Custom Long Travel Front Springs
Shortly after my solid axle swap I settled on a set of springs and ran them for over a year. I was pretty happy with how the flexed, but they had sagged slightly with time and use, so I decided to try once again to build another set.
The pack I had been running consisted of a stock 87 rear main leaf and second military wrapped leaf, then the lower 2 leaves from a used Rancho 3" front spring meant for a solid axle Toyota. I had re-drilled the loner Rancho leaf's center pin to position it better in the pack.
This time around, I was interested in trying out another set of springs. I had traded with a friend for a set of well used NWOR rear 4" springs that had an add-a-leaf added. Thinking that the springs rate would be too soft, I left the add-a-leaf in the pack and installed them under the front of my truck. As it turned out, being too soft was the least of my worries. This pack not only had almost no give to them at all, they lifted my truck an extra 3 inches! Not wanting the extra lift, I knew these had to come out.
By now, the summer heat had me wanting to get this done as quickly as possible to get the truck back mobile. I dug through my piles of spring leaves and found a pair of leaves that looked just about perfect. I went back to the original stock rear & Rancho hybrid pack and decided that just adding one long leaf in the middle of the existing 4 leaves should work well.
Before I put the packs together, I tore them all down and thoroughly cleaned each leaf of rust and pitting to get smooth surfaces. Once this was done, I painted them with "Slip Plate" - a agricultural product with graphite in meant for wear surfaces. I had heard of others recommending the brush on type, but I used the type in the spray cans (that was all the store had). The leaves came out a dull gray, basically just lots of graphite covering the springs. Time will tell if the Slip Plate is durable, and actually helps the leaves slip better.
Below are a few pictures of the springs back on the truck. This new pack with just one leaf added gave me back about an additional 1" of lift, and seems to ride almost exactly like it did before - and I am happy so far.
While putting these pack back together, I also wanted to combat another problem I was having. When I had originally built these packs, I had not used any clamps on the leaves. That let the leaves fan out, and I would often have to hammer them back into place. Not wanting the restrictive type clamp, I cut come of these tall, open end type alignment clamps off of another set of rear springs. They use a U shaped piece of steel, with a bolt and steel roller on top. This still lets the leaves move freely, but they can not fan out to the sides any more. The lowest Rancho leaf already had the countersunk hole for the riveted clamps that were originally in place, I just used a countersunk bolt with a put under the clamp. Once they were on the truck, it does seem that they are too tall, and will hit the frame when the spring compresses. If they do, I will simply cut them shorter and drill new holes for the bolts and rollers.
I will update this page later if I make any changes or have any comments about how these new springs perform.
Update 9/15/00: After running the springs on 2 very demanding trail rides, I found that I did not lose any of the flex of the previous springs, and gained a smoother ride and some ride height too. I believe these springs may work very well for quite a while.
I did find that the rear alignment clamps are too tall and do hit on the frame on compression. I will be cutting them shorter and moving the pin bolt down to make sure they clear the frame.
|This page last modified 07/10/03||
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