How To Install C10 Front Suspension Kit From Detroit Speed

Detroit Speed’s Innovative SpeedMax Suspension Kit Provides Pro Touring Handling

By Ron Ceridono   –   Photography by John McLeod

When the doors to Detroit Speed and Engineering opened in late 2000, those doors were mounted on a two-car garage in Detroit and the first parts offered to the public were for early Camaros and Firebirds. Due to superb engineering and beautifully built products, it wasn’t long before the demand for Detroit Speed components grew and eventually it was goodbye to the little Detroit garage and hello expansive facility in Mooresville, North Carolina. Today that’s where Kyle Tucker, mechanical engineer, former GM employee working on Corvette suspension development, and most notably hard-core, hands-on performance enthusiast, oversees Detroit Speed’s production of products for a variety of GM cars, Ford Mustangs, and ’73-87 Chevrolet Square Body Trucks.

02 Detroit Speeds Innovative SpeedMax Suspension Kit Provides Pro Touring Handling
The Detroit Speed SpeedMax is a bolt-in replacement for the stock C10 front suspension. The new crossmember mounts tubular A-arms, coilovers, and rack-and-pinion steering.
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Someone else who knows a thing or two about performance vehicles is John McLeod of Classic Instruments. When he decided to update the front suspension of his C10 Chevy pickup he turned to Detroit Speed for one of their new SpeedMax front suspension kits. The SpeedMax kit completely replaces the factory front suspension in ’67-72 and ’73-87 C10s (there are minor differences in the kits, but they perform the same). While completely replacing the original front suspension may sound daunting, the installation of the SpeedMax components is a completely bolt-on operation with only a couple of holes to be drilled. None of the bodywork has to be removed and the engine and transmission remain in place.

03 This is a worms eye view of the stock C10 suspension—the stock front crossmember will be removed to make way for the Detroit Speed components
This is a worm’s-eye view of the stock C10 suspension—the stock front crossmember will be removed to make way for the Detroit Speed components. (Photo by Todd Ryden)

The Detroit Speed stamped steel front crossmember, or suspension cradle, mounts tubular upper and lower control arms with Delrin bushings for long life. The upper shafts are made from stainless steel and feature bushings for quick-and-easy caster changes independent of camber.

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04 Also slated for removal will be the stock steering box that mounts to the outside of the left side frame rail
Also slated for removal will be the stock steering box that mounts to the outside of the left side frame rail.

Replacing the original power steering box and cumbersome steering linkage is a “Detroit Tuned” GMT800 rack-and-pinion gear. It provides excellent driver feedback and provides the ultimate in control. To connect the rack to the original steering column a DSE steering coupler kit will be required; ’67-72 trucks use PN 092534DS, ’73-87 use PN 092531DS.

05 Along with the steering box tie rod ends centre link idler arm and anti roll bar in this case its an aftermarket bar are all removed
Along with the steering box, tie-rod ends, centrelink, idler arm, and anti roll bar (in this case it’s an aftermarket bar) are all removed. (Photo by Todd Ryden)

The list of discarded factory parts includes the original coil springs. They are replaced with Detroit Speed “Detroit Tuned” coilovers that allow for height adjustment and spring rate tuning without having to disassemble the control arms. Shocks are available in non-, single-, and double-adjustable configurations.

06 With the steering components removed the next to go are the brackets for the front engine mounts and the crossmember
With the steering components removed, the next to go are the brackets for the front engine mounts and the crossmember.

Rather than conventional-style spindles, the SpeedMax uses forged aluminum uprights that accept a modern, “cartridge”-style wheel bearing and hub assembly. It is designed to use modern GMT800 (1999-2006) GM truck calipers (or aftermarket components from Wilwood or Baer) with Detroit Speed 13-inch dual-drilled rotors

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07 McLeod supported the engine with a wood block on a pair of jack stands
To facilitate the removal of the engine mounts and crossmember McLeod supported the engine with a wood block on a pair of jack stands.

When compared the original suspension and steering, Detroit Speed’s SpeedMax suspension kit for C10s provides ride and handling capabilities that were once unimaginable for a utilitarian pickup truck—sports car–like handling and a ride height 4 to 6 inches lower than stock from a bolt-in system that can be installed over a weekend. Like we said, Detroit Speed’s SpeedMax is high tech and low down.

08 the complete C10 front crossmember is unbolted and removed
With the engine supported, the upper and lower control arms and the complete C10 front crossmember is unbolted and removed.
09 The Detroit Speed SpeedMax crossmember is a work of art—it simply bolts in place
The Detroit Speed SpeedMax crossmember is a work of art—it simply bolts in place. There are two sets of mounting holes (the three pairs on each side): one for ’67-72 and another for ’73-87.
10 There are windows on the bottom of each side of the crossmember for access to the engines mounting bracket bolts
Here McLeod has bolted the crossmember in place. There are “windows” on the bottom of each side of the crossmember for access to the engine’s mounting bracket bolts.
11 They bolt to the frame rails and the Detroit Speed crossmember
Shown here are the upper control arm brackets; there is a left and a right. They bolt to the frame rails and the Detroit Speed crossmember.
12 Included in the Detroit Speed suspension kit are alignment shims that go behind the upper cross shaft
With the mounting brackets bolted in place the upper control arms are installed. Included in the Detroit Speed suspension kit are alignment shims that go behind the upper cross shaft.
13 These are the upper coilover brackets Detroit Speed includes
These are the upper coilover brackets Detroit Speed includes. They are made from ADI (Austempered Ductile Iron), a special heat-treated, high-strength cast iron for excellent wear resistance and fatigue strength.
14 The coilover brackets attach to the tops of the frame rails and the Detroit Speed crossmember further tying them together
The coilover brackets attach to the tops of the frame rails and the Detroit Speed crossmember, further tying them together.
15 After installing the Detroit Speed upper and lower tubular control arms the rack and pinion steering was installed
After installing the Detroit Speed upper and lower tubular control arms the rack-and-pinion steering was installed.
16 The top of the driver side frame rail has to be notched
To provide clearance for the new steering shaft from the column to the rack, the top of the driver side frame rail has to be notched.
17 Detroit Speed includes a frame reinforcement plate that bolts in place
Detroit Speed includes a frame reinforcement plate that bolts in place (arrow) and has a hole that the steering shaft passes through.
18 The Detroit Speed hubs are pre assembled units that feature precision bearings and seals
The Detroit Speed hubs are pre assembled units that feature precision bearings and seals. They are drilled for both 5-on-5 and 5-on-4.75 lug bolt patterns.
19 Attached to the Detroit Speed forged aluminum spindle assemblies are forged steel steering arms
Attached to the Detroit Speed forged aluminum spindle assemblies are forged steel steering arms.
20 Detroit Speeds coilovers allow for ride height and spring rate adjustments
Detroit Speed’s coilovers allow for ride height and spring rate adjustments. They come with 550 lb/in springs.
21 Here the caliper mounting bracket that mounts to the back of the hub assembly can be seen Detroit Speed offers a variety of disc brake options
Here the caliper mounting bracket that mounts to the back of the hub assembly can be seen. Detroit Speed offers a variety of disc brake options.
22 These are the sway bar mounting brackets they do require drilling holes in the frame rails
These are the sway bar mounting brackets; they do require drilling holes in the frame rails.
23 There are left and right side sway bar brackets
There are left- and right side sway bar brackets. They attach to the crossmember and the new holes in the frame rail flanges.

24 They attach to the crossmember and the new holes in the frame rail flanges

25 Detroit Speeds new sway bar is more suited to performance applications than the optional factory bar
This is the complete SpeedMax suspension showing all the components in place. Detroit Speed’s new sway bar is more suited to performance applications than the optional factory bar.
26 When they say everything is included in the Detroit Speed SpeedMax kit they mean it
When they say everything is included in the Detroit Speed SpeedMax kit they mean it, right down to the adapters for the power steering hoses.
27 To provide the ultimate in road feel for the driver Detroit Speed
To provide the ultimate in road feel for the driver, Detroit Speed supplies their “tuned” rack-and-pinion steering gear.

Source
Detroit Speed & Engineering
(704) 662-3272
detroitspeed.com

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