coilovers vs leaf springs

Discussion in 'Off-Roading' started by Jeffery Lynn, Jul 20, 2018.

  1. Jeffery Lynn

    Jeffery Lynn Junior Member

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    I want to make my 86 K10 handle better off-roading. Is there ways to improve suspension travel with Leaf Springs or do I need to convert my truck to a coilover setup? I'm not looking to race across the dessert just looking for more travel for driving on off-road trails
     
  2. dvdswan

    dvdswan Full Access Member

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    There are springs out there that will allow for longer travel. But you have to ask yourself what the majority of the use the truck will see. Me personally, when I rebuild my truck I plan on going with coilovers because IMO they give you a much better ride. It will cost more per axle than just buying new leaf springs.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2018
  3. Charlie

    Charlie Full Access Member

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    :welcome:
     
  4. Dutch Rutter

    Dutch Rutter Full Access Member

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    Correct me if I am wrong, but it would cost a lot more then regular leaf springs. You would need to go to a whole coil over, and linked setup. Therefore you would be completely changing the suspension by means of custom fabrication.

    Welcome to the forum btw.
     
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  5. dvdswan

    dvdswan Full Access Member

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    that's why I said, "It will cost more per axle than just buying new leaf springs." But I should have specified between the two... and said "then" instead of "than".
     
  6. Dutch Rutter

    Dutch Rutter Full Access Member

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    There are things to try before attempting to tackle a link and coilover setup.
    @Jeffery Lynn You can remove your front sway bar if you have not already. It will give you more travel. Most here who have done it say they prefer the on road handling without it. I also know that you can have custom leaf springs made, or just grab a set of soft rides. Some have even mentioned removing leafs from their stacks with good results.
    @theblindchicken has a lot more knowledge about these suspensions then I do and probably has one of the better sprung trucks for offroad shenanigans.
     
  7. Pender1

    Pender1 Full Access Member

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    Look up 56" conversion in the back and B52 conversion up front. You get tons more flex out of the truck while staying on leafs. You use the stock rear springs on the front and stock 56" springs (I don't remember what they come off of) in the back.
     
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  8. theblindchicken

    theblindchicken Full Access Member

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    I'd love to say I have a badass suspension setup, but I'm still pretty mild (5-6" lift in front ez rides, 4" shackle flip in rear & a couple extra leaves, ORD HD shackles w/ greasable bolts/bushings, rancho 9000xl shocks all around and a 2" body lift on top) I've just done a solid amount of research about spring rates, different types, and what can cause binding and whatnot.


    @Jeffery Lynn You can make these trucks ride pretty well without remortgaging the house for your suspension. Stock short rear springs are 52's. You can swap to 56's by either trading the hangers side to side or just push them back to the correct existing holes in the frame, I just forget which.

    Do yourself a favor and swap out the old bushings with polyurethane ones, you'll have less side to side movement, if you get the greasable bushings & bolts, you can maintain them easily to keep em from binding, and the old shackle and spring bushings have teeth on the ends that create resistance to flex probably to allow for more suspension control with heavier loads.

    If you plan to lift it and want to keep the swaybar, the ORD quick disconnect works well. Make sure to use a little grease since its a tight fit for sure.

    The EZ Rides are the softest springs that are readily available without going custom springs. They aren't designed for big blocks or heavy winch bumpers however.

    Coilovers and 3/4-link suspension is a great option and allows for a ton of tunability, but the tradeoff is the high cost. You also become limited with coilovers in the rear end unless you remove or cut through the beds like desert trucks. You can go with a cantilever style rear end (i'm currently trying to design one for my truck), but I've only seen one or two guys with it for our squarebodies.


    Feel free to shoot questions and i'll help the best I can.
     
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  9. 77 K20

    77 K20 Full Access Member

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    Above is some good advice. For travel need to get rid of or disconnect the sway bar. Another thing to keep in mind is how long your shocks are. The stock mounting location can limit travel on the front of the truck (short shocks can only extend so far).

    For instance on a typical 4" lift you would get 9.24" of shock travel. That is 4.62" up or down from being centered. If you want to remove your stock shock bracket and add some F*rd shock brackets then you can run longer shocks. ORD says a 12" shock can be run with a 4" lift. Now you get +,- 6" of travel.

    http://offroaddesign.com/catalog/Bilstein 5125.htm


    I had 2" Tuff Country HD front springs and no swaybar. But had 9" travel shocks. Front tire would drop out pretty far for what I had.

    [​IMG]

    With more downward travel you need to make sure your front driveshaft is long enough and your brake lines are long enough also.

    I now have 13.2" front shocks and ORD custom front springs. Lots of travel and a very soft ride. You can see the other shock mount I have here:

    [​IMG]
     
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  10. shiftpro

    shiftpro Full Access Member

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    EZ Ride HD (one more leaf at bottom of pack) for the mighty BB.
     
  11. Craig 85

    Craig 85 Supporting Member Supporting Member

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  12. theblindchicken

    theblindchicken Full Access Member

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    Forgot that those were still called EZ rides. Thanks for adding that.
     
  13. theblindchicken

    theblindchicken Full Access Member

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    Hey 77, do you have some more specs on those bilsteins like a part number or shock/piston diameter? Did you have to revalve them for your truck or just bolt right in?
     
  14. 77 K20

    77 K20 Full Access Member

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  15. Dish

    Dish Junior Member

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    You can also do a double shackle suspension which will flex better than stock leaf spring suspension ...4 link suspension setup will flex the best hands down but you have to get all your angles right with suspension link bars and steering ....more to it than just welding a few tabs and brackets on axle and frame just research and do homework beforehand and measure twice
     

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