Sure, modern pickups are all about the lifts, but if you’re a big fan of the appearance of classic pickups then it’s likely that you’re more interested in lowering your Chevy C10 than lifting it.
There’s just something about a classic pickup that looks right when it’s a little lower to the ground and depending on how you do it, you can even improve your ride quality and make your truck a better daily driver.
The first thing you need to think about before lowering your pickup is how much lower do you want it to be, and how much ground clearance do you need?
Just a Little Lower
You don’t have to drop your C10 a lot to change its appearance. Sometimes a slight drop works best if what you’re trying to do is accentuate your favorite parts of your truck by subtracting a little empty space from around your wheel well.
In addition to small drops being less expensive than a more dramatic lowering, This allows you to get a feel for how you like driving in a lowered truck.
With tools like lowering blocks, you can drop your truck by as little as half an inch and improve your ride at the same time. Lowering blocks help your truck reduce wear and tear on its U-joints, and help reduce vibration at highway speeds.
You can also use aftermarket coil springs or consider upgrading to a coilover suspension, which is a great way to improve the ride and handling of your truck in addition to getting it a little lower to the ground.
Lowering Springs vs Coilovers
Aftermarket coil springs are almost a direct replacement for the OEM springs that are currently in your suspension, they just let your truck get a little bit lower. In order to be longer while still supporting the same amount of weight, these springs have to be considerably more firm, which will make your ride harsher. Some people prefer this feeling though.
Coilover is shorthand for “coil spring over strut” and they are designed to replace the entirety of your truck’s existing shock and strut.
Coilovers are considerably more adjustable than lowering springs are and can give you a more customized feel to your lowering. Coilovers are the lowering method of choice for people who are racing or doing other performance-driving, but if that’s not your intent then you’ll probably prefer a set of lowering springs or lowering blocks.
Lowering blocks are a great option for people who just want a little drop and who don’t do anything particularly extreme with their truck. This gives you just a little bit of lowering and is the easiest to install.
If you’re interested in going low enough that your truck is noticeably lowered while still not all the way slammed, then a moderate lowering of around 2-3” should be ideal for you. While two to three inches may not sound like a lot, it’s more than enough to give your truck the look of a lowered classic pickup.
If you’re starting with lowering but plan on doing substantial modifications over the long haul, then it may be worth investing in drop spindles that can accommodate disc brakes. If you choose to upgrade the power of your pickup and improve its speed, you’ll want to improve its ability to stop as well, and upgrading to disc brakes is a great way to do that. If you think that’s the direction that you’re headed in, then disc brake compatible spindles are a good investment that will prevent you from having to buy new spindles when you decide to do future upgrades.
Some drop spindles allow you to use a lot of your current stock components as well, so you can use stock coils, stock shocks, and keep your steering geometry the same. Just spindles can drop you two inches, but if you elect to get aftermarket springs as well it’s possible to go down as low as 5 inches.
This is a great option for people who are looking to make something like a drag truck as well, since it creates a lot of space for compatible modifications while simultaneously giving you a look that’s at home just about anywhere. If you’re looking for a drag build, then coilovers coupled with drop spindles and disc brakes is a great suspension and braking setup that gives you room to grow in the future as well.
You can also use simple lowering springs to get a moderate drop.
Slammed trucks are hot right now, and a lot of people love to see how low they can get their C10. If this sounds like you, then you’re looking at an extreme drop.
If you want to drop your C10 5” or more, the good news is that this is totally possible and if done well can result in a really great looking truck. Unfortunately, maintaining ride quality and dropping your C10 this much does require some planning and thoughtfulness.
Most of the ways to get your truck this low involve a combination of methods, like drop spindles and lowering springs, or coilovers and drop spindles. You can also use simple drop springs, but you will end up with a very stiff ride. As noted before, some people really love a stiff ride, and this is their method of choice.
Dropping your truck this amount is a serious endeavor and should be approached accordingly. It will make just about every other component of your suspension different and will require you to replace other components. Some have suggested that the best way to get this low and keep everything working well enough to be a great ride is simply to purchase a suspension off of a different vehicle and swap it in. In short, professional mechanics, body shop employees, and hardcore gearheads are going to be the best candidates for making these adjustments.
Keeping It Flexible
Maybe you want to be able to lower or lift your C10 with ease. Fortunately, there’s an option for that and it’s actually one of the best strategies for lowering your C10 while making sure that you aren’t compromising ride quality at all. In fact, you might say that you’ll be floating on air.
Air suspensions allow for customizable heights, so you can slam your truck to the ground when you want to show it off, and lift it neatly over obstacles when you’re venturing out to new places. With some of the newer systems, you can even control the lift of your C10 via a smartphone app.
Air suspension seems like the obvious choice, but it does carry an additional price tag as well that reflects its overall quality as well as the amount of technology involved in creating an air ride system that can suitably support your C10. Though this may seem pricey, cheap air suspensions can be very dangerous, and obviously, it’s not as simple an install as a pair of drop springs.
You can install an air suspension system yourself, but most people will want to go to a professional for one simple reason: The air compressor. Making sure the air compressor is well-located will require some careful drilling.
These are some of the most popular strategies for lowering a C10, but hot rodders are always devising new and creative ways of lowering their trucks. Making your truck look like yours is a journey, and your truck community and CJ Pony Parts are here to help you through it.
A lowered C10 is a gorgeous pickup, and really highlights the difference between a classic truck and more modern designs. Check out our inventory of C10 suspension components to start working on your ideal ride height.
Image Credit: Top Classic Cars, DB, Classic Cars Export