Vehicle suspensions provide not only the comfort we want as drivers and passengers but can improve handling dramatically, whether you intend to simply cruise the boulevard or cut some corners and curves on an autocross course.
The inTENse C10 will sport one of the best suspension systems out there, the 1963 - 1972 Chevy C10 Coil-Over Suspension Kit from QA1 High Performance Suspension & Driveline in Lakeville, MN. This kit is a bolt-in, but students had to completely tear down the frame, removing suspension mounts in preparation for the suspension which will bring the truck up to modern standards.
As with all the processes, careful planning must happen to determine exactly what changes will need to be made to the factory frame before any components can be installed. For the inTENse C10 frame, that means enlarging the factory front spring compartments so the QA1 coilover shocks can fit into the area where the old coils were located. The rear differential, trailing arms and coils were removed as well, including the mounts. The frame has been shortened (read about that here) to allow for the shorter rear bed.
The C10 was already in the air and stripped before any of the suspension issues were addressed. The existing suspension components were removed, including shocks, springs, and other related hardware. Brake lines and wiring had already disappeared in the first dismantle of the frame so it was just a matter of following the instructions from QA1 to make certain everything fits and clearances are maintained.
The process of uninstallation is fairly straightforward. We started by jacking the front end up and removing the front wheels. Now this suspension is a really basic dual A-Arm type suspension and with the shocks remote mounted it’s almost easier to disassemble than other suspension.
Students started disassembling the suspension by removing the tie rods from the spindle. The factory drum brake system was already removed in anticipation of the disc brake install along with removal of the sway bar from the control arms and frame.
Removal of the front suspension occurred during dismantle as well, introducing the students to how to safely remove the coil springs and A-arms. A few rivets must be removed and cutting a hole for the coil-over pass through is another part of the process. At the top of the coil spring pocket is an “L”-shaped bracket that joins the crossmember to the frame and is removed to install the coil-over shocks. These brackets are left and right specific and that must be noted before positioning the new brackets. Another
issue students were shown is vintage frames are not always perfect from the factory so some misalignment may have to be corrected. On the vertical frame side, there are four bolts that hold it to the frame. On the horizontal crossmember side, there are four rivets that are removed.
Bolting on the lower arms, requires the arms be aligned with the dowels on the frame. The U-bolts that hold the arms on need to be tightened down evenly – if not, they could fail over time. Another learning moment. Upper arms with the provided hardware were installed and the assembled the coil-over springs prepped for installation putting the coil spring adjusters at their lowest setting, which is where the inTENse C10 will sit the lowest and make it easier for installation.
This C10 had a factory sway bar, so the mounts to bolt up the new sway bar were already in place. With everything installed, the wheels bolted on students set the C10 down on the ground to get a look at where the front suspension landed. Tuning and adjustment will come later.
The rear suspension posed some its own challenges including removing some rivets and getting ready to notch the frame. Students dropped the axle and removed the panhard bar mount. A new Quick Performance 9” was narrowed 4” from width was installed . The QA1 truck arms use a quick-and-easy adjustment for the pinion angle where you don’t need to use shims.
Most of the installation is straight forward. There are two sets of sway-bar bracket connectors dependent on different ride heights, and each set of bracket adapters have different holes for greater control over the ride height.
With the axle and trailing arms mounted, the students installed the panhard bar and support brace. The C10 was ready to again hit the ground, final checks made on all mounts and fixtures and the inTENse C10 is ready for the next round of modifications.