How to Lower a C3 Corvetteby David Curtis
The C3 version of the Corvette encompasses the years 1968 through 1982. These cars are often referred to as "Stingrays" or "Sharks." Many C3 Corvette owners want to lower the ride height of these cars. Aftermarket shorter front coil springs and adjustable rear spring bolt kits can easily lower the ride height by one inch. These items can be obtained from most Corvette parts suppliers.
Park the car on a level surface and set the emergency brake. Measure the distance from the floor to the top arch of the front and rear wheel openings. Make a note of each measurement.
Raise the front of the car using a hydraulic jack and place jack stands under the car for safety. Remove the front wheels using a lug wrench.
Spray the shock absorber mounting bolts, stabilizer nut and caliper mounting bolts with penetrating lubricant and allow it to soak for 20 to 30 minutes. Start on one side and remove the front shock absorber mounting bolts with an open end or socket wrench. Remove the shock absorber from the car. Remove the front stabilizer bar connecting nut and bolt.
Remove the brake caliper mounting bolts with a socket wrench and carefully move it out of your way. Place it on a box or block to avoid damage to the brake lines.
Place a hydraulic jack under the control arm and raise it until you notice the spring beginning to compress. Loosen the nut holding the upper ball joint with an open end or socket wrench and pop the joint loose with a hammer and spreader tool.
Place the jack directly under the control arm and raise it until the spring becomes compressed. Hold the spring closed with a spring compression tool. Remove the upper ball joint nut and carefully lower the jack to fully extend the control arm downwards. Pull the coil spring away and out of its position.
Reverse the process by installing the new shorter springs and repeat it on the other side
Place blocks in front of the front tires. Raise the rear of the car using a jack and place it on jack stands. Remove the rear wheels with a lug wrench. Spray the spring nuts with penetrating lubricant and allow them to soak for 20 to 30 minutes.
Attach a block of wood on the one side of the rear spring using a C-clamp to keep the jack from slipping. Place the jack directly under the block and raise it enough to release the pressure from the spring nut. Remove the nut with a socket wrench and pull out the bolt, bushings and washers. Replace them with the longer spring bolts, bushings, washers and nuts from the kit in the same order as the old ones were removed. Count the exposed threads on the spring bolt and match them on the other side. Lower the jack and replace the wheel and tire.
Repeat the process on the other side of the spring.
Lower the car and measure the distance from the floor to the top center portion of the rear wheel openings. Make adjustments by rotating the spring nut on the new bolts. Turn the bolts clockwise to raise the car and counterclockwise to lower it. Refer to your notes in step 1 to adjust to the new desired height.
Drive the car for a few weeks to settle the suspension. Re-measure and adjust the rear height accordingly.
- Examine upper ball joints and shock absorbers while they are apart to find if they are in need of replacement.
Items you will need
- corvette image by Julianna Olah from Fotolia.com