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Lowering Suspension Glossary

Lowering suspension upgrades are ever-so-popular among truck owners, and there is a lot you need to know about suspension components. There are so many different lowering components available and each of them lowers and effects your vehicle differently. So, how do you know what's right for you? Many of our drop kits come with the necessary lowering components that are right for your truck or SUV. This is a guide to each lowering suspension component and what it does for your truck or SUV and how it's going to affect your ride.

Front Suspension
Rear Suspension
Miscellaneous

Front Suspension Components

Lowering Coil Springs Lowering Coil Spring
When compared to other lowering components, coils springs are a less expensive way to lower your truck or SUV. One downside to coils is they are stiffer than the factory coil. So, while you lose some of your factory ride quality, your handling is improved from the stiffer coil. We recommend using drop shocks with lowering coils.
Lower Control Arm Lower Control Arm
DJM makes replacement lower control arms, which lower a vehicle by deepening the coil spring pocket of the control arm, so the spring sits lower in it. They're made from tubular steel for added strength and come with new polyurethane bushings. If you use control arms to lower your truck and keep the factory coil you will retain your factory ride quality.
Upper Control Arm Upper Control Arm
Upper control arms are typically used to help with negative camber. This occurs when you lower your truck and the tops of the wheels tilt inward. This can be bad for two reasons. One, your alignment is off, and two, it causes uneven wear on your tires. Replacing the upper control arm will push the top of the tire back out and make it easier to realign.
Lowering Spindle Lowering Spindle (Drop Spindle)
A drop spindle is designed to lower your truck by moving the shaft of the spindle up from where it would be on a factory spindle. These can also be used with lowering coils for a larger drop, but because of the geometry, they won't work with control arms. If you use a spindle and a factory coil you will retain the factory ride quality.
I-Beam I-Beam
Early model Ford trucks used I-Beams in the front. The geometry of the DJM Dream Beams is altered to allow for a 3-inch drop. These are manufactured from tubular steel for superior strength and feature polyurethane bushings.
Torsion Keys Torsion Key
Torsion keys replace the factory torsion keys. This allows you to adjust the front height of your truck without altering the tension in the torsion bar. So,  you get a lowered look, while you retain factory ride quality. Torsion keys usually allow a 1-to-3 inch front drop.

Rear Suspension Components

Flip Kit Flip Kit
Flip kits are typically used for a more dramatic drop. A flip kit lowers your vehicle by taking the rear axle from below  your leaf springs and repositioning it on top of the leaf springs. Since a flip kit lowers the rear of the vehicle anywhere from4-to-8 inches, we recommend using drop shocks to accomodate the lowered stance.
C-Notch C-Notch
A C-notch is typically used on trucks with larger drops. When you lower your truck, the axle moves closer to the frame, which reduces suspension travel.This may cause you to bottom out on the frame. A C-notch allows for axle travel by notching  your frame. This may sound drastic, but the frame will be much stronger than before. Though these do require cutting of the frame, most are simply a bolt-on installation.
Hanger Lowering Hanger
When using a hanger you are replacing the front mount that the leaf spring bolts to. It relocates the mounting point of the leaf spring, which raises the leaf up into the wheel well, thus, lowering the truck. If you use a hanger, you won't lose the factory ride quality.
Shackle Lowering Shackle
A shackle is another component that can be used to lower the rear of trucks and SUVs. This is a basic install that replaces the factory rear shackle of the leaf spring. This raises the rear of the leaf to lower the truck. These are often used if you want to level the rear of your vehicle.
Leaf Spring Lowering Leaf Spring
Lowering leaf springs replace your factory leaf springs. The spring pack is smaller with fewer springs in it, which lowers the rear of the truck. We recommend that you use lowering shocks when you lower your truck with leaf springs. When using a lowering leaf spring, you will lose some load capacity.
Lowering Block Kit Lowering Block
A lowering block is used on compact trucks like the S-10, where the leaf is below the axle. What this does is push the axle up to lower the truck. Lowering blocks are available in 1 inch increments from 1-to-4 inches. Some are also available with a taper to correct the pinion angle. Most lowering blocks are made of extruded aluminum, with some applications available in steel.

Miscellaneous Suspension Components

Drop Shock Drop Shock
When you lower a vehicle you should always replace the shocks with shocks specially designed for use on lowered vehicles. When a vehicle is lowered with certain products, such as a coil spring, the factory shocks are too long and will bottom out, resulting in a harsh ride quality. Drop shocks are shorter so you get back the shock travel that you lost resulting in superior ride quality.
Bump Stop Bump Stops
Vehicles come from the factory with bump stops already installed. These are rubber stops that cushion the suspension in case it bottoms out on the frame. This protect's your suspension from damage when you hit a large bump or pothole. Aftermarket bump stops are shorter, and accommodate the lowered suspension, while still protecting your frame if you bottom out.
Carrier Bearing Bracket Carrier Bearing Bracket
Some vehicles, usually extended cab pickups, have a two-piece drive shaft. When you lower your truck you need to shim the carrier barring bracket, where the two shafts connect, in order to keep them inline. This will prevent your driveshaft from grinding as it would if the angle was off.
Front Alignment Kit Front Alignment Kit
When you lower your truck you will notice it will be out of alignment when you’re done. That’s normal. When you change the suspension, you need to realign it to make sure everything is straight so it drives properly. Front Alignment Kits make it easier to realign the front end properly.
Isolator Bushing Isolator Bushing
The 1998-2004 Chevy S-10 and the 1998-2004 GMC Sonoma are an inch lower on the driver’s side. They were made like this from the factory. When you lower these, this additional inch becomes very noticeable. Belltech has designed an Isolator Bushing that installs on the top of the coil spring, which will raise the driver’s side an inch to level it out.
Limiting Straps Limiting straps
Limiting straps are only used on the rear of certain vehicles, usually SUVss. The rears of these are lowered with coil springs. To prevent the suspension from overextending and potentially having the coil fall out while driving, the limit straps will “limit” the extension of the suspension and keep the coil spring properly seated.
Pinion Shim Pinion Shim
A pinion shim is used to correct your pinion angle. Pinion angle is the angle where the driveshaft and differential meet. Sometimes when you lower a truck the pinion angle is changed enough to cause the driveshaft to bind. A pinion shim can be used to keep the pinion angle at factory specs and prevent or correct this problem.
Shock Extender Shock Extender
A shock extender is typically used when a flip kit is installed on a truck. These move the shock mounting point further away from the axle. What this does is extend the shock for added travel to prevent it from bottoming out. Shock extenders bolt-on to the factory shock mounts.
Tie Rod Flip Kit Tie Rod Flip Kit
Needed for '99-'02 GM full-size with larger drops. When lowered 4 or 5 inches in the front, the tie rods are at an extreme angle, which causes extreme wear on them. The tie rod flip kit is designed to reinstall the tie rods from the bottom. Not only does this correct the angle of the tie rod ends and reduce stress on them, it will also increase their durability. The kit with everything needed in order to complete the flip.
Transmission Cross Member Transmission Cross Member
These are needed for the 1994-2001 Dodge Ram, equipped with both automatic and manual transmissions. The cross member needs to be used if the truck is lowered to correct the angle where the driveshaft enters the transmission. The cross member maintains the proper angle, preventing the driveshaft from binding.
U-Bolt Kit U-Bolt Kit
U-Bolts are used to clamp the axle to the leaf pack. They are shaped like a “U” and hold the axle and leaf spring pack together. These come with new nuts and washers.

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Now that you have a better idea of drop suspension components used to lower trucks and SUVs, you should be able to narrow down your choices, that will give you the lowered stance you want. As always, please email us or give us a call at 1-800-586-9713 for more information.

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