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Customs Lowering a 57 Buick Special on the cheap?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by JVK54, Jan 18, 2017.

  1. JVK54
    Joined: Jul 19, 2010
    Posts: 479

    JVK54
    Member

    Does anyone know if there are "modern " coil springs that will drop a 57 Buick Special about 3". Something like..I dunno…Aerostar springs or some such thing that can be obtained through a regular parts store for short $…As far as dropped coil springs go , Jamco does have them . I've run their stuff( 3inch dropped) in a 54 Buick and up front on a 50 Chevy and it's a quality product. But delivery and communication can get a little frustrating , and I'm trying to go as inexpensive as possible, as I may just bag the car later. I would even cut the fronts ( with a cut off wheel…slowly so as not to generate a ton of heat. But the rears are pigtailed , so they can't be cut and the heat method? …Nope. Eaton only makes a 2" dropped coil. Not low enough. Thanks!
     
  2. BJR
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 6,846

    BJR
    Member

    Cut 1 1/2 coils in the front, backs don't know.
     
    porknbeaner likes this.
  3. metalman
    Joined: Dec 30, 2006
    Posts: 3,280

    metalman
    Member

    First thing I thought of when you said on the cheap was a torch! My brother in law that never wanted to put either $$$ or effort in his cars came over and borrowed my torches every time he got something new. He always had better luck then me, never seemed to have any issues afterwards breaking springs and such.
    The tapered springs are an issue alright. I have seen one with a steel donuts fabricated to hold the wider part of the spring in place once the tapered part of the spring was cut off, kinda like the low rider guys use on hydraulics.
    I had a guy bring me a car with a coil cut out of the middle of a tapered spring and the two halves welded back together. That didn't work!
     
  4. JVK54
    Joined: Jul 19, 2010
    Posts: 479

    JVK54
    Member

    Yeah, heat…no bueno.
     

  5. Call coil spring specialties...good prices and service
     
  6. Brizo
    Joined: Jan 15, 2011
    Posts: 167

    Brizo
    Member
    from Indy

    Torch the coils. The secret is, raise the car with the weight on the tires. Then STARTING AT THE BOTTOM, heat and slowly collapse about 1/3 coil at a time ( alternating sides) until it sets where you want it ---DONT melt them in the center. Cut the jounce bumpers in half or install shorter bumpers for more travel.
     
    302GMC likes this.
  7. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 26,416

    Jalopy Joker
    Member

  8. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 28,829

    Mr48chev
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    On the rears you would have to do some hunting to find some that fit but in the past I have swapped coil springs on the rear to either lower or raise the rear of a car.
    They have to fit your spring buckets though.
    There is a world of difference between "done cheap" and done right at times though.
     
    JVK54 likes this.
  9. JVK54
    Joined: Jul 19, 2010
    Posts: 479

    JVK54
    Member

    I'm confused what you mean by "raise the car with the weight on the tires" . Do you mean get the wieght off the coils with a floor jack but with the tires still on the ground? Sorry, maybe I'm being dense here but I don't follow.
     
  10. Gman0046
    Joined: Jul 24, 2005
    Posts: 6,260

    Gman0046
    Member

    What ever you do DON'T HEAT the coils. Thats bad advice and is no way to lower a car. It will ride like shit and possibly bottom out your shocks. The only to lower a car without messing up the steering geometry is drop spindles. If you don't have the money to do a job right, don't do it half assed. When ever theres a thread about lowering and someone advises heating coils I begin to think I'm in the wrong hobby.

    Gary
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2017
  11. Brizo
    Joined: Jan 15, 2011
    Posts: 167

    Brizo
    Member
    from Indy

    JVK, The weight of the car should be on the wheels as its lowered. And it's not bad advise. He wanted to lower it "on the cheap". Done as I described, it's cheap as you can get and works very well. How it rides depends on how far its lowered - that's up to him. It should be re-aligned the best possible - also up to him.
     
  12. slickhale
    Joined: Dec 19, 2010
    Posts: 767

    slickhale
    Member
    from Phoenix

    Coil springs are heat treated so anything that has to do with a torch and springs is half assed , don't do it. Cutting a coil or so works fine. For the rears with the taper in the spring on top and bottom I would see if A or G body GM springs would work. I've used G body el Camino Springs on Truck arm GM trucks for about a 3" drop

    Sent from my SM-G930V using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
  13. JVK54
    Joined: Jul 19, 2010
    Posts: 479

    JVK54
    Member

    I understand how metal works and why heating coils is not a great idea. In the past I ran 3" dropped Jamco coils on a 54 Buick mordor and the stance was totally on point and the ride decent. But the suspension of the 57 is different (trailing arms and the way the exhaust runs so I'm not so sure. I have do clue what was done lowering wise to this car in the past, but I don't think its stock now unless its just "time lowered" As it sits now I'd be OK with it if I could just get the rear down about 1-2" and run it for the time being because in the long run I think maybe bags are the way to go , when I can afford it. Really what I was asking here was if anyone knew of a GM swap ( as in G body , El Camino…whatever ) that worked on a 57 Special…Heres a pic from yesterday that shows what I mean as far as current stance.
     

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    Olds Tinman and kidcampbell71 like this.
  14. Gman0046
    Joined: Jul 24, 2005
    Posts: 6,260

    Gman0046
    Member

    Lowering a car on "the cheap" by heating coil springs is a good first step resulting in your car being a cobbled up POS. Do the job right or not at all.

    Gary
     
    da34guy likes this.
  15. Growing up in the '50's in L.A., I'd estimate that almost all of the lowered cars with coil spring suspension were done by heating the springs. The really picky guys may have pulled the springs and cut some coils off. Those were the two choices available at that time. I don't think I'd refer to every lowered car as a cobbled up POS. We worked with what we had.
     
    Blues4U likes this.
  16. Cutting coils is as easy and cheap as it gets and doesn't really "hurt" your ride much.

    You can also contact eaton spring with your dimensions and they can match a stock spring to your desired dia and length. I did that on a car in the '90s, back then stock 6 cylinder S-10 springs was what I needed according to them and the cost was 60 bucks. Worked perfect.
     
  17. Gman0046
    Joined: Jul 24, 2005
    Posts: 6,260

    Gman0046
    Member

    choffman41, I never stated every lowered car is a cobbled up POS. Only cars with heated coil springs deserve that designation. Obviously your not aware of Ackerman Steering Geometry.

    Gary
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2017
  18. Obviously I know nothing other than I've had dozens of cars with heated springs, re-aligned the front end afterwards and never had any problems. Of course, I grew up in the low tech era.
     
  19. I agree with your comments ...... the idea to heat the coils is a bullshit reply.
    No Gary, you're not in the wrong hobby, you're just in a thread with bad advice.
     
    da34guy likes this.
  20. Century
    Joined: May 28, 2009
    Posts: 176

    Century
    Member

    ROCKER77 likes this.
  21. Century
    Joined: May 28, 2009
    Posts: 176

    Century
    Member

  22. JVK54
    Joined: Jul 19, 2010
    Posts: 479

    JVK54
    Member

    Hi Century, Thanks so much. This was exactly the kind of info I was looking for! I've heard this about El Camino springs. So I called Moog for more specific specs. They do not sell rear springs for 57 Buicks or 78 El Caminos , only fronts( yeahhhh…go figure) so were no help. Then I called Eaton , who tell me the unloaded height of the 57 Buick spring is 19" and the El Camino is 14" . As there is no way the car would be drivable with a 5" drop , that's not a solution apparently. ( 2'
    ( A 2"….maaayyyybee 3" drop looks map to me even if I re-route the exhaust)….The Buick in your avatar pic looks pretty slammed though. What are you running ? How does it ride with that stance?
     
  23. JVK54
    Joined: Jul 19, 2010
    Posts: 479

    JVK54
    Member

    OK, I just ordered a set of 78 El Camino rear coils ( the stiffer version). We'll see how it goes. I really need to drop the rear about 2" and the stance should be pretty goo as the front appear to have been cut already. Here's how the car sits right now. I'll let you guys know how it works out. FullSizeRender-15 copy.jpg 16299327_10211760453069080_3484779150389683763_n.jpg FullSizeRender-23.jpg IMG_7251.JPG
     
  24. JVK54
    Joined: Jul 19, 2010
    Posts: 479

    JVK54
    Member

    So after a bunch of research, cross-referencing shocks , coils , buying and returning 78 El Camino rear springs ( $ 135 at NAPA…Geeeeze!!!!) before even installing them , figuring out where my car sits from stock ride height now…and working a full weekend of overtime pay( go Union!) ..I decided I'm not gonna chase my tail trying to cobble stuff together that may not even look or drive right in the end. Do it once, do it right..and I ordered front and rear 3" dropped springs , shortened shocks and small bump stops from Jamco. I ran their stuff in my 54 Buick and my 50 Chevy and it's always been quality, and really not that expensive all things considered. The def treated me right as a return customer who stuck with them through the well documented bad times there and the new ownership seems super good about customer service ( which was always the problem as they acknowledge )..So I should have my parts in a couple of weeks. Will keep you posted.
    One lesson I've learned , but sometimes it takes a minute to re-accept is that every time I try to cut corners or shortcut, it bites me in the ass. Not taking the bait this time. Just gonna work more OT and pay for good parts.
     
    clunker likes this.
  25. Dman
    Joined: Mar 5, 2001
    Posts: 188

    Dman
    Member

    This last summer I bought 2.5 " lowered springs installed on my 57 Special. I had to remove the bump stops on the front because it basically rode on the bump stops. When I removed them I did not know if it would ride well but the little I have driven it was all good. I am sure that you will enjoy the look and ride when you are done. Keep us updated.
     
  26. bhead1968
    Joined: Feb 9, 2012
    Posts: 60

    bhead1968
    Member
    from so-fla

    3" jamco drop springs on my '55 special.. makes it sit right.
     

    Attached Files:

  27. Blues4U
    Joined: Oct 1, 2015
    Posts: 5,491

    Blues4U
    Member
    from So Cal

    Personally I wouldn't fuck with it at all, that thing sits bitchin just as it is.
     
    quick85 and mr57 like this.
  28. JVK54
    Joined: Jul 19, 2010
    Posts: 479

    JVK54
    Member

    Yeah that looks good. I had a 54 Buick Mordor on 3" dropped Jamco Coils and it sat perfect. Dead level. Which is what I'm going for. I hate the rear end kicked up the way it is now, tho the fronts pretty good. But it drives a little floaty…which tells me the front coils are probably beat. So I'm replacing them.
     
  29. phat rat
    Joined: Mar 18, 2001
    Posts: 4,524

    phat rat
    Member

    A little floaty might just be the shocks. Years ago when I had my 57 I used Monroe 500 shocks on the rear and Monro-matics on the frt.
     
    Blues4U likes this.
  30. JVK54
    Joined: Jul 19, 2010
    Posts: 479

    JVK54
    Member

    Installed 3" dropped Jamco coils and shocks in the rear today. I have the fronts too, just didn't have time. But I kinda dig the slight tail drag stance right now. IMG_8413.JPG FullSizeRender-31 copy.jpg FullSizeRender-32 copy.jpg
     

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