member

    I did Aerostar coils and 3" blocks in mine and it rode and drove as good as any 65+ year old car on bias ply tires.
     
  24. justabeater37, do you have any pics?
    I would like to see what this looks like on an otherwise stock car.
     
  25. 57JoeFoMoPar
    Joined: Sep 14, 2004
    Posts: 4,832

    57JoeFoMoPar
    Member

    That's a great looking car. It honestly looks like you could use some bigger wheels and tires on there to fill that arch out a little more.
     
    i.rant likes this.
  26. 57joe, those are the wheels so I could get it on the trailer & are only 14". Yes it looks dorky.
    I plan on using the original 15"s with wide whites & caps.
     
  27. justabeater37
    Joined: Jan 1, 2009
    Posts: 1,319

    justabeater37
    Member

    image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg I had a sedan, not a coupe. No good pictures that I could find and I sold the car last year. Here's what I had on my iPad anyhow.
     
    57JoeFoMoPar likes this.
  28. I could definitely live with that height.
    Thanks for the pics.
    Nice cat.
     
  29. flatheadpete
    Joined: Oct 29, 2003
    Posts: 10,037

    flatheadpete
    Member
    from Burton, MI

    I ordered new Moog springs today....NOT going to cut them. I've driven my '50 all week and it's challenging enough to drive in today's traffic without having to dodge stuff in the road.
     
  30. Old-Soul
    Joined: Jun 16, 2007
    Posts: 3,596

    Old-Soul
    Member

    This is what I did to my '49 Tudor, which lives over there in SK with you somewhere now, and it rode well (I had plans to replace the rear leafs with dropped leafs for an improved ride as mine got pretty tired by the time I sold it). the Aerostar coils were affordable and rode great, much better than the stock coils that I had cut and ran for a year to begin with. Gave it a slight "motorboat" rake.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     

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