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GSI Air-Ride, Installing a ’63-’66 C10 GSI Air-Ride Back Half

 

Using GSI Air-ride Machine and Fabrication’s complete back half is a no brainer when trying to accomplish one or both tasks of bagging your ’60-’87 C10 while converting it from longbed to shortbed at the same time. The GSI back half is a fully fabricated, weld-on rear clip, complete with parallel four-link and billet aluminum Watt’s link. This rear chassis section will lay the frame on a 31-inch tall tire and will fit wheels up to 15 inches wide. Follow along and watch how easy it is to take that longbed frame from tail heavy and too tall to short and slammed.

As seen in October’s issue, we installed a GSI frontend on our longbed ’64 stock chassis.

Now it’s time to match the rear. In this article we will show you how simple it is to install the GSI Air-ride back half and what the end result will look like. We have all the parts and hardware set up, so we are ready to go. We will follow the supplied instructions and take you through a step-by-step install. Let’s go!!

 

The GSI back half is a fully fabricated, weld-on rear clip, complete with parallel four-link and billet aluminum Watt’s link. (Part #120-5600-BH)

GSI Air-ride back half is a fully fabricated

First and most importantly, we measure and scribe our cut lines. This is fundamental to ensure proper fit, wheelbase and overall performance of the back half. All measurements are defined in the instructions.

Installing back half of a GSI air-ride suspension

Using a cut off wheel and electric grinder, we made our cuts

Gsi Air-ride back half

Now that the rear of the stock chassis has been cut clean, we can remove it and make room for the new back half.

GSI Air-Ride back half

Take a look at the original rear portion of the chassis in comparison to the new GSI airride back half.

We took an extra step and added a nice beveled edge to both the stock chassis and the back half prior to welding.

 

GSI Air-Ride being installed

To get the new back half to the correct width is to bolt in the supplied carrier bearing crossmember. This will fix both frame rails in the right place before being welded to the original chassis.

Next we will check the chassis to make sure it is square. Front to back and side to side in as many places as possible. We take the extra time to be sure everything is right where it needs to be before it gets welded together.

 

Now it’s time to weld it out. We use a variety of clamps to hold everything together. Once the butt-welded joint is complete, we cover the juncture with the supplied fish plate.

Step by step GSI Air-Ride

Setting up the axle is important to the performance of the entire system. We had previously stripped and cleaned the factory 12 bolt rearend of all stock brackets so it’s ready to set up. We like to set the pinion angle at 3 to 4 degrees using an angle finder to get it correct before we weld on the axle mounts. The axle mounts are a multifunction bracket. They hold the airbags, shocks, four-link and Watt’s link.

 Centering axle mounts for installing Gsi Air-ride

Along with the angle, centering the axle mounts is critical. The Watt’s link mount bar can be used during setup to set the correct width between the two mounts.

Once the axle mounts are placed it is time to weld them on.

With all the welding complete, it is time to assemble the bolt-on parts.

Gsi Air-ride bags and shocks being installed

The four-link, bridge plates, bags and shocks can be assembled with hand tools in a few minutes.

Finishing up the rearend parts will be the install of our billet Watt’s link. There is a mount bar that connects the Watt’s link to the axle, two adjustable billet aluminum Watt’s link arms and a billet aluminum center Watt’s link with sealed bearings and stainless-steel hardware. All Heim joints and hardware come with the kit.

The last part we bolt to the chassis is the cab mounts. All GSI back-halves come with year-specific rear cab mounts.

Here you can see the back half fully assembled.

This system will lay the frame on a 31-inch tall tire and can accommodate up to a 15-inch wide wheel. And that’s a rolling chassis laying frame on big wheels. Next step will be to blow it apart and prep for powdercoating. We will be follow along with this build as it keeps going.

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