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custom leafs or wristed radius arm/coils???

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Blazinaire, Nov 19, 2003.

  1. Blazinaire

    Blazinaire 1/2 ton status

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    So the time has come when no off the shelf parts are satisfying me for my front suspension. I have been going back and forth between two very different suspension designs and need to decide on one. My ultimate goal is to achieve around 16'' vertical wheel travel for running the desert and still have something that will put the TJ's to shame on the trail. I know it sounds tough, but these are my two options:

    The first idea is to switch body mounts from drivers side to passenger side and vise versa (moving front hangers forward about 3'') then box the frame under the first cab mount and place the new shackle hanger directly under it and run a longer shackle (6''-7'' long) This would accomodate a leaf roughly 58'' long that would be built by deaver spring. I would move the axle forward 2-3'' and run a track bar as well. Shocks would be 2.5'' body 16'' travel 2 tube fox bypasses with internal hydraulic bumpstops. Pro's: simple, can be bought/built one piece at a time lots of wheel travel, minimal modifications... Con's: expensive lots of guess work to achieve desired spring rate/ride quality, no way of controlling axle wrap.

    Idea #2: ditch the entire leaf spring approach and move to coils. Suspension would consist of 2.5'' 16'' travel fox dual rate coilover's controlled by radius arms mounted to the frame with hiems and the drivers side arm would be wristed. I am thinking that this would accomplish what I am looking for just as well as a 4link setup but far more simplistic. The entire axle tube would have to be boxed in to help transfer torque loads from the drivers side tube over to the passenger side (since the wristed arm on the drivers side will only control forward/aft movement while unlocked.) to keep the tubes from twisting out of the diff. Pro's: finally some real axle location, easily adjustable spring rate/ride height, easier to achieve good approach angles, not having leafs would allow me lower my tie rod (mounted behind the axle) down an inch by removing the spacers under the arms thus increasing my tierod to oil pan clearance, radius arms could help in protecting front driveshaft. Believe it or not this will end up cheaper than leafs. Con's: Suspension geometry won't be as precise as a 4 link, lots of work that must all be done at the same time, wristed arm would have to be un-pinned to allow for any real amount of flex, won't have the dampening adjustability of the bypass shocks or the hydro bump stops.

    So lets hear what you guys think because I am just about ready to start rounding up parts and can't decide which route to take... I want to finish this project feeling like my time and $$$'s were well spent.
     
  2. zcarczar

    zcarczar 1/2 ton status

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    Ok, just a few questions for you. Most of the information I have read is that more travel is not always better. Look at how fast some buggies and trucks are with only 12" of travel. My understanding went from thinking that mondo amounts of travel made you faster, to a controlled amount of real world travel is sometimes just as good if not better. Look at it this way, your truck is capable of 30" of rear wheel travel, BUT it isnt clean, easily controllable travel. You can limit it down to sat 20" of travel that is much cleaner and easier to control thus making your truck faster.

    Also in my research on the desert K5 buildup you can move the front hanger forward about 2 or so inches like one would do when swapping 52's onto the front and go with a set of custom deavers that have an offset centering pin with a much longer back half spring. Supposedly this works pretty good and should have decent travel.

    IF I was going to do the whole wristed radius arm thing I would go the whole way and either do a 5 link like Watson's, or a 3 link with a panhard rod. The wristed radius arm setup seems like way too much work for not very much gained.

    O yeah check out www.race-dezert.com those guys will be able to help you out a lot.
     
  3. Bubba Ray Boudreaux

    Bubba Ray Boudreaux 1 ton status

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    [ QUOTE ]
    Look at how fast some buggies and trucks are with only 12" of travel. My understanding went from thinking that mondo amounts of travel made you faster, to a controlled amount of real world travel is sometimes just as good if not better.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Exactly. That's the thinking from the desert gods. Also, if you remember pics of that straight axle Bronco that was posted a few months ago, I paid particular attention to it during the races. The suspension was set up on the money. It took and landed and was very smooth, yet you couldn't even see the suspension cycle during this process. Shocks of choice for this particular truck, King bypass.............
     
  4. pismorat

    pismorat 1/2 ton status

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    I am partial to coils myself, when I do mine, I'm going to model it after the Offroad Design K5. /forums/images/graemlins/truck.gif
     
  5. RustBuket

    RustBuket 1/2 ton status

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    I would go with a four link even if it is alot of $$$ and time. Its probably the most adjustable, you can get plenty of flex and with coilovers you can adjust for desert speed as well.
     
  6. VisionxOrb

    VisionxOrb 1/2 ton status

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    Im with you on the radius arms, I think a set up with radius arms and coilover shocks would make for a mean desert beast, if you doit, put up pics as this is a system Ive been thinking about also.
     
  7. Blazinaire

    Blazinaire 1/2 ton status

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    [ QUOTE ]
    [ QUOTE ]
    Look at how fast some buggies and trucks are with only 12" of travel. My understanding went from thinking that mondo amounts of travel made you faster, to a controlled amount of real world travel is sometimes just as good if not better.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Exactly. That's the thinking from the desert gods. Also, if you remember pics of that straight axle Bronco that was posted a few months ago, I paid particular attention to it during the races. The suspension was set up on the money. It took and landed and was very smooth, yet you couldn't even see the suspension cycle during this process. Shocks of choice for this particular truck, King bypass.............

    [/ QUOTE ]

    First off, I hardly consider 16'' mondo wheel travel since dealing with so many class 1 buggies (like chuck hovie's car whom unfortunately won't be running the 1000 this time around /forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif) and class 8 trucks/trophy's. I have already limited the rear suspension down to 18'' and have been fairly satisfied with that once I get a little stiffer spring rate.

    As for that bronco, that is pretty close to what I'm looking for (i.e. radius arm with coils and exceptional dampening) with the exception that it will need to flex just as well which is why I decided that the drivers side arm will need to be wristed.

    I am not so trendy that I am sold on coils just to have them, which is why I am still considering leafs tuned with the proper rate and proper shock valving (i.e. the 2-tube bypass, so that I can set up the shock for whichever course/ trail I choose at a moments notice)

    I would rather run fox's than king's simply due to the fact that dollar for dollar the fox's do what I need them to do better. I'm not pulling that out of my rear either, I have had both apart and will tell you first hand that the fox is much cheaper/easier to rebuild and uses better parts than the King prerunners (which cost about the same as the fox's) and I'd have to pay twice as much to get marginally better quality from a King race series. My biggest issue with King's is the same that I have with swayaway's: chrome plated shafts. I have rebuilt enough shocks that blew all the seals in them from dirt sticking in the pits in the chrome and then compressing past the seal... Fox's are MUCH more resistant to pitting because of the stainless shaft on ALL of their 2.5''s. I could go on but shock preference is not what I'm seeking advice on...

    Jason, you pretty much hit the nail on the head with those leafs which is what the original plan was until I talked to a friend with nationals all the way around. He said that it rides great and flexes great but when he gets into a situation where the front end sees a lot of torque or power he gets pretty violent axle wrap /forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif. Also I was just adding up prices and was shocked to find that the leaf setup will end up costing me more (partially because of the bypasses but there is still a big difference in price assuming the same shocks would be used in both applications)

    Both ways are still looking like they would do what I need/ want them to do but I guess I'm still trying to see the pro's and con's of each that maybe I hadn't thought of. /forums/images/graemlins/thinking.gif
     
  8. zcarczar

    zcarczar 1/2 ton status

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    How are those national springs wrapped? I know you can get deavers with a triple wrapped spring eye. I dont know if National does that and I bet that will cure a lot of axle wrap.

    With the front end setup I bet the radius arm setup will cost more than the leaf setup when you include all of the fab parts, metal, tools, and time. I would stick with leafs, I think there is a lot of potential with leafs just need to put a little more thought into the design. Although a coil over front end is

    O yeah check your email. I need some springs.
     
  9. Blazinaire

    Blazinaire 1/2 ton status

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    The nationals were only double wrapped but I find it hard to believe that one more would make that big of a difference. I actually did a run down on all the metal and fab parts necessary to do the radius arm front end and at my cost it was only about $1100 (plus front driveshaft) and a whole crap load of work (it would probably take me 2 months to do with the amount of free time I have) where as the leaf setup would end up costing me about $1400 (plus front driveshaft) which isn't a whole lot more especially considering that it would only take about 2-3 weeks for me to get done and time is money /forums/images/graemlins/deal.gif... but I will still have a few issues to work with that I wouldn't when going to coils/arms such as axle location (anti wrap as well) and my big concern of tie rod to oil pan clearance. I would also end up sacrificing some of my aproach angle unless I moved the axle a good deal forward (well at least 3''.) I am also having a hard time figuring out a good place to mount the track bar when going with leafs without putting it in harms way.

    P.S. e-mail is temporarily dead so feel free to pm me or call me at work: (760) 746-3193
     
  10. marv_springer

    marv_springer 1/2 ton status

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    Jay,

    I'm really interested in what you come up w/.... Trying to mix trail and hi-speed can be tricky.

    Even the best leaf setup (like the Deavers) will never match a linked system for axle locating. I think you'll have more benefits w/ the wristed arrangement because it sounds like your interest is more into the hi-speed side of it. And you seem to be knowledgeable in the most important area - setting up the dampers!

    Good luck...

    Marv
     
  11. Triaged

    Triaged 1/2 ton status

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    As long as you kept the radius arm pinned for hi speed and street driving it wouldn't be that bad of a setup. You would still want to use a ford style bushing at the axle or you would put way too much stress into everything it flexes/rolls. The nice thing about it for the street and high speed is that it acts as a swaybar...only downside is that you have now way to adjust it (asside from maybe rubber or poly bushings). As for when you "wrist" one of the arms take a look at this link. http://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/showthread.php?s=&threadid=192264 Some of those guys didn't even like the way it handled offroad at slow speeds.

    You do have another option. If you did a 4-link with 4 equal length and parallel links it would flex like mad, have no caster change (better for the high speed stuff?), flex like mad, and you would only need to carry one spare. Downside is making the driveshaft work...wouldn't be to bad as long as lift was kept to a minimum. Most likely a non-CV shaft with long slip would work best.

    As you might be able to tell from this and other posts I don't really like wristed radius arms. I tend to think of it as the "easy way out". It seams to me that you could get all the advantages of a wristed setup with none of the disadvantages with just a bit more forthought.

    Personally I like my $200 leaves /forums/images/graemlins/deal.gif
     
  12. Blazinaire

    Blazinaire 1/2 ton status

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    Dan,

    I read that pirate link end to end and it actually is reinforcing the choice to go with a LOCKABLE wristed radius arm setup. The converged 3-link setup that had two links all the way to the passenger side and one on the drivers side would function just the same as the unpinned WRA setup would. So the WRA setup is superior to that design because it could be locked solid and would keep any jacking that would occur to lift both D.S and P.S. of the truck more evenly. The setup with 2 individual links on the P.S. and a single on the D.S. would keep the castor angle in check much more efficiently but would still cause the same lifting on one side of the truck. It also makes sense to me that the longer the radius arms are the less I would notice any lifting on the drivers side when unpinned and castor angle change would be kept to a minimum so high speed running wouldn't feel so "loose."

    Of the configurations mentioned the 3-link with two uppers and one lower slightly off center (towards the P.S.) seems like the best way to go (now who do I know that has a setup like that? **cough** Stephen Watson **cough**) But I don't think that the benefits are enough to make it worth the extra engineering unless someone just happens to already know the perfect lengths/ angles and mounting locations of each particular link to achieve BOTH maximum articulation AND vertical travel while still maintaining a daily driveable rig.
     
  13. zcarczar

    zcarczar 1/2 ton status

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    The old MOO truck has the 3 link you are talking about. A guy in the big dawgs has the truck now, his truck seems to work very well, it actually has two upper links with 1 lower link nearly centered on the axle with a panhard rod to keep the steering normal. Truck seems to work very very well, and he drives it to every event. The only thing I dont like is how high the truck sits.
     
  14. Blazinaire

    Blazinaire 1/2 ton status

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    And the rediculous amounts of body roll /forums/images/graemlins/rotfl.gif /forums/images/graemlins/rotfl.gif... still haven't decided which way to go kiddo's, lets hear some more of you guys' thoughts. /forums/images/graemlins/deal.gif
     
  15. zcarczar

    zcarczar 1/2 ton status

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    Yeah Moo's truck has way toooo much body roll, went wheelin with it this weekend and my truck had no problem through one spot, but it took him prolly 20 minutes to get through cause of the massive amount of body roll. But I think taking some of the ride height out of it will make it a lot better.

    I think long front springs will work, maybe my camera will cooperate with me and i can get you some pictures of my new front end setup. I bet I could cram a custom 57" front spring under the front of my truck.
     
  16. Stephen

    Stephen 1/2 ton status Moderator Vendor

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    I learned some things about the leaves in a go fast this weekend. Your leaf idea is basically what we had on the class 3 I rode in and as long as the shocks were cool, it worked pretty well. The thing ate up some pretty big whoops for about 5 minutes, then the shocks faded and it got ugly. It really needs a track bar, the thing has crossover and no track bar and it was a handful when it stroked the full wheel travel.
    You will need a shock bigger than 2.5" if you want to go fast over big stuff for very long. Our 2.5" bilstein was too hot to touch most of the day and didn't do the job. Apparently the 3" or 3.5" king on the rear of the big bronco that won class 3 did the job just fine.

    This whole thing has me thinking more and more and more about the leaf vs coil thing and no matter how you slice it, the link suspension will handle more precisely. The leaves can get it done but for precise handling, I think you're still better off with a link/coil suspension. A track bar gets a lot of the problems lined out but it's hard to make a track bar work with leaf springs without binding it up and/or eating bushings.

    Bubba, is this Don Moss you're talking about with the Bronco? He whupped up on class 3 this year, he must have had a really clean run.
     
  17. Bubba Ray Boudreaux

    Bubba Ray Boudreaux 1 ton status

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    [ QUOTE ]
    Bubba, is this Don Moss you're talking about with the Bronco? He whupped up on class 3 this year, he must have had a really clean run.


    [/ QUOTE ]

    Yes sir it is /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif. He raced up in VORRA this year and made the last two short course races and when ya see him land off the big jump, the eyes go wide open cause ain't no straight axle suppose to be landing that good.

    Just saw the results last night and saw that Moss took it in Class. Sorry y'all didn't win, but then again just finishing the 1000 is one huge accomplishment..........................
    /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif

    Good job and do ya think ya could bring your buddy on board here and maybe do a tech break down with lots of pics on the race truck? /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif
     

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