Lowering Scale Model Auto Suspensions

Orangeville, ON (James Doan) It might surprise you to discover that car and truck models actually have their suspensions lowered in almost the same manner as full-scale vehicles.

In the case of vehicles that have front ends with A-arm suspensions, the preferred method to lower the stance is by raising the axle (or kingpin) on the spindle. The easiest way to do this is to simply cut off the kit’s axles flush with the spindles. You can then readily drill holes for new axles in a location further up on the spindles. For a sturdier construction, it is best to make the new axles from metal tubing (aluminum or brass) of the proper diameter and glue them in place. You can use plastic sprue for the new axles, but the assembly will be weaker. If you are fortunate to be working with one of the kits that come with separate spindles with the axles mounted on the lower part of the spindles, it is often possible to simply flip the spindles and mount them upside down, automatically raising their heights.

For model kits that provide dual leaf spring, solid-axle rear suspensions, there are alternate methods for lowering. If your inventory of spare parts will allow it, you can install a flatter set of leaf springs from another kit. The flatter the springs, the lower the drop. Another option is to add lowering blocks between the axle housings and the springs to raise the rear axle. Remember that the closer the rear axle is to the chassis, the lower the drop will be.

When fabricating your lowering blocks, make sure that the strip of styrene will match the width of the spring you are adjusting. After you have determined the amount of drop you want and have cut the pair of blocks you must add a curved notch to the top of each block for the axle housing to rest in. Then you just have to glue the lowering blocks to the springs and housings. For additional detail why not add wire and bolt heads to represent the extra-long U-bolts that hold everything in place the real vehicles.

To ensure a proper fit and clearance on your finished model, you may find it necessary to adjust some other parts, including the shocks and wheelwells.

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