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Following up on our last update with project Lucid Dreams, our 2001 Chevy S10 Xtreme, we are finally ready to move forward with the installation of the C-Notch and 3-Link Kit. We are back at The Shop, a custom truck fab shop located in Kentucky. Chace Yonts is the man known for building cool mini-trucks, and he’s ready to dive into this next part of the build. Once we saw Lucid lowered, we knew it was going to look even better laying on the ground! This will be part one of a multi-part series with an end goal of getting Lucid Dreams fully bagged and fully drivable on a reliable air-ride suspension.

Lucid Dreams is back in the bay at The Shop in Kentucky for a full air-ride suspension. Ever wanted to bag an S10? Just follow along!

Unfortunately, with the coronavirus pandemic, most companies are having difficulties sourcing materials in order to make the necessary parts. It has taken approximately five months to gather all of the parts needed to get Lucid Dreams fully bagged. Luckily, we were able to pick up a Thorbros Chevy S-10 3-Link suspension kit, as well as a Thorbros Bridge Kit, just in time for the install. This Thorbros is designed to be a very straightforward install, thanks to the precise engineering of the brackets and welds. Coming in just under $1,000, this kit is super high quality and doesn’t break the bank. Highly recommended.

Not familiar with this company? Here is an interesting fact: Thorbros got its start back in 2002 when Jason Thorbecke purchased a suicide-door hinge kit from a shop in North Carolina. Jason wanted to do a tech article on how to install these trick hinges. First he started with a website called suicidedoors.com. Simply posting his how-to videos and tech articles was the original goal. Although it didn’t take long before he decided to sell some of the pieces that he already made for himself and his friends, and as the saying goes, the rest is history! Now on to the install.

Here are the parts we are installing in this issue.
S10 3-Link Kit: https://thorbros.com/4-link-kits/s10-3-link-kit
Basic Bridge Kit: https://thorbros.com/bag-brackets/bridge-kits/basic-bridge-ki

We started this process by first removing the tailgate, taillights and bed bolts. All simple bolts and screws to remove, but you’re going to get a little dirty!

This part will take some extra hands, so be sure to call up a few friends to help get the bed off the truck. Luckily, Chace has some amazing friends and were more than willing to come help. Matt and Dee helped us get the bed off and moved onto a table. Be careful when lifting it off the frame as the wiring harness will sometimes get caught up on the bed.

Now with the bed off of the truck, we can finally inspect the rear part of the frame. Luckily, this S10 did not have much rust at all. We cut the exhaust off at the muffler so that we can weld some new exhaust tips on that point directly down to the ground. You will also need to cut the exhaust hangers off at the back to completely remove the exhaust.

We were then able to remove the rear shock bolts and pry them out of the brackets. Sometimes you run across some unique issues, we noticed the previous owner put one of the shock bolts on the top part of the crossmember instead of on the bottom.

With the exhaust cut out and the shocks removed, we could then cut out the section of the crossmember that holds the shocks in place. We kept the rear part of the crossmember for the extra support.

At this point, there are several parts that need to be unbolted and removed from the frame. It was all hands on deck at The Shop as several Negative Camber members came to help on this project. There are several bolts that hold the gas tank straps to the frame that need to be removed so we can drop the tank.

The fuel lines need to be popped out of the top of the gas tank next and put safely to the side. These lines will drip a little when first removed so be sure to have a rag nearby.

Since this truck has the 4.3L engine, it also has the carbon canister that is bolted to the driver’s side of the frame. We removed the bolts and unplugged the canister and sat it to the side until we put everything back together

Chace, Dave, Shannon, Nate and Patrick a.k.a. “Snacks” started grinding down the rivets that hold the original gas tank crossmember onto the frame. With the Thorbros kit, we are able to reuse those holes for the new crossmember.

The original holes in the frame for the gas tank crossmember have to be drilled out to a half-inch in order for the new bolts to fit.

With the old one out of the way, it was time to bolt up the new Thorbros gas tank crossmember.

The next step in this process is to loosen all the bolts that hold the rear differential cover in place. Luckily, you do not have to remove the cover as the Thorbros differential bracket sits on the outside of the differential cover.

While Chace and Dave were tightening up the bolts on the differential, Snacks was greasing up the bushings and getting them pressed into place on the Thorbos wishbone.

With the bushings pressed in, we were able to bolt up the wishbone to the rear differential bracket. This will now hold the rear-end in place so we can keep moving on with the rest of the install.

We removed the leaf spring U-bolts and put them to the side for the time being. These will come in handy very soon with a neat trick Chace taught me!

Chace brought out the plasma cutter for this part of the install. We needed to remove the bump stop that is welded onto the bottom of the frame. We also took the time and cleaned up a small portion of the frame above the rear-end.

Chace was able to reuse the U-bolts in order to hold the rear-end all the way up against the frame. He welded the U-bolts to the side of the frame which would allow us later on to remove the rest of the rear suspension.

The rear portion of the frame on this S10 is extremely wide in some places. We had to use the plasma cutter once again to narrow the frame to make it completely even where the c-notch would be installed.

One important tip before welding is to make sure that the back of the truck is completely level. It needs to be level from front to back and side to side. After clamping the inner c-notch directly in the middle of the rear-end, Chace tacked and remeasured to make sure it was exactly centered before Chace laid down the weld.

After both sides were completely welded, we could get the top part of the notch installed. This does require some trimming depending on how high you set the notch on the frame. Chace trimmed the top cover and then welded it to the rest of the notch.

While Chace was finishing up the welds, Chase’s dad, Billy, started removing the leaf spring bolts. The Thorbros 3-link kit we are installing allows you to reuse the leaf spring brackets so be careful not to mess them up when removing them from the frame. They are held on by multiple rivets, so we used an air hammer to cut them off. Take your time as these do not come out easy! After you pry the bracket off the frame, you slide the bracket back 8.75” on the frame.

We were then able to grease up the bushings and get them pressed into the lower link bars. The link bars were now ready to be bolted to the frame with the original bracket.

This is an extremely important step when putting everything back together. The rear pinion angle has to be spot-on, or it will cause vibrations while driving. We were able to pivot the rear-end small amounts at a time until we achieved the correct angle.

We bolted up the axle mounting tabs to the lower link bar and then used a jack to hold them in place on the axle before Chace put the final touches on the top and sides of the c-notch and finished out the welds. It was finally time to cut the frame out from below the c-notch.

Billy cleaned up the edges of the frame so that the bottom section would match up perfectly to the rest of the c-notch.

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