Should I lower my Step Van

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Dr of BBQ
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2011/08/28 12:46:04 (permalink)

Should I lower my Step Van

Something I have been thinking about recently is lowering my step van. It would lower the service window height and make it easier to enter and exit, when carrying cases of product. What do you think? Anyone seen any pictures of a step van in operation that is a low rider?
 
Jack
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    cracker75
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    Re:Should I lower my Step Van 2011/08/28 13:18:52 (permalink)

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    THE WILD DOG
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    Re:Should I lower my Step Van 2011/08/28 14:27:22 (permalink)
    DoB all you need is some air bags and a switch, you can lower it that way and it's inexpensive, or just cut your springs.
    #3
    Dr of BBQ
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    Re:Should I lower my Step Van 2011/08/28 16:44:22 (permalink)
    That's pretty cool.
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    CajunKing
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    Re:Should I lower my Step Van 2011/08/28 23:07:27 (permalink)
    That is one sweet ice cream truck
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    CajunKing
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    Re:Should I lower my Step Van 2011/08/29 00:13:47 (permalink)
    Hey Jack
     
    Are you going to use awnings on this truck?  If so what are the current clearances and if you lowered it would you still have head room or will you need a "LOOK OUT" sign?
     
    I like the idea of lowering it for ease of serving and loading.
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    BackAlleyBurger
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    Re:Should I lower my Step Van 2011/08/29 07:18:15 (permalink)
    you never just want to cut your springs..... it drastically changes the spring rate, and throws your entire front suspension geometry into chaos.....
     
    if you want to do it right, lowering spindles on the front.... you can get a safe and perfect 2 in drop from this alone, swap the springs for some airbags and you can set her right down on the frame.....
     
    flip the rear axle, do a "c" notch on the frame, bag it, and now the entire truck can sit frame to asphalt.....
    remember, if you go to this extreme, there will be a "hump" in your floor to allow room for the rear axle.....
    you would be looking roughly at about 2,500 just in parts to be able to sit her down on the ground...
     
    to drop the girl about 4-6 inches, you can get by with spindles in the front(new lowered springs and shocks) and drop hangers in the rear(with new lowered shocks)..... probably about the 800-1100 dollar range, and you can do all this at home in the driveway if you have the tools
    #7
    Dr of BBQ
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    Re:Should I lower my Step Van 2011/08/29 09:52:12 (permalink)
    CajunKing

    Hey Jack

    Are you going to use awnings on this truck?  If so what are the current clearances and if you lowered it would you still have head room or will you need a "LOOK OUT" sign?

    I like the idea of lowering it for ease of serving and loading.

     
    I'm not much into the awning thing. If I were going to build a cover for a window I'd build it so it would flip all the way up so it became a menu sign. That way you have the security after hours and a great marquee during serving hours. Or I'd use a roll up canvas type like they had on B&M shops in the fifty's.  But I'd think if you lowered a SV you'd ruin the body lines with a awning.
     
    It sure is good to have you back buddy.
    Jack
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    Dr of BBQ
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    Re:Should I lower my Step Van 2011/08/29 10:01:47 (permalink)
    BackAlleyBurger

    you never just want to cut your springs..... it drastically changes the spring rate, and throws your entire front suspension geometry into chaos.....

    if you want to do it right, lowering spindles on the front.... you can get a safe and perfect 2 in drop from this alone, swap the springs for some airbags and you can set her right down on the frame.....

    flip the rear axle, do a "c" notch on the frame, bag it, and now the entire truck can sit frame to asphalt.....
    remember, if you go to this extreme, there will be a "hump" in your floor to allow room for the rear axle.....
    you would be looking roughly at about 2,500 just in parts to be able to sit her down on the ground...

    to drop the girl about 4-6 inches, you can get by with spindles in the front(new lowered springs and shocks) and drop hangers in the rear(with new lowered shocks)..... probably about the 800-1100 dollar range, and you can do all this at home in the driveway if you have the tools

     
    I'm not familiar with all that your describing but I'm really fascinated by the concept. It seems to me we used to move the rear springs under the axle on cars and trucks instead of on top for about a 3 or 4 inch drop, and heat the front coil springs. But that just lowered the vehicle and there was no up down action. It was a cheap easy fix but there was no coming back on the front coil springs once you heated them. If you decided you didn't like the low rider look you had to buy new coil springs for the front, and move the rear springs back to the original position.
     
    Jack
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    Dr of BBQ
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    Re:Should I lower my Step Van 2011/08/29 11:31:08 (permalink)
    Here is a truck that is interesting  certainly not lowered. LOL. This truck was built to advertise a  business. This would be fun-to-drive. The link said it has a 427 tall deck, 400 transmission, 205 transfer case, 1 ton front and rear diffs, 44 swamper truxus tires. It was built by Bob at Big Wheel Off Road, Hubert N.C., 910-326-2881.
     

    #10
    Dr of BBQ
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    Re:Should I lower my Step Van 2011/08/29 11:40:03 (permalink)
    Ok here is a similar project with some pics. And a good pic of "there will be a "hump" in your floor to allow room for the rear axle..." that Back Alley Burger spoke of. Wow that sucks. Glad I found these pics and how severe it would be. but it is neat to see the pics of the project.
     
    We have installed air ride suspension on several step vans. Depending on the chassis type this modification could be what some may consider expensive. If you would like to contact us regarding your project please give a call at the shop or send me an email using the CONTACT link below.
    Here are links to two of the more high profile step vans that we have been involved in.
    1964 chevy stepvan BREAD SLED
    1957 chevy stepvan SNOWSLED

    shop email contact page
    yahoo map to the shop

    JOHN@ CCC
    314-968-8377
    #11
    Dr of BBQ
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    Re:Should I lower my Step Van 2011/08/29 18:45:21 (permalink)
    Ok even though I'm closed I'm still fascinated about lowering my SV. I went over and looked at it and I have leaf springs front and back. So does that mean I can just drop a leaf or two or 3 for that matter?
    Will it cause a steering problem?
    Will it cause a driveshaft problem?
    Will it cause any problems?
     
    Jack
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    CajunKing
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    Re:Should I lower my Step Van 2011/08/29 19:21:50 (permalink)
    Wow that is some HUMP to contend with.
     
    I was thinking of ways to get around it.
    raising the floor then why lower the SV
    ramp it and then hit your head on your roof
     
    I wonder what the minimum clearance you could get would be and the minimum height of the hump and would the speed bump cause too many trips inside the van.
     
    hmmmmmmmm  questions questions questions
     
    Oh BTW - Thanks Jack
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    Re:Should I lower my Step Van 2011/08/29 20:40:10 (permalink)
    By the way here is a link to a step vans thread but it contains a ton of post. I spent two hours on it and didn't get 25% through the thread.It's easy to read and read and
     
    http://jalopyjournal.com/...t=282902&showall=1
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    BackAlleyBurger
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    Re:Should I lower my Step Van 2011/09/01 19:17:02 (permalink)
    if you drop a leaf or two out of the springs you will soften the ride (not totally a bad thing) and lower it maybe an inch or two..... big issue is you will be reducing the weight capacity a lot...
    not sure about leafs on the front, seems like it would effect the geometry and ride quality....
     
    im in that thread!......lol, be careful over there, the "purists" hate the fact the stepvan thread is even there, if its not a 56 merc, or a rock a billy desoto they dont think it belongs, lol, and aint shy about telling you so ! 
    post edited by BackAlleyBurger - 2011/09/01 19:21:10
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    Dr of BBQ
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    Re:Should I lower my Step Van 2011/09/01 20:12:29 (permalink)
    BackAlleyBurger if you drop a leaf or two out of the springs you will soften the ride (not totally a bad thing) and lower it maybe an inch or two..... big issue is you will be reducing the weight capacity a lot...
    not sure about leafs on the front, seems like it would effect the geometry and ride quality....

    im in that thread!......lol, be careful over there, the "purists" hate the fact the stepvan thread is even there, if its not a 56 merc, or a rock a billy desoto they dont think it belongs, lol, and aint shy about telling you so !

     
    "reducing the weight capacity a lot" Well that's interesting because I don't think with the equipment I'll be putting in it it's going to be all that heavy. Hell these trucks were meant to carry a big load to begin with, and structurally there built pretty tough. I'd think anything I put in there will be way under what they were meant to haul. And one other thought I honestly think we as builders over build trailers, and food trucks to begin with. I have always thought that. Even as I was building my trailer I thought god this is going to be able to withstand a bomb blast.
     
    "the "purists" hate the fact the step van thread is even there," LMAO everyone wants to carve out their little piece of the internet and not allow trespassers. The person I need to talk to is about half blacksmith and half race car tech guy. I had a friend here in town that could build a half mile or mile dirt track car in his sleep and win 70 to 80% of the features they ran in. Old Ralph would be the best in the Midwest at this job but unfortunately he took his life about 12 years ago, after being diagnosed with cancer. Boy I wish I knew who to call or go see. I just called a friend that runs the Hoosier Tire Company he has to know someone that has the right mixture of talent and knowledge. I'll post again after I talk with whom ever he thinks can do the job. He just called back and gave me some names and one of them will be my first stop tomorrow
     
    Thanks for your thoughts
    Jack
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    BackRhodes
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    Re:Should I lower my Step Van 2011/09/13 22:10:56 (permalink)
    Jack..have you considered a small ramp and deck (with safety rail) in front of the serving window...???  It might not help the loading in and out, but it might be cheaper to raise the customers than lower the truck, and the ramp / deck could be stowed in the rig when driving...
     
    It also would not solve the issue of servers having to constantly bend over to serve food out the window...but it at least might be a partial solution, and IF it doesn't work out as expected you've not made major mods to the truck itself...
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    BackAlleyBurger
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    Re:Should I lower my Step Van 2011/09/13 23:17:54 (permalink)
    i have actually thought about something similar to this idea.....
    more so for "traffic control" then anything else
    we have a local bbq trailer that sets up not too far from my house, i think i will stop by and measure his serving window from the ground to give me an idea of what i will be dealing with.... his window is a perfect height from the ground if thats possible
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    Dr of BBQ
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    Re:Should I lower my Step Van 2011/09/14 09:35:11 (permalink)
    BackRhodes

    Jack..have you considered a small ramp and deck (with safety rail) in front of the serving window...???  It might not help the loading in and out, but it might be cheaper to raise the customers than lower the truck, and the ramp / deck could be stowed in the rig when driving... It also would not solve the issue of servers having to constantly bend over to serve food out the window...but it at least might be a partial solution, and IF it doesn't work out as expected you've not made major mods to the truck itself...

     
    I had thought of that, but at my current location I'm a drive through, so the ramp or stairs would only work at events. And I do several a year and next year plan on doing a bunch more, so it's not a bad thought.  My service window will be much taller than wide, which will allow servers to lean out rather than bend down. 
     
    You know this is the hardest part of a build, you think and plan and then change your mind or run into a problem because something isn't quite like you thought it was. LOL....I hate the not knowing.
     
    It's like my question about lowering my step van. Which has 10 leaf springs front and back but then I got to looking at it and realized at it's current state it sits pretty high, at the back 19 inches to the bottom of the outer wall. In the front 16 1/2 inches to the bottom of the door. And the distance from the top of the rear tire to the bottom of the fender well is 9 inches.  So I don't know what to do.
     
    To lower it (and be worthwhile) I think I'd have to lower it 5 or 6 inches. And that seems like a lot to me. But I love the lowered idea and think it would be cool as hell looking. Does anyone know if the rub rail is solid inside? I doubt it but curious to know? Can the rub rail be taken off (rivets) and lowered? Or could it be done away with? I also like the side-pipes, or as they were called in the 50s and 60s lake-pipes. I already have chrome wheels on my truck.
     
    Look at these..although I'd want stainless steel rather than chrome.
    http://www.jegs.com/i/Pat...zb_snKsCFckEQAodHF79lw
    post edited by Dr of BBQ - 2011/09/14 11:17:28
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    BackRhodes
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    Re:Should I lower my Step Van 2011/09/14 14:09:18 (permalink)
    I'm not a mechanical expert, but what BAB was saying about the load capacity, handling, and symetry (sp?) seem to make sense if you start dinking with the springs...
     
    What size wheel rims...??? 
     
    IF it's a 20 or 22 inch truck tire, you might be able to run smaller rims / low profile tires if you don't drive long distances and gas mileage is not a big issue...with smaller rims you can still get Load Range E tires, and it might give you the lowering you want, and smaller rims might even give it a contemporary urban look...and you're not modifying the suspension and the way it handles...
     
    On a much less practical level, IF you have a semi permanent location is to dig out a pit to park in, but that might also be a can of worms in terms of permits, permissions, and liabilities (when not parked there)...
     
    Yeah, Lake Pipes with cut-outs & glass packs (ala Thrush)
     
    There are tv shows about building hot rods, motorcycles, and semi-trucks...I wonder how much demand there'd be on the food channel for a vending truck build...it might be a hard sell to the tv execs, but we've seen shows with less merit hit the airwaves...
     
    Along those lines, we see moving vans that have a dropped down section (almost like a "Low Boy" equipment trailer)...building something like that from scratch would certainly be a very large project...easier to custom build a trailer than a van that way...lower the floor & window and hire only short people...???
    #20
    Dr of BBQ
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    Re:Should I lower my Step Van 2011/09/14 14:36:33 (permalink)
    BackRhodes

    I'm not a mechanical expert, but what BAB was saying about the load capacity, handling, and symetry (sp?) seem to make sense if you start dinking with the springs...

    .easier to custom build a trailer than a van that way...lower the floor & window and hire only short people...???

     
    I can see the newspaper ad now
     

    WANTED MIDGET FOOD SERVICE PERSON

     
     
    #21
    BackRhodes
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    Re:Should I lower my Step Van 2011/09/16 16:46:46 (permalink)
    Little people need jobs too...
     
    #22
    CajunKing
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    Re:Should I lower my Step Van 2011/09/17 22:04:17 (permalink)
    Dr of BBQ

    BackRhodes

    I'm not a mechanical expert, but what BAB was saying about the load capacity, handling, and symetry (sp?) seem to make sense if you start dinking with the springs...

    .easier to custom build a trailer than a van that way...lower the floor & window and hire only short people...???


    I can see the newspaper ad now

    WANTED MIDGET FOOD SERVICE PERSON

     

     
    Don't stop there change your menu to include
     
    SHORT RIBS
    #23
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    Re:Should I lower my Step Van 2011/09/19 07:58:44 (permalink)
    That's my thought. use airbags and a small compressor to lower it when you are on site and raise it to drive away.
    #24
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