The hard way to lower a Lightning - F150online Forums

Go Back  F150online Forums > F-Series Trucks > Lightning
The hard way to lower a Lightning >

The hard way to lower a Lightning

Lightning

The hard way to lower a Lightning

 
  #1  
Old 11-01-2000, 04:02 AM
Senior Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Camano Island, WA
Posts: 298
Lightbulb The hard way to lower a Lightning

"If it ain't broke, fix it."

I've never liked the idea of throwing on taller shackles to lower the truck. It greatly increases the lateral forces on the hangers and makes it worse if they have polyurethane bushings. So, having nothing better to do last weekend, I decided to simply relocate all the rear suspension 1.75" up. 20 hours later...


removing the bed
Those are Corvette body lift straps with adapters I made to fit the bed tie downs. Worked like a charm. This would have been a nightmare with the bed on. Notice the masking tape X on the floor so I could reposition the truck exactly back under the bed when I lowered it back down. I usually don't think of those things until it's too late, I was feeling especially clever that night.


half naked lightning
It only took about an hour to get the bed off. Just 6 bolts, two hose clamps, three hoses, one electrical connector and two lights.


front spring hanger
I used the existing frame holes where ever possible and added a few extra. I used only grade 8 bolts for obvious reasons. The brace should help keep the hanger from flexing, assuming there is any flex to begin with. Everything got a thick gooey layer of Hammerite for rust protection, which is only slightly less obnoxious than the factory frame wax.


rear spring hanger
I beefed up the rear shackles by welding some steel onto back of them. Seemed like a good idea until I noticed I had made them so they would hold about a 1/2 cup of water. I ended up drilling a couple of small holes to let the water out and gave the inside a double coat of Hammerite.


anti-sway bar linkage
I'm not sure if it was strictly necessary, but I moved the anti-sway bar links up too. I added a 3/16" thick plate to the back of the frame for strength.


before and after
The results were exactly as I'd hoped for. The truck still has a slight rake front to back, and the gap at the top of the wheel is exactly the same in the front and rear. I didn't expect to see much of a difference, but after I saw it from a distance in a parking lot, I could see a huge improvement. That 1-3/4" difference took all the "utility" look out of it.

I didn't change the bump stops, there was no evidence that they had ever contacted the axle with the stock ride height, despite hauling lumber, pianos, 50gal drums of diesel, etc. I'll check the dirt pattern in a week and see if they need to be trimmed a bit.

Conclusion: I can't say for certain that the handling is improved, but did I manage 58mph this morning on the short twisty road leading to my office, 2mph higher than ever before.


[This message has been edited by Mark_2kL (edited 11-01-2000).]
 
  #2  
Old 11-01-2000, 06:02 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Navarre, FL
Posts: 486
Post

Great looking work. Bored this weekend? I was looking for something to touch up a couple of scuffs on the undercarriage. Where do you get "Hammerite" or can you buy the original stuff from the Ford dealer?

------------------
GalaxyEng
2000 RED #2926
BedRug, Haig custom mats


 
  #3  
Old 11-01-2000, 11:03 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Allen, TX, USA
Posts: 1,173
Post

Wow, Mark...

Kudos to you. It's great to see other L owners who get there hands dirty.

And I thought doing the lowering hangers was a royal pain...of course, I don't have your fabrication skills, either.

------------------
Wes Tarbox
90 LX 5.0 (10.69 @ 134.7)--597rwhp/590rwtq
96 Cobra (12.34 @ 115.8)--392rwhp/433rwtq
99 Lightning (13.20 @ 103.8)--364rwhp/444rwtq
00 Expedition XLT 5.4
http://members.aol.com/Wa2fst/index.html

 
  #4  
Old 11-01-2000, 02:19 PM
Senior Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Camano Island, WA
Posts: 298
Post

GalaxyEng - You can get hammerite at most hardware stores. It goes on pretty thick and sticks to everything.

------------------
Mark
'00 Lightning
'79+ Corvette
 
  #5  
Old 11-02-2000, 07:42 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: cecilia,ky. usa
Posts: 249
Post

hey mark,not knocking what you did because your work looks very good, but why not aftermarket hangers. they're only a 1/4" lower, and a bit heavier duty and you wouldn't have to drill any extra holes. just wondering.i like what you did to the ride height and i commend you on your work.
 
  #6  
Old 11-02-2000, 07:35 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Pleasanton, CA
Posts: 172
Talking

Wow,
I thought of pulling the bed off and wish I did. Lowered the rear about 4" and the front 2". Had to C-Section the frame to give the rear axle enough room. Raced it at at SVT on track day in California and held very well.



[This message has been edited by Bolt (edited 12-12-2000).]
 
  #7  
Old 11-02-2000, 10:34 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 736
Cool

Maybe Im the only one who would think of this, Imagine the burnouts and powerslides you could do with the bed off!
 
  #8  
Old 11-03-2000, 02:26 AM
Senior Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Camano Island, WA
Posts: 298
Lightbulb

There are several reasons I did it this way:

1) For the longer shackle method: The springs are what keep the axle from moving side to side, so if you increase the length of the shackle, you also increase the leverage and force the spring exerts on the hanger. The result is more frame twist, more lateral axle movement, and a greater likelihood of bending the hanger. And:

2) Changing the height of the rear of the springs changes the angle of the axle. That screws up the geometry of the driveshaft and u-joints. You end up with more drivetrain noise, wear, and vibrations. The axle can be re-angled, but I didn't want to mess with it.

3) I wasn't aware there were aftermarket hangers to move the front and rear of the spring up 2". I might have done that, but I would still have pulled the bed off. Getting all 16 rivets ground off, drilled through, and punched out would not have been easy with the bed on.

4) It only cost me about $40 for the grade 8 hardware, paint, a few pieces of steel, and some welding wire. I think the longer shackle method is something like $70, I don't know how much a hanger costs.

5) Because I have a great big garage, all the tools I need, and the time to do it the right way. Ford specifies where you can and cannot drill holes in the frame, and I followed their recommendations. I only had to drill two new holes in the frame for each hanger, and even filled in some holes where the front and rear frame pieces meet with 9/16" bolts (you can see one of them in the 3rd picture.

One thing I forgot was to re-aim the headlights. I took today off and went out to the ocean, and on the way back I got a lot of people flashing their lights at me. I guess they are a bit too high now. And I think I felt the bump stops hit about 3 times (in 420 miles). Guess I'll need to trim them a bit.

Bolt - I was wondering if people had cut into the frame to get a 4" drop. That would be an interesting project. Definitely would want to take the bed off for that.



------------------
Mark
'00 Lightning
'79+ Corvette
 
  #9  
Old 12-09-2000, 05:24 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Northridge,CA 91324
Posts: 155
Post

It's people like you that got us to the moon! WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
  #10  
Old 12-09-2000, 06:08 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: New Hampshire
Posts: 2,297
Post

I used $19 shackles for a chevy truck.They are the same part as the ford but half the price .Took me 1 hr tops.No problems and my truck is 2" lower.I absolutley would never drill holes in my "Lightning" frame and I think you did ALOT of unnesesary work for the same drop.This thing was good for a loud laugh though.Im not bashing you,I just think its unbeliveably FUNNY for someone to go to the great lengths.drilling,welding,painting a Limited edition truck to accomplish a $20 drop and an hour of work.

People like you are the ones who do help us move foward with other modifications.I respect that.This is all in good nature of my opinion,Please dont take offense
 
  #11  
Old 12-09-2000, 10:28 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Bryan, Texas
Posts: 525
Post

Lightningquick-

Do you have the part #'s and/or manufacturer for the Chevy shackles you used?

Thanx in advance...
 
  #12  
Old 12-09-2000, 10:44 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Kent, WA
Posts: 226
Post

Mark,

Awesome documentation! You're going to have to tell me where that winding "test drive" road is, I am always looking for spots like that! :-)

Cheers,
Frans
 
  #13  
Old 12-10-2000, 12:04 AM
Senior Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Camano Island, WA
Posts: 298
Post

Lightningquick-

You put Chevy parts on your Lightning? And you think what I did was funny?
Read the later posts on why I did it this way. Longer shackles make for sloppy handling.

Chevy parts... Jeez...

Here's a real rear suspension rework: http://nloc.org/ubb/Forum2/HTML/000669.html

------------------
Mark
'00 Lightning
'79+ Corvette


[This message has been edited by Mark_2kL (edited 12-10-2000).]
 
  #14  
Old 12-10-2000, 09:02 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: New Hampshire
Posts: 2,297
Post

LOL

I get my parts thru godfather customs.The shackles are exactly the same,They just have a different part # thats all.I love chevy's but I would not use chevy parts on my Lightning.Also they are reg priced at $29 I get them for a discount because i have an account there.But still half the price of Fords #
 
  #15  
Old 12-11-2000, 11:09 AM
Member
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Irmo, S.C.
Posts: 30
Post

Lightningquick, how about a phone number and part number?

Thanks,
Jason

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Lightningquick:
LOL

I get my parts thru godfather customs.The shackles are exactly the same,They just have a different part # thats all.I love chevy's but I would not use chevy parts on my Lightning.Also they are reg priced at $29 I get them for a discount because i have an account there.But still half the price of Fords #
</font>


------------------
Red 99, JL Flip Chip, Airaid, Kameleon Head Unit, Thunderforms.
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Quick Reply: The hard way to lower a Lightning


Sponsors

Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service

© 2019 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
 
  • Ask a Question
    Get answers from community experts
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: