Like many cars and trucks built in the not-so-distant past, this '49 Chevy had been equipped with a "stock" Mustang II front suspension. Now, by stock, I mean stock to its original owner-spindles, brakes, and stamped steel control arms with accompanying strut rods. While that's all fine and dandy for light-use applications, I was limited to what I could do, namely stopping the truck with the puny 9-inch disc brakes, but I also would not be able to install an airbag/shock combo such as Air Ride Technologies' ShockWaves due to space restraints. Naturally, the logical solution seemed to be to simply swap to tubular control arms (eliminating the strut rods, which isn't as necessary as many think) and upsize the brakes to 11-inch units. That way, I could stop and drop better and lower than ever before.
Fortunately, the crossmember was not of stock MII origin, otherwise I'd have to address the lack of structural integrity in relation to the components about to be installed. With the old setup, it was simply a matter of swapping the old for the new, and the only minor fabrication involved is adding gussets for the lower control arms to compensate for the absence of strut rods. Of course, there is the addition of the ride height sensors that facilitate the LevelPro system's functions, but Air Ride provides detailed instructions that'll walk you right through the install (which we'll touch on this month and continue on with the following two installments).
Unlike ride control systems of the past, Air Ride's new LevelPro not only relies on air pressure sensors, but ride height sensors as well to offer the ultimate consistency in vehicle height control. Their new voltage-based pressure sensors won't provide inaccurate readings like the old ones, where it was common to experience grounding issues and electrical interference. On top of that, the control panel is equipped with a vacuum fluorescent display (VFD) instead of the previous LCD, so you can better view pressure readings from any angle. Once programmed, operation is simply a flick of the switch-ignition switch, that is. And onboard operating is just as easy. For more in-depth info on the LevelPro and its multitude of applications, visit Air Ride at the Web site listed below.
Here's the complete Mustang II retro-fit kit from Air Ride Technologies. Also pictured are
And here's the old setup, tiny brakes, strut rods, and all. It served its purpose for quit
The existing frontend components were carefully removed piece by piece. When it came time