It's been said that one thing leads to another—we have every reason to believe those words were first uttered by someone building a custom classic truck.
When we dragged our 1964 Chevy pickup home our intent was to do little more than make it run. That plan didn't last long as the conclusion was reached that there was no way we were going to wobble around with the truck perched on stock suspension a mile off the ground.
The first step to improving the truck's ride and handling capabilities, and reducing its altitude was the installation of a Scott's Hotrods 'N Customs bolt-in IFS with tubular control arms, coilovers, and rack-and-pinion steering. Once that was done we knew its road manners would be considerably better and the front of the truck sat just where we wanted it—now we had to do something with the rear.
To get the aft end of our ½-ton as close to the ground as we wanted it and to further improve its road manners the rear suspension would also require some changes. Certainly there was no way to get the stance we wanted with the stock trailing arms and coil springs, so we opted for a tried and true combination—four-bars and coilovers.
Four-bars are simple, strong, and compact. An effective means of locating the rear axle front to back, by using parallel upper and lower bars of the same length they act as parallelograms and keep the pinion angle constant. To provide lateral control, a Panhard bar is normally used.
Knowing what we wanted it was time to call Scott's again and order a complete rear suspension kit, which included the four-bars with urethane-bushed ends, front and rear brackets, mounting brackets, Panhard bar and brackets, and a set of Aldan Eagle coilover shocks.
Like everything from Scott's all the parts of the four-bar kit were well thought out and beautifully executed. We particularly like the way the frame and axle brackets are designed to keep the bottom bar from hanging below the bottom of the bedsides. Universal in design, the Scott's kit we used can be mounted with the bars and coilovers inside or outside the framerails—we chose outside.
After setting the chassis at ride height and mocking up the rear suspension it was obvious that some frame modifications were in order as the axle housing was up against the frame. However, we elected to use that to our advantage. With the new Currie axle housing attached to the stock swing arms and up against the 'rails on both sides positioning the mounting brackets was simplified. With the mounting brackets tacked to the axle housing it will be shipped back to Currie for final welding and installation of the axle ends (we'll have more on this unique rearend in an upcoming issue).
In part two of our suspension saga we'll finish up showing how we stepped the Chevy's framerails and explain the proper procedure for mounting coilovers—think of it as the lowdown on getting down low.