Street Trucks

Lucid Dreams PART 1



FOR THIS YEAR’S DO-IT-YOURSELF BUDGET BUILD, WE’RE GOING BACK TO THE BASICS WITH A 2003 CHEVY S-10 XTREME. This is the perfect project truck for any aspiring custom truck builder who is ready to start their very first project. After picking up a truck like this, what would be the first thing any eager enthusiast would do? Lower it—because lower is always better! We called up the guys at Western Chassis to ask about a lowering kit and gave them our goals and budget. They set us up with a Stage 3 lowering kit that will drop our mini-truck 5 inches in the front and 6 inches in the rear. We plan to bag this truck in the not-so-distant future, so the lower, the better in our opinion. This is the most aggressive kit Western Chassis offers, and it is under $600, complete.

Not familiar with this company? Interestin­g fact: Western Chassis developed the very first automotive drop spindle. Since 1981, the company has been building quality suspension components and providing them at a reasonable price. About a week after our order was placed, the full kit was sitting on the doorstep of Chace Yonts at The Shop in Stanford, Kentucky. Let’s follow along with the first step of this long-term, do-ityourself mini-truck build!


With an end goal of a bagged Bow Tie, we worked with Western Chassis to order this Stage 3 lowering kit that will drop our mini-truck 5 inches in the front and 6 inches in the rear for ’82-’04 Chevy S-10 and GMC S-15 trucks.


First on the list is to get the truck up off the ground and remove the old suspension hardware.


We started with the front and began by unbolting the brake calipers to get them out of the way.


Next, we unbolted the tie-rod ends so we could swing the spindle around more freely.


Once that was done, we then removed the rotors and backing plate.


Once those were off, it was time to remove the spindles. Unfortunat­ely, this took a little more time and effort because most of the suspension components were a tad on the rusty side. After using some PB Blaster, we were good to go. We then unbolted the shocks and ball joints so that the spindle could be removed.


Once everything had been pried apart, we used the jack to hold the control arm up while we worked our way toward the springs.


With the jack in place and bolts removed, we carefully lowered the jack down to release the spring.


Once the old springs were out, we installed the new Western Chassis springs. After the spring was seated in the correct spot, the control arm was then ready for the spindles to be reinstalle­d.


With the springs installed, we moved on to the new 2-inch drop spindles. Making sure everything is lined up perfectly is extremely important for this part of the install.


With the new spindles mounted, we reinstalle­d the ball joints and control arms.

This is where, unfortunat­ely, we started running into a few problems. The backing plate sat too far back on the new spindles, which created some rubbing. Also, once the rotor assemblies were put back on, the slot for the cotter pin was farther back on the stub shaft than on the OEM one. This meant we needed to make a few trips to Ace Hardware for some washers because they were not supplied with the kit. After placing an additional two washers on the spindle stub shaft, the cotter pin hole was finally in the correct spot. This is the fun that all new truck enthusiast­s get to experience. Problem solving is good for you!

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MARCH 2021
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