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Old 10-30-2018, 04:07 PM   #1
gigamanx
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Beginner Build with Ambition gets some air ride suspension.

Hey all! On my previous thread I mentioned phase 2 of the build would include suspension and possibly moving the gas tank.

So here we are! About an hour into the job and bed is already apart. I engineered it to come apart with a few bolts. Good job past-me.

First question for the forum, before I blow into the 3-link rear setup from RideTech, is.... do I need to weld a support to the axle and frame to keep the axle in the same position, or can I simply take the current suspension all apart and start installing the 3 link? I don't want to have to modify the driveshaft now that I have it dialed in. I'm guessing since the RideTech 3 link is a bolt-in, the spacing geometry for the rear axle is probably pretty much set anyway.




The goal for this winter is getting the whole truck on an accuair e-level bag kit along with the ridetech 3 link rear and 2" front drop spindles. The build may mean I have to move my gas tank and do an underbed install. That is yet to be determined.
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Old 10-30-2018, 04:38 PM   #2
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Re: Beginner Build with Ambition gets some air ride suspension.

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Originally Posted by gigamanx View Post
I'm guessing since the RideTech 3 link is a bolt-in, the spacing geometry for the rear axle is probably pretty much set anyway

its not. the way I always start installing 3 or 4 links is to run some strap from the frame to the axle and tack weld it in place, then jack up the truck and take the springs off. this keeps the ride height, wheelbase, and pinion angle set. when you install the lower bars you will spin the bushings until the bars are exactly the right length to bolt on, then bolt them on. install the upper wishbone and spin the bushing till its exactly the right length, then bolt it on. then cut the tacks and cycle the suspension up and down. aside from a minor change to fix the pinion angle (which might go wonky at full drop) which is done by adjusting the top bar length, you will likely be ready to tighten the jam nuts and go.

the ridetech 3 link uses the stock gas tank crossmember and there really isnt a need to move the tank unless you just want to. and by want to, I mean you want to see it under the bed when you walk up to the truck from a distance, want to see the filler in the bed floor, and want to remove anything you have in the bed to fill the tank. just kidding, do what you like!
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Old 10-30-2018, 05:32 PM   #3
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Re: Beginner Build with Ambition gets some air ride suspension.

yep, I'm with joedoh, he nailed it. tack weld some straps in place first. just don't put the ground on the frame and then weld to the axle because the ground current can cycle through bearings etc and ruin stuff. ground on frame for frame stuff, ground on axle housing for axle housing stuff.
oh, and post pics, lol
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Old 10-30-2018, 08:11 PM   #4
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Re: Beginner Build with Ambition gets some air ride suspension.

ooh glad I posted then. I can sit the bed back on to put some weight on the axle again and weld it on. Didn't think of current draw. Now that the truck is actually wired up (except the battery of course) I should make sure I'm not welding and creating a current through the electrical system. That'll cause a nice crispy 12ga wiring harness!
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Old 10-30-2018, 08:41 PM   #5
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Re: Beginner Build with Ambition gets some air ride suspension.

in the picture it looks as if you have the 4 leaf rear spring pack (3+overload), which are the "high rider" springs, but even if its the 3 leaf (2 springs + overload) putting the bed back on shouldnt be necessary because its not going to squat much. sit on the frame, see how much it drops, if its not significant then just go go go. or hire the wife to sit on it while you weld.
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Old 02-26-2019, 09:17 AM   #6
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Re: Beginner Build with Ambition gets some air ride suspension.

Ouch...no updates guys. I've been working on about 1200 sqft of flooring in our house all winter which is much warmer than the garage. The wife got herself a new Audi A5 convertible so her baby needs its garage spot for the year. The truck may just end up buttoned back together for spring as my 16yr old is getting her license soon and I've offered for her to buy my daily for $1000. Don't need the cash, but if she can save that much, maybe she can afford to actually own a car, insure it, and maintain it. That means "Will" may become my daily for a few months before I find myself something new. Considering a 5.0l F150.
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Old 05-13-2019, 03:36 PM   #7
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Re: Beginner Build with Ambition gets some air ride suspension.

Spring is here. The 5.0L F150 arrived about 6 weeks ago, so now I'm officially a "truck" guy with my new truck and my old truck. After deliberating how to install everything over the winter, I made no progress at all. I spent a Friday evening in the garage and Will was back up and running again. Felt good to get out for a spin

Trying to figure out how to break this project into smaller chunks. A friend of mine said try to make it a project I can do in a weekend and be back on the road by Monday. I'm also not entirely sure I have what I need to do the front suspension. Trying to figure out the A arms I should get up front and how to do a shock mount also. Finally, trying to figure out if I need to do a 2" drop spindle or keep the stock spindle for an airbag setup.

So many questions!
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Old 06-26-2019, 10:15 AM   #8
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Re: Beginner Build with Ambition gets some air ride suspension.

I would hit up the S10 forums somewhere. I am sure it is documented. Congrats on the new F150. I drive an expedition now but I have been eyeing them. I want the 5.0L as well. I am not sold on the turbo V6.
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Old 06-26-2019, 01:06 PM   #9
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Re: Beginner Build with Ambition gets some air ride suspension.

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I would hit up the S10 forums somewhere. I am sure it is documented. Congrats on the new F150. I drive an expedition now but I have been eyeing them. I want the 5.0L as well. I am not sold on the turbo V6.
We have both engines at the office. Most people like driving the V6 and it has slightly better tow ratings than the 5L. MPG is negligible between the two. The biggest reason I went 5.0 is our 3.6L turbo trucks have had about 10 different exhausts and they all sounds like crap. Even our Raptor with the same turbo engine sounds like a Honda right from the factory.

I decided if I wanted a truck, it has to sounds like a truck.
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Old 06-26-2019, 09:23 PM   #10
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Re: Beginner Build with Ambition gets some air ride suspension.

5 minutes a day...well, ok its been 5 minutes for a few weeks. But I'm excited that I now have working Classic Instruments Gauges. They fit just fine and wired right up. I love that they are programmed with a tiny button in the back so the front still looks completely old school. Decided to install the programmer button in the original hole for the Choke pull. Might see if I can get the old "C" button I have kicking around and attach it to the programmer button. That'd be pretty trick





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Old 06-27-2019, 05:13 PM   #11
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Re: Beginner Build with Ambition gets some air ride suspension.

Really nice choice on the gauges. Signed up to follow this build!
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Old 07-04-2019, 04:48 AM   #12
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Re: Beginner Build with Ambition gets some air ride suspension.

Baby steps. Working on air compressor fitment right now. I'm planning on putting the air tank and e-level controls behind the passenger seat in the cab.



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Old 07-19-2019, 05:35 PM   #13
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Re: Beginner Build with Ambition gets some air ride suspension.

Very excited about my find today. While trying to figure out my air tank placement, I decided I just wanted a nicer seat and see what I could find. After a few weeks of searching I uncovered a brown leather rear set from an F150 platinum edition. Darn seats are nicer than my daily driver! So now we're taking a turn on this build because once those seats are in, I'm going to want to really dress this truck up and make it mint! Probably have the seats in by the end of the weekend cause I'm too excited about them! Came with the three headrests and the center one is super short. I'm going to see if I can make all three super short to match the low seat look of the classics.

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Old 07-20-2019, 10:17 PM   #14
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Re: Beginner Build with Ambition gets some air ride suspension.

Already semi-placed in. Oh man is it comfy! Accelerator pedal angle is much better now and the seat is a bit lower than the original. Immediate problem is exactly what I avoided when originally building the cab. I didn't center the steering wheel between the gauges and kept the stock notch. Now when I sit, I'm not centered with the steering column. Oh well, another project to play with.





Also playing with an install of a flush mount gas tank filler thanks to the orange peel build thread! Fab work is fun!






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Old 07-21-2019, 12:29 AM   #15
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Re: Beginner Build with Ambition gets some air ride suspension.

Nice score on the seat
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Old 07-21-2019, 03:58 PM   #16
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Re: Beginner Build with Ambition gets some air ride suspension.

More progress. Moving quicker now that I have an idea of where the seat is going to go. Bulk heads installed in the cab and running a few lines from the compressor to the tank and water trap. Time to start running wires and testing the system. Last step is to actually do the suspension since I'm trying to do as much as I can while keeping the truck on the road.





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Old 07-24-2019, 09:38 PM   #17
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Re: Beginner Build with Ambition gets some air ride suspension.

I had made so much progress on getting the air ride internal mechanism setup that I decided after a nice drive today to just tear into it and get-r-done! Sitting on jack stands, emptied the gas tank, cut off the bump stops, and welded support rods to the axle and frame so I can remove the rear leaf springs. No turning back now!








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Old 07-25-2019, 09:28 PM   #18
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Re: Beginner Build with Ambition gets some air ride suspension.

Moving right along. Had to cut the U-bolts off the springs because those bolts would not budge! Got them out with the stock shocks also. Problem I ran into already is I wasn't confident about my struts I welded in temporarily, so I put a jack stand under the S10 tire carrier cross brace. Turns out, that was a blessing because the passenger side did not stay where it should have. I'll have to deal with how to square the rear end properly now that its off



RideTech 3 link says bolt on. They are pretty much right. The install instructions and pictures are pretty hopeless, but things kind of made sense as I went. First issue I've bumped into is that the stock brake hose that is connected to the frame is right where I need to install the top suspension cross bar.



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Old 07-28-2019, 08:49 PM   #19
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Re: Beginner Build with Ambition gets some air ride suspension.

Successful weekend of building... he's on the bags and struts now. Seeing a few minor issues with the struts. Its sitting on them compressed instead of the axle hitting the frame. Pretty sure I could go even lower with slightly shorter shocks. Will need to figure it out because I'm not quite on the ground yet. Probably have about 1.5" to go.



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Old 07-28-2019, 09:10 PM   #20
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Re: Beginner Build with Ambition gets some air ride suspension.

its the shocks. the sleeve bags do not have internal bump stops like double convoluted bags do, so its really important not to go too low on them, and you are right you have a little more squish left. I changed the rear shocks to a long travel shock from a jeep, I think they were 26" extended and 18" compressed. it required changing the shock mounts.

also on sleeve bags you need to have an upper limiter too, which is another reason ART uses those specific monroe shocks. do not overfill the rear bags without some way to limit the up travel, they tear pretty dramatically.

make sure your driveshaft isnt cramming itself into the trans too, the arc on the ART bolt on 3 link can do that.
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Old 07-28-2019, 09:16 PM   #21
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Re: Beginner Build with Ambition gets some air ride suspension.

Quote:
Originally Posted by joedoh View Post
its the shocks. the sleeve bags do not have internal bump stops like double convoluted bags do, so its really important not to go too low on them, and you are right you have a little more squish left. I changed the rear shocks to a long travel shock from a jeep, I think they were 26" extended and 18" compressed. it required changing the shock mounts.

also on sleeve bags you need to have an upper limiter too, which is another reason ART uses those specific monroe shocks. do not overfill the rear bags without some way to limit the up travel, they tear pretty dramatically.

make sure your driveshaft isnt cramming itself into the trans too, the arc on the ART bolt on 3 link can do that.
Interesting about the upper limit. I was jacking the truck back up and noticed there was no real limit to pulling on the rear bags. Do you just install a chain or something to limit the max height?
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Old 07-28-2019, 09:30 PM   #22
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Re: Beginner Build with Ambition gets some air ride suspension.

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Interesting about the upper limit. I was jacking the truck back up and noticed there was no real limit to pulling on the rear bags. Do you just install a chain or something to limit the max height?
most times its the shocks that limit up travel, but firestone puts a sticker on the top of the bag that says to use a limiting strap or other device.
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Old 07-29-2019, 09:13 PM   #23
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Re: Beginner Build with Ambition gets some air ride suspension.

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most times its the shocks that limit up travel, but firestone puts a sticker on the top of the bag that says to use a limiting strap or other device.
Thanks for the heads up. Will jack it up manually and measure the limits to get the right limiting strap. I have found a couple 15" ones for off-road use, but that might be a bit long based on your posted dimension.

Got some bag plates today (didn't realize RideTech gives you them). Got a nice surprise from the eBay seller to add to the truck somewhere. This is fun Thinking of welding it to the side of the hood hinge. Lots of F bombs getting thrown when the hood is up haha.

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Old 08-05-2019, 09:42 PM   #24
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Re: Beginner Build with Ambition gets some air ride suspension.

Onto the front end. What a huge PITA this was to get off. I banged about for about an hour before the suspension dropped out. Every bolt was rusted. Bushings all look cracked. I don't even want to put it back together with the same hardware even though I only have the upper A arms at this point for the install. Looks like I also need to invest in some really good degreaser.

Going to research new bushings and hardware for the front end while its all blown apart. I'd like to only have to do this once!





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Old 08-10-2019, 02:33 PM   #25
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Re: Beginner Build with Ambition gets some air ride suspension.

the money you save on buying just lower balljoints and bushings isnt enough in my opinion for the time spent installing them. order loaded lower control arms instead, from moog problem solvers (the r series is ok too) it works out to a difference of 40 bucks a side vs just ordering bushings and balljoints. even if you flip a local guy with a press 20 bucks to do the switching for you, is it worth the 60 to degrease and paint and everything?

just 2 pennies of opinion, do whatever you want to.

my wife doesnt understand why I do my own front end work, I get so dirty and frequently angry at how stuck together everything is, but she doesnt really see that I am putting together new parts and that is easy and clean and satisfying.
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