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How to raise up the back of a 57 Chevy?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Edelbroke, Jan 21, 2011.

  1. Edelbroke
    Joined: Dec 12, 2008
    Posts: 767


    I'm slowly getting this 57 2dr wagon back into being a driver, put some wheels on it today, I don't seem to have any room next to the fender lip. So I rolled them in. Took my time, they turned out nice. But, The car still sits lower than I would like. What would be the best way to raise it up a few more inches? 4" would be ideal. Is there a different shackle I could swap in? I really dont want to buy new leafs at this point or air shocks. If I put the axle under the spring?? I can see I would have to make an alignment pad to do that. Any ideas would be helpful Pics arent the greatest, one kind of shows the arc the leafs have now which is not much.
  2. air shocks?
  3. Edelbroke
    Joined: Dec 12, 2008
    Posts: 767


    no air shocks, I'm thinking a longer shackle, I do have a large piece of 1/4 thick steel maybe I could make some
  4. 56sedandelivery
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 6,266


    Best bet would be to have the existing leafs springs re-arched. Shackles are not the way to do it, they were a poor way of doing it in the late 60's/early 70's, and they look terrible. You could go with the coil wrapped overload type shocks, but don't mount them to the floor (stock method), install a shock bar available from any of the tri-five vendors. E-bay for the shocks (adapt them), and the shock bar too. Butch/56sedandelivery.
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  5. F&J
    Joined: Apr 5, 2007
    Posts: 13,214


    x2...and ask how I know:eek: ...and it won't lift it much at all! hey, I was a broke HS kid then and made them in shop class.

    x2 on not using the stock floor sheet metal shock mounts for air or coil assist shocks. I never did that, but saw many cracked ones back then.

    I really do think re-arch is the best. You could do it yourself with a press and a bunch of time.
  6. GassersGarage
    Joined: Jul 1, 2007
    Posts: 4,729


    Have springs re-arched. Any competent spring shop should be able to do this. When I was young and poor, I had a '56 Chevy wagon that I raised by putting coil springs between the axle and frame. It worked but if you hit a deep enough pot hole, the spring popped out.
  7. 1971BB427
    Joined: Mar 6, 2010
    Posts: 5,723

    from Oregon

    Shackles are only $18 a set, so no reason to make them. But I wouldn't use shackles either. It wont be long after putting them in that your springs will go flatter and then you'll end up with a reverse arc to your springs. Have them re-arced.
  8. Putting the rear under the the springs is not what you want to do. Thats New Mexico 4X4 look, and will raise it lots. Pick something that has already been post before this.
  9. F&J
    Joined: Apr 5, 2007
    Posts: 13,214


    :D.. good one. Man, we tried some goofy stuff as teens back then. .....but, they were good times though, real good :)
  10. Torkwrench
    Joined: Jan 28, 2005
    Posts: 2,461


    Add a couple of leaves to each rear spring. The nine passenger wagons had more leaves than the six passenger wagons, (seven leaves instead of five leaves). An old trick to raising the rear of a 55 - 57 Chevy is to use the heavier station wagon springs.
  11. Dyce
    Joined: Sep 12, 2006
    Posts: 1,879


    I think it looks good low. Just get some wheels with less offset.
  12. GaryB
    Joined: Dec 19, 2008
    Posts: 3,530

    from Reno,nv

    I used 57 station wagon leaf springs on my 56,raised it a good 3'' over stock.this was backin the 60's
  13. I remember we used the Gabriel High Jackers back in the day, I always wondered why guys used those long ass shackles, they just look wrong.:eek:
  14. chopt top kid
    Joined: Oct 13, 2009
    Posts: 959

    chopt top kid

    Back in the day, some of the guys would use coil overload springs on their rear shocks. Take off the shocks and stretch 'em all the way out, then tighten the clamps on the overloads so they don't slip. Good for a couple of inches...:D
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2011
  15. chevy57dude
    Joined: Dec 10, 2007
    Posts: 5,648


    :cool:L60's on a '57! I'm suprised they fit at all with the stock width rear. Don't even know if you can even get something that wide in a belted 14'' tire anymore. definately fills up the wheelwell!
    Another vote for re arching and also ask them to add a leaf to strengthen things up a bit.
  16. Hombre
    Joined: Aug 22, 2008
    Posts: 1,030


    Take these guys advice and rearch your current springs, I believe you said it was a wagon right? Here is a photo of my 57, 2 door wagon running a pretty wide tire, with no tubs and rearched stock wagon springs. Rides very good and makes for a nice stance. I think....


    Attached Files:

  17. Xdrag48
    Joined: Mar 1, 2009
    Posts: 468


    If you use air shocks or springs on the shocks,you should check the upper mounting brackets on the floor as they can crack from stress.A crossmember between the frame rails would fix the problem.

  18. Badhabit
    Joined: Nov 5, 2009
    Posts: 86


    I like it low like it is, but if you're raising it I'd vote on a taller tire about 29" tall and then maybe adding air shocks after installing a shock crossmember to support the weight.
  19. Douglas B.
    Joined: Nov 18, 2008
    Posts: 64

    Douglas B.

    Same as vote as everyone else, get them re-arched. I had air shocks on my '57 that I recently took off. Rode like crap, had the ability to leak, dangerous if they failed and the body came down on the tires, etc. I just purchased new springs, bushings, and shackles. They were reasonably priced. Then take the springs to a suspension shop and explain what you want. Much safer and the RIGHT way to do it. In my opinion anyhow.

  20. Air shocks WILL push a large hole in the floor where they mount. Do the springs.
  21. Sheep Dip
    Joined: Dec 29, 2010
    Posts: 1,572

    Sheep Dip
    from Central Ca

    Have the springs re-arched is the correct way and will be without any problems with a good ride, you local spring shop can put them right where you want it as far as height and it is not that expensive. Just my 2 cents worth
  22. TxRat
    Joined: Dec 22, 2004
    Posts: 1,412


    I have a steel plate welded over the hole where my coilover shocks pushed through the shock hole in the floor of my nomad. get new springs or get yours rearched....
  23. Re-arch the springs. them tall shackles will give you more grief than they are worth. and they are not real safe. Of course, back in the day, you couldn't tell me that.:)

    Attached Files:

  24. Try a couple of these....:eek:

    Attached Files:

  25. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 27,216


    Almost word for word what I had intended to say. Having the springs re-arched or re-arching them yourself if you decide to is the best way. Most of who were around in the 70's remember the fiascos with shackles on tri 5 Chevys. I used to watch a kid in a 56 four door turn the corner by the Firestone store where I worked in Waco in the early 70's that had two sets bolted together to raise the car higher yet and he swayed so far on the corner that the whole left rear wheel was outside the fender on the turn. It doesn't take long before the springs start getting de-arched with the long shackles either.

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