Tag Archives: air bags

  • Video- Installing New ProForged Suspension and Custom Front Air Suspension

    We know everyone loves videos as well as pictures, so to supplement Part 2 of our Front Suspension Project we decided to show you how we went about installing the new front Proforged suspension and steering parts, as well as the custom air ride suspension in this video. Although it looks pretty straight forward to build and install in the video, I must have had the front suspension apart at least 5-10 times! Enjoy the video and make sure to follow our next episode where we show you how we built a new set of running boards from scratch!

    -Matt/EW

      Click Here To Read Full Post...
  • Suspension Removal Video and Custom Running Board Build

    While we haven't been updating as much as we should, we've been busy! I figured I'd give a peek into what's been going on with Pile House since our last official build update.

    We got a comprehensive series of videos coming together for the front suspension and chassis detailing. Check the first of 3 videos for that process below.

    We had a cruise-in at Eastwood headquarters last Friday and I worked hard to figure out how we were going to make new running boards for the truck for the cruise in. I got the basic form made and once we perfect this first running board, we'll have a video out shortly giving a tutorial on how to build a basic set of running boards from scratch. Here are a few teaser shots thus far.

    We've also been test fitting a mock-up chevy 350 block in the engine bay. This will help determine how much more needs to be cut on the truck along the way to get the engine fitted with all the necessary parts and drive down the road.

    We then rolled it out for display at the cruise in. It's the first time I've been able to see the truck outside of the garage in a while. It's starting to look like a truck again!

    Stay tuned for more videos and pics as we are really starting to kick this build into gear!

      Click Here To Read Full Post...
  • Rebuilding front Suspension with a custom twist Part 2

    In the last entry we showed you how to disassemble the front suspension on the S10 chassis that sits under Project Pile House. Once we had it all apart we began fitting the front air suspension. Air bags will allow the truck to drop all the way to the ground and lift to almost stock ride height. This will give us the looks AND function I want out of the truck.

    A warning for anyone starting an air ride build--it will NOT be a bolt-on job! It can be nearly "bolt" on with some of the expensive kits out there, but most won't get you much lower than a set of drop spindles and some lowering springs/drop blocks. To get the "slammed" or "laying frame/body" look that many want, you will need to cut, weld, and fabricate. But for me, that's the fun of building a custom car or truck!

    I started with a cheap eBay S10 "bolt-in" front air ride kit with the larger 2600 bags. They really use the term "bolt-in" loosely, as the lower mounting plate for the lower control arms were completely wrong and I binned the idea of using them pretty quickly! Regardless of 2500 or 2600 series front bags, you will need to cut the spring pocket to make room for the bag when deflated. If you don't cut the pocket the bag can rub the opening and put a hole in it quickly, not something you'd want to happen on the highway! I set the bag and upper mount (which mounts through the OE shock hole) into the truck to get an idea what needed to be cut. I then pulled out the Eastwood Versa Cut Plasma Cutter and made quick work of the frame notch.

    Once I found that the cut around the spring pocket was large enough to tuck the air bag inside, I moved on to fitting the bag to the lower control arm. This is where it was evident that the lower bag mount plate wasn't going to work and I decided to plate the control arm myself. I first outlined the bag so I had an idea of the minimum area I had to plate to support the bag. Next I cut out the "humps" in the control arm with the Versa Cut (mini truck guys call it "dehumping") and welded in a plate to make the top of the lower control arm more flat. A plate was then added to cover the top of the lower control arm and welded it in with the Eastwood MIG 175. Lastly I drilled a hole in the plate to mount the bag to the lower control arm. The final outcome is now a bolt-on job.

    With the hard fabrication work done, I moved on to removing the old tired steering components. These were just as bad as the suspension components! Pile House will never be a daily driver, but I plan to take it on long drives and it may even double as a tow vehicle once in a while. For this reason I want the suspension and steering components to stand up to a lot of abuse and function well with the lowered stance and added power it's getting. I decided to call up the folks at ProForged Severe Duty Chassis Parts and see what they had to offer. Zack and crew came back with just what I needed; severe duty replacement steering components, drilled and slotted rotors to help stop the truck better, and my favorite, extended travel ball joints. These ball joints are right up my alley, they were designed to eliminate ball joint binding when a GM chassis is lowered. Ball Joint binding can happen on vehicles that are lowered (even with small drops!) when they hit a bump and the suspension compresses (lowers) and the stock ball joints go past their optimum point of travel and bind. All of this GREATLY decreases the life of the parts and can cause them to fail prematurely. Best of all ProForged offers a Million-Mile Warranty on all of their parts!

    From here we test fit all of the parts and made sure the truck was sitting how I wanted when dropped. I did have to cut the height of the upper bag mounts to get the truck to sit flat on the ground in the front, but only a minor job compared to the all the other work that's been done thus far! Now that all of the major fabrication was done, we could move on to installing the ProForged parts and begin cleaning and detailing the front suspension. Stay tuned for the next entry where we detail and assemble it all.

    -Matt/EW

      Click Here To Read Full Post...
  • Rear Air Ride Suspension Fabrication- Project Pile House

    Recently I began to tackle suspension on the truck. Even though I'm using a vehicle that is pretty common to install air bags on, it still requires some extra thought to make everything work correctly when there is a classic truck body on top of the S10 chassis. I couldn't mount the bags or any brackets for them higher than the frame work in the bed that I already built, so I decided to buy some universal bag mounts and use some bar stock to make my own bag-on-bar air ride kit in the rear end of the truck.

    I started by test fitting the bags and brackets and setting them at a height that I utilized the full travel of the bags. Once I set the height of the brackets on top of the rear, I tack welded them in place and began work on the cross member bar that the bags will lift on. I mounted the bar snugly between the frame rails giving some additional lateral strength to the chassis, while also giving a firm location for the bags to lift on. This also allowed me to set the bar just below the level of the bed floor. Once I test fit everything together, I welded it all using the Eastwood MIG 175. This is where the extra power of the 175 was needed over the MIG 135 that I like to use on lighter fabrication and sheet metal jobs.

    After everything was welded in place I put a quick test line together with a schrader valve to test the movement of the truck by just adding air from the shop compresser to fill the bags. I will be deciding on an air ride management system later on in the build once some other parts of the project are completed first.

    Next up we will be refreshing the front suspension with our fancy new performance suspension parts from ProForged. They make some great severe-duty suspension parts that will handle most anything you could throw at them. At the same time we'll be installing the front air ride parts and be gearing up to build some new running boards from scratch to replace the rusty old ones. Lots of cool custom work to come, so check back often!

    -Matt/EW

      Click Here To Read Full Post...
  • Bed Floor Restoration and Setting Rear Ride Height-Project Pile House

    We have been lucky enough on the east coast to have a pretty mild winter. This meant that we could really get work done AND enjoy our customs/classics throughout the winter (now I know what you west coast folks enjoy!). This meant that there was a month where I didn't get much done on Project Pile House. As the weather gets warmer and talk our our 2012 Eastwood Summer Classic stirs, I have really gotten the motivation to make some progress on the truck. Since we've already tackled getting the cab and front sheet metal mounted and stretched the bed sides, I decided to to build a new bed frame.

    The bed didn't fair nearly as well as the rest of the truck, and there wasn't much left of the bed floor. In the end I pretty much ended up cutting it all out to build new. I decided to firm the bed up by using a mix of angle iron and square box tubing. This allows me to have a nice base for the floor when it comes time to finish the bed. Since I was welding together fairly thick steel, I decided to pull out our MIG 175 and weld up the bracing on 220V. I first ground off the surface rust where I was welding the angle iron to the bedsides. I then hit up the entire perimeter of the bed where the new metal would overlap with Self Etching Weld Thru Primer to assure that the work I'm doing wouldn't rust out. Even though the truck is currently a Patina-Queen, I still want any work I do to last the life of the truck!

    With any custom vehicle, you will run into unexpected snags throughout the build. One thing I wanted to avoid was the "shallow bed effect" that you see on many lowered or classic trucks (especially ones with modern chassis). I want to actually be able to put more than a lawn chair in the bed! In order to do that I needed to move the OE chassis cross member forward a few inches to get it sitting below the bed floor. By doing this it also made the driveshaft uncomfortably close to the bottom of the cross member. I decided to notch and box the cross member before welding it back into the chassis. I may also need to cut down the top of the frame a small amount over the rear axle to keep the bed floor level, but we will tackle that later.

    From there I made mounts that tied the new floor frame into the S10 chassis and now it is a "bolt-on affair" to install the bed. With all of that done I began working on getting the rear of the truck sitting where I wanted when "aired out". Due to time constraints and to keep the 'budget-build" theme, I decided to ditch some of the leafs, install drop blocks, and build a cheap bag-on-bar air suspension setup in the rear. I don't plan to race the truck or build a high horsepower engine (yet!), so I went this route. Stay tuned as I continue working on the rear suspension and begin to get this old truck rolling again!

    -Matt/EW

      Click Here To Read Full Post...