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Street Race Truck More... The Toolbox

Chevy Trucks: Front DJM Suspension Drop

6/23/2020
Half-time. Switch sides.

After we finished lowering the rear, the next morning, Jonny and I got up bright and early to tear apart the front suspension and level things out. Just like with the rear, we cleaned and painted components as we got things apart. We had already put new calipers and brake hoses on the truck with our first round of repairs. This time around, we also installed new rotors. During a typical installation of this kit, there would be no need to replace those items or remove the calipers completely to install spindles and springs.

The disassembly was pretty straightforward. Before we started, I had Jonny wipe down and paint the new spindles charcoal grey to match the rear end housing. Once we had the rest disassembled, the other parts got the same treatment in various colors and finishes.

Note the spindle pin location difference.

Once all the components were drying in the sun, we attacked the control arms, front frame, and inner fenders with a wire wheel and clean & strip discs to remove the scale and grime.

Those parts all got a fresh coat of rattle can semi-flat black. After everything dried, we began re-assembling all the components. It was at this time that we also decided to replace the ball joints as well. I would advocate this for any spindle swap unless you installed the ball joints yourself and know they are in good working order.

A 16 year old’s version of “trick” red calipers

With new, freshly packed bearings, ball joints, and brakes, we were set to install the front wheels. That was when we discovered a small problem with the front wheels. Since the Rally wheels have a backspace of 4-inches, they interfered with the lower control arm due to the raised spindle pin location (drop).

This is remedied by either swapping to a larger diameter wheel (not in the kid’s budget) or trimming away the lip along the edge of the lower control arm from the lower ball joint and up the arm about 2-inches. This will create clearance for the inner lip of the rim at a full-lock turn.

If you have fresh paint and have driven the truck with this condition, you’ll see exactly where they rub.

Done?

As usual, when I lower a vehicle, they never quite seem low enough the first time. This ride height was “as advertised” and the truck was level and plenty low. Still practical. So we decided to let it ride for a bit to settle, before doing anything rash. We were hoping for a little bit of rake, but the difference in tire aspect front to back robbed us of a little of that.

So, after Jonny and I drove it for about a week, I took half a coil off the new springs. Then we took it in for an alignment. It was able to be aligned within all specs except for the camber. That is about -1 degree out of spec, which gives no noticeable wear issue on the tires. It also has the added benefit of giving a tiny bit more fender clearance.

Speaking of fenders...yes, they all had to have the lips rolled to accommodate the wheel and tire combo at the new ride height. But it sure looks cool now!

Jonny at his first rod run.

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