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Discussion Starter #1
[Howto] Suicidedoors 3-link/5-link Install

ATTENTION: In December of 2007, the forward half of the 3-link/5-link kit was redesigned and features a longer wishbone, longer lower bars, and a taller gastank crossmember. These changes make the measurements in the following how-to different than the new kit, but the basic installation is still the same. Follow the template and paper provided with the new kit to help you install the new kit until this how-to can be updated.

Background Info: The Suicidedoors 3-link and 5-link kits are engineered specifically for all years of S-series pickups. They will not fit Blazers/Jimmys ect. The 3-link is a basic link setup, once its installed you will need to supply and fabricate the rest of the suspension (bags and shocks). The 5-link kit uses the same setup as the 3-link, but two more bars are added towards the rear to allow for a lever setup. All the bag mounts, shocks, notch, everything is accounted for, which is why its more than double the price. However you can buy the 3-link and make the same thing if you are capable enough. (NOTE: Both kits use a 10-bolt differential bracket for the upper wishbone style bar. However two rearends came under S10s, a 7.5/7.65" rear and the 8.5" rear. Its very likely that you have the 7.5/7.65" rear under yours, the 8.5" was an upgrade and hard to find. They both have different shapes, the 8.5" is almost completely round while the 7.5/7.65" is kinda square, pictured below. If you have a 8.5" then you will need to specify that when ordering.)
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Re: [Howto] Suicidedoors 3-link/5-link Install

Tools Needed for Disassembly/Reassembly:

Jackstands
3/8" drive ratchet and extensions
15mm socket for bed bolts
13mm socket and wrench, 15mm socket for gas tank bolts
13mm or 15mm wrench for ebrake bracket
13mm and 10mm sockets for misc ground wires
T27? torx bit for filler neck
19mm, 21mm or 3/4" deep socket for axle u-bolts (depends on the app)
1/2" socket for diff cover bolts
19mm socket and wrench for leaf spring bolts
7/16" wrench or 15mm for u-joint bolts
9/16" line wrench for brake lines
Misc screwdrivers, dikes, visegrips, ect..

Tools Needed for 3-link/5-link Install:
3/4" socket and wrench
1/2" socket
7/8" wrench
13/16" wrench
9/16" socket
Drill with 1/2" bits
Welder
Sawzall, cutoff wheel, plasma cutter..
Chisel or airhammer
Magnetic angle finder/inclometer
Tape measure


Installation

Put the truck up on jackstands and level it out front to back and side to side. This will give you a good basis to work off of and is esp helpful when installing the notch. You may want an extra stand under the engine crossmember, because once everything is removed in the back, the truck can take a nosedive in the front right off the stands.

Find a strong buddy (or 3), disconnect the gas tank filler neck, the 8 bed bolts and the 1 or 2 grounds on the back of the frame and lift the bed off.

Now go at the rear suspension and just take apart anything you can get your hands on. Remove the straps holding the u-joints to the axle pinion and pry the dryshaft forward to release it (newer trucks have a flange design pinion so those bolts will need to be removed and the flange pryed away.) No need to remove the shaft from the truck, just let it hang down. Remove the fuel lines and tank harness and the 4 gas tank bolts on the side of the frame along with the one e-brake bracket bolt. Remove the rear gas tank strap bolt and lower the tank down and out with a floor jack (running the truck near empty before work starts makes this a lot easier.) Lightly clamp visegrips onto the soft rubber brake lines and remove the lines on the axle along with the bolt holding the line bracket on the diff cover. Remove all the leaf spring bolts and u-bolts, support the axle with a jack and pull everything out. You should have pretty much nothing left but bare rails and an axle.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Re: [Howto] Suicidedoors 3-link/5-link Install

Since this is a 3-link/5-link install thread, I'll begin with steps that pertain to both kits.

The front spring hangers are reused in this kit, but you will need to remove 8 rivits to get them out. Theres many way to do so. You can centerpunch the heads and drill them out with increasingly larger bits. Or you can make a X in the heads with the sawzall or cutoff wheel and then chisel them out. I have plenty of tools so I just burn the heads off with the plasma cutter then use an air hammer to knock them out.

Once you get the hangers free, drill out all the holes with a 1/2" bit. You will then need to use the supplied template to move them back on the frame. The template has instructions included, but what you do is stick the hole of the template over the REAR OUTSIDE hole of the where the stock hanger used to be. Then you scribe a line at the straight edge of the template. This is the new centerline for the FRONT OUTSIDE hole of the hanger. Clamp the hanger on the frame with the scribed line in the center of the front outside hole, and proceed to drill out all eight 1/2" holes in the frame. Then bolt the hangers in with the supplied hardware.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Re: [Howto] Suicidedoors 3-link/5-link Install

The gas tank crossmember is held in with 8 rivits that you need to remove. Once all the rivits are out, you will need to pry the crossmember out of the frame. Cutting it into 2 pieces makes this a lot easier.

Once its out, drill the top holes in the frame out to 1/2", then install the new gas tank crossmember with the provided hardware. Included is a 1/4" thick plate, this goes under the top rail, NOT under the crossmember itself. Its not a spacer plate, its there to strengthen the frame so the bolts dont pull out. I then typically weld a new exhaust hanger on the crossmember, as well as the EVAP canister bracket. It can go anywhere you want to put it, but I like to set it here over the muffler. You just need to be wary of the bed support that runs side to side, it needs to be lower than that to clear the bed. An easy way to check this is to set a straightegde across the two front bed mounts.

Also pry the clipnuts for the rear gas tank strap out of the stock crossmember and install them into the new crossmember.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Re: [Howto] Suicidedoors 3-link/5-link Install

The gas tank crossmember is designed to raise the stock s10 tank above the frame rails so it doesn't get damaged, this is one of the features that puts this kit above the rest. However you also need to raise the front tank strap or the front of the tank will tip down and hang even lower than stock.

To do this, set a level vertically on each hole (the truck is level right?!?) and mark all 4 centerlines. Then measure up about 3/4-1" on the frame and mark that as the new hole to drill. Drill all 4 holes out to 3/8", you can go a little larger if you need if your measurements werent exact. Then jack the tank back up and reinstall all the stock hardware. Also pictured is the one bolt for the e-brake bracket. that remains unchanged, but you may need to notch the bracket itself because it used to share a gas tank bolt.
 

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Re: [Howto] Suicidedoors 3-link/5-link Install

You will need to remove the stock spring perches from the axle. To make this easy on myself, I disconnect the e-brake cable at the coupler under the cab, and pull the entire axle out from under the frame and flip it over. You will need to plug the vent tube so oil doesn't pour out. Then you can use a cutoff wheel or grinder to cut them off at the welds. I use a plasma cutter and then beat them off with a sledgehammer. Then grind the welds flat, and grind any rust off the tube while youre at it.

Once its all cleaned up, remove all 10 bolts from the axle differential cover and install the new diff bracket along with its spacer ring with the supplied hardware. The pieces are labled top and front so you cant get them mixed up. Then put the axle back under the truck and jack it up into position.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Re: [Howto] Suicidedoors 3-link/5-link Install

Connect the upper wishbone bar to the gas tank crossmember and rear end bracket with the supplied hardware. Then assemble the lower bars, making their length 15-1/2" from center to center of the mounting holes. Attach two mounting tabs on the one side of the bar and then install the front of the bar into the relocated hangers. Now comes the hard part.

You will first need to decide where your 'ride height' would like to be. Typically, its 4-5" off the ground, so if you havn't notched the frame yet, set the axle right up against the bottom of the frame. If you don't get it spot on then its no problem because the lower bars are adjustable. Next, center the axle inside the frame, side to side and front to back. It must be dead center side to side but if your a hair off front to back then its ok because again, the lowers are adjustable. However you can't go wrong with doing it right the first time.

Once the axles centered, I usually set it on jackstands so i can use the floor jack to adjust the pinion angle. You need to set your angle finder on a part of the axle thats parallel with the pinion. The flange on the side works but it can be covered in rust and dirt and not read accurately. Your easiest bet is to set it on top or the back of the differential bracket.

Now you need to set your pinion angle, which should be equal and opposite of the trannys output shaft, with 2° of each other. Usually the driveshaft has a collar around the first part that you can convienantly measure, if not then youll need to find another area, as long as its BEFORE the u-joint, you dont want to be measuring the driveshaft itself. 99.9% of S10s have their trannys pointing down 4-5° so you can use that measurment if you like. So if your tranny is pointing down 4°, idealy youd want the pinion pointing up that same amount, within 2°. This truck is set at +3°, 2-3° is a very common pinion angle setting for S10s, so if youre unsure of the method, set the pinion there and it can be tweaked later because the lower bars are adjustable.

Once the pinion angle is set, check the axle again to make sure its centered, and you're ready to weld in the lower bar tabs. Lift them straight up to the axle and tack the tabs into place. They should be leaning back slightly, not straight up and down under the axle. Once theyre tacked, check both sides to see if theyre straight and centered, then put a couple stitch welds on them. I typically pull the axle back out, flip it back upside down and fully weld and paint everything.

NOTE: Make damn sure you put the bolt in pointing towards the brake drum. If you put the head on the drum side then you will never be able to take the bolt off again.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Re: [Howto] Suicidedoors 3-link/5-link Install

Once you've welded the lower tabs on, thats it for the 3-link portion of the install. Now you will need to notch the frame, set up some bag mounts and shocks and stuff and youll be good to go. You can even set something up and upgrade to the 5-link later on if you want.

5-link owners, read ahead.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Re: [Howto] Suicidedoors 3-link/5-link Install

The first thing you should do is install the rear crossmember, it will keep the frame from spreading when you cut out the old spare tire crossmember. Its labled as to which side faces the top and rear, and six of the ten bolts line up with the stock bumper bolts; youll have to drill out the other four.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Re: [Howto] Suicidedoors 3-link/5-link Install

Cut out all of the spare tire crossmember and shock towers. The upper bag mount crossmember is referenced by the bed, you will want to put it right next to where the bed rail sits on the frame. Dont put it too close or itll push the bed forward when you try to put it on. Jason says that it should be about 13-1/8" from the back of the frame to the back of the frame plate for the crossmember, but you can also check spacing by bolting up the rear lift arm and make sure the bag mounts are alighned vertically. You will have to drill all of these holes, including the ones that arnt drilled in the picture.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Re: [Howto] Suicidedoors 3-link/5-link Install

The kit comes with 3 different sized connecting links to optimize the lift with the wheels youre running. If youre running 20s, youll need the longest links. However if youre unsure of which ones to use, start off with the shortest ones. If they hold the truck up from laying out, then go to the next size, ect..
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Re: [Howto] Suicidedoors 3-link/5-link Install

Getting around to mounting the lift point/shock mount on the axle, assemble the lift bar with any size connecting link and set the axle at ride height. Hold the lift bar up and get the lifting bracket on the axle parallel with the frame so the shock doesnt bind on its mount. Use the angle finder to make sure its level (the frames still level right?!) The mounts should be 25-5/8" center to center from each other on the axle. Make sure they are centered from each end as well, and tack them into place. Make sure everything is good and weld them up.
 

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Re: [Howto] Suicidedoors 3-link/5-link Install

Next, mount the upper shock bridge bar, and you can either drill a hole in the notch and slide it in, or just cut the bar to width and weld it to the outside. The first way is stronger, but the second is faster. Since I have no measurements, I set the bar 3/4" from the top of the notch and 13/16" from the front of the notch so it looks straight, however since notches and setups differ greatly, use your judgement as to where it should be. Tack the bar in, then mock up the shocks and cycle the suspension to see if the shocks bind on anything. Check the bar to be level and the shock tabs plumb like in the picture. Once everythings good, weld it up.
 

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Re: [Howto] Suicidedoors 3-link/5-link Install

Thats pretty much it for the install. Pull everything back apart, finish welding and paint everything. Bolt it all back up, bolt the bags in, plumb it and youre ready to go.
 

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