69 Firebird
77 Trans Am
54 Pickup
52 Chieftain
Other Projects
About Me
The first step in the process to rebuild the S-10 frame was to completely rebuild the front suspension and brakes. We replaced the center link, tie rods, idler arm, calipers, rotors, pads, bearings, and all rubber brake lines. We also replaced all the original rubber bushings with Energy Suspension polyurethane bushings.
Another picture of the front-end rebuild. All of this was surprisingly inexpensive; total cost for the complete front-end rebuild was less than $400.
We swapped the rear end in the junkyard with a 94 Blazer 4x4. The spring perches are in exactly the same position as the S-10 rear end (so it bolts directly into place), but the Blazer 4x4 rear end is about 4" wider. When determined the rear end was a 3:42 open gear set, a good combination for the 200R4 overdrive transmission we will use. First we pulled the rear axle out from underneath the frame and cleaned it real good, then we wire brushed off the surface rust and painted it with Eastwood Rust Encapsulator.
After the Rust Encapsulator had a chance to dry, we painted it with a good coat of the black Appliance Epoxy, installed a new gasket seal, put in some new gear lube, installed new rear spring bushings, and put the whole assembly back up under the frame.
We originally rebuilt front end using the stock height spindels. But after test fitting the sheet metal we determined that it was sitting too high. So purchased a set of S-10 drop spindels from Summit Racing. In the picture, you can see that the spindel on the driver's side has already been replaced with the 2" lowered version (it looks higher in the picture, but remember, that will actually make the truck sit lower). We won't be able to really tell if this modification worked well until we get full weight on the front of the truck.
The next order of business was to space out the front wheels to closely match the width of the new rear end. So we installed 2.5" billet aluminum offset wheel adapters on each of the front rotors. These adapters have holes that bolt on to the exisiting studs on the rotors and offer us a new set of offset studs to bolt the rims to.
Since we lowered the front end with drop spindels, we needed to lower the back end to match, so we installed a set of 2" drop blocks between the rear axle and the springs. The first set we installed were cast aluminum, and we actually cracked the aluminum when we attempted to torque down the U-bolts. We had to return the aluminum drop blocks and get a set of steel blocks. These worked fine, and now the rear of the trucks sits down lower.
Ah yes, the best part of working on the brakes...rebuilding the rear drum brakes. We cleaned everything and gave it a fresh coat of black paint, then installed new pads, cylnders, and springs.
Here are the rear drums after we sandblasted and painted them with black Appliance Epoxy.
After we installed the Rally II rims and tires, we found out that the inside of the tires were going to rub on the bed sides. So, we ordered a set of 1" aluminum billet offset spacers. Oh well, I guess that is the price we pay for running bigger tires. :)
The junkyard punctured the original gas tank, so we had to buy a used one from a guy on craigslist. We washed out the inside and etched it with phosphoric acid. Then we cleaned the outside and painted it with black Appliance Epoxy. The used sending unit and electric fuel pump were both non-functional, so we purchased new units and installed them in the tank. Finally, we stuck some self-adhesive insulating sound deadener around the area of the tank where the straps contact to stop rattles.
We measured for the driveshaft and had a new one made at San Antonio Brake & Clutch.
It's a tight fit around the gas tank, but everything clears with a little room to spare.
Here is a picture of the completed transmission crossmember, the 200R-4 transmission sitting on the crossmember, and the fitment of the new driveshaft inside the transmission.