Looking at the pristine beauties seen on the pages of CUSTOM CLASSIC TRUCKS every month it's easy to forget that many of these vehicles were driven off the dealer's lot and were put to work. While our trucks may be lovingly cared for today, more often than not they were used and abused carrying loads big and small.
Given the past use of some trucks it's not surprising that there are issues that need to be addressed—sometimes they're obvious, other times they're not. A case in point is this '85 Chevrolet C10. At a glance it looked like a pretty clean truck; however, there was a noticeable misalignment between the back of the cab and the front of the bed. Very often this is the result of collapsed cab mounts—the accumulation of time and miles often causes the factory rubber biscuits to deteriorate and compress.
The best cure we've found for distorted and worn-out original rubber mounts are replacements from Energy Suspension. Original-style rubber mounts are so soft they often crack or distort, destroying proper cab and bed alignment. One option that is occasionally suggested to prevent misalignment issues are solid aluminum body mounts like those often found on race trucks. Our experience has shown solid mounts are too stiff and unforgiving for street use and will often cause frame brackets and body mounts to crack. The best of both worlds are Energy Suspension's Hyper-Flex polyurethane cab mounts—they're soft enough to absorb road shocks and vibration, but will not compress allowing the cab to sag.
While it was obvious our Chevy's cab mounts were overdue for replacement, a more thorough inspection under the truck confirmed our fears that the frame was damaged. It was time for an expert opinion so we hauled the ½-ton to Mark Woznichak for his opinion. Mark, or Woz as he's known, is familiar with life in the fast lane as he pilots a Top Alcohol Funny Car that has run a best e.t of 5.597 seconds at 258.02 mph. Woz is also the man responsible for the paintjobs on some of NHRA's best looking race cars and along with his partner, Eric Hjermstad, Woz operates a first-rate collision repair facility, Color by Woz, in Riverside, California.
Once on the rack, it didn't take Eric long to diagnose our Chevy's issues, the frame had not only sagged on one side, probably from being overloaded, the bottom flange on the left side was bent, most likely from being bounced off something like a big rock. In addition, the 'rails were “diamonded”—in other words one rail had been pushed forward, probably as a result of being hit from the rear and the frame was no longer square. While the extent of the damage to our truck's frame makes it sound like a candidate for the scrap yard, correcting the various twists and tweaks can be done. The necessary repairs require the proper equipment and a technician with experience and Paint by Woz has both.
After a few hours on the rack and a few tons of pulling here and holding there our Chevy's frame was back to factory specifications. With the framerails square, the sag removed and new cab mounts in place and our C10 was ready to spend the rest of its life being pampered.