How many times can you beat a dead horse? Well, if it's dead, the horse isn't going to put up much of a fight, and as long as its carcass is still beatable, well... Anyway, the point is, even though Mustang II-based IFS installations have been shown in practically every form possible, there's always going to be some new twist. Although what we're about to document might not affect a lot of readers, it is a serious situation and needs to be addressed.
With the advent of airbag-assisted suspensions in the last decade, shops have popped up all across the country that "specialize" in custom suspension work. Unfortunately, not all of them are properly versed in the modification of early components, let alone the adaptation of modern updates. Eager shops don't let this deter them from taking on such jobs, and the results are not always pretty. What we stumbled across recently is a perfect example of a lot of enthusiasm coupled with lack of knowledge, ultimately resulting in a practically undriveable situation. Without getting into too many details, '49-54 Chevy frontends are supposed to unbolt from the framerails and literally come off in one piece--the '54 Bel Air in question required a day's worth of torching to remove the remains of the stock crossmember and various parts. A previous hydraulic job was replaced by airbags, which subsequently failed, and an attempt (or two) was made to repair, making things worse. The only thing to do at this point was to strip it down to bare framerails--but that's where another problem arose. So much welding had been done in the past that portions of the framerails were literally gone, and any attempt at getting a Mustang II crossmember to fit properly would require more work than anyone in their right mind would undertake. The solution: RB's Obsolete Automotive's Serious Hardware MII kit installed by Brian Jendro and the crew at Temecula Rods & Customs.
RB's kit was chosen mainly for the fact that it's a foolproof, bolt-in package, and the research taken to devise the kit could be used to reconstruct the Chevy's framerails. Plus, the fact that it's a tested and proven alternative to early suspensions makes it obvious why this was the right choice. Brian and his new shop were chosen because of the amount of experience and talent they possess. Back in 1994, Jendro did what is believed to be the first airbag system on a non-mini/sport truck, and it just happened to be a '54 Chevy. Since then, he's mastered his skills on adjustable-height suspensions on all types of vehicles. So, suffice it to say, nobody was going into this procedure with blinders on. As you will see, it's a lengthy and involved job (which is why it's being run in two parts, the second focusing on the adaptation of the airbags), but the results are amazing, especially considering that the framerails had to be rebuilt before a "bolt-in" kit could even be test fit.
Basically, the moral of the story is the fabled "don't judge a book by its cover." If a shop boasts complete airbag systems at a discount, don't believe the hype without seeing some previous work. Spend the extra couple bucks in the beginning so that you don't end up shelling out two- or three-times what you might have spent in the first place. It pays to have things done properly, even if you have to pay more than intended. Follow along as Temecula Rods & Customs performs a frontal lobotomy with RB's Obsolete upgrade Mustang II IFS system.