Let's Get Rolling | Early Classic Enterprises

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Welcome to Early Classic Enterprises

The premier manufacturer and distributor of quality suspension and restoration components for 1960-1972 GM pickups, blazers, panels and suburbans.

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Let's Get Rolling

Publication Name: 
Custom Classic Trucks
Publication Date: 
March, 2004
Section: 
Rear Air Suspension Kit

Over the last few issues, we have showcased the installation of Early Classic Enterprises' new C-20 to C-10 conversion spindles and front drop kit. In the Dec. '02 issue, a C-10 rear axle was overhauled and made ready for air suspension.

This month we will show the installation of Early Classic Enterprises' rear air suspension kit and new wheel and tire combination. The Camper Special turned street cruiser will soon be ready to hit the pavement again. And we hope to continue with coverage of the modifications that will give this sedate truck a much more spirited personality. We hope some of these installation tips will help you when it comes time to get your own projects rolling for plenty of fun-time cruisin'.

How To Steps and Images: 
The Early Classic air suspension kit and rear end resemble a giant model kit, but surprisingly took less than an afternoon to install. While the rear end was at Fearless Gear getting a complete overhaul, Early Classic Enterprises' Mark Ansted performed a little magic, cleaning and painting the rear frame section and trailing arms.
Before reinstalling the rear trailing arms, the worn original bushings needed to be replaced. The factory original bushings were rubber, but a set of ECE upgraded polygraphite units were pressed into place.
Because this truck will have a 5- to 6-inch rear drop, the shock angle needed to be corrected in order for the drop shocks to work properly. Early Classic Enterprises designed a combination upper and lower bracket set that stands the shock back up to it's required factory geometry, allowing the shocks to actuate at the factory angle. The upper factory mounts are riveted in place and will need to be removed with an air chisel. The lowers are held in place on the bottom of the trailing arm by the axle u-bolts. The new upper mounts come with the necessary hardware and bolt back into the original holes.
The key components of the ECE rear air suspension are the massive air springs, which completely replace the factory coil springs. The larger air volume will allow a lower air pressure, resulting in a much smoother ride than the smaller 'bags.
Installation is rather simple as well, requiring only the upper spring mounting bolt hole to be drilled out to accept the fill pipe/mounting stud.
With the rear suspension installed, the rebuilt rear axle assembly was set in place onto the trailing arms.
With a rear drop of more than 5 inches, the stock Panhard bar actually runs at an upward angle to meet the rear end. This also pulls the rear axle housing to the driver-side as the rear suspension travels downward. Early Classic Enterprises solves this problem with their Super Track Bar kit, which replaces the original Panhard bar. The Super Track Bar is 12 inches longer than stock and runs from the original driver-side mount over to their new bracket that is captured between the trailing arm and axle saddle. The added bar length lessens the side-to-side radial arc, and the adjustable end allows the rear end to be centered between the frame rails.
The supplied U-bolts hold the entire assembly together, including the new relocated lower shock mounts. A 1/4 inch spacer is provided for the driver-side to keep the suspension even.
The Early Classic Enterprises rear air suspension kit can be operated two different ways: Manually with a Schrader inflation valve, or with a Cab Control Height Adjustment system. The in-cab system consists of an on-board electric air compressor and storage tank, and is operated using a dash-mounted electric switch and air pressure gauge.
The compressor and tank units were mounted under the hood to reduce noise, and also to help protect them from the elements.
Nothing looks worse than a bunch of wires and hoses hanging under the dash. One creative spot to conceal the gauge and switch plate assembly is inside the glovebox door.
The airline is run from the compressor to the tank, and then to the gauge before continuing back to the air bags. Early Classic Enterprises recommends cutting the air line tubing as squarely as possible to prevent leakage.
After discarding the old eight-lug wheel and tire combo, a set of Wheel Vintiques new billet aluminum Cruzer wheels were ordered, along with a set of Goodyear Eagle GT II tires. In an attempt to fill the truck's giant fenderwells, the decision was made to "Go Big", as in 29-inch-tall 255/60R17 front tires and 30-inch-tall 275/60R17 rear tires.
Because this Heavy Half will do some serious hauling in it's next life, the Goodyears were selected, due not only to their reasonable price, but an impressive load rating of 2,039 pounds in front and 2,337 pounds in back. To compliment these tire sizes, Wheel Vintiques built the Cruzers in 17x8-inches front and 17x9.5-inches rear. A set of optional Wingstar cap knockoffs was chosen to complete the nostalgic look.
Here you have it, the complete rear suspension kit installed in less than a day, using basic shop tools, and no welding required. Look for a future issue to show the longbed to shortbed conversion and new reproduction bed assembly.
Category: 
Technical Articles
Sources: 
Company Name: 
Early Classic Enterprises
Address: 
5843 E. Clinton Ave
Fresno, CA 93727
United States
Company Name: 
WHEEL VINTIQUES
Address: 
5515 E. Lamona Ave
Fresno, CA 93727
United States
Phone: 
(559) 251-6957
Front Slide: 
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