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(Marc)>> You're watching Powernation!

(Eric)>> Today on Music City Trucks we got our S-10 one step closer to becoming a true mini truck by modifying our front suspension. Plus, we'll add a top of the line air control kit that can be controlled with an app. And you can be standing across the parking lot and you can still air out. [ Music ]

(Marc)>> This has got to be the most iconic design! [ Music ]

(Marc)>> Welcome to Music City Trucks. I'm Marc Christ.

(Eric)>> And I'm Eric Smart, and we're here again with this '95 S-10 that is coming along pretty nicely.

(Marc)>> Yeah and if you can't tell by looking at this, we're building ourselves a mini truck. If you're just joining us we've got big plans for this build. Check it out!

(Eric)>> We started with our S-10 in completely stock form with its coil spring independent front suspension and leaf springs in the back. We ditched the leaf spring setup to install a full back half bolt-on five link kit. We made room for the new frame by sectioning the bed, allowing the notch and the axle to tuck up in between the inner wheel tubs. Then we boxed it all in.

(Marc)>> Inside the bed will be the air suspension supporting components like the compressor and tank.

(Eric)>> Up front we're gonna be modifying and plating the A-arms, ditching the springs and shocks, and putting in air springs instead. Once we install the bags remote shock mounts will finish it off.

(Marc)>> There's something missing back here still.

(Eric)>> It might be a bed.

(Marc)>> I've still got some stuff I need to do on the bed. So I'm gonna go work on that now.

(Eric)>> While Marc's doing that this rear suspension is done. It looks very complicated, but the kit made it super easy. It was all bolt in, and it's just about ready to go, but before we're ready to put wheels back on this thing and get it rolling we've got to do the front, and that's not gonna be quite so easy. Thankfully we've got an expert to help us out with that.

(Ben)>> For someone who's never done it's hard to go wrong with an S-10.

(Eric)>> You may remember Ben Osborne, who is a mini truck expert that helped to inspire us to build a mini truck ourselves in the first place. He also supplied us with our rear suspension kit that you saw last time. We brought him back in the studio to get his expert opinion on modifying our front suspension. Ben, we got your parts installed. What do you think?

(Ben)>> They look great. I think I couldn't have done a better job myself Eric.

(Eric)>> We appreciate that, appreciate the parts, and we appreciate you coming in to help today. So today, like I said before, we're gonna be working on our front suspension. Now that is a little bit different from the rear. It's not just cutting the frame off and bolting some new stuff on. We need to do a little bit of modification this time. So that's what Ben's here for, and Ben what's our first step to getting this taken care of?

(Ben)>> The first step to any good project is tearing it down. Let's do it!

(Eric)>> First we need to remove the calipers and rotors to get them out of the way. Then we can move on to the tie rods, ball joints, and everything else to get this spindle out. Let's see how easy this wants to come out. [ hammer banging ]

(Eric)>> Easy enough. Now that we've got both ball joints disconnected, we can get this drop spindle out of the way we're gonna take this spring out of here.

(Ben)>> See if you can push the arm down at all.

(Eric)>> Little bit, not much though. There it goes. Now let's get these control arms out of here. [ ratchet clicking ]

(Eric)>> It seems like Marc always disappears during the dirty part of this thing.

(Ben)>> What do they call that, seniority?

(Eric)>> Yep, that's all we've got left in here. Just pop this upper control arm out, and then I think we're ready to go take a look at the new stuff. You have to pull the bolts out, don't you?

(Ben)>> If you don't have clearance to move the shaft off of them, yes.

(Eric)>> Well that about does it for the front. Let's go check out the new stuff. Now that we've got our front suspension torn apart. We've got all of our old parts here, and most of this is just gonna get thrown away. We are gonna be reusing the shocks because they didn't look too bad, and the truck already had these drop spindles on it and we're gonna be reusing those too. That way we don't have to buy new ones. Now over here we've got some o-e style Duralast control arms that we found on the Autozone Pro website. Ben, what are we doing with these things instead of say some tubular control arms?

(Ben)>> Eric a few reasons. Tubular arms are expensive, and rebuilding the original arms with ball joints and bushings is a lot of labor. So we can start fresh. We can modify these lower control arms so that these areas don't hit the frame, and we have clearance and mounting for the air spring. The first thing we'll do is I'm gonna mark where we need to cut for clearance.

(Eric)>> Almost like you've done this before.

(Ben)>> Once or twice. [ plasma torch hissing ]

(Eric)>> This might look pretty precise, but you don't have to be too exact cause you're still gonna have to touch it up and do some fitting before you weld the plates in. [ Music ] Well now that we've got those cut out it's time to clean them up a little bit with a flap disc, and we'll get a template made. [ grinder buzzing ]

(Eric)>> I think those are just about ready to go. Ben, I don't think that'll hold a bag.

(Ben)>> You're right Eric, it won't. So how about you go cut me a couple of these out of metal?

(Eric)>> Now that we've got our template made we're gonna trace it on to a sheet of three-sixteenths steel. Then we'll fire up our Forney Flex-30 again to get these things cut out. [ metal clanging ]

(Eric)>> Coming up next, we break out the plasma cutter and welder, and finish up our modifications to the front end.

(Eric)>> Well we've got our plates cut and fitted. So now it's time to get them tacked up, welded in, and then we'll be ready to fit the bags. To make sure that we don't warp the metal or the control arm I'm gonna weld in opposite corners of the plate. We've got the plates welded on to both of our control arms now. So that means there's only a little bit more left to do before we're ready to get back over to the truck, do a little bit more clearancing, and start putting everything back together. But first thing, before we get these painted and cleaned up, we've got to find center down here in place of the factory coil spring so that we can mount our bag. We got a single bolt hole here, and we're gonna drill two holes and connect them to make a slot. That way our bag has a little bit of adjustment on the bottom in case we need to change it up a little bit. So in order to find center on here all you're gonna do is take a straight edge, go across the factory coil spring seat, right in the middle, take a scribe, scratch you a mark right there, and then you're gonna do the same thing going in the other direction. Right in the middle...

...scratch a mark, and you're ready to drill. [ drill humming ] [ Music ]

(Eric)>> Well I got our control arms done. What you been up to over here?

(Ben)>> Nice job on those. While you were busy I cleaned up the frame and marked it for your clearance cuts because when the air spring's in here we don't want anything to puncture it or rub on it. And because the air spring's now in the way we can't mount our shock in its original location. So we're gonna hang it on this side of the frame. To do that I started with a template, and then I fabbed you up some brackets.

(Eric)>> Well that'll save me a little bit of work, but I guess I got the rest of it cut out for me, don't I?

(Ben)>> You better break out that plasma. [ plasma torch hissing ]

(Eric)>> It's a little tricky cutting in these tight spots, but we'll come back and clean it all up. [ grinder buzzing ]

(Eric)>> I think that looks pretty good.

(Ben)>> I agree. Let's check it out with the bag.

(Eric)>> Oh yeah!

(Ben)>> Plenty of clearance. I don't think you'll have any issues on the road.

(Eric)>> We're gonna start with the lower control arms so that we can finish mounting the bag. We're close. There we go. That'll hang for a minute. Looking good! We're in pretty good shape so far.

(Ben)>> Perfect!

(Eric)>> That is nice! Be interesting to see what happens when we get the upper and the spindle in. We'll finish installing the upper control arm, and then we can wrap up the front suspension. There's the first one. Just get this second one in, get it nutted down.

(Ben)>> In that case put in all the shims.

(Eric)>> So before we put the knuckle back in we wanted to show the difference between a drop spindle and a stock spindle, and why we're gonna be reusing this instead of putting a new stock spindle in it. On the stock steering knuckle the spindle itself sits lower towards the lower ball joint mount. On a drop spindle it sits higher, kinda in between the upper and lower. Now you might think that's a little bit counterintuitive but when you raise the spindle you actually put your wheel hub higher off the ground, which brings the rest of the truck down. So you get about two inches of lowering in the front with this, and without that drop we wouldn't be able to lay frame. So we're gonna get this cleaned up a little bit, and we're gonna reuse these old ones. We're getting pretty close here, I think.

(Ben)>> Agreed, not much left.

(Eric)>> We gonna have to get shorter links?

(Ben)>> Nah! Looks like you're about done Eric.

(Eric)>> I've got to tighten a couple of things up, and get the brakes on, but I can do that later. I know you're a busy man, don't have all day. Is there anything else I'm gonna have to modify before we can lay this thing out?

(Ben)>> I've got a few things for your punch list. I brought you a steering kit that'll resolve the toe issues you're gonna have when the truck's really low. You want to raise the exhaust so it doesn't drag the ground. You want to modify the transmission crossmember and get it above the scrub line.

(Eric)>> Awesome, I think we can take care of that. Now once again, Ben Osborne, owner of Buddy's Garage. You've been a huge help today, and I can't wait to show you this thing when we're done with it.

(Ben)>> I'm glad to help and excited to see it.

(Eric)>> Next up, we get crafty and begin installing our new air control system. I went ahead and made us a template.

(Marc)>> Well we've got ourselves a mini truck, almost. We've got bags on all four corners on our S-10 now, and it's time to kinda finish the install of the suspension. Which we've got to get air in the bags and air back out of the bags, and it's gonna be a little bit of work but that's what we're gonna tackle next.

(Eric)>> So when you're building an air suspension kit obviously you have a lot more to consider than just the bags. Now we went to Summit Racing to look at some options for controlling those bags cause you still have to get the air in and out of them. Now there's a lot of options as you can see here, and we want to show you a couple of them just so you know what you're getting into when you try to build a kit like this for yourself. At the base level you've got this kit right here. It is all inclusive, everything that you need to get your suspension to function. Now it comes with your valve block. You've got your controls, your gauges, all your plumbing and wiring, plus dual compressors and a five gallon air tank. This is a kit from Ridetech, and it will get you doing exactly what you want to do with your air suspension.

(Marc)>> But if you want to take your kit up to the next level you could upgrade to something like this. Now everything that you see here is just the controls. It's got an e-c-u, a little touch screen here, all of the wiring to get it all working. Basically all of this does everything that this does. It's a little more complicated and quite a bit more expensive, but what's nice about this is you can just piece together the rest of the kit on your own. Or if you have an existing kit, like this here that Eric just showed you, you could buy this kit to upgrade it to take it to the next level.

(Eric)>> Or you could get this, the AccuAir Ultimate ELevel Plus onboard air suspension control kit. At first glance it might look a lot like that first kit that we showed you, but it's a lot more in-depth than that. So it is still dual compressor, five gallon tank, and all of your plumbing and wiring, but instead of having your valves separate they're actually contained inside this tank right here. Now that frees up a lot of space when you're trying to set a kit like this up. It also comes with ride height sensors for all four corners. You've got your controller here, your e-c-u, and if that's not cool enough you have an app on your phone as well that you can control all of this from pretty much anywhere. It's got long range Bluetooth connectivity, and you can be standing across the parking lot and still air out. Now this is what we're gonna end up putting into our truck because we want all the cool features that this thing offers. So let's get to it. The first step to getting this AccuAir kit installed is gonna be getting our compressors and our tank bolted down. That's gonna be the bulk of this kit aside from all the plumbing and wiring that we'll worry about later. So to do that we're gonna try and make it look really nice. We're gonna mount our first compressor on this side of the bed right here. We're gonna mount our tank to that tunnel in the middle, and then the second compressor's gonna get mounted as a mirror image of the first one on the other side so we can keep everything nice and symmetrical. So let's get to it. I went ahead and made us a template. That way we can get both of these in the exact same spot. What I'm gonna do first is get this set up here. The outside bracket of it towards the outside of the compressor stops right at the edge of it. We're gonna leave a little bit of room back here for the compressor housing to actually sit and not be outside of this lip right here. Mark this corner, back in our lines, and then we just mark all the holes. [ drill humming ] [ Music ]

(Eric)>> Time to move on to the tank. Let's see about getting this tank fitted. This kit did come with a template, but I decided to make my own using tape because this surface has a slight curve to it, and I want to make sure it's gonna stay in place while I'm marking and drilling. [ Music ] [ drill humming ]

(Eric)>> Let's get this tape off and make sure these brackets fit. Nice! [ Music ] [ ratchet clicking ]

(Eric)>> Now that we've got the brackets tightened down it's time to see how this tank fits. So far so good. Oh yeah! Well now that we've made it this far all I've got left to do back here in the bed is do the same thing on the passenger side as I did over here on the drivers side, get the second compressor installed, and then we get to move right along to everybody's favorite part of something like this and do all of the lovely plumbing and wiring. Coming up, we'll pull some strings and show you just how simple it is to make your own air lines, and we put our new suspension to the test.

(Eric)>> Well we have our compressors and our AccuAir tank mounted here in the bed, which means we're really close to getting this thing back on its own four tires for the first time since it came in here. Now we do still have to get air in and out of our air bags to be able to do that. So we're gonna start back here, drill a couple of holes in this nice, fresh bed liner, run our air compressors into our frame mounted tank underneath, and then we're gonna run two more lines from there into the AccuAir tank up here in the bed. So we get to spend a whole lot of time drilling holes in this fresh bed liner. [ drill humming ]

(Eric)>> These factory lines on our air compressors are pretty nice, but we want everything to match and we can't make any more of these. So we're gonna make our a-n lines. Now we have to measure for that because those aren't long enough, and I don't feel like trying to run the a-n line itself to mark it and cut it. So what we're gonna do instead is doing it with string. First off, when you're measuring for a line with string you're gonna tape it off at your start point, and then anywhere along the route where it's gonna make a bend you're gonna tape it in place so that you can get a good estimate for how long your line needs to be. We're running through the bed. I've already got it taken care of up top. So now we're gonna come up and over the frame rail, and then just get it right about here. Then give it an extra inch or two just to be safe and cut. Now that that's cut we can go ahead and we're gonna bring the truck down, and then we're gonna take that line, or rather what will be the length of the line. We're gonna take that string, tape it to our line, and use that as a guide to get our cut. Of course, the string isn't always gonna stay exactly in place or be an exact measurement. We're gonna make up for that putting our tape just a little bit off the end of it, and then marking on the outer edge of the tape. When you're cutting a-n line you want to make sure you get a good, clean cut obviously. I test fitted this and the length is perfect, and then I went ahead and I got some grommets put in here in the bed. That way that thin metal can't dig into this once we get back on the road and things start shaking around. We're gonna run this through, and then we'll put the ends on this so that we can connect it at the compressor and at our reservoir tank underneath. First off, I'm gonna make sure these grommets are good and spread out. Work it in there nice and easy. Then just run it through until you've got a decent amount on both sides. We're ready to get the hose ends on here. Getting these a-n fittings installed isn't really all that hard. I know it might seem intimidating, especially if you've never done it before, but there's just a couple of basic things you need to do this. Primarily you need assembly lube and thread sealer. I like to put just a little bit of lube on there, and then I also like to take a socket just to get good press on there. Give it a little bit of a twist, make sure it goes on there straight. You want it so that you're almost up to it with the line itself. Then we're gonna be using the tub method for the thread sealant. Get it started by hand. You want to take a little bit of tape, and you can wrap it nice and tight up against the back of this end of the fitting. That way if it starts to back out while you're tightening this down you'll know it, and you can start over. I like to leave it on the connections before testing. That way you can see if you've got a leak. It'll start to bubble out. Now that we've got one fitting done, we just get to do that seven more times. That way all of our lines are made, and then all of this will be connected. Alright, we should be just about through. There we are! Let's keep going. We're about ready to get this line connected here. That reaches perfect so far. So now that we've got it run and connected to our tank, we know that it's not gonna need to change in length. There we go. We got our first bag connected, and that means we still have three more to do. And we're starting to run a little bit short on time today, but I really want to see this thing working before we have to get out of here. So I think we're just gonna make a little bit of magic happen here. [ Music ] Whoa, that actually worked, which means that this stuff must be working now. There's only one way to find out. [ air hissing ]

(Eric)>> Looks like we've got an air system, but we can't call it done quite yet. We still have some clearancing we need to do like Ben mentioned before. So we're gonna have to call it a day for right now, but we're gonna send this thing out to get some specialty work done. So the next time you see it it's gonna be just a little bit different.
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