Last month, we introduced you to a way-cool project being performed by the students and watchful staff of Hawkeye Community College in Waterloo, Iowa. Terry Van Dyke, the instructor for the school’s Auto Collision Technology program, is overseeing the project and guiding the students as they perform a total revamp of the 1972 Chevy C10 pickup.
The students have been hard at it, tearing the truck apart, bolt-by-bolt, in preparation for the massive upgrades scheduled during its reconstruction. We are happy to share the progress and as you can see, the truck is well on its way to becoming the envy of any enthusiast.
Over the past few weeks, the students have dismantled the truck down to the bare frame, and we mean bare. With everything out of the way, the frame was then media-blasted to remove the decades of rust and sludge that had accumulated. With that task completed, it was obvious how solid this truck is as a foundation for the project. Giving everything an abrasive bath also helped locate and to loosen the bolts that were holding everything together.
Modifying The Hawkeye Community College C10’s Frame
Work began with modifications to the frame rails to give the Chevy C10 that perfect stance and a much less utilitarian wheelbase. The plan is to give the truck more of a sport truck appearance by turning it into a short-wheelbase variant. “The truck needs a short box,” said Terry. So, the team went to work shortening the frame to accept a new box.
Instructor Van Dyke showed his students the correct process of getting the frame prepped for its new bed. The frame was leveled on jack stands to get a solid starting point. Then, students measured and double-checked all dimensions to ensure everything would add up once the cuts were complete. The first step was to locate exactly where you’re going to take out a foot of the frame’s material from between the front and rear wheels.
The Hawkeye crew used a Brothers Truck Long-bed To Short-bed Conversion Kit, which consists of templates for accurate alignment, drilling, and cutting of the frame rails. The kit also includes sleeves to be installed inside the frame rails for additional strength. The frame rails were then cut, shortened, and welded to solidify the new, shorter frame. With the shortening process complete, the frame’s box mounts were relocated and bolted in place so the new, shorter box could be bolted to the frame’s new dimension. The rear section of the frame also received attention by lopping off approximately eight inches of extra frame rail that was now deemed unnecessary due to the shorter box.
Installing A QA1 Coilover Suspension On A 1963-72 Chevy C10 Truck
There is more to setting up a proper suspension than simply bolting parts onto a frame. The students of Hawkeye Community College took the opportunity of the C10’s bare frame and began fitting the necessary components to allow installation of the QA1 coilover suspension system under the truck.
The suspension of the C10 already used coil springs both front and rear but the new coilover shocks required some clearance in the front spring pockets to allow for both the shock and its accompanying spring to go through. Out back, the rear end housing and trailing arms were unbolted and removed from the frame.
The factory mounting points for the front of the trailing arms could then be removed with the help of a grinder and cutoff wheel. While the sparks were flying, the team also C-notched the rear frame rails to allow the new suspension to tuck in closer to the truck’s underside, giving it that perfect stance.
The QA1 coilover suspension for 1963-72 Chevy C10 pickups is designed to give the ultimate ride height adjustability with up to six inches of drop in both the front and rear. The Hawkeye Community College team increased the adjustability of the truck’s suspension further by opting for double-adjustable QA1 shocks, but single-adjustable shocks are also available.
The entire QA1 suspension is a bolt-in system with no welding required, but as mentioned, the frame does need some trimming to allow installation. All the necessary hardware is included in the kit and once installed, ride characteristics can easily be made while on the vehicle. As with all QA1 products, the components of the QA1 coilover suspension kit for Chevy C10 trucks are proudly made in QA1’s Lakeville, Minnesota facility.
The team installed the entire suspension to make sure that everything was going to fit as intended before sending everything out to be powder coated. This way, any issues can be dealt with before any shiny surfaces are applied. After everything was fitted properly, the old, factory rear end was swapped out for the Quick Performance-supplied, Pro-Fab rear housing and differential which was then capped off with a set of brake rotors.
With the chassis well on its way to becoming a roller once again, the team can continue working on various other aspects such as installing the necessary engine and transmission mounts for the LS-based power they will be using. This project is serving to be a perfect lesson in project management as the engine was sent out to the machine shop to begin the rebuild process and the body is currently undergoing the necessary rust removal and body panel treatments to once again fit beautifully atop that QA1 suspended chassis. Everything is coming together nicely and we’ll be sure to keep you informed as the project continues to move forward. Stay tuned!