How to Install an Air Ride Suspension on a Chevy S10

Written by don kress
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How to Install an Air Ride Suspension on a Chevy S10
Standard air suspension kits are installed with ordinary hand tools. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Air ride suspension kits available for the Chevrolet S10 truck have progressed in refinement and technology to the point that they are now little more than bolt-on applications which can be installed over the course of a single weekend. Most kits come with everything necessary for the installation, including the air tank, compressor, pneumatic lines and air bags. Air ride setups in excess of five inches of lowering require the installation of a four link rear end. Lowering kits with a drop of less than five inches can be obtained without rebuilding the rear chassis.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Automotive jack
  • Jack stands
  • Automotive hand tools
  • Spring compressor
  • Plastic zip ties

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  1. 1

    Jack up the truck and support the frame with jack stands, then remove the tires from all four corners of the truck.

  2. 2

    Position the air ride suspension components at the corner of the truck where they will be installed, then mount the air tank and compressor in the bed of the truck or between the framerails, whichever you choose.

  3. 3

    Remove the front springs and shock absorbers from the truck by unbolting the shock from the upper shock towers, and the lower A-arm, and utilising a spring compressor to remove the spring.

  4. 4

    Unbolt the spindle, then install the air ride shock unit in place of the spring and shock. Bolt the top of the air ride to the upper shock towers, then replace the spindle and bolt the lower section of the air ride shock to the lower A-arm. Repeat this procedure for the opposite side front suspension.

  5. 5

    Remove the leaf spring from the rear of the truck, and remove two of the lower leafs. The air ride kit includes an adaptor plate which bolts to the leaf spring. When filled, the air spring replaces the missing leaf springs. Bolt the adaptor plate to the leaf spring using the provided hardware, then bolt the air ride shock to the leaf spring.

  6. 6

    Reinstall the leaf spring onto the truck, and bolt the air spring to the mounting point on the frame where the shock was mounted. Installation of the air suspension on the rear of the s10 is the same on both the left and right side.

  7. 7

    Route the air line switches into the cab of the truck, then the power to the fuse box under the bonnet. Insert power into the ignition fuse to prevent the compressor having power when the truck is turned off. Bolt the ground wire to any nearby clean, unpainted frame ground.

  8. 8

    Route the air lines from the air tank to the individual shocks, carefully attaching them to the frame of the truck with the plastic zip ties included with the air ride kit so that they are routed inside the frame rails. Turn on the air compressor to inflate the shocks, then mount the wheels and tires back onto the truck and lower it to the ground.

Tips and warnings

  • Using high quality parts for your custom truck will ensure that the installation will be far easier.
  • Check the air bags as you install them to ensure that they are free of conspicuous damage.

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