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Tri-Five: How Low can you go?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by alteredpilot, Apr 25, 2013.

  1. i just picked up a '57 and it needs an altitude adjustment.

    the front end needs rebuilt and it has heated springs which actually ride pretty nice, but since i'm going to be in there anyway, i figgered i'd put some lowered springs in there. i may or may not install dropped spindles, but let's assume for the sake of argument that i'm going to keep the stock spindle on the front.

    i'll probably do 3" springs in the rear and blocks if necessary to get it right.

    i know that all models have their own personality, i just don't know this one's just yet.

    the question is, how low can you go before you start running into alignment issues, handling problems or anything else, if anything else, on the front end.

    thanks for any input.
  2. edwardlloyd
    Joined: Aug 2, 2003
    Posts: 2,067

    from Germany

    Now why do you want to go low? Low is for girls. Hotrodders build Tri-fives with stance. You can't go fast if you're low.
  3. my '56 I drove in high school had 2" dropped spindles with lowering springs. Rode very nice, speed bumps were only an issue if taken head on.
  4. nwbhotrod
    Joined: Oct 13, 2009
    Posts: 1,243

    from wash state

    Without bags its about as low as you can go

    Attached Files:

  5. NWB...
    whats your set up?
  6. I lowered my '55 about 4" in front using 2" dropped spindles and 1.5 coils cut.
    I lowered it 2" in back using lowering blocks.
    That's about the max you can go with a tri-5 with just bolt-ons.

    Shoes consisted of 205/70-15's on 15x6" wheels in front and 255/60-15's on 15x8" wheels in the rear.

    I also trimmed the rear fender lips and bent them up to give myself more clearance, but still had to drop rear leafsprings to change a rear tire.

    Hope this helps.

    Attached Files:

  7. Special Ed
    Joined: Nov 1, 2007
    Posts: 6,060

    Special Ed

    You can get 'em pretty darned low without worrying about any alignment or handling issues. At least I've never had any problems ...

  8. nwbhotrod
    Joined: Oct 13, 2009
    Posts: 1,243

    from wash state

    drop spindels cut front springs 14 inch wheels in the front lowering blocks in the rear. It rides good but you do need to be carful speed bumps gutters steep driveways hey if you dont rub a littel your not low enough
  9. pinkynoegg
    Joined: Dec 11, 2011
    Posts: 1,135


    words of a wise man
  10. waldo53
    Joined: Jan 26, 2010
    Posts: 849

    from ID

    Here's a pic of my ol' rag top, taken in 1959. cut 1.5 coils and ran 2"
    blocks in back. Rode as good as stock, no alignment issues.

    Attached Files:

  11. Jay71
    Joined: Sep 15, 2007
    Posts: 856


    Hi Mitch. On my wagon I'm running 3 in. blocks out back on orig. leafs so there may be a bit of sag factor there. Up front I've got 2 in. dropped spindles, and ordered springs that were already lowered 2in. Didnt like how it sat so I cut more out of the springs. The front crossmember sits about 3.25 in. from the ground. Been running it like this for lots of years with no issues. 15x6 wheels with 670 bias plies. When I had radials with the same set up the tires rubbed quite a bit when turning. No rubbing with the bias. Hope this helps.
  12. If you flip the rear shackles up, you can get it a little lower, too. Wagons don't need the floor board clearanced, but coupes/sedans need the extra room
  13. Special Ed...
    What wheel/tire combo are you running?

    I've ALWAYS loved the way your wagon sat. thats about where i'd like mine at a minimum.
  14. slammed
    Joined: Jun 10, 2004
    Posts: 8,152


    Stepped control A-arms 2", 2 or 3" dropped coil up front. 5 inches? That will be maximum for the crossmember to be 3" from flat surface. You want to rake the stance? Do the front end 1st.
  15. daddio211
    Joined: Aug 26, 2008
    Posts: 5,998


    Did this one for my dad. Cut one coil with 2" dropped spindles, and flipped the rear shackle. Rear could have used a 2" block, just never got around to it.

    Still have the stock A arms and spindles if anyone is interested.

    Sent from my DROID device using the TJJ mobile app

    Attached Files:

  16. black 62
    Joined: Jul 12, 2012
    Posts: 1,895

    black 62
    from arkansas

    ride the snubbers ,that is what there for...
  17. Dirty2
    Joined: Jun 13, 2004
    Posts: 8,903


    Big block chevelle springs , 1 1/2 coils cut . Rode great .

    Attached Files:

    • 57 1.jpg
      57 1.jpg
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      147.7 KB
  18. Every fast drag car I see is a couple inches from the ground.....
  19. Clean!!
  20. GassersGarage
    Joined: Jul 1, 2007
    Posts: 4,729


    Check with Bob Barnes. His "Belwood" has 2" dropped spindles and 1 0r 2 inch dropped springs. He also runs small wheels on front. I forgot the drop on the rear but be forewarned. He said he can only haul one passenger in his wagon, if he's not too heavy, because his wagon will bottom out. It's as low as it will go and still get into driveways.
  21. Special Ed
    Joined: Nov 1, 2007
    Posts: 6,060

    Special Ed

    Really standard stuff.
    15" x 6" wheels
    205/65R15 tires
  22. MrGasser
    Joined: Oct 24, 2001
    Posts: 1,793

    from DETROIT an awesome pic!
  23. Before and after '56 2 door wag. 2" Spindles, one coil cut in front, 3" blocks on back. rode great.

    Attached Files:

  24. Similar to Mikey's, 2 inch dropped spindles, 1" shorter front spring, 3" blocks in the rear on the '56 wagon.

    And then a shot of nwbhotrods car (looking at the hood leads me to believe) before he fixed the stance, and before I put the ETIIIs on it.

    Attached Files:

  25. daddio211
    Joined: Aug 26, 2008
    Posts: 5,998


    Is this sarcasm? You couldn't possibly be serious.
    Joined: Dec 16, 2011
    Posts: 591

    from Oregon

    He's been stuck in the nose high straight axle " another tri fiver gasser" threads :)
  27. hoop98
    Joined: Jan 23, 2013
    Posts: 1,363

    from Texas

    Most 57 Chevies are not at their original heights so the first question is what is the reference point. The lowest part of the 57 frame as built was 6 inches off the ground (oil pan 6 5/8)" so I doubt you could drop it 5 inches from there.


    The stock chevy had 3.75 inches of wheel travel at curb weight with 2/3 bumpstop compression.

    So dropping it 2 inches with spring height and finding a shorter shock or remounting the shock and shortening the bump stop could give you about 2 - 2 1/4 inches of bounce.

    Dropped spindles avoid the suspension bind, so say 2 inches there.

    The crossmember clearance will depend on tire radius and spring drop.

    A total drop of 4 inches from the spec height with stock tire radius will leave 2 1/2 - 3 inches at the stock oil pan.

    More than that will require more care in my opinion. The car should be bumpsteered with tie rod end spacers IMO.

    If you don't know where the car is it's impossible to say how much can be dropped, most have larger tires and are sitting above the original height, but who knows till you measure it.

  28. Paul Y
    Joined: Dec 29, 2006
    Posts: 633

    Paul Y

    Why did I ever sell my car....

    Anyway, 2" dropped spindles with QA1 coil overs 205/65 15 tyres

    Rears, AVO Coil overs with 4 bar and watts linkage. This was as low as I could go and still be able to turn the front wheels, I did roll the front arches and it did touch on full lock.

    Speed bumps had to be approached with caution but the main thing that touched was exhaust box. Would quite happily transport 6 people but would rub on the inner rear inner arch over large bumps when fully loaded.

    Bit stiff but not uncomfortable due mainly to the comfy original bench seats.





    Sorry for all the pictures but the first time in a few years I have looked at my old car file and just thought it looked good!

  29. nwbhotrod
    Joined: Oct 13, 2009
    Posts: 1,243

    from wash state

    Hell ya it looks good
  30. 57tony31
    Joined: Jul 20, 2008
    Posts: 632

    from Woods

    Mines going to be low as well........

    Attached Files:

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