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Lowering: All Front Axle and Dual Leaf Spring Suspension Cars

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This article is for most 1926 through 1938 Plymouth & Dodge cars and light PU trucks to 1946, along with most 1926 through 1941 Chevy cars and light PU trucks to 1946. Plus, they will also work for many other early cars and light PU trucks from the 20s and 30s. Years ago, I built axles and steering kits for a 20s Essex and an old Chandler, plus many others.

Rule #1, if your car has what we normally call a Solid Front Axle, or Straight Axle (actually almost none are really straight) and dual leaf springs, there is NO SUCH thing as a dropped spindle. IFS (Independent Front Suspension) cars usually have Dropped Spindles (ball joint IFS cars) or Dropped Spindle Uprights (King Pin style IFS cars) available to lower them, but we will get into that in another discussion.

The only way to lower an original solid axle, dual leaf spring car is to have your original axle dropped by a shop that specializes in that procedure. The main problem with using your original axle is that the original spindles may not have any disc brake conversions or steering conversion kits available to update the rest of the system. You may also find a Mono-Leaf (single) front spring made for your car, and while this will drop the front about 2" you still have the original spindles and the same problems, as listed above.

An Alternative Not Recommended: Some Hot-rodder's have tried to mount the original axle on TOP of the front leaf springs, which will give a pretty strong drop of the thickness of the axle PLUS the thickness of the spring. This almost NEVER works, as there is not enough room for the axle to travel properly and it will hit the frame, bottoming out all the time. Yes, maybe you can "C" notch the frame (commonly done on the rear for extra clearance for an extremely low car) for more clearance. But in the end, this is usually TOO low anyway, plus you will have to radically re-work the stock steering arms for tie rod clearance, etc.

The Normal and Accepted Way to drop the front end is to install a NEW dropped axle made for your car. Keep in mind that your original axle is probably about a 1" to 2" factory drop, and when installing a new 4" drop axle, this would then only lower your car anywhere from 3" to 2". And, again, if you are looking for more drop than that, you may find a Mono-Leaf spring and that would allow another 2" drop overall.

Other Parts Needed to Install a New Axle: The new axle should come with a pair of weld-on spring perches, and a U-bolt mounting kit. I also use the proven Pete & Jakes Shock mounting kit with their calibrated Hot Rod Shocks. You will need new Spindles (or possibly used, as most new axles are set up for 37/48 Ford car spindles, which are available from many sources). Along with the spindles, you will need Dropped Steering Arms (for both sides) and the Pass side will have the extra Drag Link Rod End Hole to enable you to set your car up with the popular Cross Steering kits. Most of these Cross Steering kits use a Vega Steering Gear Box (a nice small, strong box) again, available new from many sources, and a new Pitman Arm (these are usually tapered from top and bottom to help in the installation). The normal installation kits will include the Vega Mounting Plate (this welds to the drivers frame rail), a new Pitman Arm, a Drag Link Rod with ends (this hooks the Pitman Arm to the Pass side spindle steering arm), and a Tie Rod with ends (hooks Left Spindle to Right Spindle steering arms). It is a good idea to get a kit that is actually made for your car, if it is available.