Tag Archives: classic truck

  • 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

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  • 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

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  • Northeast Rod and Custom Show 2012

    This year was the second annual Northeast Rod and Custom Show and after last years great turnout; we decided to stop by again and see what rides were on display this year. We were happy to see some of the familiar faces of local shop owners and car builders, but we were surprised to see some cars that had traveled very far to attend the event. This is proof that even though fuel prices are on the rise, the hot rod and custom scene is as strong as ever on the east coast!

    The show is nicely laid out in the Philly Expo Center in Oaks, PA. and took up pretty much every square inch of the building. The showing of cars was a nice mix of traditional restored classics, muscle cars, hot rods, street rods, custom classics, and even some low riders and super cars in the mix. There was something for just about everyone to drool over at this event.

    It seems the trends we noticed in the past couple SEMA shows are trickling down to the hot rod and custom scenes locally, with more flat paints showing up and larger wheels and tires setups being coupled with older vehicles. It is interesting what combinations enthusiasts are installing on their ride to make it stand out from the crowd. One of our favorites were the cars with plus-sized wire wheels with replica center caps and low profile tires. Those wheel/tire setups kept the "look" that is so classic with these older cars, while giving a fresh twist on a normally mundane wheel.

    We already are counting the days until next year, and can't wait to see what shows up next year! Check out the full coverage in photos below!

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  • Whole lot of cutting going on in here

    Late last week I spent some time cutting the bed apart to stretch it to give a more "balanced" look when viewing the truck from the side. I know a lot of people aren't agreeing, but I think in the end it will be hard to tell it was lengthened at a first glance. I took some time with the angle grinder and some thin cutting discs, removing the front portion of the bed right behind the stake post. This spot should be the easiest to blend the new panel into. After stiffening the bed up with some flat bar and rebar, and making some temporary bed mounts, we can now work on making the patch panels as well as beginning work on the permanent bed mounts and the bed floor itself. Lots of work to happen over the next few weeks!

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  • Sitting outside with bed height determined.

    Today we got the bed sitting at about the height we want it at. We welded some more tabs in place out of round rebar to sit the bed on top of, but allow us to still move it side to side and front to back. It is close to where it was originally (height-wise) and is just about centered over the wheels (we will lock it in 100% once we make the final bed mounts). Tonight and tomorrow we will work on removing the front section of the bed to start setting it where it will end up closer to the cab. We still need to work out the side to side centering of the bed (left to right), so disregard if it looks a little off center yet.

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