4-Link Swap: A Smart, Bolt-In Upgrade for Your Muscle Car or Truck
A 4-Link is one of the best upgrades you can make to your leaf spring-equipped muscle car or truck. Invented in the 1700s, leaf springs are a tried and true suspension medium. While leaf spring technology has come a long way since the “horse and buggy” days, it has one significant limitation: a leaf spring is expected to locate the axle as well as suspend the vehicle chassis. Advanced suspension design has proven that it is far better to isolate those two functions in the form of a separate spring used in conjunction with solid control arms, also known as “links.”
It’s no wonder, then, that RideTech’s Musclecar and Truck “Bolt-In 4-Link” Systems are extremely popular. These rear suspension kits resolve the aforementioned limitation by isolating the springing function from the axle-locating function. Links locate the axle and control geometry relative to the chassis, while coil springs or air springs carry chassis loads. You will experience immediate improvements in both ride quality and handling after converting from leafs to links.
And it gets better! In addition to performance and driveability gains, RideTech has gone to great lengths to make each Bolt-In 4-Link System easy to install. For starters, RideTech Bolt-In 4-Link Kits do not require cutting your floorboards or trunk pan. From there, most applications are completely bolt-in with the exception of welding the upper link mounts to the axle tubes. The welding can be completed in minutes and can be accomplished by a small home welder. Alternatively, you can call a mobile welding service or possibly have the local muffler shop do the basic install and welding. It’s that easy! All other components in the kits, including lower links, upper crossmembers, and shock mounts, practically jump out of the box and install themselves (no not really). RideTech Bolt-In 4-Link truck kits are 100% bolt-on.
The installation process is the same for most applications. RideTech utilizes pre-existing mounting locations wherever possible, so removal of existing leaf springs is the first step. Before that happens, however, it’s best to lay out your new Bolt-In 4-Link kit on the floor and familiarize yourself with the components. Once you’ve done that, it’s time to dig in. Here is an overview of the triangulated 4-link installation process which applies to our Camaro, Mustang, Nova, Galaxie, and Mopar kits (RideTech’s Parallel 4-Link Kits, as offered for Tri-Fives and Pickups, have a slightly different installation process; for complete details, please read the instructions included with your kit):
Bolt-In 4-Link Kit Installation Overview
- Support the vehicle safely using proper jackstands. Working on and under cars is dangerous,so get this step right.
- Remove the stock shocks and leaf springs. Leaf springs are heavy. So is your rear axle. Make a plan to remove these items carefully. Hardware may be rusty and seized, so it helps to soak these items with a product like Liquid Wrench the day before the process.
- You may also need to remove all or part of your exhaust system for the time being.
- Install the upper shock crossmember. You may choose to grind away paint from the frame rail and weld in the upper crossmember.
- Support the rear axle with a set of jackstands. You will want the axle elevated at or near ride height to facilitate installation of the lower links.
- Install the lower links to your cars pre-exiting front leaf spring mounts and axle pads.
- Install the upper links in the upper crossmember
- Assemble the weld on tabs onto the opposite ends of the upper links. Double check that the rear axle is centered. The lower link installation helps to align the axle.
- Weld the tabs to the upper axle.
- Install your chosen coil-overs or Shockwaves.
- Double check that all hardware is tightened before your test drive.
- You may need to modify your tailpipes or have custom tailpipes made by a local muffler shop.
- Adjust your CoilOvers or Shockwaves to ride height and go for a test drive.
As you can see from the outline listed above, a RideTech Bolt-In 4-Link system is easy to install. The conversion is more costly than simply swapping leaf springs and shocks, but the results are worthwhile. If you are ready to learn more about 4-Link kits or are ready to place an order, click the link below.
If you, instead, prefer to retain your pre-existing leaf spring rear suspension layout, click the link below to learn more about RideTech Bolt-In StreetGRIP suspension systems which include the latest in composite mono-leaf spring technology.