Belltech 5/8 Drop

Lowering a modern full-size, the right way

Perhaps the most common modification to a sport truck is an altitude adustment. It not only accentuates the appearance of the truck, it also gives a huge benefit by lowering the center of gravity to provide fast and flat cornering abilities. By using the proper components, a lowered truck can easy hang with some of the so-called sports cars through the turns.

But what exactly goes into dropping a late-model truck down to the pavement the right way? The team at set out to answer that question. We brought out our project truck, a '95 Chevrolet extended-cab with a 350 V8, and decided it was time for a major change in its ride height. We went straight to the sport truck suspension source, Belltech. They supplied us with the equipment to perform a massive drop.

The Belltech kit for our truck includes 2-inch drop spindles and 3-inch drop coil springs for the front, and a 6-inch axle flip kit and 2-inch drop shackles for the rear. They also supplied us with a set of their new Nitro-Active monotube shock absorbers. These high-pressure nitrogen-filled shocks give the ultimate in performance and greatly reduce fade under highly-demanding situations (the way most sport truck enthusiasts tend to drive). They also out-perform the pervious generation of Belltech Nitro-Drop shocks (a twintube design).

The first thing you probably want to do is get to the nearest Belltech dealer, or get on your phone to order a set of these components, and drop your own truck this weekend. We have to warn you, if you aren't properly experienced or equipped, this isn't excatly the avreage shade-tree mechanic's weekend project. The installation is rather involved, and requires some technical and mechanical knowledge to accomplish. If you intend to perfrom this installtion yourself, be sure you understand the procedures and have the proper tools to get it done right.

The first thing we decided was that is was time to lose the huge 75 series tires, they just wouldn't fit under the wheel wells with the amount of drop we had in mind. We threw on a set of BFGoordich Radial TA tires 235/60/R15, and were already on our way down, losing about 1.5-inches of ride height with the tire swap alone. The new tires also handled noticibly better than the stock tires, and retained 100% of our axle weight rating and payload capacity.

crossovers.jpg (22934 bytes)With the new tires on, we headed to the local muffler and exhaust shop to have our cross-over pipe raised. If you look under your truck, you will probably notice an under-sized and crimped pipe that connects the driver's side header to the catalytic converter. This pipe just happens to be the lowest part under a stock truck, and would be the first thing to get ripped off when going over a speed bump. The old pipe was cut off and a new length of pipe was mandrel-bent to fit in its place. After a little welding the new cross-over pipe was done. In fifteen minutes we were all set to slam, and drove off to the Shop to begin work on our drop.


jackeds.jpg (20756 bytes) Inside the shop, we begin by jacking the front and rear of the truck. Once the jack stands are placed securely under the frame, front and rear, remove all wheels from the truck, and lower and remove the spare tire.

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