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Evolving an Iconic OBS Project Artemis!

In the first-ever OBS Builder’s Guide, (March ’20) we focused our attention on swapping out the factory installed 4.3-liter V-6 engine for a Blueprint Engines 383c.i. stroker motor. Additionally, we added an American Powertrain transmission, along with a full Ridetech coilover suspension system and 22-inch American Racing wheels. It was an impressive truck that was built right from Day 1 and driven hard like it was intended. So now we are going to turn our focus over to the OBS Builder’s Guide V2 donor truck, a 1997 GMC Sierra that’s sporting a 5.7-liter V-8 with the third door option and only 125K original miles. A completely clean—and 100% stock—extended cab OBS GMC that is just begging for a new life, and we have a goal to give it one.

For this build, we will focus on adjustable suspension and bolt-on options for bagging your ’88-’98 OBS truck. Using a very well-engineered Ridetech AirRide suspension along with Ridetech’s patented air management system, we will simply cut off the old suspension mounts and bolt this complete system to the factory frame rails. No welding, no fabricating and, best of all, no cutting the bed!

With a new suspension in place, the factory wheels and tires will kill the new look of the truck.

We didn’t want to make this truck unrelatable to the average consumer. So we went with an extremely affordable wheel from U.S Mags called the Bullet, and wow, they are nice! Toyo Proxes STIII tires will surround the rims and a new set of EBC Brakes will tuck nicely behind them. Once the suspension is complete, we will show you guys a super cool new product from BedWood and Parts called a retroliner. Yes, you can now put a wood bed floor in your OBC truck, too!

The last OBS project named Stella was a huge hit and racked up over 600K views on YouTube documenting the suspension install.

A link is below if you haven’t checked it out. The crew at Overpower Customs knocked it out of the park, and we can’t be more grateful. For this new suspension special, we will be working with the amazing crew Saltworks Fab in Myakka City, Florida. They are experts at metal fabrication and suspension setups, and the work they put out is second to none. Producing Concours d’Elegance builds to compete at Pebble Beach is the daily grind for this team, so dropping the welders and bagging our OBS will be a cake walk for Thom Ophof and company.

Before we jump into the tech, we wanted to lay out the plan, show you the parts and ideally inspire you to follow along on your own OBS.

Not a fan of this body style truck?

No problem! Ridetech offers this same suspension setup for most makes and models of classic and modern trucks. Jump online and see what they have for your future project pickup.

1997 GMC Sierra

interior of a 1997 GMC Sierra

We just picked up this ’97 GMC Sierra Ext Cab with a goal to get on the ground. The factory installed 5.3-liter V-8 is all stock with only 125K original miles. The optional three-door is going to come in handy when we want to load the crew up and ride out to an event.

 Ridetech air suspension system

This Ridetech air suspension system for two-wheel drive, ’88-’98 Chevy/GMC C1500 trucks includes front tubular upper and lower control arms, drop spindles, bolt-on wishbone rear suspension, front HQ shocks, rear HQ Shockwave airbags, as well as a front sway bar. The benefit of buying a complete suspension system is that it takes all of the guesswork out when purchasing a new suspension.

System Highlights:

  • Ride height that is approximately 4 inches lower than stock in the front and 6 inches in the rear. Fully deflated will net an additional 3-inch drop.
  • Front CoolRide setup includes HQ Series shocks and bolt-on upper shocks mounts to allow more ground clearance and maximum suspension travel.
  • Upper StrongArms control arms feature corrected ball joint angles for the lowered ride height. Length has been altered to create more camber adjustment.
  • The lower StrongArms feature a double sheer lower shock mount for increased strength and have a lowered shock mount to increase suspension travel as well as more camber adjustment.
  • The front MuscleBar sway bar reduces body roll and includes the Delrin liners to minimize suspension bind.
  • Ridetech’s drop spindles greatly improve suspension geometry and bump steer.
  • The rear bolt on three-link does not require any welding or major modifications to the bed floor.

The AirPod RidePro-X air management control system is an all-in-one. The integrated solution that mounts in your vehicle as a single unit and comes pre-wired. It includes an aluminum 5-gallon tank, two Thomas Compressors. Also a Big Red high flow air valve solenoid block, RidePRO-X pressure-based digital leveling system, 3/8-inch air lines. And all the fittings and wiring you will need. This complete AirPod system eliminates hours of installation time!

US Mags wheels

US Mags cast one-piece wheels that the company has designed specifically for Chevy trucks. It is available in staggered 20-inch and 22-inch sizes. We went with a 20-inch wheel with a staggered width.  Bullet design is offered in a chrome finish or you can order an options graphite machined face. Both look amazing and they only weigh 30 pounds each!

For tires, we are working with Toyo to test out its new Proxes ST III tire. The size options we have are 275-40-20 for the front and a 275-45-20 for the rear. The Proxes ST III is the perfect balance of dynamic looks and sport-oriented performance for trucks and SUVs. With a wider tread and a silica-based tread compound, the Proxes ST III. Stops up to 6 feet shorter in wet conditions while delivering superb handling. Excellent all-season performance, consistent wear and a smooth, quiet ride. Now backed by a 40,000-mile warranty!

BedWood and Parts RetroLinerX kits include the ash BedWood, polished stainless bed strips, polished stainless hardware, aluminum channels and end piece to tie it all together.  Contents of the kit are packaged in a single box. Eliminating the mishaps and additional costs that often occur with kits requiring multiple packages. RetroLinerX is a complete kit ready to install right out of the box.

These EBC Stage 3 Truck/SUV brake kits boast GG rated friction for better stopping with fully shimmed edges and slotted rotors for silent running.