Why is it that when you think the job is finished, or at least you begin to feel a sense of accomplishment, you realize the job is only half done? It's like a curse; there's just no getting around it. Well, for the past few issues Project Get Shorty has come a long way, but the problem is I've really only got the bulk work finished, and now it's time to go back and, as Wayne Campbell would say, "cross the T's and dot the lowercase J's."
In the past few issues, the frame was shortened, the suspension was hung, and the brake system was installed...yet all the finite stuff hadn't been scratched. For instance, the brakes are in, but what about all the brake plumbing? The plumbing for the Air-Ride airbags? Or even the wiring for the ART system...and now that I think of it, what about the actual system itself? As you can see, there is still a lot of work to be done to finish these things up. So this month it's time to retrace our tracks and finish things up so we can move on to the next step.
The first thing on the agenda is to plumb the brakes. Because the frame has been shortened and a new master cylinder, booster, and proportioning valve have been installed, the stock brake lines just aren't going to cut it. In order to plumb the truck, Inline Tube sent us a pre-fabbed rear brake line to get things started. From there, I bought some brake line at the local parts store and bent all my own lines just the way I wanted them. In the end, I made all my own lines, even in the rear, because I moved the rear brake line from the truck's passenger side to the driver side due to all the accessories going on Shorty. In the front, I left the stock brake lines from the T on the crossmember to each wheel, and I fabbed a line to run to that T from the master cylinder. By the way, when plumbing a system, be sure to use 1/4-inch line to the rear and 3/16-inch line up front.
Next, I installed the Air Ride Technologies RidePro e2 system, mounted the compressors and tank, and ran the air lines and wiring. The RidePro e2 system is an electronic compressor control system. The system features voltage-based air pressure sensors that electronically read bag pressures and air tank pressure. The system also features a ride height on start function, which means when the truck is started the system will automatically raise the truck to the highway ride height preset on the controller. The system also has three user-programmable one-touch ride height presets accessed via the control panel. On top of that, all the wires feature plug-and-play weatherproof OEM-style connectors. This system also features two compressors and a tank. And all it really takes to install those is finding a place to mount them. Enough of that, it's off to the Primedia Tech Center.
I started by finishing off...
I started by finishing off the brake install. Inline Tube manufactures pre-bent brake lines like this one, which is a rear brake line for a '71 Chevy. However, because of all the aftermarket accessories on Shorty, I straightened it out and ran this line on the driver side since I had extra room. On a stock '71, this line runs on the passenger side.
Because of the new Performance...
Because of the new Performance Online master cylinder and proportioning valve, along with everything else, I couldn't use stock replacement lines from Inline Tube, so I headed down to the local parts store and bought some straight 3/16-inch and 1/4-inch brake lines complete with flares and fittings, which cost me about $20, and this small handheld tubing bender. (Inline Tube does sell brake line stock as well for the same purpose.)
One might think fabricating...
One might think fabricating your own brake lines is rather hard, but au contraire, it's rather simple. The first step is to hold up the line to your canvas that the line will flow with and mark where you want your bend.