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GM G-Body Performance Upgrades: Lowering the G-Body

by Joe Hinds

(Taken from GM G-Body Performance Upgrades 1978-1987 by Joe Hinds) 

Most enthusiasts, regardless of how they use the car, prefer a lower stance, especially if the car is equipped with larger aftermarket wheels and tires. Nothing ruins the look of an otherwise nice car more than a horrible stance. Reducing the gap between the wheel opening and the tire does wonders to improve appearance, but this is by no means the sole reason to consider lowering it. A lower center of gravity improves handling, and the right combination of springs and sway bars can drastically reduce body roll while still providing a good ride. 

Lowering Springs Installing a set of lowering springs at the correct spring rate for the vehicle is the easiest way to lower a car. Most aftermarket suspension companies, including Hotchkis, Eibach, ChassisWorks, and Global West, offer these springs. Most suspension companies list the amount of drop that can be expected, but this figure is rarely accurate for a particular vehicle because of the aforementioned variables. You may not see any change at all.

For instance, if the stock springs have sagged significantly, or the new engine is significantly lighter than the original (say an LS3 in place of an all-iron 305), it may retain the stock ride height. Or, the opposite may occur, and the front end is now higher. If this happens, verify that the springs are properly seated in the frame as well as on the lower control arm.

If the springs are improperly seated on one or both sides, they are significantly higher than they should be. If the springs are properly seated and the car is still too high, drive the car for a couple of days before doing anything more. The springs “set in” and that reduces the ride height by a small amount, which may be enough.

If the ride height is still too high, you can cut the springs, but there are a few things to remember when doing this. For one, only cut a spring with a tool that doesn’t generate much heat. Use a 41⁄2-inch cutting disc on an angle grinder because it won’t affect the temper as does a torch or plasma cutter. Also, cut the spring in no more than 1/2-coil increments.

You may have to remove and reinstall the spring several times before getting the height where you want it, but this is preferable to cutting too much and having to replace the springs. Also, do not ever remove more than a full coil because the spring can be severely weakened and even fail in extreme cases.
Dropped Spindles If the car is still higher than desired after cutting 1/2 coil from the spring, consider installing a dropped spindle. The typical dropped spindle has a 2-inch drop. The actual spindle portion is raised, which effectively lowers the ride height of the car.

Dropped spindles are readily available for G-Body cars. If using stock spindles, you can select early S10 spindles (Belltech PN 2100) to achieve a 2-inch drop, and these spindles may be advertised as or share the same part number as S10 spindles. If using a 1998–2004 S10 Blazer 2WD spindle, Belltech makes a dropped spindle version for the G-Body (PN 2102).

 

image 1

This spindle is sold under the Summit Racing brand, but is likely made by Belltech.

 

image 2

New OEM-type spindles are available from Speedway Motors and Summit Racing (shown). They are a good option if new or reconditioned ones are not available. These are also an excellent option if your stock spindles are in poor shape and you don’t want a drop or plan to do a brake conversion.



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