TCI Offers Bolt-In C10 Suspension Upgrades For Hot Rod Trucks

Early Chevrolet trucks are a favorite for many enthusiasts. Starting in 1960, under GM’s new truck designation system, the letter “C” was used for two-wheel-drive models, followed by 10 for 1/2-ton models, 20 for 3/4-ton, and 30 for 1-ton versions. The letter “K” was used for four-wheel-drive models, followed by the same numerals for payload designations. GMC variants differentiated themselves by adding 1500, 2500, or 3500 behind the “C” or “K” letter designation. However, when it comes to building a hot from one of these haulers, the C10 suspension needs a little help.

C10 suspension

When you realize these first-gen C10 trucks were the first to get actual carpeting from the factory, you understand how work-oriented they were. TCI’s new chassis’ are engineered to modernize the suspension so it handles more like a performance car than a work truck.

The popularity of these fine rides has led many aftermarket companies, like Total Cost Involved (TCI), to design C10 suspension products to improve them in a variety of ways. While no one could argue with the cool lines of the first-generation trucks, the suspension underneath those street-savvy body lines was built more for work than play. For that reason, the folks at TCI have designed a series of bolt-under chassis systems that are designed specifically for the type of driving you plan to do with your Chevy truck.

1963-1987 C10 Classic Chassis

If you’ve ever wished that your early Chevy truck could handle the open road more comfortably, then TCI’s classic truck chassis is for you. The all-new, bolt-under chassis brings modern performance-car handling and comfort to a 50-year-old pickup. The new chassis brings upgrades to braking, and steering, and also corrects the wheelbase centers to position the front wheels properly within the wheel wells. You’ll gain ground clearance while also lowering the ride height of your pickup at the same time.

C10 suspension

The classic chassis is a bolt-under designed to upgrade your street-driven 1963-1987 C10 pickup.

The fully-boxed frame rails provide exceptional strength and rigidity coupled with the 12-piece center section designed to add strength while still allowing clearance for performance exhausts. The chassis is set up using the correct geometry and uses vertical upper control arm mount plates that make alignment and suspension tuning a snap. Joints use Energy Suspension bushings throughout to provide movement of the suspension without any play. Altogether, this creates the ultimate C10 suspension.

The classic chassis is available with either RideTech coilover shocks or the optional RideTech Shockwave air-adjustable suspension front and rear.

The front suspension is comprised of heavy-duty upper and lower control arms with custom spindles that utilize late-model C10 brakes. A 1-inch anti-roll bar ensures the front bumper stays level in the apexes. Out back, the highly-updated rear suspension utilizes a fully adjustable four-link that keeps a brand-new 9-inch Currie Enterprises rear axle in place.

C10 suspension

The classic chassis features a Currie nine-inch wearing drum brakes out back.

Each TCI Classic Chassis comes complete with disc brakes up front and drums in the rear. Steel brake lines are bent and terminated just under the cab, and all cab, bed, bumper, and core support mounts are included in the design. Both engine and drivetrain mounts are pre-installed to ease the installation of your engine and transmission. There are also several options to be had, starting with your choice of differential gearsets ranging from 3.00 to 4.56 ratios. You can also upgrade to a posi differential and add 13-inch Wilwood disc brakes for an additional fee.

All of our sales are handled by a sales professional rather than through the website or other means. We partner with every customer to ensure they are receiving exactly what they desire. – Jason Wilcox, TCI Engineering

1963-1987 C10 Pro-Touring Chassis

If you really want to “haul” while carving a gnarly apex, then TCI’s C10 Pro-Touring chassis is for you! The entire chassis has been reconfigured to allow for more performance than the truck’s original framework could ever provide.

Compared to the factory frame, TCI widened the rails of this chassis ahead of the cab and narrowed them behind the cab.  This allows more room for headers and beefy steering components upfront. It also allows the rear shocks to be mounted outside of the frame rails. This helps maximize roll stiffness while still allowing massive tires in the rear. This much-improved C10 suspension utilizes TCI’s Pro-Touring IFS in the front and a fully adjustable torque arm suspension provides performance and comfort in the rear.

The Pro-Touring rear suspension is built using a beefy torque arm (shown) featuring a slider mount that eliminates binding yet allows for movement of the rear differential.

RideTech adjustable coilovers come standard on both the front and rear and allow for quick ride-height adjustments. The front crossmember is moved forward to center the front wheels in the wheel openings and is raised above the bottom of the frame rails to allow for ample ground clearance at a significant ride-height drop.

TCI employs a very sophisticated modular build fixture that allows one chassis jig to accommodate up to nine different C10 suspension combinations. Coupled with their experienced staff, this helps to cut order lead time down to a minimum for a custom-built chassis for each customer’s application.

1963-1987 C10 Grounded Chassis

When it comes to adjusting the ride height of their Chevy trucks, many enthusiasts believe you can never get too low for the show. The problem with this is they still want the proper ground clearance for safe driving. That is why TCI has created its C10 Grounded Chassis for C10 enthusiasts. Check out the video below where TCI’s Jason Wilcox and Ross Logsdon from Premier Street Rods talk about why TCI created the Grounded chassis and what sets it apart from the competition.

These brand-new frames include an all-new front and rear air-bag suspension that when aired out, allows you to lay the frame on the ground with 29-inch-tall front and rear tires. Fully aired up, the chassis boasts a maximum ground clearance of 8 inches with minimal camber change. When aired down, it provides an aggressive 4-inch ride height that everyone wants.

The grounded IFS features heavy-duty tubular control arms, a 1-inch anti-sway bar, and rack-and-pinion steering along with custom modular spindles that provide plenty of brake options. Out back, you will find fully boxed frame rails stepped up 8 inches and C-notched to accommodate that extra-low, slammed stance. The chassis is suspended by rollover-sleeve-style Firestone airbags and Ridetech single-adjustable shocks. This combination allows you to adjust the ride height and fine-tune ride quality to your liking.

c10 suspension

If your goal is to squash any unlucky ants on the showfield, then TCI’s grounded suspension is for you! It’ll lay frame for the absolute lowest profile available.

No matter if you’re going to be doing highway miles, apex-heavy driving, or simply want the lowest C10 truck at the show, sliding a TCI-based C10 chassis under your truck will allow you to enjoy your truck even more. This is accomplished by reducing weight, increasing ground clearance, and improving handling. All TCI Engineering products come with a six-year, 60,000-mile warranty on wear and tear items such as bushings, tie rods, and ball joints. Any items built in-house by TCI Engineering such as link bars, control arms, spindles, and crossmembers come with a lifetime warranty.

The frame rails for the slammed suspension have been modified to allow for extreme motion of all the suspension components both front and rear. Airbags adjust the ride height from highway-capable to almost sub-terranean with the push of a button.

Personal, Professional, By Phone

Finally, Jason wanted us to let you guys know that the team at TCI doesn’t rely on drop-down menus to make sure you get the best options for your application. Instead, all sales are handled by a sales professional who will happily spend time on the phone discussing options with you. There is no better way to ensure you get exactly what you desire. Give the folks at Total Cost Involved a call to personally talk to one of their sales representatives and see how easy it can be to make your truck into more than GM’s engineers ever imagined it could be.

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About the author

Andy Bolig

Andy has been intrigued by mechanical things all of his life and enjoys tinkering with cars of all makes and ages. Finding value in style points, he can appreciate cars of all power and performance levels. Andy is an avid railfan and gets his “high” by flying radio-controlled model airplanes when time permits. He keeps his feet firmly grounded by working on his two street rods and his supercharged C4 Corvette. Whether planes, trains, motorcycles, or automobiles, Andy has immersed himself in a world driven by internal combustion.
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