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RIDETECH AIR SUSPENSION | PROJECT ARTEMIS PART 2

Chris Hamilton April 22, 2021 How to

Project Artemis Ridetech Air Suspension Install.

 A couple of issues back, we introduced you to not only our latest project truck known as Artemis but also a new tech team helping out on this year’s OBS build. SaltWorks Fab in Myakka City, Florida, is known for building some amazing hotrods and trophy-winning showpieces for customers. With way more expendable income than we do, so having the crew take time out of their busy schedule to help us document Artemis’ RideTech suspension swap is an honor we are proud to boast about. So, if you missed the February ’21 issue where we documented the front suspension install, we suggest you head over to www.engagedmediamags.com to buy a copy while you can. In this issue, we tackle the rear of our 1998 GMC Sierra 1500 SLE. A C-notch install and a lot of sweet-looking, well-engineered suspension parts.

We said it in the last issue, but it stands repeating. This is a completely bolt-on air-ride suspension for ’88-’98 Chevy/GMC 2WD trucks.

No cutting the bed floor and no removing the fender liners. Just a C-notch and a quick shave of the bed brace. All the permanent modifications that needed to be made. They’re nothing that would stop us from putting it back to stock one day if we wanted to. Which is what we were looking for in an air suspension system. This Ridetech system also has electronic ride height sensors that set your ride height to whatever PSI you want. This way, even if you have a leak. The system will correct it at the push of a button until you can pull off and make a repair.

The final piece to the new suspension puzzle is picking a wheel and tire package. For project Artemis, we wanted a setup that would allow us to have a super low stance without cutting anything and a decent ride on 40-series tires. If you have any experience with air suspension, county roads and 35-series tires, you will more than likely understand our desires for this driver. The wheels are staggered fit, 20-inch aluminum wheels from US Mags with a width of 8 inches up front, and 9.5 inches in the back. Having a wider wheel in the back not only looks cool, but it also stretches the 40-series tire just a bit to give up some extra clearance out back when cruising low and slow. Now let’s check out the steps to installing the rear of this extremely well-engineered air suspension system for GMT400 trucks.

C-notch install
In this issue, we tackle the rear of our 1998 GMC Sierra 1500 SLE with a C-notch install and a lot of sweet-looking, well-engineered suspension parts. If you missed the February ’21 issue where we documented the front suspension install, we suggest you head over to www.engagedmediamags.com to buy a copy while you can. Until then, step one, of course, is removing the bed.
Rear frame rail ready for c-notch
With this Ridetech suspension system, the only major modification you need to make to your ’88-’98 Chevy or GMC truck. Is to add a C-notch to the rear frame rail. This is a simple yet tedious process that must be done in order to get as low as possible. By allowing additional clearance for the axle to travel up, while bringing the body of the truck down.

Drilling frame for c-notch

Grinding out frame for c-notch
Lots of guys have their own technique for cutting a notch, and generally they all work great, but the way the team at SaltWorks performed the task made it look basic beyond belief. Trace the pattern, drill some relief holes in the corners, grind down the gunk so you don’t ruin your blade, and simply use a grinder to remove the piece. (Editor’s note: Be sure to properly support both sides of the frame to avoid any drooping or sagging.)

Installing ridetech c-notch

With the Ridetech provided C-notch in place, they drilled all the bolts and bolted it onto place. You may be surprised by just how much additional strength these give to the chassis.
Ridetech lower bag mount bracket
Next, the lower bag mount brackets are installed on the rear axle using a set of U-bolts provided in the kit.
With the bracket in place, the front of the parallel link bars can be bolted into the factory leaf spring location.

Now the rear of the link bar can be bolted to the lower bag bracket mounting point.
Ridetech upper wishbone bracket
Next to the upper wishbone bracket is installed. This piece bolts into the C-notch on both sides and eventually ties to the differential.

This differential bracket easily bolts to the rearend and the upper crossmember. It’s a very, very well-engineered design and fits absolutely perfectly.

Ridetech shockwave
The Ridetech shockwave airbag is next to be installed. It simply bolts into place behind the axle and allows for plenty of wheel clearance.

The final pieces to the mechanical parts puzzle are the ride height sensors. These digital do-gooders keep the truck height in check by maintaining pressure to your pre-desired setting.
Here you can see the complete rear suspension installed and ready to be covered by the bed—but before that we need to coat that frame!

kbs undercoating

KBS Coatings is our go to source for frame and fuel tank coatings. This spray-on rubberized undercoating not only prevents rust and corrosion, but it also helps with sound deadening which is great for a 20-plus-year-old truck!
Before the bed can go on, we snipped off the back of the exhaust pipe so it doesn’t clank on the axle while driving. We will be replacing this in the next issue with an all new Flowmaster exhaust from Holley Performance.

Next up, the bed can be bolted back into place and the fun part begins—ruining electrical wires and airline! But that’s after they mount the air tank.

Organizing and planning are a big part of any major modification, and this one is no different. Deciding which way to route the black airline and which wires need to go where is not a task for the tired. So, if you’ve been working long hours with no sleep, hold off on this step until after your nap.

This is a completely bolt-on air-ride suspension for ’88-’98 Chevy/GMC 2WD trucks. No cutting the bed floor and no removing the fender liners.

When attaching the hose to the frame, be sure to give it some slack in case you need to trim the ends a few times. The last thing you want is to have to replace an entire airline for a few missing inches. Once it’s all complete, the battery power can be connected and tested. Time to turn the key!
You can’t hear it in the picture, but this baby is buzzing with energy from the dual compressors filling up the air tank.
That first time setting any suspension project on the ground is exciting. Nicole even broke away from her digital duties to show her love of the low.

Us Mags

Our choice for wheels is this ultra-bright chrome Bullet design from US Mags. These are staggered fit, 20-inch aluminum wheels. With a width of 8 inches up front and 9.5 inches in the back. If you have any experience with air suspension, county roads and 35-series tires. You will more than likely understand our desires for a 40-series tire. Having a wider wheel in the back not only looks cool. But it also stretches the 40-series tire just a bit. To give up some extra clearance out back.
Man, she looks good! Those wheels are the perfect fit, and the stance is impressive. Since we didn’t have to cut anything major away from the factory truck.

Before we can take it for a test ride, we need to coat the bed with a real bedliner. This will prevent it from rusting near the drill holes and will look amazing next to the new wrap.
Speaking of wrap, here’s a little teaser!

  

 

 

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