Here’s the TCI four-link kit...
Here’s the TCI four-link kit for classic trucks. It consists of a pair of axle brackets, the four-link bars, a diagonal track bar and the two frame brackets. Here’s
The four-link rear suspension design is one of the simplest setups to put under a classic truck when it comes to replacing the original rear suspension design. While it doesn’t get much simpler than a pair of leaf springs and two shocks hangin’ down, there are limitations to that design when it comes to lowering a truck and the performance that can be expected from it. A lot of it can come down to a packaging issue. Parallel leaf springs that mount to the outside of the framerails can interfere with wheel/tire clearance, while those mounted inboard of the framerails can cause problems with exhaust routing or fuel tank clearance. This also effects the mounting position of the shocks, which in this case on our ’56 Chevy, are mounted at an extreme inboard location. Ideally, the shocks should be mounted as close to the axle ends as possible.
On a severely lowered truck, a parallel leaf spring design can reach a point where the loaded height nearly flattens the springs, level to the ground, allowing little to no deflection, which yields that nasty spring board ride that’ll jar the cavities out of your mouth. Add to that the fact that most of these old trucks have the springs mounted on top of the axle, which yields a rather limited lowering ability to begin with, and the four-link upgrade begins to make a lot more sense as it can easily lower the truck up to 6 inches.
A pair of adjustable aluminum...
A pair of adjustable aluminum All American coilover shocks mate the rearend to the TCI shock crossmember.
With that in mind, most applications for the classic truck market have been designed for a certain height, however, be it stock or 6 inches lower for example, so the front mounting points are typically fixed, as is the case with Total Cost Involved’s four-link kit for classic trucks. Since the ’48-56 Ford and the ’55-59 Chevy truck chassis are based on the same ladder frame design and feature a similar rear kickup design, TCI has found that, for all intents and purposes, the same four-link kit can be installed on any of those classic trucks. That keeps things simple for both TCI and their customers as it alleviates any confusion when it comes to the different makes.
What makes TCI’s four-link really cool is the fact that the front four-link bracket was designed to mount where the stock front spring perch was located on the chassis. This makes installing the four-link bracket a cakewalk once the stock leaf springs and perches are removed. From there, it’s a matter of mounting the oversized 1¼-inch-diameter four-link bars, welding up the axle brackets, and bolting the components together through the urethane bushings. Hang the adjustable coilover shocks, install the track bar and you’re in business!
Keep in mind as we go through the install that although we’re installing the TCI four-link kit on Jason Scudellari’s ’56 Chevy, it’s the same technique to install it on your early Ford as well, making the kit even that much more versatile. CCT
Here’s the stock suspension...
Here’s the stock suspension as installed at the GM factory back in the
Note the springs mounted on...
Note the springs mounted on top of the axle, the inboard
location of the shocks and the real estate that the leaf springs take up.
the rearend, Jason
marked the stock
once the four-link
setup is mocked
into position. In
some instances, it
may be necessary
to relocate the
centerline so as to
center the tires in
the fender’s wheelwells.
the spring perch
bolts that attach it
to the leaf springs,
the rearend can be
rolled out of the
Next, the rivets that attach...
Next, the rivets that attach the front spring perch to the chassis are removed. Grinding off the head, then punching them out using a drift and hammer or a pneumatic punch makes quick work out of the task.
Once the perch is removed,...
Once the perch is removed, the existing holes are drilled to 7∕16 inch.
Then the four-link front bracket...
Then the four-link front bracket is attached to the chassis using the provided hardware.
With the brackets securely...
With the brackets securely fastened, a 5∕8-inch hole is drilled through the framerail using the bracket as a guide. Note that there is a leftand right-hand side bracket, discernable by the fact that the lower four-link hole is farther forward than the upper.
Next, Jason removes the stock...
Next, Jason removes the stock suspension brackets from the rearend using a Lincoln Tomahawk 375 plasma cutter and then grinds the axle tubes nice and clean.
Then with the new four-link...
Then with the new four-link axle brackets tacked in place on 36-inch centers and parallel to the mounting surface for the third member, they’re welded in place.
Jason uses a Lincoln 216 Power...
Jason uses a Lincoln 216 Power MIG welder for any heavy-duty welding chores around the SIM tech center.
Before the four-link bars...
Before the four-link bars are installed, the urethane bushings are adjusted so that 1/2-inch of the
threads are showing on the adjuster.
The four-link bars are
The four-link bars are
then installed, followed
by the track bar, which
mounts from the right
rear axle bracket and
attaches to the left front