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1973-1987 Chevrolet C10 - Air Bag Kit Installation - Slamming A Square-Body C10

Air Ride Technologies' Bolt-On 'Bag System For The '73-'87 Bow Ties Gets 'Em Down

Calin Head
Nov 1, 2007
Photographers: Courtesy of Air Ride Technologies
Photo 2/30   |   air Ride Technologies Installs Bolt On Bag System chevy Silverado
Classic trucks hold a space near and dear to our hearts, here at Sport Truck. The problem with that is they are also loved by a lot of other builders. The stories of finding one for dirt cheap are getting fewer and fewer. So, what are you to do if you want an old truck but can't afford or even find one. You might have to go into the next model year. Such is the case with the classic Chevys. It used to be you could get a '67-'72 fairly cheap, but we know from firsthand experience this is not the case anymore. However, you can find great deals on the '73-'87s. These trucks do make a great base for a custom build because they already come with disc brakes and even big-blocks for you power-hungry folks. The problem with these trucks used to be the availability of good parts to restore them. Thanks to companies like LMC Truck parts or CK Resto, you can get new sheetmetal and rubbers to build a solid truck.
What about the suspension? Enter Air Ride Technologies (ART), makers of performance-minded 'bag setups. The company's stuff is made to get the truck down pretty low while still able to rip the corners. These kits are made to bolt in, making the installation much easier for the home mechanic. Instead of having to weld a bunch of brackets and tabs to your frame, all you need to do is remove the factory stuff and install the ART kit. What's nice about buying a full kit? Well, how about having the peace of mind that everything is matched to work perfectly for your specific truck?

We wanted to see exactly how all of this stuff would go in the C10, so we hooked up with the crew at Air Ride to check it out. We were pleasantly surprised that everything went on without a hitch, and the truck looks badass with its new stance.
What's In The Box
The front C10 system includes the StrongArm tubular control arms, air springs, shocks, and bolt-on upper shock mounts, as well as the new MuscleBar sway bar with the race-car-inspired endlinks. The simple design incorporates subtle geometrical changes that improve overall handling characteristics and ride quality. Drop spindles are a recommended option, available from Air Ride Technologies, or you can use your choice of aftermarket components.

The MuscleBar sway bar is a popular addition to the front StrongArm kit. It is a 1-1/4-inch-diameter hollow bar with Air Ride Technologies' new PosiLink sway bar endlinks. The MuscleBar greatly improves the handling ability by reducing body roll.

The C10 AirBar suspension system will lower the truck as much as 8-1/8 inches from stock. It's constructed from 1/4-inch plate steel and 0.219-inch DOM tubing for strength and reliability. The upper air spring mounts for the Firestone 'bags are built into the bolt-on C-notch, which allows maximum suspension drop and travel without cutting the bed floor. An adjustable Panhard bar mounts up to a bolt-on billet aluminum mount for optimized Panhard bar geometry for a new, lower ride height. Bolt-on tubular upper and lower shock crossmembers will allow use of standard shocks, or you can upgrade to billet single/double-adjustable shocks.
The Final Word
With the system in the truck, you can see the dramatic difference in ride height. Even when the 'bags are fully aired up, the truck still sits a lot lower than stock. When the air is let out, the truck comes down and sits on the front crossmember. The Air Ride kit is definitely geared for the do-it-yourselfer, as you can tell from the story. Not only will this system allow for up and down adjustability, but it also greatly improves the handling of the truck. To make the best use of the new handling properties, you might want to invest in a set of bigger wheels with sticky rubber, much like what you see in the first photo of this article.