DIY C8 Corvette Ride Height Adjustment

by Hib Halverson

A little-known feature of C8 Corvettes is the wide range of ride height adjustment on cars ordered with the Z51 “Performance Package”. Common reasons why a C8 Z51 owner might want to change the ride height would be to lower the car to enhance appearance or to improve at-limit handling, especially in a racetrack duty cycle.

From 1984 to 2019, Corvette suspension had glass/epoxy composite, transverse leaf springs with shock absorbers acting on the outer end of the lower control arms. For 2020 and later, coil springs with concentrically mounted shock absorbers, known as “coil-over-shock” assemblies, have replaced the plastic leafs and separate shocks.

The plastic leaf springs used for 36 years were replaced on the C8 with coil springs and the shocks were moved inside the coils making a “coil-over-shock” assembly. Image ©2021 GM Company.

All four coil-overs on C8 Z51s without the E60 “Front End Lift” option and the rear coil-overs on Z51s with E60 are engineered like those on many race cars with threaded collars near the bottom of their shock bodies which rotate but are fixed axially. The spring seat is threaded and can turn up or down on that collar. Once the adjustment is complete a locking ring on the collar below the spring seat secures the seat. The adjustment range is 38-mm or 1.5-in. and adjustment can be accomplished without removing the coil-overs.

On C8 Z51s with E60, the front-end lift actuators at the bottom of both front coil-overs preclude the threaded collars and adjustable spring seats. Nevertheless, the E60 front suspension can be lowered but not by methods covered by this article. It requires removal and modification of the front coil-overs, a procedure which will be covered in a future article on this web site.

The non-E60 front/rear ride height adjustments and the E60 rear height adjustments are relatively simple procedures. They can be accomplished on a DIY basis if the user has the ability to jack up each corner of the car and has a set of spanner wrenches specifically designed to adjust C8 Z51 coil-overs.

Using the two C8 Spanner Wrenches, the user can lower all four corners of a Z51 without E60 and the rear of a Z51 with E60.
The Wrench Set is sized and shaped to fit in the bottom of the glove box door. Image: ©2021 Lingenfelter Performance Engineering.

This 2020-2021 Z51 LPE Ride Height Adjustable Spanner Wrench Set (PN TL-183) is made by Lingenfelter Performance Engineering (LPE) and sold by Zip Products. The spanners are manufactured from black-anodized, 6061 Aluminum. Their size is optimized for good ergonomics and storage in a C8 Corvette’s glovebox. Their design prevents the wrench from slipping off the spring seat or locking ring during adjustment.


The wrenches have an integrated pin to hold the threaded collar while adjusting and an integrated scale to measure height before and after adjustment. They were engineered by LPE and are manufactured in the USA.

To change the adjustment, the coil-over-shock must be fully extended, so the first step in using the Spanner Wrench Set is to lift each corner of the car. There are three ways to do that:

Method 1: Install Zip Products C7/C8 Jacking Pucks (PN X-3197) and raise each corner of the car with a floor jack lifting on a jacking puck. 

Method 2: Install four jacking pucks, then raise the car with a four-point, frame hoist.

Method 3: Lift each end of the car with a floor jack with its jack pad under the front or rear jacking points, then set the car on two jack-stands positioned under two Zip jacking pucks.

Adjustments must be done with the coil-over-shock extended and that requires the car to be lifted and supported on jack stands. You’ll need a pair of these Zip Products jacking pucks. Marked with “C7” these pucks fit both C7 and C8 Corvettes.

We suggest method 1 or 2 because they are the least complex. Method 3 is the most labor intensive because it requires removal of underbody panels before one can access the front and rear jacking points. For that reason, we’re not covering that procedure. However, instructions are listed on GMSi, GM’s web-based service data for dealer technicians, which is available by subscription to consumers from ACDelco’s Technical Delivery System. This article covers Method 1 in detail because that is the most likely method used by DIYs reading this web site.

Step 1a: The pucks are inserted into the “shipping slots” located on the perimeter frame rails near each wheel. Once they are in place, give them a quarter turn to keep them from falling out.
Step 1b: Depending on how high your floor jack might be, driving the wheels up on ramps may be necessary. A great choice for this is a set of Race Ramps Trak-Jax (PN X-2184).

01: Pick one of the two rear suspensions, then reach under the frame rail and insert a Zip Products C8 Jacking Puck in the slot on the rail which is closest to the suspension on which you’re working. Depending on the floor jack’s height, you may need to drive the car up on some Race Ramps Trak-Jax (PN X-2184) in order to get the jack positioned under the jacking puck.

Step 2: You only need to lift the car enough to get the wheel off easily.

02: Maneuver your floor jack such that the jack pad is under the jacking puck, then raise that corner until the tire is off the ground with several inches between it and the ground. DO NOT put any part of your body under any part of the car.

Step 3: Lug nuts are 22-mm. Pull the wheel off and roll it out of the way.

03: Remove the tire and wheel assembly. The wheel nuts require either a 22-mm or a 7/8-in. 1/2-in. drive socket. They are torqued to 140-ft/lb. so a lug star with long arms or a 1/2-in drive breaker bar with a long handle will be required to break the nuts loose. Again, DO NOT put any part of your body under any part of the car. Once you have the nuts off, remove the tire/wheel and roll it out of the way.

Step 4: The C8 Z51 rear coil-over-shock assembly. The spring seat is the big ring with notches. The locking ring is the small ring.

04: On the shock, under the spring seat, is a threaded lock ring and below that a plastic sleeve which acts as a dust cover over the threaded collar.

Step 5a: Both wrenches are used to loosen and, once you’re done, tighten the lock ring. Image: ©2021 Lingenfelter Performance Engineering.
Step 5b: Once the lock ring is loose, if the suspension is dirty, you may need to spray WD-40 or brake cleaner under the dust cover which will have the lock ring turning easier.

05: Use the large upper half and the smaller lower half of the LPE wrench set to break the lock ring loose. In cases of fairly new cars or cars with exceptionally clean chassis, unscrew the lock ring and sleeve all the way down. If the coil-over shocks are a bit dirty, that sleeve might be difficult to move or, even stuck in place. Spray under the sleeve with WD-40 or brake cleaner to loosen/remove any dirt and then the lock ring and sleeve will move more easily.

Step 6: Thread the lock ring down to the bottom by hand or, if there is some resistance, using the small Spanner Wrench.

06: If the car has not had any adjustment before, you should see the spring seat around halfway up the threads which leaves 19-25-mm or 0.75-1.0-in. of space to change the ride height.

Step 7: Prior to any adjustment, use the scale on the small spanner to measure the height of the spring seats.

07: Before you change anything, use the scale on the lower half of the Spanner Set to measure where the spring seat is located and record the number. In the majority of cases, the goal is lower ride height so, use the upper part of the Spanner Set to turn the spring seat such that it moves down. If it’s a rare case of wanting to raise the car, turn the seat the opposite direction. We suggest you start with a half-inch change. The geometry of the C8 suspension is such that the actual ride height change is approximately equal to how much you move the spring seat.

Step 8: This pin on the small wrench fits the holes in the threaded collar.

08: If the threaded collar is not in a position for the large wrench to be easily applied to the spring seat, use the smaller wrench with the pin to turn the collar so it’s oriented such that the spanner will engage the slots on the spring seat.

Step 9: If the collar turns with the spring seat, used the small wrench and its pin to hold the collar while you turn the spring seat with the big wrench. Image: ©2021 Lingenfelter Performance Engineering.

09: When making the adjustment, if the seat and the collar both rotate, use the smaller wrench with the pin to hold collar while turning the seat.

Step 10: Further clean the threads if necessary then thread the locking ring back up to the spring seat.

10: Once you have the adjustment “eyeballed” to the place you want it, use the scale on the lower half of the wrench set to measure the new spring seat location. Record that number. Then, thread the lock ring and sleeve by hand, upwards, until it is against the spring seat.

Step 11a: Using both wrenches tightens the lock ring securely. Image: ©2021 Lingenfelter Performance Engineering.

11: Using the two wrenches, tighten the lock ring.

Step 12a: Your adjustment is finished. Set the car back on the ground. If the adjustment was more than half-an-inch, head for the alignment shop. If it’s less, go for a road test.
Step 12b: Wheel nuts must be tightened to 140 ft/lbs. (190 N/m). Getting them that tight is easiest if the torque wrench has a long handle, like this GearWrench 1/2-in drive, 120 tooth, flex-head, electronic torque wrench (PN 85196).

12: Reinstall the wheel/tire assembly. Torque the wheel nuts to 140 ft/lbs. in three increments and in a star pattern. Then, lower your jack, remove the jacking puck and move around to the other rear suspension to make the same adjustment. After doing the rear, if the car is a Z51 without E60, adjust the two front coil-overs in the same manner. Remember, when you lift the other wheels with the floor jack, DO NOT put any part of your body under any part of the car.

13a: If the car has been lowered no more than 19-mm (0.75-in) in front and 12.5-mm (0.50-in) in the rear, suspension alignment will not be affected to any practical degree so no visit to an alignment shop is necessary. If you lower the car more than that, alignment may be necessary.

13b: For track use, alignment must to be changed and, at minimum, settings need to be adjusted for significantly more negative camber. If you are tracking, regardless of what you’ve done to ride height, you need to change alignment. Chevrolet has published a comprehensive Track Preparation Guide for C8s and it contains starting points for track alignments. This guide can be downloaded from www.chevy.com or mygm.com

DIY C8 Corvette Height Adjustment

Source: Zip Corvette Parts
8067 Fast Lane | Mechanicsville, VA 23111 | (800) 962-9632

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2 Comments

  1. Jeff Cook

    Can the rear be raised by .5” and front by.75 without re-alignment?

    1. Zip Corvette

      Hi Jeff,

      According to what the article says in Step 13, “If the car has been lowered no more than 19-mm (0.75-in) in front and 12.5-mm (0.50-in) in the rear, suspension alignment will not be affected to any practical degree so no visit to an alignment shop is necessary. If you lower the car more than that, alignment may be necessary” you shouldn’t need to unless you are tracking your C8. If your C8 is for track use then you will want an alignment.

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