The weekend refresh of the 1979 Chevrolet pickup continues as Brett and I tackle installing a set of drop spindles to lower the front end of this square body. It was a straightforward project that helped completely change the character of this truck—and before you say trucks shouldn’t be lowered, consider that this is a two-wheel drive that will never go off road and we’re using methods to lower it that do not mess with the suspension geometry or create clearance problems.
Brett wanted this truck to be more muscle-y than the off-road brawn it had when he bought it. For that, we formulated a plan to make just a few minimal changes to get that look he wants without sacrificing usability and practicality. That’s why we chose a 3-inch drop spindle to lower the front end. The key to a drop spindle is to change where the wheel mounts on the spindle itself. This way none of the suspension geometry is changed. Engineers way smarter than us designed that suspension, and it would be awfully big of us to think we could do better by cutting things up with a cheap angle grinder.
The installation of new spindles is involved, but in the grand scheme is not a terribly difficult project. The mix of brute force and careful attention to not damage things is typically learned by making mistakes, but here is one I can save you from making. When you need to use the big hammer to split things apart—like tie rods or ball joints—loosen the castle nuts but do not remove them. If you leave the nut in place, it will do two things: keep parts from flying apart and causing damage to you or your vehicle, and also keep the hammer blows from damaging the thread of the part you’re working on.
There’s still the rear suspension left to do, and the finished product looks sharp. If you want to see it, be sure to subscribe to Hagerty’s YouTube channel and you’ll receive a notification when next week’s video goes live.