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HOWTO: S-Series 5/6 drop

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Old 05-17-2008, 09:22 PM   #1
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This is a 5/6 Drop installed by Dave aka AVTekk. If you have questions please do not hesitate to ask. Enjoy the information on here and hope that it helps.

Heres the truck Im dropping, basically a stock late model S10. The front passenger side fenderlip is measured at 30 inches, the rear at 30.5 inches.

Heres the full 5/6 drop kit, provided by a private company off eBay. It comes complete with new springs, spindles, leafs, angled blocks, and shocks all around.

First thing to do is get the truck off the ground and take the wheels off with a 19mm socket. Typically the truck would be on jackstands but I have the lift to do the dirty work for me..

Im starting in the rear. It doesnt matter which you do first, just start taking things apart. Remove the shocks by the two 13mm bolts on top, and the one 21mm nut on the spring plate. Also take off the spring plate by removing the 19mm nuts securing the u-bolts.

Now that the u-bolts are off, the axle will be free, so raise it up and support it on jackstands. This will allow you to work on the leaf springs. Remove the front leaf spring bolts with a 21mm wrench and socket. An adjustable cresent wrench works well here.
The rear bolts are the same size, but you dont need to remove both on each side, just the lower ones. However you do want to loosen the upper bolts enough so you can move the shackle freely. This will help you when you install the new leafs.

The drivers side front bolt will give you the most problems. They are put in from the inside at the factory, so the gas tank blocks them from coming back out that way. So you have two choices, either cut the bolt in half and replace it, or loosen the gas tank and shimmy the leaf until you can get the bolt out. Ive done it enough times so I can get them out pretty easy, but heres a shot of how you want to twist the leaf so the head clears the tank. A hammer and long screwdriver will help you knock it past the tank as well.

Heres a shot of the old leaf spring vrs the new. Yes there is a front and back to the leaf spring, so if you just toss them aside you may get them mixed up. Its easy to tell which way the stock leaf goes because the front spring eye is much larger than the rear. Most aftermarket leafs have spring eyes of the same size tho. The stock leafs have a sticker on the front, and a lot of aftermarket leafs have markings on the front side of them, but that isnt the best thing to go by.
The real test is to measure from the end of the spring to the axle locating bolt. The front will always be shorter. The measurements of this spring are 26" and 28" but they will differ with each unit.

Install the block with the shorter side forward. If your blocks arnt angled then it doesnt matter which way they go in.
Install the new longer u-bolts provided with the kit with the stock spring plate. Tighten them down to 80lbft.
Most companys use the same u-bolts for every size block, so its more than likely theyll be longer than needed. You need to cut the ends off. Not only do they hang really low and may catch on low obstacles, but if you hit something with them, they will bend pretty bad and possibly break. Either way its going to be problems, so use a cutoff wheel or sawzall to shorten them down.

Install the new shocks and tighten everything up, then move on to the front..

Start by removing the calipers. They are held in by two 3/8" allen style hex heads. Once theyre removed, hang the caliper off the frame. Do not let it dangle by the rubber brake line. If you do so it can stretch and brake the line causing major problems for you if you decide to stop..

Now you need to take the rotor off, and to do so you need to pry the dust cap off the hub with a screwdriver and hammer. Once its off, pull the cotter pin out and remove the nut with a 1-1/16" socket or an adjustable cresant wrench. Behind the nut will be a washer, then behind that is the outer bearing. Pull all that out, and the rotor will slide right off.

Once the rotor is off you can get to the bolts holding the dust shield to the spindle. You need to take out the two 11mm bolts on one side and the one 13mm bolt on the other side. The 13mm bolt and nut dont need to come off because they just hold the ABS sensor to the dust shield.

Remove the swaybar endlinks with a 13mm wrench and socket. Then go to the shocks, theyre held in by two 13mm bolts under the lower control arm, and one 15mm nut on top. Youll need to hold the flat tip of the shock shaft on top to keep it from spinning as you loosen the 15mm nut.

Move on to the ball joints and tie rod endlink. Remove all the cotter pins, and loosen all the castle nuts using a 22mm socket on the upper ball joint, a 24mm socket on the lower ball joint and a 19mm socket on the tie rod endlink. Do not remove the nuts at this time.
Get a large hammer and smack the crap out of the spindle right next to each ball joint. The shock of the hit will break them loose. I use at least a 3lb hammer and have no trouble with this method at all. It also saves your ball joint boots, because the 'proper' tool, a pickle fork, loves to tear into them. The nut on the ball joint will also keep the control arms from flying apart and smacking you in the face.
Loosen the nuts and bolts at the back of the lower control arm. The front is a 21mm, the rear is 18mm. Do not remove them, just loosen so the control arm can swing down without binding.
Now jack the lower control arm up, remove the castle nuts from the upper and lower ball joints, and remove the spindle. Now lower the jack all the way down slowly, and pop the spring out of its place. Be careful, the spring will be under tension and you can get hurt if you're close to it. Typically I take a long prybar and either knock the coil out from the back or simply push down on the control arm and the spring will fall out.

Heres the new coil vrs the stock unit. You can see its much shorter and powdercoated silver for better looks and rust protection.
The round rubber things at the side are the spring isolators. Do not leave these out, if you do so your coils will squeak like hell in the spring pocket. Sometimes the isolators will try to fall off when youre installing the coil, and to help with this you can wrap the isolator with electrical tape to hold it in place. Since these are so much shorter than stock, you dont need to compress them to install them in place, so they just go back in and you bolt the new drop spindle on to keep the coil in place.

Bolt everything back up like you took it off. Tighten the castle nuts snug then turn them a bit more to line up the holes in the ball joint with the slots in the castle nuts; install the new cotter pins provided with the kit.
Once you get to the dust shield, you may see that it contacts the lower control arm. This needs to be cut off or the two components rubbing each other will squeak and drive you crazy. A cutoff wheel works well for this.

One thing left to do is a quick 'driveway alignment' so you can get the truck down to the alignment shop in one piece. With aftermarket spindles, the toe adjustment is usually thrown way off so some tweaking is necessary. FYI 'toe' is which way the wheels are pointing. Caster, the position of the wheels in the wheel well, and camber, the tilt of the wheel laterally, are effected by the drop as well, but toe is the only one thatll really stop you from driving the vehicle safely. The other two are to improve contact patch and tire wear.
Ok so to adjust it, you need to set the steering wheel straight, and lock it in place. Now loosen the 13mm tie rod adjusting sleeve bolts. This will take pressure off the tie rod threads and allow you to adjust the toe by turning the sleeve either in or out. Theres a special tool to turn the sleeve with ease, but you can use a flat head screwdriver in the slot or a pair of pliers.
Watch the tire as you turn the sleeve. Look right down the sidewall of the tire towards the rear and turn the sleeve until you see the sidewall of the rear tire lining up with the sidewall of the front tire youre looking past. Its kinda difficult to explain but its easy to do. You dont need to get it perfect, just better than what it was. You want it to point straight as possible.
Ok once you have one tire set, take a tape measure and measure from the tread of one tire to the tread of the opposite tire in the same spot (refer to picture). Get a measurement for the front and back of the two front tires, as close up to the middle as you can. You cant get right to the middle because of the exhaust and crossmember behind the tire, and make sure you take the two front and back measurements at the same height. About where I have it int he picture is about as high as you can go.
You will see they are different because the one tire you havnt adjusted yet is pointing the wrong way. Adjust the tie rod sleeve in or out until you can get the front and back measurements the same. Once theyre close, tighten up the 13mm bolts on the adjusting sleeves and set the truck back on the ground.

Thats basically it. The truck I dropped had a set of mud flaps on it but had to be removed as they drug on the ground! You can also see from the tape measure the front end is now 7 inches lower than stock, about 5.5" coming from the drop kit and 1.5" from the smaller tires. Remember to get the truck aligned in the near future or youll be paying for it when your tires wear down in a couple months.

96 k1500
4 inches of fun, 15 inches of billet, 33 inches of pure run over your crappy minitruck joy. custom seats, column shifter, some other cool stuff
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5/6 drop, s-series 5/6 drop, s-series suspension

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