Ultimate Guide for Lowering a Chevrolet C5 Corvette

In a sea of modern supercars, the good ol’ C5 Corvette remains one of the best performance-oriented cars to own. First released in 1997, it still persisted until this day, providing avid car enthusiasts a platform with such a high potential for modification. Many people adore this American blue-collar supercar because of how well it can support performance modifications. Among these modifications is a suspension upgrade, mainly ride height reduction.

For a non-gear head, lowering a car might seem like a pointless effort, done only to maximize the aesthetics of a vehicle. However, beginner and seasoned enthusiasts would argue otherwise. Looks and style aren’t the only palpable reasons to lower a car; there are other practical benefits you can reap too that can turn a vehicle’s driving and ride quality from zero to hero. These same benefits entice most C5 Corvette owners to slam their cars to the ground: to improve the looks, posture, and performance of their vehicles.

If you’re one of those C5 Corvette owners who want to tinker with their car’s suspension and lower it to kingdom come but are clueless on how to do it, we’re here to help. Below is some helpful information you can use to properly lower your Chevrolet Corvette C5. We’ve also included some valuable details that will provide you with all the things you need to know about lowering your proudly two-decade-old supercar.

Steps on How to Lower a C5 Corvette 

Most people think that lowering a C5 Corvette is one huge task to accomplish on your own.

If you’re a neophyte with cars, you’d think that since Corvettes utilize transverse leaf springs, they’ll be trouble to dabble and tinker with.

However, contrary to popular belief, lowering a C5 Corvette is straightforward. Instead of the traditional methods of manipulating coil springs on most cars, you can use the already existing lowering adjuster bolts on the vehicle.

You can follow the steps below if you want to properly lower your C5 Corvette.

Step 1

Properly park a car on a level surface. Be sure to set the parking brakes (or block the front wheel) to avoid unnecessary mishaps. Using a jack, raise the car and use jack stands to support it. After that, remove the wheels and tires using a lug wrench.

Step 2

Find the rear transverse springs and locate the connecting bolts at both ends of the spring. Use an 18mm socket wrench to turn the adjustment bolt clockwise and expose two to three threads. 

Step 3

Reiterate the previous step on the other side of the transverse leaf spring. Then, measure both sides to see if you’ve achieved the right amount of spacing for both of the bolts. Afterward, raise the car again using the jack, take away the jack stands, and bring down the vehicle to the ground.

Step 4

Blockade the rear wheels and use the jack again, this time to raise the car’s front. Like Step 1, place the jack stands under the vehicle to support and remove both the wheels and tires using a lug wrench. Following that, get a block of wood and then put it below the front spring. Be sure to jack the spring upward to release some tension on it.

Step 5

Find the height adjustment bolts on the front shocks and turn the bolt counterclockwise using a 10mm socket wrench. Once you feel that you’ve turned it just right, slightly turn the bolt clockwise. Repeat the process on the opposite side. Afterward, take away the jack stands and firmly place the car back to the ground.

Step 6

To ensure that the adjustments are correct for both sides, measure the gap between the top of the wheel well and the ground. 

Step 7

Make sure to let the car settle with its newly adjusted suspension by driving the car around for a few days. Once you’re delighted with the results of your efforts, have your suspension realigned.

Lowering your C5 Corvette using the existing stock bolts can eliminate at least ½” off the car’s height. While this measurement is enough for some, others are not satisfied with it and will look for other ways to lower their vehicles even further. 

Some Aftermarket Options to Choose From 

If you think slashing off just about half an inch off your C5 Corvette height using the stock lowering bolts is a bit underwhelming, then you should check out other manufacturers for some aftermarket options. The selection they offer usually offers some components or features that are not present with the OEM.

Aftermarket Lowering Bolts

Some car enthusiasts would think that the amount of height the stock bolts offer to remove is a bit underwhelming. This is totally understandable; that’s why many aftermarket auto parts manufacturers decided to take the initiative and make some lowering bolts themselves.

These bolts are better than OEM in terms of build quality, durability, and the amount of height it can get removed to slam your C5 Corvette even further to the ground. And also, these aftermarket bolts are inexpensive too, so getting your hands on one of them won’t be too difficult.

Below are the best bang-for-the-buck C5 Corvette aftermarket lowering bolts you can get out there.

West Coast Corvette Lowering Bolts

  • Manufacturer: West Coast Corvette
  • Part Number: 13130224
  • Ride Height Reduction: 1.5”
  • Vehicle Fitment: Chevrolet Corvette C5 (1997-2004)

West Coast Corvette has been servicing the community with parts made for the various generations of Corvettes. And yes, they have some lowering bolts for the C5 Corvette.

These lowering bolts can give your car a much meaner stance, and it can lower it by up to 1.5”. On top of that, the installation process is pretty easy too. In just an hour or so, you’re good to go!

VMS Racing Lowering Kit

  • Manufacturer: VMS Racing
  • Part Number: ‎100-ERPLKC5
  • Ride Height Reduction: 1.0”
  • Vehicle Fitment: Chevrolet Corvette C5 (1997-2004)

The C5 Corvette is a 20+ years old car, and there’s a high probability that its bushings are already dry-trotted. These bushings are vital whenever you need to lower the car, and purchasing some lowering bolts apart from the bushing can be a hassle. Good thing VMS Racing has a lowering kit for your vehicle. It has a pair of lowering bolts for your C5 Corvette’s rear end and also some heavy-duty bushings made of polyurethane. This lowering kit is pretty easy to install, and it can lower your car’s back end by up to an inch.

Drop Spindles

Drop spindles are another kind of suspension modification that allows you to slam your car to the ground, lower than what the stock lowering bolts and aftermarket ones offer. These are the aftermarket version of the spindle (aka steering knuckle) already present in your car. The main difference between your car’s original spindle and the drop spindle is the location of the shaft protruding from the spindle’s side. 

Drop spindles reposition the shaft higher, usually two to three inches higher than the OEM. By doing so, your wheels get tucked higher in the fender well, resulting in the lowering of your vehicle.

The drop spindle below is the most-favored one by the C5 Corvette community.

LG Motorsports Drop Spindle

  • Manufacturer: LG Motorsports
  • Part Number: LGDPS
  • Ride Height Reduction: 1.0”
  • Vehicle Fitment: Chevrolet Corvette C5 (1997-2004)

The drop spindles made by LG Motorsports have seen many trophies from various professional and regional races. These C5 Corvette drop spindles come with four spindles, both for the front and rear of the car. They are made from an extruded section of a solid high-strength aluminum alloy and can lower your vehicle’s height by a full inch. This reduction in ride height comes with the retention of full shock travel and unchanged suspension geometry.

And also, the improved strength of these spindles works perfectly with the caliper mounts and the wheel bearing mount. The construction of this spindle alone allows you to enjoy better handling, improved bump steer geometry, and full shock travel. 

The LG Motorsports Drop Spindles is, no doubt, a must-have for lowered track-dedicated Chevrolet C5 Corvettes.

Coilovers

By now, you’re probably aware of the existence of the transverse leaf springs below your car. Even if the hardware is ancient, it surprisingly works well, and it even provides superb handling known only to Chevrolet Corvettes. However excellent these transverse leaf springs may be, they’re not really that optimal for spirited track driving. They also don’t provide what track-oriented enthusiasts want the most: tunability.

Because of this dilemma, a lot of car enthusiasts opt for coilovers instead of leaf springs.

Coilovers provide some practical gains beneficial for feisty driving, like better handling over sharp turns and adjustability.

Perhaps the most prominent reason enthusiasts prefer coilovers is that they’re looking for something that will allow them to tune their car’s suspension to whatever they see fit. Coilovers are great because they offer ride height and compression/rebound adjustment, which is pretty handy if you ask some drivers.

The caveat with coilovers, however, is that they’re pretty expensive. That’s why people who choose coilovers instead of transverse leaf springs are 100% sure that they want it for their cars. It’s an earnest investment, and we’d advise that you think about doing a coilover conversion thoroughly before you even buy one for your vehicle.

Check out some of the well-loved C5 Corvette coilovers below.

aFe Control PFADT Series Featherlight Coilover System

  • Manufacturer: aFe Power
  • Part Number: 430-401001-N
  • Vehicle Fitment: Chevrolet Corvette C5 (1997-2013)

The PFADT Series Featherlight coilovers offer C5 Corvette owners a chance of experiencing what it’s like to have a well-handled car both on the tracks and the streets. Made from 6061-T6 aluminum, these coilovers are built to last. These coilovers utilize an inverted design that allows the outboard components and control arms to respond quickly without suffering the weight of the coilover.

What’s more, these C5 Corvette PFADT coilovers offer you a chance to tune their height and damping quickly, allowing you to fine-tune both your car’s stance and its ride quality to whatever you see fit. These coilovers can definitely give you the best of both worlds: spirited driving on the tracks and the street.

LG G2 Coilover Kit

  • Manufacturer: LG Motorsports
  • Part Number: LGC5G2
  • Vehicle Fitment: Chevrolet Corvette C5 (1997-2004)

We bet you didn’t expect another LG Motorsports suspension mod, didn’t you? Their reputation precedes them, and the value they give to Corvette owners is unquestionable. Now, instead of drop spindles, LG Motorsports have the G2 Coilover Kit for your C5 Corvette. It allows your car to ride better than stock and makes it look like an exotic car with a newfound posture that makes it more stylish.

Once you’ve installed these coilovers on your car, you’ll soon realize that the handling between the stock and the one with coilovers on is night and day. And although it’s 10% much stiffer, the ride quality doesn’t fall far from the stock. This feature is ideal for drivers who want to drive their C5 Corvettes daily and bring them to the tracks every weekend.

The LG G2 Coilover Kit is the culmination of two suspension technologies: Bilstein and Hyperco. By using aluminum nitrogen-filled coilovers from Bilstein and Hypercoil springs made by Hyperco, LG Motorsports ensures that you’re bound to drive a car that’s more thrilling and can handle a lot better than it was before. These coilovers are great for extensively modified C5 Corvettes that frequent the track or even the dragstrip.

Why Not Just Use Lowering Springs Instead?

If you have other modified cars apart from your C5 Corvette, then you may have asked this question: “Why don’t I just use lowering springs to lower my C5 Corvette?” It’s a question that has bogged many beginner Corvette enthusiasts, and we can’t really blame them for asking such a question.

You see, lowering springs don’t really make sense on a car like the Chevrolet Corvette. As mentioned earlier, the Chevrolet Corvette C5 uses transverse leaf springs. This implies that the height of the suspension is governed by the length and adjustments of the bolts attached to the end of the transverse leaf springs.

Knowing this, you can arrive at the conclusion that you can’t use lowering springs to reduce your car’s height unless, of course, if it involves a coilover conversion. If you want to use lowering springs to lower your car, then you might as well get yourself some adjustable coilovers.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Lowering a C5 Corvette 

Lowering a C5 Corvette does have its perks. Whether you use the stock bolts, aftermarket bolts, drop spindles, or coilovers, lowering your car offers some general benefits you can enjoy.

Road Feel is Much Better

A vehicle with a lowered suspension can help drivers get more attuned to how their car reacts to whatever the road throws at it. Whether it’s the quality of the road itself, some small debris – you name it. More vibrations from the imperfection of the road surface can be easily felt in the vibrations sent to the steering wheel.

Better Stability 

Whenever you lower a car, you lower its center of gravity as well. The lean of the vehicle whenever it encounters a sharp turn is dramatically reduced. On top of that, the part of the vehicle on the outer side of a turn will stay more leveled with the part that’s on the inside. Because of this, the car settles much more quickly and inevitably acts more responsibly.

Better Handling

Another noticeable effect of having a lowered center of gravity is vastly improved responsiveness, stability, and grip. If you use coilovers to lower your car, then it means that you’ve used stiffer springs, and that will be the key to less weight transfer whenever you brake hard or hit the gas.

Improved Aerodynamic Properties

Lowered vehicles like most modern supercars are more aerodynamic. The air hits the wheels and the tires less; thus, the air drag is lesser than it used to be. This results in the cars being faster. To give you a much better understanding, try to compare small cars to trucks. However, keep in mind that lowering a car too much is actually detrimental, and it may even worsen your car’s capabilities if wrongfully done.

Better Traction Control

After lowering your car, you’ll most likely get bigger wheels and tires to fit the current aesthetics of the vehicle. Bigger tires will have more contact with the road and lessen the roll around corners.

Better Aesthetic Appeal

Most car enthusiasts would admit that they want to lower their cars just for the looks of it. Who can blame them? A lowered car sports a more aggressive and performance-oriented style that definitely stands out wherever they go. And also, upgrading your car’s suspension system will pave the way for other awesome modifications like larger wheels and tires.

Drawbacks

Lowering a car is not always rainbows and butterflies, as it entails some drawbacks that may turn you off any time of the day. While most of these disadvantages are avoidable if proper precautionary measures are exercised, some are inevitable.

Rough Roads Are Tough

More road feel can both be a blessing and a curse. Sure, you can feel the road more, but it includes all of the debris whenever you drive on rough roads, and you’ll definitely feel everything under your feet. Lowered cars are the worst when it comes to going on rough roads and terrains.

Potential Damage to Other Parts

Perhaps the most negative aspect of lowering a car is it’s potential to damage some parts located on your car’s underbelly. A lowered car means that the probability of the bottom part of your car touching the ground is high. And this poses a huge problem, as it can cause damage to some components like exhaust systems and details of the suspension system.

Tires Wear Much Faster

Lowered cars are notorious for wearing and tearing the tires much faster. Whenever you drop your car, you inevitably mess up the geometry or the alignment of your wheels and tires. If done incorrectly, this may result in alignment problems that will ultimately end with extreme wear patterns.

Handling Can Be a Bit Problematic

Yes, lowering a vehicle will improve its handling, but it’s only applicable on smooth roads. All hell will break loose if you drive a lowered car on sloped roads and bumps uncaringly. Handling your vehicle on these kinds of roads will be difficult, so precautionary measures like shifting and decreasing your speed are advised.

Lowering a Car Can Be Expensive

Lowering your car right with high-quality components and correct alignment can be expensive. On top of that, doing such a modification comes with risks that will cost you even more money, so you best do it right the first time. And also, replacing the OEM parts of your car with aftermarket ones will decrease its resale value, so keep that in mind.

You May Encounter Warranty Issues

Replacing any significant component in your car may void its warranty. When that happens, the manufacturer, by no means, is not obligated to be accountable, even if the damage was not caused by the lowering of the car itself.

Jacking Can Be More Difficult

Jacking up a lowered vehicle can be highly inconvenient at times because there’s not enough clearance for you to fit in the jack underneath the car. You’ll most likely need a low-profile jack and ramps before you can even place the jack beneath your vehicle.

Lowering a Chevrolet Corvette C5 can give you tons of practical benefits like better handling, more road feel, and, most importantly, better aesthetic appeal. More so, you can achieve a lowered stance with various types of modifications like lowering bolts, drop spindles, and coilovers. 

And also, professional installation and alignment are essential to avoid any mishaps that may give you unnecessary problems. By doing so, you’re saving yourself from unwarranted stress and needless spending of money.

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