how to install step notch
Here is a step notch install done by my 2 brothers and myself. luke tore it apart, adam did all the welding, and i played boss.
Adam's welding skills are amazing. he can run a perfect bead vertical, horizontal, overhead, and anyway you can imagine. i was going to do the install myself but he insisted on doing most of the work, so i didnt argue.
i hope this step by step clearly shows you what is involved to properly install one of these. it took us a total of about 10 hours. that was from the start of pulling the bed and gutting everything to make room to move, to the very last bead. of course you dont have to go through all of this to install one of these, but we like to take our time and do it right.
we threw the axle back in there to find dead center of the notch. we took the time to lift the entire truck off the ground and get it perfectly level. when the frame was level, we were able to put another level on the center of the axle to find our center point in the frame.
once we marked the frame where the center of the notch would be, we double checked our measurements from a few different places to make sure we were exact. this pic shows a measurement being taken from the bolt sitting in the front spring hanger. 28-13/16" is what we got. to make sure we didnt goof up, extra time was spent triple checking everything. measure many times..... cut once.
in this pic, adam is cutting the bottom of the step notch plates off to match the shape of the frame. we clamped them in place and made sure they were perfectly level, then scribed a line in them even with the bottom of the frame. the plasma makes this job pretty easy.
the inside of the frame rail on a s10 is jacked all to hell. it needs to be trimmed so that its parellel with the outside plate. the distance between the inside of the plates is 2-7/16". this pic shows the upper frame rail after its been trimmed.
once the top of the frame was cut, it was time to move to the bottom. the step notch plate was put in place and held level. lines were then scribed on the frame to show where it needed to be cut. because the notch plate was level, we needed to measure inward past the line a 1/8". that is where the cut will be made to allow for a outside corner to be welded up.
with both of the inside plates tacked in, we sat 2 pieces of square tubing on top of them. the tubing acts as a stop when clamping the outside plates on. this way you can make sure they are perfectly straight across from each other. using 2 levels, we double checked to make sure the frame was still level, and that the notch was too.
here is the spacer welded in place. if you dont have this in there the notch plates will bow in when you weld the frame to the inside of the notch plates. if it bows in, the top cap will not fit properly.
the top of the frame is then welded to the step notch plates.
now that the frame is solid in the notch area, we can cut the frame out thats in the center of the notch. again, cut off disks rule. you have more control over a hand grinder than a sawzall. a sawzall will work great too.
it is now time to fit the top cap. since the frame is not square, it has to be trimmed to fit. we made a template out of poster board and transfered the shape to the cap. then zipped it with the plasma.
on the drivers side you have the tail light wiring to deal with. here we cut an access hole to run the wires inside the notch. it will shorten the overall length of the wires some, so you may have to add a few inches to get reconnected. we havnt made it that far yet. if we have to lengthen the wires its no biggie.
here they are. all done... almost. they still need to be coated with either some good paint or undercoating to keep them from rusting.
this frame will now lay out on 20's easily. i think it might even lay on 22's. i'd have to re-measure to see.
now you dont have to go through all the bull crap we did to install a step notch. it just depends on how much time you have and if you want to move around inside the frame. it does make the install go alot smoother and cleaner.