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Maximized - Letters - March 2012

Questions. Answers. Letters.

Max Fish
Mar 1, 2012
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Hey Max,

I was wondering if you could help me. I just bought an ’11 Nissan Frontier and I’m wondering why there are no lowering kits for these trucks. Everything out there is lift kits, and I really don’t want to go that route; I like the lowered look. The only option it looks like I have is to cut the springs and take out a leaf and I don’t know how that’s going to ride. Hope you can help me. Thanks.

Harry Long
Kenner, LA

I love this question, Harry. Not just because I get to brag about how my shop builds drop spindles for your truck, but because this gives me the opportunity to offer a public chiding to truck manufacturers. Several years ago trucks underwent a fairly major change: They all of a sudden became daily-driven “grocery getters” with far more amenities then we would ever have thought. During this change, the manufacturers also got smart and stopped building separate 2WD/4WD chassis and suspension. What this means is that your 2WD truck has 4WD suspension under it, it is just missing the associated 4WD parts; more importantly this means your suspension is NOT geared toward being lowered. Fab shops have obviously figured out how to get around this with some pretty aggressive modifications, but the aftermarket industry does not have any easy answers.

I have an '89 Chevy S-10 sitting on 15s with a 3/4 drop. Is there any way to get 5 inches out of it? I have an inch and a half of clearance. Any suggestions on dropping the rear 5-inch with 4-inch blocks? Know of any places with 5-inch blocks regardless of what could happen?

David Hess

Well David, if there is one thing that I have learned over the last 14 years of building custom cars, anything is possible with enough cutting. Obviously with only 1.5 inches of clearance, trying to get a 5-inch drop will require at least 3.5 inches of cutting. There are hundreds of trucks out there with inner fenderwells cut out to look at. As for how to get the suspension that far, I would strongly suggest running air suspension; a drop that big will be quite a nuisance to drive everyday if you can’t lift it up to a respectable height. Now the 5-inch lowering blocks are going to be nearly impossible to find: 1) They aren’t safe. 2) The U-bolts will nearly touch the ground. If you need a static 5-inch drop, I would look at lowered leaf springs. They really don’t cost that much and are far safer than blocks (if you can find them). Good luck.

I have my own personal gain in mind when asking you this question, since it will probably sway my decision on purchasing my next mini project. Out of all the minitruck models you’ve worked on, what is your personal favorite to customize? I would guess S-Series trucks would be the easiest, but I’m dying to see what you say about this. Thanks man!

Jimmy Deelok
Bakersfield, CA

This is a loaded question Jimmy, but I ain't skeered. I have to assume that you are curious about suspensions and not body mods, because all custom minitrucks have one thing in common—major suspension mods. I honestly don’t think that S-10s are the magical trucks that everyone makes them out to be. I really like the square-body Dimes when done right, but their suspensions are cumbersome, heavy, and ugly. Mitsubishis and Mazdas are a pain because their suspension is too wide and they are six-lug, but I will admit that a laid out Mazda with 4WD fenders is my favorite-looking mini. Toyotas are quite easy to work on suspension wise; there are so many crossover years and parts that finding narrower or upgraded parts is easy. In the end, if I had to build a minitruck tomorrow, I would build a second-generation Tacoma.
Photo 2/2   |   maximized Letters March 2012 front Angle View
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