79 Chevy suspension?

Roger Gray

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Hello, I recently picked up a 79 c20 to build with my son. His daily driver. Just trying to find info on how the did the suspension back in the day?
Stock lower arm? What coil springs used to get the height to fun a 33”. Shackle flip in rear? Leaf springs used?
Any information would be very much appreciated. I have seen talk on old threads, but nothing with info on the parts . Thank you


Do you have any pictures of the truck? Would love to see it.
 

7s ranger

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Here it is as I got it. Have not touched it yet. Trying to get it figured out first. Already has the vintage paint job!( my son hates). I found some 2” lift coil springs on eBay.
So I think it’s just building off the stock suspension up front then some nationals In the rear.
Thank you so much for all the pictures guys, this is great.
 

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Any thoughts of shortening that wheelbase? Pretty poor traction in the rear of a long bed on all but paved surfaces.
 

7s ranger

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I know long bed is not the norm. But for the price I could not pass it up. I had not thought at this point. Is the LB that bad in the bumps?
 
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A buddy's '76 C-20 (350, 4 spd) would get stuck on hard dirt with a bit of sand on it. Very nose heavy with little weight over the rear wheels, added to an open diff, the poor breakover angle and lack of maneuverability makes for a bad off road vehicle.

My shortbed C-10 outperformed it all but carrying capacity.

I suggest you talk to

You can shorten the frame by cutting out a chunk from forward of the rear spring perches, around 18" to 24" inches, then section the bed to match. Relocate the fuel tank to the rear between the frame rails to aid f/r weight distribution and traction. Mount the spare in the rear as well.

I think the Class 8 guys quit trying to race a long bed forty years ago or so. And the desert wasn't nearly as whooped out back then...

Another old western rancher trick was to install a plate of 3/8 - 1/2 sheet steel on the bed floor to aid traction.

As for leaf springs, I'd suggest you speak with Deaver Spring Inc., too.

Website

902 E 2nd St, Santa Ana, CA 92701
(714) 542-3703

Might even save you some shipping costs and springs are heavy.

Old, but pertinent:

Deaver or National leaf springs?
 
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Bert is my name

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There is a guy on d.r. who has a low buck/ old school build thread for square body Chevy. I he used big block springs up front and dual shocks mounted to upper arms. Arms were plated with the bearing type lower pivots. A lot of cool d.i.y. low buck build tricks.
 

Roger Gray

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Here it is as I got it. Have not touched it yet. Trying to get it figured out first. Already has the vintage paint job!( my son hates). I found some 2” lift coil springs on eBay.
So I think it’s just building off the stock suspension up front then some nationals In the rear.
Thank you so much for all the pictures guys, this is great.
There is a guy on d.r. who has a low buck/ old school build thread for square body Chevy. I he used big block springs up front and dual shocks mounted to upper arms. Arms were plated with the bearing type lower pivots. A lot of cool d.i.y. low buck build tricks.


I hope this is ok......I think this is what you are talking about.

1975 Chevy C20
 

Roger Gray

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I know long bed is not the norm. But for the price I could not pass it up. I had not thought at this point. Is the LB that bad in the bumps?

Not to be discouraging but the 3/4 ton 8 lug might be challenging to find tires and wheels for. You won’t be able to use 15” wheels. You’ll have to go to 16.5” or 17”.

If you make it to the Curt LeDuc swap meet I will be bringing some bumpers you might be interested in. I’ll take some pictures and post them.
 

7s ranger

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Thank you guy for all the info and help. I did not think that the length was much an issue for this thing.
From things I had scene I thought I would have to trade out the spindles and go with a 5 on 5 1/2 .
I will call National. I used them back in the 90’s on a build but noticed that they fell out as the go to company in lue of Deaver.
I will check that thread and study the pictures you guys have posted. Love all the great information.
I can’t do the swap meet. Sorry , would have been nice to meet and talk shop.
 

Bert is my name

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I'm running pro comp la paz 17×8 in 8 lug. Paid about 150 a piece. Non bead lock. But bead locks are available. Went with 17 to clear brakes and for tire availability. And yes that is the thread I was referring to.
 

Roger Gray

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Thank you guy for all the info and help. I did not think that the length was much an issue for this thing.
From things I had scene I thought I would have to trade out the spindles and go with a 5 on 5 1/2 .
I will call National. I used them back in the 90’s on a build but noticed that they fell out as the go to company in lue of Deaver.
I will check that thread and study the pictures you guys have posted. Love all the great information.
I can’t do the swap meet. Sorry , would have been nice to meet and talk shop.

My truck has 1/2 ton suspension on it. I looked at a 3/4 ton upper ball joint yesterday. In order for me to use it I would need to open up the hole in the top of the spindle. Other that that it bolts right into the upper arm. I’m not sure about the bottom though.

I used National too. I heard that they may no longer be around. Would be interested to see what you find out.
 

63chevyll

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sounds like.a fun project for you and your son.

here is my little party animal. its a 77 C10 with an 84 clip.

I bought the truck as you see with a bad engine. Which i changed out.

Its a pretty dated truck as it came from San Diego and was put together in the 80s. It works surprisingly well.

3/4 upper arms
Motorhome Springs with some with 6 shocks up front. they are all worn but work. all stock steering.

rear has a different leaf spring and a good amount of bite when I hammer down in loose terrain. Good up travel. I have no idea what they are from and how the modified them. they look stock. and also stock shackels
and 4 shocks in the rear poking through the bed.

it could use plating all over and a cage. but for now I just beat around town and occasionally take off road.

Im with you. i would like to learn more about making it stronger.
 

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OldStroppeTeam

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Coming in to this late ,but when at worked for the Chevy dealer , we sold a ton of the front coils for the motorhome /commercial truck 1ton chassis. That is what we used in the Saguaro Chevy Class 8 as well. like was mentioned above , we also used as many of the other 1ton components as we could .
ps, this was in 1982-84 time frame!
 
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7s ranger

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@63chevyll nice truck. Thanks for the info.
I will have to look into the motor home springs. I am going to check a few spring companies and see what I can find.
I want to do do this the right way once, have a good truck for him to have.
I figure building together will teach him about the truck so he knows how to fix stuff and learns . He was way to young when I built my 7100 Ranger.
Thanks for the info guys
 

bullnerd

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"77 C10 with an 84 clip. "

Is this a direct fit? Always wondered about that.

Why do none of the aftermarket suspension companies make front end parts for these years?

Not enough demand?

Not plush enough interior?
 

Bert is my name

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Fab-tech used to build a long travel kit for these trucks. C.s.t. did as well along with aim industries. You still see ads for the aim kit in truckin magazine from time to time.
 

TRichards

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"77 C10 with an 84 clip. "

Is this a direct fit? Always wondered about that.

Why do none of the aftermarket suspension companies make front end parts for these years?

Not enough demand?

Not plush enough interior?

Not a direct fit but close. The early hood goes all the way from the grille to the windshield and the front part of the clip is 2-3" longer. We used a 81-87 core support but had to move the mounts that much back closer to the cab to make the fenders line up etc. You will also need the 81-87 windshield valance because the hood is shorter.
 
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