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Old 07-18-2010, 09:45 AM
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Setting Ride Height

I need some advice on setting the ride height on a 1950 Chevy pickup I am currently working on.

I have the frame on a rotisserie at the moment. I am currently boxing the frame prior to installing a triangulated 4-link with a Ford 9" rear end. I have been looking at several different front end kits (Scotts, Heidts, Fat Man) and they all say to set the frame on jack stands at the "ride height" that I want when I begin installing their weld in front crossmember.

Well, I know about where I will want the ride height, based on the running boards height from the ground. But this is just close (+/- 2"?).

I have not decided on what tire/wheel combo I will be using as of yet.

I will be using air bags front and rear, Chevy small block for power.

My question is "How critical is setting the finished ride height prior to installing the front and rear suspension?"

If I keep everything level and square during the install, why can't I adjust the ride height as I proceed with the suspension install.

I have been crusing Craigslist for a set of stock tires and wheels that I can use to roll the chassis around with once I start hanging the suspension. I don't want to invest a lot in tires and wheels at this time due to the fact that I may change my mind on the style or if I need to buy different wheels/tires once I get closer to the rolling stage to get the clearance I need for everything.

Thanks in advance,

Butch Waters

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Old 07-18-2010, 01:53 PM
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Here is the short answer... The air ride makes it adjustable to almost any ride height, you just need to know where the lowest point is you want it to be when completely aired out.

The long answer is ... Ride quality is affected in Air Ride by the amount of pressure in the bags. Most people like to have their ride at around 80-90 psi in the front and 50-60 in the back of most trucks. In order to get that you will need to install the M-II weld in kit accordingly. Sure you will have some adjustablity when you install the air ride in the back, but the front will be using something like the Shockwave from ART. They pretty much bolt in where the shocks would go so you really need to know your final ride height before you start. If you check with ART they should have a chart that lists the amount the shock wave will lift and how high it lifts it (example: 1500lbs lifted 3 inches at 40PSI). Once you have that you can get a good idea on where you want the M-II to be installed to get the correct ride height and the right pressure to make it ride nice. The one thing that I get the most complaints about when I sell someone a kit is they tell me it rides to stiff at the height they want to ride at. PLEASE plan WAY ahead when you install everything and ask the people who know what to do and how to do it. If you are using the ART kit then make sure to check with them about the M-II install before you do it.
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Old 07-18-2010, 07:01 PM
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When installing suspension on any hot rod project, the first bit of information I need to know is the height of the tire/wheel package that will be installed on the vehicle. You may not know which specific wheel you want, but you do need to know the diameter so you can install the suspenison at the correct height. All front suspensions that are constructed for reducing or eliminating bump steer (some aftermarket suspension builders don't check this) are designed to be installed in a specific position. If in doubt about what height to install the front end, install it with the tie-rods level at ride height. That is usually a good bet.

So if you set the frame at ride height (and ride rake) and know the diameter of the tire and wheel package, and you mock up the front suspension with the tie rod level, you will be well on your way to a good handling vehicle. The same goes for the rear suspension, especially if it is a link style such as yours. It needs to be installed at the proper level also. Now you can address how tall your air bags will be when supporting your finished weight vehicle at your desired pressure, and mount them accordingly.

Short answer...knowing the finshed ride height is critical in installing suspension!

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Old 07-18-2010, 08:32 PM
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When I set the ride height I set the car up on bare rims then i can see that nothing sticks below the scrub line..then I can make the rear kickup high enough to accomodate the height of the airbags/coil overs whatever is going there. same on the front.

I have tried most all of it and now do what is known to work..
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Old 07-20-2010, 09:21 PM
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Thanks for the advice and tips. Makes everything easier when there is someone to discuss options with.

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