Spring Lift Ride Question

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MtBraun

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On my son's 84 swb k10 build, we are going with a 6" Tuff Country spring lift. He's convinced the rear springs are going to be too stiff and wants to remove a leaf. I've cautioned against that, as we don't have it installed and fully weighted, and the number of leafs isn't necessarily going to mean a rough or smooth ride. Further, the design is based on the lift height and removing a leaf could impact ride height. Metallurgy and spring rate would drive ride quality, in my uneducated opinion. I see some other posts with aftermarket spring kits with owners happy how they ride. I'm wondering though, does your spring lifted square (no blocks) ride better than stock?
 

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nvrenuf

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Leaf spring trucks ride like crap, it’s the nature of that type of suspension - make sure he understands this. That said, I agree with you, put it together as is first and see how it is.
 

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Unless you're spending money on product like Offroad Design (ORD) it will ride stiffer than stock with a set of 6" springs
 

MtBraun

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Thanks, that’s good to know. I got the second rear spring delivered today, and after looking at the overall quality of this kit I will probably end up going ORD. Maybe this is irrelevant once installed, but the on center measurement is 5/8” different between the two. One set has Mis-shaped leafs which I don’t care for. Am I picky? Extremely. But the TC kit was not cheap and guess i just expected better.
 

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77 K20

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Another option for ride quality would be do a shackle flip. Can do a 2.5" or a 4"
Since you have to drill out the existing spring hanger can then go with a longer 56" spring. That will ride nicer and still could have some weight carrying capability. You can measure the thickness of the existing spring pack and compare it to the new spring pack. If the new spring pack is thicker then you also gain that in height. Then a small lift block is a cheap option, and won't introduce axle wrap.

A shackle flip moves your tire forwards in the wheel well also. So ORD makes 1/4" thick axle relocation plates, or also the 1" zero rate can move the axle. Both lift based on how thick they are.

full
 
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bft305

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I have a 6” BDS spring lift kit and I agree with what has been said, a 6” spring is not a smooth ride. That being said it is a older truck lifted truck, so ride was not a big consideration for me. I have never rode in a truck with a shackle flip so can’t comment on that. Plus BDS has a life time warranty on the springs so I never have to worry about it breaking.
 

77 K20

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The main thing that helped for me was a shackle flip allowed me to go from 52" springs to 56" springs. Some have went to the newer 63" springs. The longer the spring is the better the ride even with the same load carrying capability.
Also the stock shackle is "locked" into place. It is the rubber in the bushing that twists and lets the shackle move- slightly. With the shackle flip you can get greaseable urethane bushings and they are free to move around as needed.
 

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Thanks, that’s good to know. I got the second rear spring delivered today, and after looking at the overall quality of this kit I will probably end up going ORD. Maybe this is irrelevant once installed, but the on center measurement is 5/8” different between the two. One set has Mis-shaped leafs which I don’t care for. Am I picky? Extremely. But the TC kit was not cheap and guess i just expected better.
I don't think that center to center measurement across the arch is too big a deal. Probably happened during assembly. All springs relax a bit when you get weight on them and drive it for a few weeks. They should level out to about the same height. If you're concerned about the springs, measure the length of the top leaf, along the leaf from eye to eye. That measurement should be within 1/8" or so. You may find it a benefit to have one spring just slightly taller. Look for the "Chevy lean" while you have the frame on jack stands, and put the taller spring on the low side
 

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Something does not look correct, go with your gut.
The work involved to install and replace is significant.
Overseas suppliers of leaves have had failures...
Not saying this is the case with this brand... never used them...

We get piles of broke foreign spring here in ranch country... the newer trucks seem to have a problem carrying 1500lb bales with a grabber and they seem to fail a lot now days. Brake right at the eye or under the axle mount...

Longer springs have much more flex with a 6" lift. The kidney damage could get brutal on a rough road... going 52". Mine are 64", not on yet...

You can call and ask ORD for the spring rate to be calculated for the ones you have and the custom springs they sell... they will know if removing a leaf is worthwhile/safe, however the quality of the steel has been an issue with some brands... so ask an expert installer/supplier.

ORD's custom springs are awesome $$$$. They will design and sell you a complete installation... but not on a back woods budget.

Check out these threads:
https://ck5.com/forums/threads/64-inch-spring-swap-s.124820/


Here's a cool option to accommodate longer 56" or cheap 64" HD GM Springs...
https://cfm.industries/chevy-gm/

Keep in mind, CFM sells FRONT and REAR relocation plates for 64" springs to locate correctly at the drive shaft. You have to account for 9" increase.
The GM 64" springs, on a square body, MAY allow you to remove the overload spring, to reduce weight and better ride, based upon GVW and the design engineers recommendation. Getting it all lined up can be tricky on an old bent and beat up frame...

CFM sell's the CAD cut pre-drilled fabrication mounts, including the six hole version they use for their prefabbed mounts... You can weld your own plates or have them assembled professionally where you live. (Liability comes in at some point, so do your homework).

This way, if you drop or adjust leaf or find cheap replacements, of almost any size, from any truck, you have infinite mounting options and can relocate during installation to adjust for drive shaft location AND exact ride hight.

Remember to extrapolate the exact spring arch, let's say 2" spring rise, then the 4" flip, or whatever you go with and then add the shackle, let's say 3"-4" shackle at 15 degree angle... There's some math involved and drive shaft angle and axle re-location is very important. Bolting on 6" bent leaf, in the stock mounts, may not be best for your ride.

Sometimes a custom drive shaft is required, or you'll beat through the back of the T-Case, or drop the drive line altogether at full drop. Especially if you drop a leaf, when it's not correct to do so... Axle wrap is a serious issue with missing leaves. The GM 64" Leaves are 1/2" thick each, or more...

I'de suggest you call one of the engineers at CFM or ORD for advice, before you drop a leaf.

The spring rate should match.
The ones you have do NOT match for safe driving for your son.
The vehicle will MOST LIKELY CASTER between the high spring and the low spring causing unstable driving at high speed. Same as bad tire pressure.
...and if the locating pin is off more than 1/4" at center, your tires will be driving at just enough off center to eat them very fast.

Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should...

Hope this helps.
 
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MtBraun

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I don't think that center to center measurement across the arch is too big a deal. Probably happened during assembly. All springs relax a bit when you get weight on them and drive it for a few weeks. They should level out to about the same height. If you're concerned about the springs, measure the length of the top leaf, along the leaf from eye to eye. That measurement should be within 1/8" or so. You may find it a benefit to have one spring just slightly taller. Look for the "Chevy lean" while you have the frame on jack stands, and put the taller spring on the low side
That's probably true. However, since the eye to eye measurement is based on a single top leaf, either one spring is actually shorter or the arc of that spring is off. Admittedly, I have not measured the arc, and 5/8" length over 48" vs. the arc is probably immaterial. I just expected it to be closer and for the whole spring to be of better quality. Its very poor, in my opinion.

I don't know if the Chevy lean will be an issue. We have the frame completely disassembled ready to be painted and bolted back together. Unless there are some frame mounting holes slightly misaligned I would not expect a lean.

I've decided to return the Tuff Country kit and go with a higher quality spring.
 

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Here's the 64" for you to compare:
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These are easy to find. There's millions of them. You'll have to start carrying 1500-2500 pound round bales, twice a day over your 500 acre farm, for ten months straight before you wear them flat. To break them you'll have to jump the local canyon with your half ton... My bet is your frame gives up the ghost before they crack at the eye, given the GVW of our vehicles... smaller stacked leaves are more flex-able and they can break unless you buy the $$$$. My point is these are affordable. Unless you are building a crawler for competition, these will help keep the rubber side down on the pavement.

Remember: SPRUNG weight is OK to add; unsprung weight like huge tires, with skinny leaves, on small diameter axle shaft=BAD.

The plates can be had prefabricated, with zero guess work for driveline issues. That's going to be tough to beat in the long run... let the engineers at ORD or CFM recommend leaf removal. Then be prepared to adjust drive shaft length... IF it's required...

This short video really sums it all up:
 
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MtBraun

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If you're concerned about the springs, measure the length of the top leaf, along the leaf from eye to eye. That measurement should be within 1/8" or so.

Just to satisfy my curiosity I measured the arc, and they are about 1/2" difference.
 

Juggernaut

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That sounds like a little much to me. I think you're right to send them back. The other measurements you can take are from the center pin along the leaf to the center of the eye. String a wire from one eye to the other and measure from the center of the top leaf to the wire, that will give you the amount of arch.
 

Rumbledawg

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Another option for ride quality would be do a shackle flip. Can do a 2.5" or a 4"
Since you have to drill out the existing spring hanger can then go with a longer 56" spring. That will ride nicer and still could have some weight carrying capability. You can measure the thickness of the existing spring pack and compare it to the new spring pack. If the new spring pack is thicker then you also gain that in height. Then a small lift block is a cheap option, and won't introduce axle wrap.

A shackle flip moves your tire forwards in the wheel well also. So ORD makes 1/4" thick axle relocation plates, or also the 1" zero rate can move the axle. Both lift based on how thick they are.

full
this
unless you spend mucho bucks for custom rear springs, lifted leaves will ride worse than your stock leafs.
one thing to think about also, will you be hauling loads with the truck?
i orig had 8" lift springs all the way around on my truck, but after carrying my camper and quads for TWO yrs, they sagged right out. now i run stock HD 9 leaf packs in the rear (K30) with a 3" block and 4" shackle flips.
rides almost as good as stock....but the only way to get a 1 ton to ride smooth is to load it up with 1 ton...
 

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