My Lightning was the recipient of the big 4/6 drop this week, here are some pics of it all wrapped up and washed/waxed, click them for wallpaper sized versions:
I'm still waiting for my Hellwig sway bar for the rear and Hotchkis valved Bilsteins for the front to come in the mail, hopefully soon. The stock units are in place for now. I also still have to get the shock extenders from SoCal speed shop and the shortened endlinks for the front sway bar, it will all be wrapped up nice and tidy by next weekend.
Here are some shots of the work as it was going on.
First things first, the bed has got to come off. It's not that heavy and it makes it so much easier to work back there.
The spare tire and bumper come off too, it's easier to pull the bed off when you can slide it back without the bumper in the way, and it's only held on by 4 bolts. The spare tire isn't going back on (it used to be held in place by that wire hanging down, there's a winch of sorts that lowers it, that's gone never to return also.) I'll bring the spare and jack on road trips, but in town a tire change is just a phone call away.
Here it is with the bed off, I was tempted to drive around like this to see what kind of looks I'd get, there was too much work to do though. No brakes lights either, heh.
You can see here where we cut the frame out for the c-notch. My friend Chris (Huntincooter) is drilling one of the eight 1/2" holes (each side) that holds the frame support bracket in place.
Here you can see one of the new shocks going into it's heim joint mount. The shocks are 12 way adjustable drag shocks made by QA1 and the heim mounts prevent them from binding under load.
This is the rear drop all wrapped up basically, new shock in place, notch cut and support bolted in (with new bump stop up inside notch support.) Forgot to mention before, the leaf spring pack has been moved under the axle. This is the part that gives the 6" rear drop, helps to preserve the stock ride characteristics (along with the frame notch) and reduces axle wrap. No one can tell me this project needs more leafspring.
This is what I woke up to on day 2, time to start the front
Knocking the ball joint loose, after that you do the same to the tie-rod, then disconnect the sway bar. This lets the control arm drop down so the coil can come out.
We installed cam bolts in upper control arms to make alignment possible
New lower control arm and new coil spring in place. This is where the 4" drop up front comes from. The spring is a 1000lb unit with about a 2" drop built in, and the new control arm lets the spring sit 2" lower in the cup.
Here's what it looked like when I set it down, 4:30am Saturday morning. Yeah, yeah, it's slammed. I do get up my driveway without scraping though, so that's a bonus. Although I do need a low profile transmission pan it turns out. Heh.
I don't carry anything in the bed, and the lower center of gravity combined with the upgraded suspension parts has made it handle like a whole new vehicle.
I took it out for a few laps of the neighboring development right after that last photo and just giggled the whole time. Truly awesome ride quality, much better cornering stability (I can nail it mid corner and not wind up facing the curb now,) very nice weight transfer and the wandering/searching the big ol' tires used to do on rough roads is GONE. If there's any bumpsteer, I can't feel it.
Big thanks to Huntincooter and dsmdrvr from the boards here, you guys are the best.
I'll be peeling off the balancing weights this week and painting the wheels black, then getting them balanced with inner wheel tape weights. I think it will play very nicely off the red calipers to have the black chunky wheels contrasting them.