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Front end lift for my 1957 D300?

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  • Front end lift for my 1957 D300?

    Thinking about lifting the front end of it a couple inches. One ton dually and it just sits a little low in front. Thinking it would make it sit a little more level, look a little tougher, fit a little more tire (later) and be dirt cheap.

    I would need:

    1. longer rear shackle arm thingy- not a shackle but a C shaped arm with a single bolt at either end- strange.

    2. Longer shocks- easy

    3. maybe longer brake lines

    4. maybe a wedge between the springs and axle to maintain the caster angle if the steering is not returning to center.

    Anyone ever do this? See attached pics of the shackle thing-

  • #2
    From your photos I am wondering if your springs are just very tired. A set of new springs would make a huge difference, and lift it quite a bit from its current curb height.
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    • #3
      The rear single shackle thingy is called a Silent U shackle which was used on the 57-58 trucks. I just went through replacing these on a 58 W 100. There are no longer length replacements as there are barely any correct length shackles.

      I would go along with Gordon and replace the springs. I replaced a top leaf on the 58 which was broken. You could add a leaf or two but you ride my suffer. I would take it to a reputable spring shop for an assessment.

      Changing ride height involves messing up the steering geometry and can cause bump steer if not done correctly. The off road kits usually include an new pitman arm or drag link. There are none for these trucks.

      You will probably need to look at the rear shackles on the top mounts for wear. These are prone to egg shape wear due to lack of grease and years of wear. This is where it gets really fun, These are riveted to the frame and there are no replacements unless... you do as I did and had them made.

      You can get the Silent U shackles but be aware that the drivers side is 4" and the passenger is 3 1/2" long. Don't ask me why they just are at least on a 58 anyway. Also the drivers side is left hand thread at 11 thread per inch. This is an odd thread gauge and has to be cut in the new brackets if made. If you need to replace yours I could talk my machinist into making another set.

      So in review, I wouldn't recommend doing a lift with any thing other than new springs. And no we don't get tired of questions, we're all in this together no sense in reinventing the wheel every time a new guy shows up.
      Ron in Indiana


      • #4
        I will have to look into the condition of the hangers. WOuldnt suprise me if the mounting holes were egged out or the springs were sagged. Any sense from anyone on where the front should be (no way to measure natural arch of springs without taking them off) as far as ride height? Maybe just a meaurement to the bumper from another D300?


        • #5
          Any chance for a pic of the ones you had made? I dont have any problem doing the work- just would need the parts. I really love a project like this. So much to learn, no real right way to do it (I am not totally obsessed with making it look stock) and it works without the work so I have all thetime in the world to plan.


          • #6
            I afraid I didn't take pictures of the part before I installed it. I could try to take one in place but it would be hard to see. I won't take it off the truck now that it's in place. I'd have to see if the machine shop would make some more.
            Ron in Indiana


            • #7
              Seems like a shackle setup would make more sense but there is a lot in the way down there.

              I could imagine a simple shackle mount to go under the frame rail- wouldnt be stock but it would do the job and allow me to raise my ride hieght (against all advice, common sense) and lower it if I didnt like it.

              Do you think that C shaped shackle ever bottoms out against the frame?


              • #8
                Well as I said before reworking ride heights and altering steering geometry can open a can of worms. Can you do an under frame shackle mount? Anything is possible. You have to realize that those trucks road low to the ground when new. I'm sure yours has settled some over the years. I don't know that the Silent U shackle will bottom out, I doubt it. Jeep and several others used this same set up back in the day. Yes there is a lot of things in the way to do regular flat shackles. I'll measure the 58 D300 I have here to give some sort of base line. In the mean time, jack up the truck and support it by the frame then place the jack under the axle on one side or the other. Raise the jack a little at a time and watch for movement of the U at the frame mount. This will tell you a lot and can be part of your lowered stance. They wear out on the top side and will cause a slight drop but not much. The difference will be in the ride quality. If there is no movement then get out the grease gun and do a lube job on the truck. Get on ebay and buy a service manual for a 57. Search 57 Dodge truck. Have fun.
                Ron in Indiana