Chevy C10 Suspension UpgradesLast Updated August 7, 2023 | Alison Smith
There’s a lot to love about the Chevy C10, but it’s not known for its excellent ride quality. These trucks were designed to be utility vehicles, which means comfort wasn’t the first priority. Upgrading the suspension can improve ride quality and handling for a more pleasant driving experience.
Suspension upgrades also give you more flexibility when it comes to ride height. There are several ways to lower your C10 to get that slammed look.
Lowering blocks are one of the simplest ways to drop your ride height. To use lowering blocks, the axle must sit on top of the leaf springs. The blocks go between the leaf spring and the axle to lower the suspension. They offer a small ½”-2” drop in height.
C10 lowering blocks are inexpensive and won’t affect ride quality. They may even reduce U-joint and driveshaft vibration that occurs at higher speeds. Some lowering blocks will come with a new U-bolt as well, which is helpful if you need to replace any rusty components.
Coil springs offer another easy way to lower your C10. They’re usually a direct replacement for your factory springs. Because they’re longer and support the same amount of weight, they offer a firmer ride. Although some springs claim to maintain the factory ride quality, they can be a bit harsher due to the firmness.
Lowering springs come in pairs for both the front and rear. You can achieve anywhere from a 1-5” drop, depending on how low you want to go. They can also be combined with other C10 suspension mods to improve ride quality. They can also go bad over time, so if you notice any signs of bad shocks or struts, it may be time to consider replacing this part of your C10's suspension.
Drop spindles lower your C10 without affecting the ride quality or factory geometry. Compared to the factory spindle, a drop spindle relocates the shaft on the side of the spindle 2-3” higher. Drop spindles lower your truck by letting your wheel sit up higher.
The main benefit of drop spindles is that you can achieve a minor drop while using the stock shocks and springs. For a larger drop, combine the spindles with lowering springs or air bags. Drop spindles are also compatible with disc brakes if you decide to convert from drum brakes in the future. Some drop spindle kits include disc brakes if you want to upgrade everything at once.
Control arms are usually used in conjunction with other suspension upgrades. They help offset changes in caster and camber caused by lowering the truck. Some control arms are designed with an offset cross shaft that lets you adjust the camber.
Aftermarket control arms are stronger than stock components and help eliminate flex during cornering. They involve a simple bolt-in installation and are sold in pairs. Most have a silver or black powder coating for added durability and style.
Coilover Conversion Kits
Many classic truck owners replace the factory shocks and struts with coilovers. Coilovers are essentially coil springs over a strut. They’re adjustable so you can customize your suspension based on your preferences. This makes them great for performance driving or racing applications. Coilover conversions give you versatility, so you can go straight from the highway to the track. They offer up to 10” in ride height reduction if you want that extreme slammed look.
Coilover conversion kits make it easy to upgrade, whether you have leaf springs or coil springs. The kits contain everything you need for a no-hassle installation. Some kits will include trailing arms, a Panhard bar, drop spindles, torque arms, and other hardware.
Suspension kits have everything you need to upgrade your suspension. They come individually for either the front or rear or as a full set. Depending on the kit, the components will vary. They usually contain a combination of coil springs or coilovers, drop spindles, leaf springs, sway bars, control arms, or other components.
Certain suspension kits offer an adjustable ride height while others give you a fixed drop. Since they contain so many components, they’re often more expensive than other options. But they will provide the most improvement to your C10’s ride quality.
Air Ride Suspension
If you really want to fine-tune your C10’s suspension, air ride offers the most versatility. Rather than coil springs, air ride suspensions use air springs and other parts like an air compressor, reservoir tank, air lines, pressure sensors, and a controller. This type of suspension uses pressurized bags filled with air. The bags are typically made of a similar rubber to tires.
Using a controller, you inflate or deflate the bags to adjust the ride height and feel of the suspension. Of course, air ride suspensions do come at a higher price tag and can be tricky to install. Because of the air compressor, professional installation is recommended.
Depending on the system, you can control the air ride suspension with a remote or through an app on your mobile device.
Which Is Best for You?
The C10 suspension upgrades you make will depend on your goals. When looking for suspension upgrades, ride height and adjustability are two important factors. Static suspension upgrades will give your truck a fixed ride height, which may be more suitable for events. But an adjustable suspension lets you customize stance and handling for better cornering.
Even if you aren’t looking to lower your truck, upgrading your C10’s suspension can provide a less harsh and more enjoyable ride for daily driving. If you're looking for some more affordable upgrades, check out our list of 5 cheap Chevy C10 mods.
Sources: C10 Suspension Upgrade, Street Muscle Magazine | C10 Suspension Buyer's Guide, Street Trucks Mag | A Better REar Suspension for Your '73-'87 Chevy C10 Truck, Chevy Hardcore | DIY Special: A Simple A-arm Upgrade, Pickuptrucks.com