Despite the tough economy there are still badass trucks being built and reputable companies around to get you the custom parts that you need. We are currently working with a local shop, Unrestricted Auto Trends in Lake Elsinore, California, building a 1971 Suburban. The owner of the truck wanted a complete bolt-on system that would lay out the 'Burb while maintaining a great ride. KP Components, a division of Chris Alston's Chassisworks, makes an entirely new suspension for the '67-'06 GM trucks and SUVs. Their cantilevered four-link kit (PN: KPC 4CBO-C31, $1,753) is by far one of the nicest riding bolt-on airbag suspensions around. To complement this, we also ordered their front LayArm kit (PN: KPC LAB-C41, $2,008). Together, these kits will bring the Suburban down while keeping it riding smooth. The suspension parts are just step one, as we'll also need all of the air components to complete the install. We contacted AVS for the air line, airbags, valves, tanks, switches, and even wiring. AVS has great prices and fast shipping so you can get to work trasnforming your ride. Follow along as we turn this Suburban frame into a low roller in two days.
This is a fairly complex setup, but it didn't require any off-the-wall tools. Basic handtools would suffice, making it possible to install it in your driveway.
1. Here is the 'Burban's frame before the install. We had it stripped and a quick coat of black paint was sprayed on it. By the end of this article, the frame will be lying on the ground and able to tuck 24-inch wheels.
2. We started in the rear. The first step was to drop the axle and remove the factory suspension. The track bar was pulled free of its mount and discarded.
3. With the shocks out, we removed the shock mounts. This was accomplished by cutting an X into the rivets with a cut-off wheel. The rivets were then chiseled off and the mount pried from the frame.
4. Finally, we used an angle grinder with a cut-off wheel to cut the coil springs in order to lower the axle from the truck. To keep the location of the axle in check, we left the link bars attached for the next few steps.
5. Next, we removed one of the rear factory crossmembers using an air chisel. This was also added to the scrap pile.
6. To start installing the KP kit, the included notch was set on top of the frame and the holes were marked. The area under the notch was also marked off so it could be cut.
7. Again using an angle grinder, Jake carefully cut the notch out.
8. After cutting the frame, the step notch was bolted in place. One of the cool things about this KP kit was that it included all of the necessary Grade 8 hardware. This ensures that it will hold up to everyday use without problems.
9. With that complete, the next step was to install the new driveshaft carrier bearing crossmember, which is included in the kit. The factory unit was unbolted and set aside.
10. The new crossmember slipped in between the framerails and used the factory holes for a seamless install.
11. To remove the axle from the link bars, the U-bolts were cut and the axle was centered under the notch in the frame.
12. Moving to installing the cantilevered four-link, the first step was to attach the link bar brackets to the frame. You can also see in this picture where the body mount needed to be trimmed to give the bracket more room.
13. On the axle, the pad for the factory link bars also needed to be trimmed. This is where the new links will be mounted.
14. After supporting the axle with jackstands, the link bar mount was bolted to the axle with new U-bolts.
15. The next step was to assemble the link bars. All four bars have adjustable ends so the alignment of the axle can be fine-tuned.
16. Again, using the included Grade 8 hardware, the link bars were bolted to the mount on the frame.