This 1979 Chevrolet pickup is in the process of becoming a pretty sharp truck, but there is still one hurdle to clear—or under actually. The three-day project truck is back on jack stands, and this time it is to install a flip kit on the rear axle to get the rear end of the truck in line with the lowered front suspension.
A flip kit is a pretty simple way of lowering the body of a leaf-spring suspension vehicle without affecting much more than the ground clearance. Essentially, the kit is designed to relocate the axle tube from underneath the leaf spring to on top of it. This change alone can bring inches of lowering effect. In this case, the bracket we used for locating the axle was designed for five inches of drop.
If you are more familiar with drivetrain design, you are probably yelling at the screen right now about the one of the many things that will change with moving the axle up, relative to the chassis: the pinion angle and driveshaft length. The amount of drop we selected was calculated, as the driveshaft length was OK and a new driveshaft would not be required. The pinion angle was a larger hurdle, as we did not have angle gauge. We set it by eye and took it to a professional shop after assembly for that final setting, just like the alignment for the front suspension.
In all, this truck went from a wanna-be off-roader to a main street bruiser over the course of just one weekend. It still has the sad smog-era 350 V-8 under the hood that might crank out 200 horsepower on a good day, but that’s a future project. Right now, this orange Chevy is a perfect cruiser with attitude—all for $5000 purchase price, $500 in parts, and a weekend of work. Not bad.