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Old 09-04-2007, 10:40 PM   #1
Todd_a
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Dropping my '64 stepside without messing with the suspension...

I wasn't able to drive it before because the front end was worn out so bad it was eating up tires, so I had the upper and lower ball joints replaced and got it alligned and now it is all better.

Next I got rid of the nasty bucket seats that were in there and the crappy center console and found me a decent bench seat and made a bracket for it and installed that last weekend.

This weekend I decided it was time to get rid of the 4 wheel drive look it was sporting. I had been looking for some drop spindles that would bolt in using my brand new ball joints but apparently there are none. So that narrowed my options. I don't have unlimited funds to purchase an air bag suspension, so I am left with springs and I am not fond of the ride quality you have to sacrifice to drop with springs. The only option left is to drop the body.

I read up on body drops and they are usually a couple of inches up to about 3 inches at the most. I want more! So I decided to see if I could get 5" of drop and retain the stock suspension.

So here I go....

Here is a starting photo so you can see the ugly 4 wheel drivin' look it has....




DAY 1 (9/1/07):

Today I chopped up the cab and the front "frame horns" that hold the front of the body and the bumper on and let her fall.

This is during the cutting...





And this is at the end of the evening as she sits now. The front is actually lower than it will be because there is nothing supporting the front right now. The back portion of the cab is screwed together for now, until I can get finished welding it, so it is in the position that it will be. I think the front will come up an inch or maybe 2 from here when done.






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Old 09-04-2007, 10:40 PM   #2
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Re: Dropping my '64 stepside without messing with the suspension...

DAY 2 (9/2/07):

Today I had to weld on the front "frame Horns" I cut off yesterday to support the front end and the bumber, plus I had to do some repair where one of the mounts to the frame had rusted and came apart and was hanging that corner lower than the other. The frame pieces I cut off were re-attached at exactly the bottom of the frame - 5" below their original location.

Next I had to fab up a new steering shaft that would clear the A-Arm and accomodate the new angle from the firewall being 5" lower. I chopped up the original shaft and welded in a couple of small u-joints to it to make the turns.

I should have taken a pic, but the brake pedal was now located about 1/2" from the floor, so I cut that off and cut out a section of it and I shortened it and bent it over towards the side a little more and I removed the clutch pedal.

I also did more welding on the rear of the cab and I cut one of the side pieces for inside the cab where the floor is raised and welded it in place. While I was doing all that I also cut a piece and welded it in were the cas filler cap used to be.

Now the cab and front end are sitting at the new permanent height. It did not come up very much from how it was resting last night. Sweet! I have to drop the bed next. You can see in some of the pics how the bed it a lot higher than the cab.

More issues I have to deal with - the Radiator. It now sits way too high and the hood won't close... The seat - it is too high and the steering wheel almost touches it. Ugh!

Here are the pics from tonight....



















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Old 09-04-2007, 10:43 PM   #3
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Re: Dropping my '64 stepside without messing with the suspension...

Day 3 (9/3/07):

Today I didn't work on it as long. Dyl's Birthday is tomorow and I went and grabbed him for the evening.

I worked on the bed today. I removed the wood bed bottom and unbolted the step side braces. I Cut the ends off of the 3 main rails that actually hold the weight of the bed and determine the height. Then I welded on extensions to relocate the ends down 4 1/4" lower. The wood was 3/4" so that makes up the 5" that I am looking for. I had to do some work on my welder so I didn't get all this done today. I did get 3 of the rail ends welded on and one brace welded in place, but the 3 on the other side are not on yet. I have the bed supported by jack stands for now except for the driver side front corner which is sitting on the only completely finished rail. The back of the bed is actually about 1/2" higher than it will be once it is all finished, but it looks really low now.

At least it is looking like it is supposed to now.

Here are some of the relocated rails waiting to be reattached...


Rails already installed..


The one that has the extra brace on it already...


The way it is sitting now...





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Old 09-04-2007, 10:45 PM   #4
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Re: Dropping my '64 stepside without messing with the suspension...

DAY 4 (9/4907):

Another really light day today. Worked all day then picked up the boy from school, ate dinner than went out and started in on the truck.

All I really got done was to finish the bed brackets and get the bed sitting on the frame instead of on the jack stands. So everything is now at the final height. Looks good to me!

I started on the throttle issue, but I didn't get very far. I am going to have to make another bracket for that also.

Well, here are the pics from tonight...

The Bed rails finished and the bed sittingon them now. (Still have to bolt it down)



Couple of pics of the new final stance...


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Old 09-05-2007, 12:17 AM   #5
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Re: Dropping my '64 stepside without messing with the suspension...

i gotta be honest man so try not to get to mad. dont get me wrong you did very good work but you chopped up that nice truck to make it a few inches lower and i dont like that much at all. i would have just saved a little cash and done it right. but thats just me.
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Old 09-05-2007, 01:50 AM   #6
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Re: Dropping my '64 stepside without messing with the suspension...

seems like alot of work.....when all you had to do was replace the springs jus my .2 cents
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Old 09-05-2007, 02:56 AM   #7
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Re: Dropping my '64 stepside without messing with the suspension...

I gotta agree with Hewlett and six4flat, however, that stance looks bad ass. Its your truck, and you do it the way you see fit. It'll look awesome when you get done!

Hell if it werent for you guys that did something out of the ordinary, wed still be driving every car on the planet bone stock!
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Old 09-05-2007, 06:16 AM   #8
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Re: Dropping my '64 stepside without messing with the suspension...

Man, that whole floor situation has me puzzled. I'm sure you already have this figured out, or you wouldn't have done it, but how in the world are you going to get a seat in there? You'll almost have to use something like 66 Mustang buckets that have a seat height of about 6" or something similar. Keep us updated. This will really be interesting how this turns out. You may have started a fad.
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Old 09-05-2007, 07:09 AM   #9
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Re: Dropping my '64 stepside without messing with the suspension...

Well, as far as doing it "right", springs are not the answer. They totally change your suspension geometry and they effect the ride quality of the vehicle. The cost isn't the issue with springs either because they are cheap.

Dropped spindles are more "right" than front springs, however , as I pointed out in the first post, I didn't want to swap to disc brakes and have to change my upper brand new ball joints out, and no one appears to offer the dropped spindles fro this application without having to do BOTH of those swaps.

Air bag suspension is a great alternative. as you can avjust ride height, then sit it down low to look good. But that is expensive.

Doing a Body Drop is usually how people get a vehicle that is lowered with air suspension and possibly dropped spindles even lower. You can sit the frame on the ground, but your body panels will still be up in the air because the frame sits below the body. That is when people usually save up and finish the job by body dropping. From some research I have found this move to cost anywhere from $3500 - $10,000 for a shop to perform it.

As far as the good looking truck that I chopped up goes - all the body panels that look good (with exception of the rear of the cab) are not cut at all . They are still all factory. All I did was cut the floor and the fromt frame horns and the bed rails.

In the end I know that everyone has their own opinion of how things should be done and a lot of that is based on what has always been done that everyone is used to. I wanted to go outside the box and try something different. I don't take offence to people's criticism and I appreciate anyone who steps out and does any change at all to their vehicle because the factory turns out cookie cutter cars and if you want to make it your own that is totally your perogative. Just never forget that you CAN think outside the box and try something different. That is how progress is made and things move forward.
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Old 09-05-2007, 07:16 AM   #10
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Re: Dropping my '64 stepside without messing with the suspension...

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Originally Posted by 63 & 64 Bowties View Post
Man, that whole floor situation has me puzzled. I'm sure you already have this figured out, or you wouldn't have done it, but how in the world are you going to get a seat in there? You'll almost have to use something like 66 Mustang buckets that have a seat height of about 6" or something similar. Keep us updated. This will really be interesting how this turns out. You may have started a fad.
I actually had just installed a bench seat from some sort of a Chrystler product in there the week before I started this. This morning I just finished cutting down the mounts I had made previously so that the seat will fit in there and the bottom fromt of the seat sits about 1/4" above the tall part of the tranny tunnel. The steering wheel does sit a little closer to the seat than I would like, but I can always put a tilt wheel in there, however I love the factory column.

Another alternative is that I can cut out that tall part of the tranny tunnel and then fabricate a new piece for that either flat (if it will clear the tranny there) or with a small hump, because that large hump is not necessary with a turbo 350 tranny.

As it is now, the bench seat fits. As I enter the truck the front foam part of the seat squishes down and I can slide right in past the wheel with no problem.

Things are a lot tighter in the cab this way. That is probably one reason that people usually only go with a 2 - 3" body drop. There is an alternative version of the drop where you cut the floor where the frame is and move the body mounts down and the frame rails actually come up ino the cab, but the rest of the interior stays the same. If you customize your seat brackets you can have everything almost exactly the same as before the drop.
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Old 09-05-2007, 07:51 AM   #11
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Re: Dropping my '64 stepside without messing with the suspension...

nice work todd _a
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Old 09-05-2007, 08:03 AM   #12
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Re: Dropping my '64 stepside without messing with the suspension...

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nice work todd _a
thanks!!!

Man, I love those early 50's trucks! I want one so bad, but I don't have room for anything else right now. When either this truck or my Harley goes, I'm probably going to get one of those.

How's your Z'd truck doing?

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Old 09-05-2007, 08:57 AM   #13
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Re: Dropping my '64 stepside without messing with the suspension...

[ATTACH][/ATTACH]
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nice work todd _a
I have to agree with the nice work. If you are willing to get your hands dirty and do the hard work, then I say cut it up. Just take your time, make it safe and have fun with it. People have been cutting cars and trucks for years, it is part of our greatest hot rod history. LONG LIVE GEORGE BARRIS!

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Old 09-05-2007, 11:55 AM   #14
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Re: Dropping my '64 stepside without messing with the suspension...

That's what I've been talkin' about! Good old hot rod/custom/street rod stuff. Chopped up, channeled, sectioned, Z'd frames, etc, etc, etc... Good old fashioned fun with a sawzall and a welder! haha
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Old 09-05-2007, 12:15 PM   #15
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Re: Dropping my '64 stepside without messing with the suspension...

I guess what I did would be properly referred to as "channeled". cool... I'm a hot rodder now.
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Old 09-05-2007, 02:21 PM   #16
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Re: Dropping my '64 stepside without messing with the suspension...

If everyone drove someone else's idea of what a vehicle should look like, I think I would have to ride a bicycle! If others don't want to chop their ride, that's their decision to make. If it weren't for doing things like you did (and it looks good too!), hot rodding would be non-existant.

I've caught crap for what I did to mine, but until they are the ones opening up their wallets, their opinions are meaningless. Besides, who gets to determine the "right" way to do something???? They guy with the welder in his hand, thats who!

Keep up the good work, I know you'll be happy with it when it's done. And that's all that matters! What are the rest of your plans for the truck?
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Old 09-05-2007, 04:03 PM   #17
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Re: Dropping my '64 stepside without messing with the suspension...

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If everyone drove someone else's idea of what a vehicle should look like, I think I would have to ride a bicycle! If others don't want to chop their ride, that's their decision to make. If it weren't for doing things like you did (and it looks good too!), hot rodding would be non-existant.

I've caught crap for what I did to mine, but until they are the ones opening up their wallets, their opinions are meaningless. Besides, who gets to determine the "right" way to do something???? They guy with the welder in his hand, thats who!

Keep up the good work, I know you'll be happy with it when it's done. And that's all that matters! What are the rest of your plans for the truck?

Thanks for the support!!!!!

The other plans for the truck are sketchy at this point, but here is what I know so far:
- I am installing a '72 and earlier blazer/suburban gas tank in the rear under the bed next.
- I am looking at adding A/C to it for next summer.
- CD Deck as it has nothing at all at the moment.
- Different wheels, but I am not sure which ones. I was thinking about a set of steelies but I am not set on anyhting at this point.
- Engine mods will probably come soon
--- It is a low compression 350 out of a 1995 truck with the factory cam and heads, so I was thinking about fabbing up a Turbocharger setup for it and blowing through the carb with that. Should easily be able to get 500HP with that setup. It would be something different again.
- Rearend is 4.11 and turbos like a highway gear, so I was thinking about swapping to a 2.73 or 3.08 gear out back with a posi unit.
- If I did all that, I would need to upgrade the brakes, so I would swap to a power disc/drum setup with all that.
- Paint: this truck was originally Seafoam and I love seafoam, so I would probably go back with that when the time comes for paint.

But, I will probably just enjoy it for a while like it is before delving off into more.
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Old 09-05-2007, 05:15 PM   #18
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Re: Dropping my '64 stepside without messing with the suspension...

seafoam is a great color. My freind has a 68 nova orig. seafoam color. It looks really green next to a silver car, but really silver next to a green one !
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Old 09-05-2007, 05:40 PM   #19
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Re: Dropping my '64 stepside without messing with the suspension...

ok i am sorry. yall are right. i guess i have plans for my truck that would make some people get really pissed and tell me how bad i messed up. i have been told that already anyways but hey, its what the owner likes, not what everybody else likes. good job man. and sorry for my previous statement.
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Old 09-06-2007, 01:11 AM   #20
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Re: Dropping my '64 stepside without messing with the suspension...

Nice work todd_a!! I am a huge fan of chopped, channelled, sectioned, etc. hot rods - wish I had the skill to do it. Keep up the good work and keep us posted on your progress.
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Old 09-06-2007, 01:18 AM   #21
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Re: Dropping my '64 stepside without messing with the suspension...

Hell yea!

I always look at body drops as the final step in bringing it all the way down, but you have a factory ride with it being lowered! What year is your truck?
I have a '63 and didnt have to change out any ball joints for my drop spindles.

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Old 09-06-2007, 07:01 AM   #22
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Re: Dropping my '64 stepside without messing with the suspension...

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Hell yea!

I always look at body drops as the final step in bringing it all the way down, but you have a factory ride with it being lowered! What year is your truck?
I have a '63 and didnt have to change out any ball joints for my drop spindles.
Awesome truck!!!! Man, I wish I had a fleetside. I couldn't find a decent bed here local before I was ready to start cutting. I'm keeping my eyes open though.

If you are dealing with the 20's and 30's cars and trucks, they tend to channel to drop those and get that unsightly frame out of view before looking at other ways to lower them. Of course the frames are not as prominent in the newer cars and trucks, so there isn't as much of a desire to make this move anymore. Except, like you said, as a last step to get them the rest of the way down.

Mine is a '64 and everywhere I looked and everyone I asked was telling me that I could not get dropped spindles without swapping to the '71 or '72 dropped spindles which meant swapping the upper ball joint out for that. Other than that I also would have had to swap to disc brakes up front. I don't have a problem with that but money is tight and I only wanted to go lower.

Where did you get your dropped spindles that you were able to install them wihtout swapping out the top ball joints?
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Old 09-06-2007, 07:22 AM   #23
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Re: Dropping my '64 stepside without messing with the suspension...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Todd_a View Post
Well, as far as doing it "right", springs are not the answer. They totally change your suspension geometry and they effect the ride quality of the vehicle. The cost isn't the issue with springs either because they are cheap.

Dropped spindles are more "right" than front springs, however , as I pointed out in the first post, I didn't want to swap to disc brakes and have to change my upper brand new ball joints out, and no one appears to offer the dropped spindles fro this application without having to do BOTH of those swaps.

Air bag suspension is a great alternative. as you can avjust ride height, then sit it down low to look good. But that is expensive.

Doing a Body Drop is usually how people get a vehicle that is lowered with air suspension and possibly dropped spindles even lower. You can sit the frame on the ground, but your body panels will still be up in the air because the frame sits below the body. That is when people usually save up and finish the job by body dropping. From some research I have found this move to cost anywhere from $3500 - $10,000 for a shop to perform it.

As far as the good looking truck that I chopped up goes - all the body panels that look good (with exception of the rear of the cab) are not cut at all . They are still all factory. All I did was cut the floor and the fromt frame horns and the bed rails.

In the end I know that everyone has their own opinion of how things should be done and a lot of that is based on what has always been done that everyone is used to. I wanted to go outside the box and try something different. I don't take offence to people's criticism and I appreciate anyone who steps out and does any change at all to their vehicle because the factory turns out cookie cutter cars and if you want to make it your own that is totally your perogative. Just never forget that you CAN think outside the box and try something different. That is how progress is made and things move forward.
To each is own...but I'm going to have to disagree with you on whats "right".

I have need dropping vehicles now for about 16 yrs...(not too long, I still have alot to learn ).....but if done correctly, spring modification will not affect the ride as dramatic as you say.

What I recommend to my customers on a budget, is pull some 3/4 or 1-ton front springs from the wrecking yard (cheap), cut a 1 1/2 to 2 coils max, and remove the bumpstop mount on the lower a-arms. (this will give you the ride back you lost from modifing the suspension position). By running a heavier spring rate on a 1/2 ton, you still retain some "strength" when you cut them down...versus cutting a stock 1/2 ton spring...

Combine that with a dropped spindle (yes there is a cost there), and a nice set of oil shocks (oops, another cost there) and you WILL HAVE an excellent ride.

Now, as far as suspension geometry, any qualified ASE certified alignment shop CAN realign the truck back into spec. If you notice, there is plenty of stud there to get the front wheels back out to correct camber.....


Otherwise, the channeling looks good man

Good Job !!!
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Old 09-06-2007, 08:18 AM   #24
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Re: Dropping my '64 stepside without messing with the suspension...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Todd_a View Post
thanks!!!

Man, I love those early 50's trucks! I want one so bad, but I don't have room for anything else right now. When either this truck or my Harley goes, I'm probably going to get one of those.

How's your Z'd truck doing?
hoping to get started on my 65 in a week or so.as for your truck i would not give a damn what any thinks about chopping it your the one that owns it your the one thats paying for it and as long as it is done safely and your happy with it who cares. I've been told buy people that i cannot chop and channeling my 52 sedan but guess what i'm going to so good on ya
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Old 09-06-2007, 10:09 AM   #25
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Re: Dropping my '64 stepside without messing with the suspension...

Let me take a look to see if I can find where I ordered my spindles from, I think it was $600 shipped with all the disc brake stuff. No ball joint change out, everything bolted right in.
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