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i want to drop in my engine, but not until i install my front shocks. I have instaled vb&p front coil springs(550) in order to lower the car, and i then bought gabriel ultra shocks to install. when i went to install them, they were about a 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch too long. i wasnt sure if it was okay to install them compressed, but i havent been able to find shocks that have been manufactured shorter so they fit a lowered car, even though many people have told me theyre out there. I kow many of you have done this mod and have installed bilstiens, but thats not really in the budget right now. does anyone have a suggestion for a shock that will perform good and fit in the control arms properly?
 

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A shock is too long when it bottoms out. Normally, it should be compressed a little even with the suspension at full droop. If it wasn't then the shock would act like a travel limiter, which would destroy the shock.

good luck with the project
 

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I initially lowered my front end 1.25" by cutting a full coil off the front springs.

Even lowered, the stock shock length...which would now be long by 1.25, was taken up completely by the travel of the shocks.

Nothing was affected.
 

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so, D_B, did you just bolt the top of the shock to the upper part of the frame then compress the shock upwards in order to bolt on the bottom of the lower control arm?
 

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so, you just bolt the top of the shock to the upper part of the frame then compress the shock upwards in order to bolt on the bottom of the lower control arm?

Yes
 

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so, D_B, did you just bolt the top of the shock to the upper part of the frame then compress the shock upwards in order to bolt on the bottom of the lower control arm?

That's correct. By the way, don't tighten the nut on top until weight is on the car. I also do this with the A-arm bushing bolts. I tighten them to spec when the weight of the car is settled on the suspension.
 

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I initially lowered my front end 1.25" by cutting a full coil off the front springs.

Even lowered, the stock shock length...which would now be long by 1.25, was taken up completely by the travel of the shocks.

Nothing was affected.
D_B,

What springs did you cut? The standard factory 330 lbs/in springs?

Thanks.
 

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I removed a full coil out of my stock springs as well.

I have the Bilsteins and I have no problems. I did not cut my factory bump stop, That way I wouldn't risk mechanically bottoming out the shock (and risk destroying it).
I have yet to hit the factory bump stops, even on speed bumps at the grocery store.

I also tightened up all of the A-arm bolts after my car was on the ground and settled. I have all poly bushings and stock suspension components.
 

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Lowering a car with shorter coil springs doesn't change the range of motion of your suspension. Full droop and full compression are the same points based on the A arm stops hitting the frame. You're just shifting where the car normally sits within that range. The ends of that range are what determine shock length, not ride height.

Generally applications that use shorter shocks for lowering are things like the back of a leaf spring pickup with lowering blocks where the shock's mount point is permanently altered across the range of motion. And they're also for guys getting low enough to trim or remove the bumpstops, which allows the suspension to compress more than it should.

Making any sense yet?
 

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There is a lot of discussion about cutting springs to lower the suspension.
While cutting springs is common practice, it does have the effect of making the spring rate harder since the length of the coil rod is reduced. The better option for lowering suspension is to replace with lower springs not shorter springs. It is also possible to have the original springs reheated and lowered; but that is not something that I would recommend as apparently reheated springs tend to sag.
 

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Shorter springs need increased rate to keep the car off the bump stops, so the rate increase from cut springs is typically welcomed.

Many lowering springs specifically tell you to trim them to the exact ride height desired.

The real reason to replace a spring (other than wanting a drastically different rate) is spring steel work hardens with age and use. A work hardened spring offers more initial resistance, but then becomes weaker as compressed. Meaning it'll ride more harsly than a brand new spring of the same specs, and bottom out easier.
 

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D_B,

What springs did you cut? The standard factory 330 lbs/in springs?

Thanks.

Yes sir, I cut one full coil off of each of the two factory installed coil springs that came on my 1977 L48.

I achieved a 1.25" drop measured after driving to ensure that everything was properly settled.

I did in fact enjoy the slightly stiffer effect achieved by shortening the spring. It affected handling in a positive way and best of all it was free...

...give or take the suspension parts I replaced during the process, which I was doing anyway. In fact, cutting the coil was an after thought while I had it all apart.
 

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Does anyone run a shorter shock than stock? I have Bilstiens in my car and they have < 1" of travel before they bottom out. I would like the be able to shave the bump-stops on the control arms, but I dont have enough travel on the shock.
 

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There is a lot of discussion about cutting springs to lower the suspension.
While cutting springs is common practice, it does have the effect of making the spring rate harder since the length of the coil rod is reduced. The better option for lowering suspension is to replace with lower springs not shorter springs. It is also possible to have the original springs reheated and lowered; but that is not something that I would recommend as apparently reheated springs tend to sag.
I bought "shorter" 460lbs/in springs and they raised the front end, instead of dropping it the advertized 1". I have the stock 330lbs/in springs, which have a nice soft ride. I figure I can cut those a half or full coil and not approach the spring rate of the 460s. In the past, I cut a full coil out of my 550 F41 springs without any shock problems, other than the shock my spine would get hitting a pothole. LOL.
 

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Yes sir, I cut one full coil off of each of the two factory installed coil springs that came on my 1977 L48.

I achieved a 1.25" drop measured after driving to ensure that everything was properly settled.

I did in fact enjoy the slightly stiffer effect achieved by shortening the spring. It affected handling in a positive way and best of all it was free...

...give or take the suspension parts I replaced during the process, which I was doing anyway. In fact, cutting the coil was an after thought while I had it all apart.
Thanks. I'm interested in getting the front down, so the nose lifts less at speed, which will keep the steering from getting light and floaty.
 
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