Jason:We have found the idler arm often can become loose after mild off-road abuse. We have actually broke a few of them during testing. The stock steering geometry induces bumpsteer after about 6 inches of wheel travel. To solve this, you can gusset the idler arm or build a custom swing-arm setup. Using Heim joints for the steering arms will also increase the strength and add to the longevity of the steering linkage.
Off-Road:Not everyone can afford a custom-built truck. Considering you have installed every bolt-on kit out there for the truck, why don't you share with our readers your thoughts on a few of the more popular suspension systems you have seen.
Jason:This is one of the first bolt-on long-travel kits available. This kit has become a standard for the S-10 prerunner. With good design, welding, and powdercoat, the CST kit is one of the best on the market. It uses 1-inch uniballs for the upper arms with Delrin bushings. The lower arms accept a CST coil spring and new performance shock. The spindle is replaced with a 3.5-inch CST spindle that uses the stock wheel bearings and brakes. The kit adds roughly 6 inches of lift and increases the track width by 5 inches. This kit will hold up to punishment, and the only weak points are that of the stock chassis. We have seen the upper control arm mounts tearing away from the frame during hard abuse. This is due to the stock design, not the design of the CST setup. The arms are very strong, and I have never seen or heard of anyone breaking a CST arm or spindle.
Jason:The only kit that Fabtech currently offers is a simple 3.5-inch spindle lift that includes new shocks for the front and rear. This is a great, simple upgrade for the daily-driver truck. The spindle itself is very strong and has been used on several long-travel setups with great success.
Jason:Superlift makes great 4wd kits in both 2- and 6-inch options. If you have a 4wd S-10, these are some of the best kits on the market today. They are solid kits that keep a great ride quality on the road and on the trail. They are not built with high-speed desert driving in mind though, so I would not recommend hucking one of these kits off a sand dune.
Jason:We have our own long-travel suspension, but it is not bolt-on and needs to be installed by a professional. This setup uses a new mount for the upper J-arm that pivots with the use of chrome-moly Heims. The kit clears room for the use of a coilover shock, bypass shock, and a hydraulic bumpstop. It also uses 1-inch uniballs for both the lower and upper mounts that provide 14 inches of reliable travel. The kit was designed for the CST or Fabtech spindle and has special spacers to improve the suspension geometry. It also uses F-911 bolts for the connection between the uniballs and spindle. The steering uses all new extended tie rods with Heims for the inner and outer pivots. This adds to the strength and helps with bind through travel. The coil bucket needs to be removed, and shock hoops fabricated. This kit will work with either an 8- or 10-inch coilover.
So, is the S-10 your next project truck? We came out knowing a great deal more than we did when we went into this article about the Chevy truck. A few things we had heard about the truck were confirmed, and some were squashed. The truck definitely presents a fair amount of both advantages and disadvantages. With a little help, the S-10 can make you a happy off-road driver and should be considered before your next purchase.
For more information on what GMR is working on, including new S-10 spindles, steering, and rear floating 9-inch housing, visit www.gmachineracing.com.