31.12.04

Exhaust options...

Face it, most minis are 4 cylinders. Sounding like a souped up civic might not be the thing you're looking for. There are a couple good sounding exhausts that you can pick up. High RPMs will, most of the time, still bring the "I should install underbody neons" sound. I have nothing against the import scene, but I think trucks should stay trucks. So, put on a decent exhaust if you want a little more grunt. A couple of nice deep exhaust are the magnaflow, the flowmaster 40 series, the gibson and the borla exhausts. Another thing to consider when buying an exhaust is going to web forums and checking out what people are getting and what they like. Installing an exhaust on a mini is a little different from normal applications. You have a couple choices. First, you can cut the pipe way before the rear axle and install the muffler. This way you will never have to deal with the axle hitting the exhaust system, because it doesn't even come close to it. Secondly, you can go to an muffler shop and get a custom setup that can avoid any clearance issues that might happen when hitting the switches.

Here's a couple link to the exhaust companies I mentioned.
Gibson performance
Borla Exhaust
Magnaflow Exhaust
Flowmaster Mufflers

This forum might also help you because they have an exhaust message board
S-10 Forum
Even though it's a Chevrolet s-10 specific site, you can still find great information on any type of exhaust for your 4 banger.

30.12.04

Air setup diagram...

Here's an airline and components diagram. There's only one valve per bag because they are 2 position valves. They can both fill and dump.
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29.12.04

Engine clearance...

You're sporting a 6 inch body drop, and that engine is coming through the hood. What do you do? Easy, get yourself a cowl induction hood. There are functional ones, and stick on ones. If you want to go cheap with the stick on one, just cut out the portion of your hood that the engine needs for clearance, and stick it on. You will not fool people with these. They look cheap, you can see the seam of the cowl on the hood unless you get it molded into the hood, but that defeats the purpose of going cheap. The functional type is usually a whole hood that replaces the stock one. It isn't cheap but looks much more professional. Plus they are functional, meaning they allow air to come in to the engine bay. Some people even cut out there own cowl and fabricate the hood themselves. It has a custom appeal to it.

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28.12.04

Caddy lights install...

Mmmmm, caddy lights. Everyboody loves these lights. They look sick, especially on a truck. Installing them does require a bit of welding but it's well worth it. Here's a little step by step.

1- Take out the stock tail lights
2- Cut out the light support
3- Fill in the hole with a filler piece. You can make them or by them from Sir Michaels
4- Tac-weld it into place
5- Grind off the welds
6- Now take you caddy light bucket template, also from Sir Michaels, and mark out the postion
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7- Cut out the shape you made with the template
8- Place the caddy bucket in the hole
9- Tac-weld it when it is in the right position
10- Grind off the welds
11- Sand everything down
12- Use body filler if you have any imperfections
13- Primer and paint

The finished product should look like this.
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27.12.04

Drag blocks...

Drag blocks are great for anyone who want to make nice pretty sparks without messing up the frame. These block are not cheap, anywhere from 30$ to 90$. You can also make your own by fabricating a bracket with and thick piece of metal on the bottom. Simply bolt it up and bam, you're set. These work well for truck that don't quite lay frame but still want to make a dent in the road.
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You can get these at Air Slam

26.12.04

Rollin' with a rollpan

Nothing can smooth out a trucks body lines like removing that ugly bumper and replacing it with a rollpan. Rollpans come in various materials and shapes. You can get weld in metal ones, fiberglass ones, and even urethane ones. The thing with plastic or fiberglass rollpans is that they will never look like part of the truck because there is always a gap between the box and the rollpan itself. Metal is the way to go for a smooth look. They are a little bit harder to install because you have to weld them in, but the final result is always worth it. Most rollpans come ready to paint, so you have to get the color code of the rest of the truck and match it up. A paint shop can spray it anywhere from 10$ to 50$. You can also get different looking ones. Some have a crooked, frenched license plate box, others have the plate box on the left, some on the right, some with none. It's all up to you and your style you are going with. Here's a couple rollpans from APC to give you an idea about what is available out there. Sir Michaels also makes very nice quality steel rollpans with a near perfect fit, for any application imaginable.
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25.12.04

Hittin' the links...

I will just give you a couple link options for your truck.

First off, there is the 2 link. This is dirt cheap and works, but a couple problems arise. The bars pivot on the frame but are welded or bolted solid to the axle. The problem with this is that when on tire goes up, the other wants to follow. The other problem is that the pinion angle changes drastically as the truck is raised. This could start breaking things. The pinion angle is the angular movement of the driveshaft. The sideways movement of the suspension can also make stress point that will fail over time. The 2 link is not a very good option if you don't want any problems.

Secondly, you have the 3 link option. These are much better than the 2 link because they have two parallel bars running underneath, and one or two on top running from the axle to the frame. The one with two on top is called a wishbone 3 link and connects to the frame at 2 locations, while it connects to the axle at on location or vise versa. Here is a picture of a wishbone 3 link.
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Just make sure everything is strong because a lot of the strain will run through the top link. The linking bars are connected on the axles with a hinge instead of being solid. This makes suspension movement much easier and flexible than the 2 links system. The only problem with a 3 link is that you need to install points to attach the bars. A 3 link is a great choice as long as it is made properly.

Thirdly, you have the 4 link option. This is basically the same as the 3 link, but you have two upper bars instead of one. This greatly reduces stress on the whole system. A 4 link will also reduce pinion angle change. The way I look at it is that, if they were to install air suspension from the factory then this is probably the system they would use because is keeps the vehicles suspension in balance.
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Chassis Tech
This is one of the many 4 links out there.
You can see many more different setups from the links on this page.

24.12.04

S-10 front install...

If you want to lay frame in your s-series, you have a little work ahead of you. First of all you must get 2" drop spindles. These will run you about 200$.
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Installing these are about a good days work if you are working in your own garage. It's pretty straight forward. Sit the trucks front end on jack stands, pull the wheel off, the axle nut, and then the rotor. Now take off the tie rod end, and the upper and lower balljoints. It's very helpful to get a ball joint separator fork.
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Now pull the old spindle off the axles and replace it with the new 2'" drop one. Install is reverse of removal. You won't be doing that yet though. First you want to get a shock relocator kit. The reason you need this is because on the s-10 the shocks runs through the coil spring. The airbag replaces the spring therefore you need to relocate the shocks. I know some people who just take the shocks right out, but the ride quality would be comparable to driving on the moon. So please keep them in, for your sake. Ok now you can go ahead and put your airbag with brackets in place of the spring. S-10 front end kit looks like this.
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You should use Firestone 2500 bags, because they require little or no spring pocket modification. Once the bag is in just run the airlines and put everything back together. Once the tires back on and everything is on the ground, check around the bags from clearance issues. Bags pop easily when they rub on something. While you're down there, check for any leaks on the lines or the
bags themselves. Now, get yourself a phone and call a tow-truck to go get an alignment. Chances are, unless you're lucky, that the wheels are pointing at different angles, but don't worry about that, new spindle installs usually always need an alignment. So now you're laying frame, well not yet. If you're running a large tire/rim combo, then the wheels might hit the inside of the wheel well before the frame gets a chance to hit ground. So, if you want to cut the wheelwells out go ahead. You could also just relocate them higher for the clearance. Well that's about all I can tell you about baggin' the front. Feel free to comment if I missed anything important.

23.12.04

Nice trucks...

Here are a couple nice trucks I found on StreetSourceMag.

Isuzu
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Mazda
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Toyota
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Chevrolet
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Nissan
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22.12.04

Got a static 5/6 drop...

Airshocks might be the just the thing you were looking for. Have you ever tried towing or hauling with a lowered truck? The frame becomes one with the road. This is where the airshocks come in. You can get these anywhere, ebay, local auto parts dealers, or used from a buddy. They only cost from 20$ to 200$ depending where you get them. The kits usually come with a small amount of line and the proper fittings. The kit should look something like this.
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These are not, by any means cheap airbag replacements. You can only get a lift of 3-5 inches tops. You also can't go any lower than the drop you already had. The lines are very small in diameter, usually a quarter inch. In other words you won't be hopping 2 feet in the air with these. They can take 15 to 60 seconds to fully inflate. They just get you out of "rip off the rollpan situations".


21.12.04

Cheap way to get down...

This is a good way to drop the truck yet still be able to raise it for those devil speedbumps.
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The only difference is that you would go monoleaf (remove all the leafsprings but the main leafspring) to get a decent drop. Ok so now your axle is hitting the frame. Well here's a quick fix.
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It's called a "step notch" they come in various shapes and sizes but basically all have the same purpose. All you do is place the step notch over your frame, weld or bolt it in place, then cut out the existing part of the frame for extra clearance. The end product should look like this.
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This is a decent rear end setup, but the only thing with monoleaf is ride quality is drastically decreased. All in all, if you can't afford a 4 link then this is the way to go.