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How to Lower C10 Front Suspension with Drop Springs and Spindles

10/12/2022
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When it comes to C10 trucks, there are countless front suspension and brake kits available to lower or otherwise upgrade GM’s half-century old design. What is the best C10 lowering kit? Well, that depends on what your goals are for the truck. Here’s what we did on our ’68 C10 project and some discussion that may help you decide what’s best for yours.

How to Lower a C10

Having already tackled our C10’s rear suspension, we were ready to bring the nose of our truck down. For this first stage of our project, we’re not out to do anything dramatic like crazy airbag antics or winning at the autocross. Instead, we’re after a subtle, lowered truck that looks, handles, and stops better without breaking the bank. To get there, we chose our Complete Front Suspension Kit for 1963-70 Chevy C10. This kit provides everything needed to complete the install down to the nuts, bolts, and cotter pins.

The video above shows how easily the kit went on. Sure, we’re working with a bare chassis, but this install could also be accomplished with your truck together. Just remember to take great care when removing the stock front springs. These have a huge amount of preload on them and can cause havoc if they are not contained when removing them. We knew we would be replacing them with this kit, so we cut ours with the torch prior to breaking any ball joints.

You may be looking at something like this on your project. This is where we started, and some careful disassembly, blasting, and painting got us ready for our lowering kit install.

In our experience, a combination of lowering springs and dropped spindles as provided in this kit makes for a great setup in these trucks. The springs offer 2” of drop when compared to a new stock spring and the spindles add another 2 ½” of drop by moving the spindle pin up on the spindle body. That makes for a total of 4 ½” of drop. This will be a noticeable difference in appearance without being so low that we’ll be dragging the exhaust on every speed bump in town. Also included are new shocks that are made to work with the newly lowered stance.

Be careful not to overtighten the spindle nut. Some service manuals call out a torque spec, but it's easy to feel when it's right. Don't forget the cotter pin!

You’ll notice this kit also comes with brakes. In 1971, GM upgraded their trucks with front disc brakes. Prior to that, all C10’s had drum brakes all around. Not only do the discs make a dramatic difference in the truck's ability to stop when that SUV pulls out in front of you, but they also change the truck over to a 5 lug, 5” bolt circle. This really opens up the possibilities for aftermarket wheels. In the rear, we upgraded our housing to a 9” with 5 on 5” axles so the bolt pattern would match. If you want to keep your stock housing, we also offer an axle conversion kit that will get you there.

We also chose to upgrade to tubular upper and lower control arms. This install will look the same whether you use stock arms or aftermarket. If you do elect to re-use the stock arms, be sure to check cross shafts and ball joints for looseness or wear. Ours were shot, and the cost and effort involved to rebuild them influenced our decision to use the fancy new tubular pieces.

We just wrestled the assembled suspension in place to bolt up the shocks. A floor jack would have been easier.

Once the original suspension is apart, install of this kit is fairly straightforward. Make sure everything is tight and the supplied cotter pins are installed in all ball joints and rod ends. We packed wheel bearings by hand, but you may thank yourself for purchasing a good bearing packer. As described in the video, be sure not to under or overtighten the spindle nut that sets preload on the wheel bearings.

One more tip based on our install. With the shorter springs, they tend to unload and move around when jacking the truck under the crossmember. We noticed that the top of the spring moved out of the pocket in the crossmember and did not seat properly when we lowered the jack. Some light pressure on the outside of the spring while lowering the jack (careful not to pinch your fingers) will help it seat correctly. We plan to install some longer bump stops in the upper control arms to prevent this from happening in the future.

All finished. This is a huge upgrade for the front of these trucks.

We can’t wait to get the cab, fenders, and box back on our truck to see it all come together. We’ll also be upgrading the master cylinder and proportioning valve to work with our new disc brakes. Be sure to follow our progress on our C10 project!

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