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Coils or leaves?

Discussion in 'OffRoad Design' started by mudddog91, Sep 11, 2002.

  1. mudddog91

    mudddog91 1/2 ton status

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    Hey just wanted an opinion or two here.Im building a 1991
    z-71 and its got 52" front laef springs with a custom solid axle swap and a chevy dana 60.Now im trying to figure out the rear and am contemplating the coil spring 3 link thing.Can anyone give me their opinion and maybe some pro's and con's.Also up front i wont be buying any super high dollar coilovers or custom rate coils just gonna scrounge through and find some with close to the correct rate and make em work...............anyone ???
     
  2. willyswanter

    willyswanter 1/2 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    I have the front of my 96 on leaves right now and it's actually rather squishy since it's a 1 ton with 454 on 1/2 ton springs. But the rear I am not happy with at all, it's running 63" skyjackers. I have been working on a 3 link with coilovers for the rear now for a bit, still in design phase though. I am still undecided as far as coils or coilovers. I can find some coils that would more than likely work. If you want a 3 or 4 link front I would run coils out of a dodge. It should be pretty close to the correct rate.
     
  3. Stephen

    Stephen 1/2 ton status Moderator Vendor

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    Things to watch out for on a rear coil conversion:
    cost of the parts, just the joints can end up very expensive, much less tubing, threading (unless you can do it yourself) and misc. like limit straps, coil seats, etc. There are a lot of hidden costs.
    clearance, this one's not big for some, maybe most people. But it can be hard to get good clearance with the lower links.
    Mounting points, are you prepared to do the housing modification to mount the links?
    Torque reaction under power, what do you want it to do? This is not as important in many cases, it's mostly a rock crawling/hill climbing concern.

    All this said, you can probably take the buckets and coils off an F150, use some cheap spring bushings in at least one of the ends of the arms, use a 4 link with a panhard rod to minimize the fabrication and get it done. It's all expensive from there!

    Are you sure leaf springs with traction bars won't work?
     
  4. mudddog91

    mudddog91 1/2 ton status

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    Well im sure leaf springs would work but what in the world are the traction bars for????(I know what they are for but why do I need them?)Anyways it almost sounds as though you are mocking me by saying i could use "some cheap spring bushings and f150 coil buckets "etc..........ive seen plenty of good working vehicles out there with home brewed stuff that has great craftsmanship.I appreciate your help and everything you do for us hardcore 4x4er's.I have the ability to fabricate the entire suspension system including threading the links.Thats kinda why i mentioned in my first post that i built the front spring brackets and steering on my now solid axle z-71,so you would see that im capable of the task at hand.I really wanted a trail comparison of leaf springs versus coil springs.Most of the wheeling I do is rockcrawling.This wont be ny daily driver
    and i want an informed opinion because if it isnt worth my time and effort to build the coil 3 link then I will stick to the leaves.I just kinda figured that since i was this far into it and it seems like everyone is running coils now that it would be worth looking into so i would only have to do this once,for at least a couple years.Anyways not trying to offend anyone and i apologize if i did but can someone tell me for rockcrawling purposes on a truck that isnt driven daily,and if you have the technology and tooling,can I get better performance from a coil spring w/external shock than with a leaf spring? The reason i asked in this forum is because I heard that Stephen runs coils so.........
     
  5. blk87K5

    blk87K5 1/2 ton status

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    I have leaves on all four corners of my rig. I believe that a well designed leaf spring susp. can perform just as well as coils on the trail. A BIG advantage of running coils is that you can eliminate the rear over hang by moving the rear at the rear or behind the vehicle. Same for the front. This would allow for 90 degree plus approach/departure angles. Another plus would be elimination of axle wrap (from what I understand).
     
  6. Greg72

    Greg72 "Might As Well..." Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Mudddog,

    I'm not an expert like Dr. Watson, but there are a few things that come to mind.....maybe insightful, and possibly useless!! /forums/images/icons/grin.gif

    If you take a look at the current crop of rock crawlers out there, there is clearly an abundance of full coil suspensions on those rigs....especially when you look at the dedicated "rock buggy" style ones. In this context, I believe that "form follows function"....these vehicles have no fenders to limit wheel travel, no bumpers to catch on rocks, and want all the flex they can find. I suspect it's only a matter of time until someone figures out how to put a big "swivel joint" in the middle of a rock crawler, so that the whole front of the truck can rotate seperately from the back!!! LOL! /forums/images/icons/grin.gif

    I wonder though if you are willing to also remove your bumpers (or "bob" the vehicle) to allow it to really work with a super-flexy suspension? There are a lot of other compromises that go along with full-coil suspensions. Have you seen the rear tailgate area of the ORD truck, or Steve Frisbees Yellow machine? The coils come up through the floor and by the time you add all the bracing to hold them in position, and modify the wheel tubs to clear the tires.....you've given up a LOT of useful bed space.

    Full-coil suspensions are REALLY cool, but I think it depends on how far you want to take it.....


    Just my $.02 /forums/images/icons/smile.gif
     
  7. Stephen

    Stephen 1/2 ton status Moderator Vendor

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    OK, just to be clear, the post on using the F150 coils, etc is just a cheap baseline. That's one of the few sources of coils that have a chance of being appropriate rate (maybe too stiff but close) and you can get F150/bronco coil buckets and mounting hardware cheap and easy. There's huge variation in available springs in everything from custom soft springs to 8" lift or more "regular aftermarket" springs.
    You say you want cheap and effective, that's as good as it gets. It's literally all more expensive from there. Next step up is a custom wound coil to your specs and then you're into coilovers. Coilovers are really nice since the mount easily and you have a lot of tuning options. You also have the springs wrapped around a really nice damper. But there's lots of prerunner type fords with an F150 coil and 2-4 small shocks per wheel in front, and they do the job well.

    Now, for trail manners....
    I'm finding that you HAVE to have some kind of axle wrap control. If you're springs are soft enough to be effective and you have power and traction, you're going to need something to keep the springs from being destroyed. That's where traction bars come in. The traction bar setup can affect the torque reaction, so that needs to be a concern.
    In my case, I don't know that I've done anything with the coil rear that I couldn't have done with a leaf rear, except for the clearance of the two systems. I have been places I could not have gone with my old traction bars.
    I really like the way my suspension reacts under power now, it really keeps the CG down instead of jacking it up, so it does seem to climb better. Not a huge difference over what I had, but it's better.
    I also have the option of chopping the rear of the truck now, where it wouldn't happen with leaves, that's not a concern if you're not planning a major bob job.
    I did lose some bed space but it was taken up with mounting a 16x2.5" shock in an effective position anyway, so wrapping the coil around it wasn't a big deal. I actually built the mounts this time to accomodate a rear seat so technically I have more space now than I did before, at least in one important area.
    One place I won HUGE with the link setup is in axle steer. I have virtually no roll steer from the rear end. My leaf setup had at least 3 times as much (measure it, not guessing) roll steer as what I have now, with less overall roll angle. It's almost spooky watching the axle get twisted and the rear tire just stays pointed straight ahead. Not what I'm used to at all. I could feel the difference carving dirt roads, the roll angle has much less effect on the truck's handling than before.
    So, there you go, hope this helps!
    Greg72 has some good concerns, like bed space. If you want you could run 1/4 elliptics and save the bed space, but I found by the time you put a good shock in there at a good angle, you've used up the bed space anyway, so you might as well put a coil around it.
     
  8. blk87K5

    blk87K5 1/2 ton status

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    </font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
    I also have the option of chopping the rear of the truck now

    [/ QUOTE ]
    I like... /forums/images/icons/wink.gif
    Planing on doing that before Farmington!?! /forums/images/icons/cool.gif
     
  9. Stephen

    Stephen 1/2 ton status Moderator Vendor

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    Don't know that I want to re-design the fuel system that soon, but it's an option. It turns out the bedsides aren't as attached as I thought.....
     
  10. 84K5BD

    84K5BD 1/2 ton status

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    stephen do you have any pics of the rear setup yet
    i would like to see some, thanks
     
  11. Blazinaire

    Blazinaire 1/2 ton status

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  12. Stephen

    Stephen 1/2 ton status Moderator Vendor

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    There are some pretty good shots on the rockmodified.com upper helldorado pics also. I took a few in the last couple days that I'm going to check out and maybe get posted. It's a little hard to get the overall layout due to the length of the links and the fact that they're running fairly high up also.
     
  13. blk87K5

    blk87K5 1/2 ton status

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    Take some pics of the upper shock mounting points for the rear too, por favor. /forums/images/icons/wink.gif
     

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