HomePosse ProjectsHow-To'sEventsCool StuffContact UsLinks

From this...

I wanted more ground clearance and more lift on the front of my Baja so I decided to make some raised spindles. I had seen some dropped spindles made by the German Car Company years ago, and it occurred to me that I could do similar but with a raise. On the left is my Baja with stock spindles, and on the right with my 2.5" raised spindles.

You could use this how-to to make dropped spindles, but note that it does add to the front track (width).

...to this.

1. You need two pairs of balljoint spindles, which can be drum or disc versions. I used disc brake ones because they have a greater surface area, which makes for a stronger join. I also wanted to run disc brakes on the front. :-D
I picked late disc spindles because the crossover year ones (1966/67/68) use a smaller inner bearing and track rod end. Therefore the late spindles (1969 on) are a tiny bit stronger.

2. On one pair of spindles you need to chop off the balljoint mounts and the arm that joins to the trackrod. On the other pair of spindles you need to cut off the actual spindle part (where the disc/drum joins on) and the caliper mount.
You can see the cuts you need to make marked in chalk in the photos on the left.

3. Here are the spindles after I have cut them down. Now you can see how the parts fit together. Make sure you cut the correct spindles, and don't end up cutting the same bits off both the left spindles! This is why I marked mine with chalk before cutting them.

4. To get perfect alignment I had the mating surfaces machined. The back piece can be clamped flat using the balljoint mounts. The front piece needs a short length of tubing (with the ends cut square) slid over the spindle and clamped in place using the stock washer and locking nut. Using the tubing this piece can now be clamped flat.
The thickness of the caliper mount is a good thickness to machine the front piece down to.

5. Now how do you clamp the pieces together for welding? This is where the bolt holes for the backing plates come in handy. If you drill the thread out of the 'top' mounting hole on the front piece you can bolt a long 7mm bolt through the front piece into the 'bottom' mounting hole in the back piece. This gives you a solid mounting point while you work out how much lift you want.

I made two identical plates with identical bolt holes drilled in to give me exactly 2.5" of raise at the spindle. These plates bolted to the two 'front' backing plate bolt holes. Using a few washers as a spacer both spindles were now held perfectly in position and rock solid.

6. Once the spindles were jigged I marked where they would need to be welded, unbolted them, and used a grinder on the relevant bits. I then bolted them together again ready to be welded.

Note: You CANNOT safely weld these together with your MIG or TIG welder, they need to be professionally ARC welded.

7. I took my spindles to a professional welder and asked how they should be welded, and if they could do it for me. They said that ARC welding was the only way to keep the strength needed. My spindles were welded as a special 'lunch hour' job and only cost me £25. The guy used their strongest rod, which they normally use on girders, and said that the weld is good for 4 tons. That's probably more than the original spindle could take!

8. By this stage you've probably forgotten about the speedo cable! With a 2.5" raise the hole comes out slightly behind the lower balljoint mount, and with a little clearancing the speedo cable happy slides in. I used a speedo cable from a 1303 because they are longer, but otherwise identical.
Raised suspension + raised spindles = longer speedo cable needed.

Note: You need to tell whoever does your welding to leave the speedo cable hole open.

9. Here are the finished spindles, painted and ready to be fitted.
10. Fitting the spindles is identical to fitting stock spindles. I used the camber adjusting nuts that you can buy for lowered cars, which offer more adjustment. After fitting them I discovered that you don't need the extra adjustment for a raised car, so don't bother.
11. A couple of photos showing the spindles on, and then the discs too.

12. I decided to run my discs without backing plates. I made the spindles with the ability to use backing plates, but after running without on the rear I decided to do the same on the front. I like being able to quickly see the condition of the discs with the wheels still on, and it also makes it easier to wash off mud etc.

13. Once the wheels are back on the ground set your camber and then tracking as normal. On the right you can see two photos of my Baja after I fitted the raised spindles. Much better!
Click an image to view a larger version.

I was quite cautious driving with these raised spindles to start with. A major suspension component has been cut up and welded back together - failure of a spindle could cause a nasty accident. This is why it is VERY important to get the spindles correctly welded by a professional. After a while I got more confident in the spindles (I checked them regularly) and drove harder and harder with them. Now I don't even think about it because the spindles have happily taken any abuse I have thrown at them for over a year.

Any questions feel free to e-mail. :-)

Raised spindles fitted: July 2005
Stripped and checked spindles after a jumping session - still no sign of cracks etc: September 2007