Upgrading the front brakes and lowering the front end

Posted by admin April 12th, 2012

S-10 Drop Spindle

The Fiberfab Valkyrie uses a Corvair front suspension system and steering.  This setup in its stock form makes the car a bit high and in the case of the loading on the EVGT-40 it means that the front end sits a bit higher than the loaded down rear where the batteries are located.  Many Valkyrie owners lower the front end by using heavy duty springs and cutting them down.  This does lower the front but the ride is very rough and the travel distance of the suspension is limited.

New Lowered look

This means that if you hit a good bump the suspension tends to bottom out with a good jolt.  I did this to my car and have been driving it that way for a few thousand miles.  Though it works, there is a better way.  It turns out that the spindles on a late model Chevy S-10 pickup has the same geometry as the Corvair.  The ball joints are slightly different but the holes can be machined to take the Corvair ball joint tapered bolts.   As it turns out there are quite a few drop spindle kits readily available for the S-10.  These can be found on eBay for less than $200.

Uncut Corvair Spring

S-10 Drop Spindles

I obtained a set of Chevy S-10 2″ drop spindles from eBay and sent them off to Michael Leveque up in Anderson, Indiana.  Mr. Leveque is a big Corvair fan and has had a lot of experience with doing this kind of modification.  He did the machining on my spindles and got them setup to fit my Corvair suspension.   While the spindles were off being machined I obtained a set of brake cylinders and brake rock guards and from the local junk yard.  I also grabbed the steering linkage just in case.  Turns out it was a good call. The S-10 brake rotors are built into the hubs and were easily purchased from my local auto parts store along with new pads and bearings.  Everything was cleaned up nicely and the cylinders were painted red. I also ordered a new set of standard Corvair springs from Clark’s Covair.

Installing the new spindles was pretty easy.   I already had my car setup with the disc brake modification so the brake lines were already ready.  If you don’t have disk brakes already then you will need a special valve added in to handle the difference between the drums in the back and the discs in the front.  I used one off of an older Camero from which I also obtained the power brake master cylinder that I used.  (Corvairs don’t have power brakes.)

A few things to look at though when installing the new spindles.  I didn’t like the position of the brake lines coming out of the cylinders.  I ground off a bit of the metal on the cylinder to allow the brake lines to be attached in a different angle.   As it turns out the tapered bolt on the ball joint connecting the steering arm was going to be too short.  The S-10 steering are was a bit thicker.  I was able to save the day though because I had grabbed the steering linkage off the S-10.  I was able to replace the Corvair linkage with the S-10 linkage very easily.  Both use the same size threads.  The other issue was that the spindles are setup for larger wheels.  I had to add in a .25″ wheel spacer to bring my wheels out slightly so they would not rub on the steering arm.

Modification to the cylinders to change angle brake hose attaches

Clearance issue - Spacer required

Once it was all together it was time to bleed the brakes and see how it works.  (Bleeding brakes and doing any kind of work with brake fluid  is about my least favorite thing to do by the way.)

Finished install with spacer

Speedometer sensor

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