Thank you for your support. It ‘s overwhelming to me how many people have the same passion for the 1973-87 GM truck body style. For me it started when my father purchased a new ‘73 blue and white GMC. I grew up with that truck and have great memories working on it. These trucks are like comfort food to me; to this day, it feels like Christmas morning every time I sit in one of my trucks.
I placed this page on the SBS website to share some of the little things I’m often asked about. I believe if we have a common interest in these trucks, why keep the things that will enhance them a secret. Please feel free to email me any tips of your own or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
One of the more frequent questions I get asked is what I use for suspension. If you know me you know my style is stock and drop. I am a perfectionist who seeks original paint with the perfect stance. Through trial and error I found a formula that works for both of my favorite wheel combinations. This lowering combination lowers the truck level measured from ground to fender trims. I’m torn between the stock skinny wheels and deep fat steels. There is no reason you can’t have both and change them like a pair of shoes depending on your mood. So heres the breakdown I prefer to use:
McGaughy’s MCG33153 73-87 2.5″ drop spindles. This part number is for the HD brakes with the 1 1/4″ thick rotors in which most of my 73/74 truck have on them so please measure the thickness of your rotors before you order them. Leave the stock upper and lower control arm bumpers or replace them to stock height if needed.
McGaughy’s MCG33128 73-87 C-10 2″ Lowering front coils
McGaughy’s MCG1350 front shocks
McGaughy’s MCG1850 rear shocks
McGaughy’s MCG33152 C-Notch only needed if you will be hauling anything in the bed.
You will need to flip the springs under the axle and use only three stock leaf springs plus the helper spring. In addition to this, to level the truck you will have to add 1/2″ thick lowering blocks that are 2.5″ wide, you could order these at www.speedwaymotors.com part #91643. If you don’t want to use the blocks you can order a 2″-1″ drop shackle and use the 1″ lowering hole on it McGaughy’s part #33131.
Please note if your truck comes with more springs you will need to replace the dowel pins. I use a 2″ allen bolt with a lock nut. Also don’t forget you will have to buy 6″ drop rear axle flip kit brackets McGaughy’s part number 33156, these brackets reposition the axle from under the rear leaf springs to on top of the leaf springs. Just put these brackets on top of your leaf springs with the hole towards the front of the truck, and set your axle down on top. Bolt your axle back in place with your original U-Bolts.
With this combo you should be able to haul light loads without C-notching your frame.
Wheels and Tires
The second most frequent question I get asked is “hey, what size wheels and tires are you running?”
Being traditional I try to maintain the stock look with the wide steelies. This combination fills the wheel well perfectly and allows the truck to handle around those corners much better than the stock skinnies.
Stockton Wheel O.E.M. Style Wheels: Tell them we sent you 1-800-395-9433
Front: 15×8″ needs to be custom ordered with a 4″ backspace.
Rear: 15×10″ needs to be ordered with a 5″ backspace.
These could be ordered in raw steel, primed or in chrome. They will even powder coat them for you, but if your trying to match the “Frost White” two tone paint don’t do it, I recommend taking your gas cap to your local painters or powder coaters and matching it up.
This O.E. style wheel looks aggressive and will allow your stock 10 1/8″ dog dishes to fit. Be sure to drill two small holes close to the lip of the dog dish across from each other and dab a little grease on the three dimples on the wheel before you put the cap on. This will allow you to remove them on the 15×10’s without damaging the paint or the cap. I use a Snap-on hook pick to remove the dog dishes, thats why I recommend drilling the holes. Get one for the shop and the glovebox.
The tire combination that looks best for me on the wide steels is the BFG 245/60/15 for the fronts and 295/50/15 for the rears. With this tire combination matched with the drop kit above you should end up with a 1″ rake that looks perfect!
If you are going for the stock 6″wheel look, I like a skinny whitewall on a 225/75/15 for the drop kit. Keeping the same same size tire all around with the drop kit will level the truck out and give it a clean level stance. If you are keeping the stock height I recommend the 235/75/15 tire. These skinnies all look great with a factory wheel cover or period correct dog dish/poverty cap.
Heres a tip that works for me when restoring the emblems on these trucks: Its was always been a challenge to match the faded matte mustard colored paint and make it look authentic. I found two methods that work well, one is going to a hobby shop and getting Testors Matte FI. Yellow #1169-RM11691_0611 and Testors Matte FI. Brown #1166-RM11661_0611. Mix these two colors evenly to a 1 to 1 ratio and you should have a great touch up for those 77 trim pieces etc. You can also thin it out and spray it from an airbrush. If you don’t have an airbrush, Kimball Midwest New Equipment Yellow #80-832 matches just as well but has a sheen, this works better if you are looking to restore to new. Kimball Midwest (800) 233-1294.