As a rule, it's pretty safe to say any major change one might make to their truck's suspension would be to improve its handling or set a lower stance. At the conclusion of shooting the tech feature gracing these pages, we discovered a reason for changing a suspension setup that never even occurred to us.
When Kevin Francis at KA Custom in Huntington Beach, California, invited us to check out a TCI bolt-in four-link he was installing onto a 1956 Chevy longbed pickup, we figured it would be a good opportunity to pick up some new tricks from Kevin to pass on to Custom Classic Trucks' valued readers.
Sure enough, when the time came for Kevin to knock the stock spring perches off the '56's frame, we learned a faster and easier way to remove the hot rivets holding the perches. In the past, removing the rivets has always been one of those time-consuming chores we dreaded. Our standard procedure was to grind the head almost completely off and then hammer a drift punch into the headless rivet. In the photos, notice Kevin used a body grinder mounted with an abrasive wheel to cut (grind) X's deep into the head of the rivets. The next step was to break out his trusty Snap-on air hammer (Kevin says Snap-on air hammers work the best) equipped with a cold chisel attachment, then knock the quartered head fragments off. The third and final step was to switch the cold chisel attachment for a drift-punch attachment and hammer the remaining hot rivet shank through the truck's frame and onto the ground below. It was the minor details in Kevin's method that made short work of an otherwise miserable task.
Correct us if we're wrong, but we believe this is the first time the subject vehicle of a four-link install has been a longbed Tri-Five. When we asked Kevin if there was any reason why his customer chose a longbed over a shortbed truck, he explained the guy was going to convert the '56 pickup into a flatbed. Jumping to a conclusion, we surmised Kevin's customer specified a four-link so he could lay the truck out on air bags, making it much easier to load. Kevin said, "Nope, it's going on coilovers." After trying to imagine every kind of mechanical advantage a four-link could offer, we were stumped. Then it came to us: Since the truck was going to be a flatbed, the guy was converting it to a four-link because the rear suspension would be totally exposed, and he wanted his truck to look good-after all, a short dress needs nice legs.
Whatever the reason, installing TCI's bolt-in four-link is a pretty straightforward proposition. Of course, these vehicles are around 50 years old, so due to wear and tear, each truck might present a slightly different challenge when it comes time to bolt one on.
We hope by covering KA Custom's installation of a TCI bolt-in four-link our readers might learn a few shortcuts to what might otherwise be considered irritating obstacles.
The 9-inch Ford rearend was...
The 9-inch Ford rearend was supplied by KA Custom's customer. Kevin welded on the differential mounting brackets, included with TCI's four-link kit. This was the only welding necessary to install the kit.
Kevin started by unbolting...
Kevin started by unbolting the truck's existing overload shock absorbers.